November 8, 2010
It’s Enterprise 2.0 conference week and that always means lots of product announcements – I got an advance briefing last week from Moxie software. Moxie (previously the software arm of nGenera) is the creator of social enterprise software for employee and customers through its Spaces product. Spaces, like a host of other enterprise collaboration products (CubeTree, Yammer, Microsoft SharePoint, Jive, MindTouch and on, and on, and on) integrates collaboration, knowledge management and social aspects to serve up something that (they hope) will prove valuable to enterprise.
In my briefing with Moxie, I repeatedly asked for a point of differentiation that they could explain to me, and why a customer would chose them over one of the other offerings. Moxie (or at least their SVP Marketing) did a not overly compelling job by explaining that the difference lay in the approach which saw a combination of:
- Pointers to people (think rich profiles and the like)
- Rewards for participants (thinks badges and stuff – yawn)
- Going where the people are (single sign on and enterprise integration)
- A compelling UI (code for “we look like Facebook”)
None of which really answered my question – every enterprise software vendor under the sun would point out the same core tenets of their offering.
Anyway – the main thrust of the Moxie briefing was to hear about their latest release, one which they believe will bridge the gap between customer facing and employee facing solutions. I have to say that the issues Moxie raised do indeed ring true. We’re all trying to deal with the tensions between a product that provides for the internal needs of the organization, and one that shows value to outside stakeholders – I’m not convinced that anyone has really nailed this issue… so what does it look like for Moxie?
Interestingly enough, this release was designed in concert with design and innovation firm IDEO. In a previous life I had a lot to do with IDEO’s work, they really are thought leaders in the innovation space. So what impact did IDEO have on the product? Well the release is heralded as including a Knowledgebase, Integration to Major Legacy Systems Including SharePoint and MS Exchange, as well as New Features. The first two of those things is very much par for the course, so what do the new features give us? From the release:
- An integration framework that provides pre-built integration to all major enterprise applications
- Integration with SharePoint: Leverage SharePoint’s document repository, workflow and approval capabilities from within Employee Engagement Spaces
- Integration with MS Exchange: Calendar synchronization and ability to email content into discussion groups
- Enhanced Micro blogging with real-time notifications
- Enhanced Projects: Allows employees to collaborate around projects
- Virtual Private Cloud for companies that require a segmented/private location for their data
Hmmm – revolutionary? Not so much. Moxie gave me a demo of the solution and it looked fine. It does what one would expect of an enterprise software provider (see the screen shot below) but this isn’t revolutionary, and it’s definitely less innovative than one would expect from a collaborative project that IDEO was involved with.
Moxie actually reached the final four of the Enterprise 2.0 Launchpad… which kind of indicates the problem with launchpad events. A good video (see below) with no real substance will always beat a less polished depiction of a revolutionary offering.
Don’t get me wrong – Moxie seems a robust and fully featured product – it’s just nothing particularly new….