Hoping to capitalize on the trend of moving enterprise applications to web-based, hosted solutions, Instancy has expanded their Enterprise 2.0 presence with the release of the Knowledge and Learning 2.0 Community Platform and the On-Demand Global Portal. Instancy, Inc., founded in 2002 and based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, utilizes the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery model to provide knowledge and content management services to enterprise customers and online education publishers. Along with knowledge management, Instancy also provides collaboration, online community and performance management functionality under a flexible portal framework. The Knowledge On-Demand Global Portal is a virtual marketplace that allows subject matter experts to create, share, and merchandise their knowledge in the format of their choosing -- articles, webinars, podcasts, etc. Knowledge seekers worldwide can then use the portal to find and acquire information while also connecting with the author. Furthermore, the Knowledge and Learning 2.0 Community Platform can be used by customers to set up online communities to leverage the knowledge assets made available by the portal. Communities can be created based on vertical, trade, or interest group to users who want to generate and monetize their content along with developing professional connections. By providing an integrated approach to these services, Instancy hopes to help their customers focus on business objectives and growing their community while spending less time with IT integration and support. Sound familiar? The platform is currently being used by customers for employee training and development, sales, customer service, customer education, and knowledge sharing initiatives. Instancy customer Brian Azar, an independent sales and marketing coach, had this to say about the product:
"With Instancy portal and web-based multimedia authoring, discussions, blogging, and e-commerce tools, I have been able to build an online knowledge catalog based on my books, workshops and seminars and with the launch of Instancy Global Portal, I can reach out and connect with sales and marketing teams at small and medium businesses who can benefit from my programs."
By taking an enterprise wide endeavor like knowledge management and attempting to move it out of a company's IT infrastructure and into a hosted model, it sounds like Instancy agrees with recent comments made by Google's David Bercovich. Bercovich suggested that a lack of competition in the enterprise content management and collaboration space has been limiting innovation and stunting customer expectation. By taking a liter approach to enterprise tools, Instancy may be helping to change that particular tune. Although Instancy sports an impressive customer list -- including companies such as Bank of America, Farmers Insurance, Fidelity and Gateway -- this writer wonders where the market for this product actually lies. Large organizations who have already made long-standing commitments to an enterprise wide knowledge management solution may indeed be working with more stagnant and boring technologies, but are certainly going to be wary of migrating those knowledge assets out of their enterprise and into a hosted model. While smaller organizations, who are just beginning to think about their knowledge assets, might be looking for a less expensive option. If Instancy can deliver on both their promises of easy community building and pay-only-for-what-you-need pricing then perhaps they can find a niche in an increasingly competitive knowledge management and collaboration space. The space is getting a little crowded, what with players such as Zimbra, Zoho, eTouch and Blogtronix, not to mention the big folk like Google and Microsoft drooling over the idea of keeping your organization's knowledge all safe and sorted. With that said Intancy's got a disruptive take on the tech. This plus a SaaS delivery model makes them a company you collaborators might just keep an eye on.