NewsGator has announced a new initiative to bring enterprise-class social computing to four verticals -- manufacturing, financial services, retail/consumer packaged goods and telecommunications.  

The manufacturing solution will be launched first. It is based on Microsoft’s Discrete Manufacturing Reference Architecture (DIRA), a technology framework designed to improve manufacturing operational performance. Within the DIRA framework, NewsGator’s Social Sites software provides capabilities designed to improve employee empowerment, collaboration and communication -- and thereby increase employee productivity and a company’s performance.

Faster Decision Making

With this solution, manufacturers’ employees who use DIRA can create social profiles, collaborate inside communities, or contribute to the business’ knowledge base, from any device. The company said that the capabilities of Social Sites enable faster decision making, route information to the correct person, and utilize microblogging and video activity streams in the support of productivity.

As one example use case, NewsGator describes a designer at a hypothetical global automaker who wanted to assess the environmental and cost impact of integrating a lightweight, impact-resistant body material on the company’s line of electric vehicles. The normal process would require assembling teams of design and engineering experts from several countries, setting up teleconferences across time zones, arranging trips, and creating a study -- all of which could take months.

Instead, the company said, its solution allowed the designer to search the manufacturer’s knowledge base, which turned up dozens of relevant articles, activity stream feeds and other documents. She updated her profile with the project she was working on, and posted a question to one of the activity streams specific to her project.

A colleague soon answered, and she was able to assemble and present the information, cost and environmental impact within a fraction of the time and cost it would otherwise have taken -- and to get the approval to proceed more quickly.

More Agile, Adaptable

Melissa Risteff, NewsGator Senior Vice President of Global Marketing & Alliances, said in a statement that her company’s software “integrates effortlessly into the Microsoft software stack and extends it to broaden information sharing, learning, expertise discovery, customer service and product innovation.” The end result, she said, is that manufacturers with the new social capabilities can become “more agile, adaptable and more competitive.”

NewsGator said its software for Microsoft platforms is being used by such manufacturers as Fujitsu, Goodrich, IM Flash Technologies, Renault and Siemens, as well as other industries, with more than four million paid users overall.

The company said that it has been helping clients in the four verticals specified, and is now packaging those into social business solutions specifically for those industries. After manufacturing, the next one -- financial services -- will be issued in the fall.

These new vertical solutions are one indicator of how NewsGator differs from Yammer (which Microsoft recently acquired and will, at some point, be integrated with SharePoint), demonstrating the social software's value as much more than a simple social network.