It's a day for news on the Enterprise 2.0 front and Telligent (news, site) wants you to hear what they've been hard at work on. It's about that time of the year when Telligent offers up a new version of their community solutions. This time, instead of simply a new version number with some new functionality, we get major products upgrades and new branding to boot.
Say goodbye to Community Server, Community Server Evolution and Harvest Reporting Server. Say hello to Telligent Community 5.0, Telligent Enterprise 2.0 and Telligent Analytics 3.0.
Oh, and for those of you interested in Telligent Graffiti, we have a little update, but don't get too excited.
The Changing World for Social Software
We once spoke with Telligent's George Dearing and Lawrence Liu, regarding communities. At that time, Dearing indicated that these types of solutions were very much becoming commoditized. A similar situation to what's happening in the Web Content Management market.
This is really not surprising because Web 2.0 technologies like blogs, wikis, social networking and microblogging have all become very well known and used both inside and outside the firewall to differing results.
So the question becomes, do we need another revamped community solution, with new functionality? Or do we need to look at things differently? Telligent founder and CTO (didn't hear that news? Read here) Rob Howard, believes we need to look at things differently.
There are some guiding principles that Telligent has used to design the latest version of their solutions. These are:
- Tools need to be independent of information, otherwise we are just creating more information silos
- Point-based applications are not the answer, the answer is the platform
- Success is measurable and it is critical
- The future is collaboration
Trends in the Enterprise
Howard spoke with CMSWire of three Trends they see happening today:
- Bridging the Convergence: Traditional methods of collaborating (like email) are converging with social computing and with enterprise IT. You aren't going to see these as three distinct areas in the enterprise much longer. What you will see is a converging of technologies that will provide business software that has social functionality built-in, enterprise integration and analytics play key roles.
- 1% Rule is Not Acceptable: Tools should not drive adoptions, information should enable adoption. You need to support the organization's culture and not simply provide solutions that meet the needs of heavy or intermittent contributors.
- Internal and External Collaboration:The models for internal and external collaboration are similar yet different. External Collaboration is all about listening, engaging, supporting and measuring. Internal collaboration is about collaborating, innovating, knowledge management and discovering. Although they are different, an underlying platform can be created to support them both.
Telligent's Community Solutions
To demonstrate their vision and guiding principles, Telligent has re-branded their community solutions to meet the guiding principles and trends discussed above.
Here's a look at what they now offer:
Telligent Enterprise 2.0
Formerly known as Telligent Community Server Evolution, Telligent Enterprise 2.0 is the Internal facing product that will encourage collaboration, brings in enterprise integration and a sense of community all in one. Key elements include:
- Integration with existing IT systems such as SharePoint, enterprise search solutions, directories and more
- Historical knowledge base
- Expanded profiles and search capabilities
- Creation of both business and social groups
Telligent Enterprise 2.0
Telligent Community 5.0
Telligent Community 5.0 is the public facing community solution designed to support customers and partners. There are a number of enhancements in this version including:
- Twitter-like activity streams
- Searchable user profiles and new, customizable profile
- Social analytics to track and measure interactions
- Expanded Search
- Ability to convert email and forum content into wiki content
- Channel creation via a simplified interface and drag and drop widgets
- Full functionality for groups
Telligent Community 5.0
If you haven't noticed, there's quite a different between the design for Enterprise and the design for Community. We asked Howard about that. He said that users behave differently and thus the interface needs to work differently.
The external version (Telligent Community) provides organizations the freedom to match the experience to the brand.
Telligent Analytics 3.0
Telligent has made a major investment in their social analytics capabilities. Although Telligent Analytics isn't ready for full release, it is being shown as a preview at the Enterprise 2.0 conference today. What you will see is new features such as identifying top influencers and new reports that will help measure engagement.
There's a new section called Buzz that pays attention to information created outside the community. It is tracked by keywords as well as allowing the system to pick up keywords used frequently, bubbling them up to the top.
The social fingerprint we talked about when we first reviewed Telligent's analytics, then called Harvest, is also in this new solution.
What you will also see is web analytics combined with social analytics. That's right. Telligent has added web analytics to the package and they believe they are the first to do it.
The analytics can go very deep in this solution and we asked Howard how often one might expect to see this level of detail report being used. He indicated that these were questions enterprises were asking them. So the answer should then be - often.
It's Not All Social
Probably the key thing to notice in these new solutions is that, as Howard says, social computing alone isn't driving the product development. Instead, we are seeing a new breed of solutions from Telligent that engage enterprise applications through integration, bringing together the tools necessary to complete the job at hand.
“Telligent‘s strategy is to provide a platform where social computing, enterprise technology and traditional communication come together to break down information silos and enhance measurability both inside and outside the organization.”
An Underlying Platform to Support It All
There's a major shift in how the Telligent solutions have been built. Because they no longer believe in the idea of point solutions (and probably never really did based on their partner network), Telligent has designed their solutions on a new platform, called Telligent evolution.
This platform provides the core capabilities required to build the solutions they offer. It's still a Microsoft stack, built on IIS6, .NET 3.5 and SQLServer 2005.
There's also a robust API built on web services and REST, enabling partners to build solutions that integrate and add capabilities to both the internal and external solutions. Howard told us that they don't do everything out of the box and depend on partners to build solutions that additional capabilities.
There will even be an Application Exchange, similar to that offered by Salesforce.
The new approach for Telligent is oddly familiar. We're thinking SharePoint here. A solid platform with strong capabilities in some areas and a strong dependence on partners to build solutions on top. One expects that with the background some of the key Telligent Executive have, they will not repeat the mistakes that have been made with SharePoint. Maybe taking a page from Microsoft's SharePoint book will pan out well in the long run.
A New Breed of "Social" Software
We've had this conversation already this morning with the MindTouch Collaborative Intranet announcement. These two solutions although similar, are not identical. The key similarity to pick up on is with the Telligent Enterprise version.
Both Telligent Enterprise and MindTouch's Collaborative Intranet are clearly demonstrating the need for the internal solution to be about much more than just a social software solution. They need to be about creating that "information fabric" as Fulkerson put it. Or as, Howard put it, "using information to drive adoption".
They key difference is in the delivery. MindTouch 2009 is very much as development platform that appears to need a team of developers working to bring together the appropriate mix of applications into the central web interface.
With Telligent, there are several out of the box connectors to enterprise apps, but the key seems to be that they will depend upon partners to deliver integrated applications built on their platform. It also sounds like you will see the social capabilities more in Telligent than you will in MindTouch.
Both Telligent Enterprise and Telligent Community are available today. Telligent Analytics is a couple of weeks away from being publicly available, but as we've said, you can see it in action if you are at the Enterprise 2.0 conference today and tomorrow (check out booth #413).
And About Graffiti
Waiting for this one, weren't you? We asked Howard what was happening with Graffiti, their web content management system. We expected to see a new version or some kind of news coming out this month related to it's future development.
We now find we must wait a little while longer. Howard said that complete focus has been on the community and analytic solutions and not Graffiti. They have started some dialog as to what its future looks like (so he is indicating that it has a future, that's good), but he wouldn't go into details, saying it's too early to spill the beans of those conversations.
As the team ramps down from releases of Telligent Enterprise, Community and Analytics, focus will shift to Graffiti. Our only thoughts here are this: if web content management is your primary focus, Telligent does not appear to be your answer, because it is not theirs.
If Community solutions that engage enterprise integration and tight social and web analytics is your focus, then take a closer look.