Businesses have embraced the use of social networking tools in order to improve productivity, increase mindshare and engage its target clientele. However, most enterprise social networking tools are either too closed, too public, or too expensive. To give organizations a chance to start engaging its audience (both internal and external), BroadVision (news, site) has launched its free Clearvale Express, and has partnered with Asian telecom firm SoftBank for the provision of a white-label social network called Clearvale Paasport.

Touted as a Chatter Killer, Clearvale Express brings together several features and functionalities found in BroadVision's Clearvale Enterprise social networking platform, which it offers on a SaaS model. This includes integration with Google Apps, which BroadVision considers a key feature. Clearvale Express is a streamlined edition, which provides a seamless upgrade path to Enterprise when an organization has outgrown its original requirements and requires scaling up.

Flexible, Extensible & Open

BroadVision founder and CEO Pehong Chen says enterprise collaboration should be more about getting work done than just chattering.

With a more robust and open platform of engagement for the enterprise, integrating easily with any systems of record, as opposed to locking into just one type of CRM such as, the Clearvale platform is the clear solution of choice for Enterprise 2.0," Chen said.

In an interview with CMSWire, BroadVision chief marketing and strategy officer Giovanni Rodriguez shared that the main differentiators between Clearvale Express and its competition are its seamless upgrade path to an enterprise edition, and its extensive feature set.

Clearvale Express lets an organization connect both internally and externally. This way, an organization can better engage not only its employees, but also customers, partners and the general public," he said.

Asian Partnerships & White-Label Paasport

Rodriguez explains that BroadVision has partnered with Japanese telecom provider Softbank Telecom, which is currently using Clearvale to connect its 20,000 employees, as well as its various partners and stakeholders. Aside from using Clearvale Express internally, SoftBank also benefits from using the Clearvale Paasport program, a platform-as-a-service application that lets service providers offer similar cloud-based offerings to their clients.

Learning Opportunities

SoftBank will launch its own social network later this month, and will initially be targeting enterprise users in the country. SoftBank is looking into providing social networking services to its business clients for productivity and customer engagement.

The Asia Pacific Market

Rodriguez shared with CMSWire that the company considers the Asia Pacific region as having big potential for cloud computing. While enterprise collaboration is a global phenomenon, he notes that not many companies have looked into Asia as a viable market, particularly BroadVision's smaller competitors. The company recognizes the differences in each country in the region, though. "Each country is different, but there is a common interest in delivering services over the cloud rather than software," he adds.

BroadVision sees big potential for small, medium and large organizations in using Clearvale Express. Schools and universities, for example, can use it to connect with students, faculty, staff and alumni. Meanwhile, Paasport can drive benefits to telecom and other service providers, the product's initial target market. Given the easy integration with other services like email, cloud-based documents and the like, BroadVision is confident that Clearvale Express will be a sound choice in starting an enterprise-class social network.