NewsGator (news, site) is off to yet a another good year, like many other social computing vendors. Part of their success is due, in part, to SharePoint, including a number of SharePoint 2010 deals already closed.

Kicking Off the Year

How does first quarter increased growth of over 70% year on year strike you? According to NewsGator CEO J.B. Holston, the market is going to continue to be robust and the company will continue to exceed their financial goals.

It's certainly a good year to be in the social computing market. And it helps if your focus is also on the SharePoint market, as NewsGator's definitely is. NewsGator Social Sites leverage SharePoint "as a platform" and build upon the most popular capabilities -- communities and collaboration.

In fact, Holston told CMSWire that SharePoint 2010 has been a great demand generator for NewsGator and they have closed a few "large deals" in Quarter 1 for the SharePoint 2010 version of Social Sites.

So What Has NewsGator Been Up To

There's been a strong demand both internationally and government wise. SharePoint is widely available in government, particularly in the US and there is a strong move to break down the silos of information thanks to the Open Government Initiative.

The acquisition of Tomoye has also helped NewsGator -- they have been able to upsell Social Sites to a number of government organization who already use Tomoye.

Product wise, NewsGator has continued to evolve Social Sites, adding in functionality that is in high demand. They released an iPhone and an iPad client, and released a SharePoint 2010 version of Social Sites, adding to the community enablement capabilities.


NewsGator on the iPhone

Activity Streams & Microblogging

NewsGator is making collaboration valuable in a working context. That means they are capturing events and activity around content and workflow. And they store it all in a rich event store. Using the associated API this event store can help point out what is relevant to you, giving you an integrated social picture of work.

In a blog post on the topic of the event store, Brian Kellner, NewsGator's VP of Products, talks about its importance in the market today:

The battle for the corporate activity stream / microblogging solution, however, is merely skirmish in a much larger battle. While companies enjoy immediate value in these solutions, the strategic value lies in overall “event store” which consists of the activity streams along with the related analysis, notifications, storage, distribution, reporting, etc. The closest parallel to this is the data warehouse which turns information from the transactional systems into a tool that lets companies better understand their business and their market.

Holston told us that SharePoint is a great component. The closer you can be to it, the richer your event store will be.


Commenting on Activity

In terms of microblogging, you will also be able to claim an external source in your lifestream, meaning that you can add in your Twitter and Facebook feeds. This is, of course, configurable and there is an API that would let you publish your internal activity out. Holston spoke about the move to more openness rather than less.


Desktop View of Social Sites

Innovation Management

Another area that NewsGator has focused on it that of Innovation Management. Innovation Management has become a popular and in demand capability in the last couple of years and many social computing solutions have implemented some flavor of it, including NewsGator.

Crowdsourcing of ideas happens as part of a community and Social Sites provides a lot of rich workflow and campaigns around an idea. Many organizations see value in deploying this capability as widely as possible.

Holston told us although their Innovation Management has been a driver of adoption for them, it is no more important than microblogging and some other features.

Collaboration Is A Dimension

Collaboration is becoming a core part of everything we do at work. Says Holston, "collaboration is a dimension". And that's a good thing for NewsGator. The company has been approached on a number of occasions by siloed vendors to OEM Social Sites. Even vendors of software that you might consider "anti-social" are now looking for integrated collaboration.

It's probably a sure thing that we can expect to see much more of NewsGator and Social Sites in the future, not just as an enhanced solution to SharePoint 2010 (and SharePoint 2007), but also within some of the other business applications that we use today.