three people sitting at conference table in a meeting
Akumina released a new version of its digital workplace platform today, calling out the need for tools to go beyond team-based chats. PHOTO: Zach Graves

Akumina announced today version 4 of its digital workplace software platform, including new capabilities designed for project-based collaboration.

The new capabilities come in the form of Workspaces, a project-based collaboration platform, which Akumina officials said goes beyond team-based collaboration tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams.

"The fundamental concept in this release is you have to support any piece of content on any device in any language at any time, and you have to deliver it to the right person," David Maffei, chief revenue officer at Akumina, said in an interview with CMSWire. "We have deeper integration with Microsoft cognitive services for machine-based translation. We have performance enhancements where we're able to dramatically increase the throughput performance of runtime and the content management process, a big part of this release."

Akumina's New Project, Event-Focused Collaboration

Akumina, based in Nashua, NH, offers software that helps build internal digital workplaces and customer-facing sites. Its content management system is designed to help organizations manage data stored inside and outside of Office 365. Akumina's presentation framework delivers content and data to an Office 365/SharePoint page or an agnostic .NET MVC page.

Maffei and colleague Troy Trudel, Akumina's senior director of strategic alliances, caught up with CMSWire last week. They stressed in the interview this latest platform release supports "entity-based collaboration": collaboration that focuses on a specific projects and events.

"That entity-based collaboration doesn't exist in Slack or Teams," Maffei said. "Great, you need Teams or you need Slack. But what's missing there is the ability to collaborate on an entity. And that's incredibly complementary to a Teams or Slack. You're already doing persistent team-based collaboration from Slack and Teams and entity-based collaboration from Akumina."

Peter Ward, CEO of Akumina partner SoHo Dragon Solutions, said in a statement that Akumina plugs significant holes left by other collaboration tools.

"While (Microsoft) Teams," he said, "is persistent, open collaboration designed to share ideas and promote discussions across a broad range of topics, it is designed around the members of the team and various unstructured topics and not designed to be centered around a specific contained entity."

Workspaces 'Structured Micro-Portals'

Akumina officials said Workspaces allows collaboration around projects, documents, events and any defined entity involving specific people, timelines, milestones, tasks and workflows.

"Everything is about how you get to the completion of that," Maffei told CMSWire.

The company refers to Workspaces as "structured micro-portals" that includes specific pre-built or custom templates. They connect all content, tools, tasks, people and conversations into a single platform.

Akumina Workspaces tool screenshot
Akumina's Workspaces

Digital Workplace Is a Strategy

What does Workspaces do? Leverages Microsoft Graph API and Office 365 technology such as Microsoft Office Groups, Microsoft Planner, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint and others. It also integrates human resources or finance systems. 

"Companies purport to be digital workplaces in a box," Maffei said. "But we recognize that a digital workplace isn't a product. You don't just push a button and have a digital workplace." 

It's a strategy, he said, to ultimately be more productive and efficient and drive more of something.

"It isn't a 'what,'" he said, "it's a 'how.'"

Headless CMS Support

Part of Akumina's strategy includes support for headless environments. In a “headless” or a decoupled CMS architecture, the front end component of the CMS is removed and the backend delivers content via an API.

Some intranets run inside an Office 365 tenant with all users owning licenses, but some organizations needs to connect with users that don't have Office 365 licenses.

That's where the concept of headless CMS "opens the doors for a new kind of page management and delivery layer," such as customer extranet sites organizations build with Akumina's software.

"Akumina believes that a headless system is only the first step to a site or other application that lends maximum flexibility to those who are creating those compelling experiences," Maffei wrote in an Aug. 16 LinkedIn post. "The next step is a completely agnostic page building and management system."