In January, enterprise business management software provider Deltek introduced Kona, a free, cloud-based social collaboration network targeted at groups and project management. This week, Deltek announced the launch of Kona Business, the premium version of the same platform.
The new version of the platform, like the earlier edition, seeks to extend collaborative productivity beyond the reaches of a venerable but much criticized tool: email. In its announcement of the premium version, Deltek cited a McKinsey report that interaction workers typically spend about 13 hours a week reading, writing and filing emails. Kona's platform is designed to replace email-based collaboration by integrating project and task management with internal social communication.
Conversation + Organization
Scott DeFusco, Deltek's Vice President of Product Strategy and Management for Kona, said in a statement that the social enterprise unlocks "the potential of people and businesses by being the virtual equivalent of an open office environment." In other words, Kona’s platforms seek the same Holy Grail as many other social productivity applications -- the marriage of efficient conversation with structured organization.
Kona Business is organized around projects and groups, surrounded by files, tasks, calendars and meetings. Features include topic-based discussions, shared task lists and calendars, templates for project management and polling functionality. Administrators can securely manage project members, projects and project information, there's file-sharing integration with Box, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Google Docs, APIs enable integration with a variety of outside products and sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and there are mobile versions for iOS and Android devices.
Social collaboration environments are one of the hottest categories around, including big players like Microsoft with Lynx/Skype, Yammer and Sharepoint, Cisco with Webex Social and Webex Meetings, and Oracle Social Network, middle size players like Asana, Basecamp or Jive, and newer apps like Qortex from Tokyo-based The Plant.
The emerging wave will propel the competitive differentiation of these platforms, and Kona’s chosen to orient itself around groups and project management that take place in the office, the home and on the road, supported by a wide variety of features. Earlier this week, Deltek announced it had bought Acumen, an Austin, Texas-based manager of project management solutions and services, adding to Deltek’s beginning-to-end project management portfolio.