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  • Posts tagged ‘integration’

    Socialtext Broadens Integration Capabilities with Microsoft SharePoint

    We’re excited to announce our enhanced integration with Microsoft SharePoint. This enhanced integration enables Socialtext users to upload, view, and edit PowerPoint, Excel, and Word files within a browser window, in the Socialtext platform. This means that all of your documents can now be stored in SharePoint, but are easily and searchable, through Socialtext. As with any of our standard connectors, it takes just a couple easy steps to set up, and then allows for instant, seamless integration.

    To read more about the integration capabilities, click here.

    Socialtext and Southeastern “Go for the Gold” Ahead of 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

    Socialtext’s goal has always been to create innovative solutions for breaking down departmental silos which hamper the flow of information and knowledge sharing across the enterprise. Through our enterprise social platform, we have set the stage for our customers to transform their businesses in light of the social transformation that is happening worldwide. When a company’s adoption of social collaboration reaches critical mass, the return on investment of our collaborative tools can be quite significant.

    Today, our vision is being further realized through our expanded partnership with Southeastern, the UK’s busiest commuter railway. In the past six months, Southeastern has leveraged Socialtext Connect, a flexible and robust developer toolset built on our REST API that enables developers to socially enable existing systems of record, such as ERP, CRM, or content management systems. The Socialtext solution, now integrated into the Southeastern infrastructure, enables employees to access train status information on the fly, in real-time with visibility across the entire workforce. By providing Southeastern with a more efficient way to share knowledge, expertise, ideas and information, the company can more quickly respond to change and serve their patrons effectively.

    The enthusiastic adoption by Southeastern’s employees has paved the way for Socialtext to spark connectedness and information sharing companywide. The stage was set for Southeastern with “employees regularly asking for social networking tools to engage and share information with their colleagues,” said Sarah Boundy, Southeastern’s Head of Communications and Publicity.
    Boundy further explains:

    Our customers demand accurate information quickly, so it’s vital that our staff is connected to each other and have fast access to real-time information in a rapidly changing environment. Sharing knowledge and expertise with colleagues is key and with our original pilot program, Socialtext allowed us to do this in a quick and efficient manner. We look forward to rolling out this successful service to all of our 3,800 employees in the coming weeks.

    We look forward to participating in Southeastern’s success, especially in light of the upcoming London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, beginning on July 27, 2012. This is going to be a great opportunity for Southeastern to put enterprise social collaboration into action, with an anticipated 20 percent increase in passengers. Utilizing Socialtext to provide real-time visibility and flow of information means operation fluidity and timeliness during such an honorable and exciting occasion.

    How Key Is Integration In Your Social Software Strategy?

    The recording of last week’s webinar, Integration: The Next Frontier For Enterprise Social Software is now available.

    The hour long session includes:

    • Rob Koplowitz from Forrester Research discuss the various ways enterprise social software vendors are integrating their offerings with other tools.
    • Shafayet Imam from Equity Trust Company providing an overview of how they are using Socialtext as the company’s internal communication framework.
    • Alan Lepofsky from Socialtext demonstrates Socialtext Connect for both Microsoft SharePoint and for Salesforce.com

    Here are the slides from the event, but I encourage you to listen to the recording to get the most value from the content.

    What are your thoughts about the role integration plays in the success of social software?

    Forrester Research: How Socialtext Customer Hayes Knight Built the Social Layer

    Last June, Eugene, our CEO, delivered a keynote talk at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston called “The Social Layer.” The concept was simple: Social software should be a layer of technology that spans an entire organization, pulling together relevant people, content and systems of record in one easy place. It wasn’t about us or any one vendor; it was about moving the industry forward.

    To do our part, however, we introduced Socialtext Connect, an integration technology that lets you surface critical events from enterprise applications (CRM, ERP, etc.) and inject them into the Socialtext platform, where employees from across your organization can collaborate and take action. To get started, we delivered two pre-built integrations to Microsoft SharePoint and Salesforce.com.

    But Rob Koplowitz, the lead Enterprise 2.0 analyst at Forrester Research, didn’t just have to take our word for it: In his latest research note, Rob and his team featured Hayes Knight, a customer of ours in Australia that has used Connect to integrate key systems of record with Socialtext, including a homegrown job management system (built on Microsoft .Net) and CRM data from Salesforce.com. (The Forrester report focuses on the first system, and we have a blog post on the CRM integration, which enables Hayes Knight to serve customers 50 percent faster).

    When I visited Hayes Knight’s headquarters in Sydney back in November, I remember being amazed at how much they’d done with Socialtext Connect and our REST API. At the time, Jack Pedzikiewicz, our champion there, told me his favorite part of our platform was its flexibility, and this report does a great job of highlighting it.

    A quick except:

    Every trend needs a trailblazer, and in the case of establishing an integrated social layer that facilitates core operation processes, Hayes Knight is at the forefront. A group of companies offering accounting, business strategy, and complex tax services, Hayes Knight makes its living from the production and distribution of high-end knowledge. And it does so in Australia, one of the strictest compliance environments in the world.

    Like most organizations, Hayes Knight has legacy systems in place to handle key business functions. Yet most systems were largely transactional in nature, and Hayes Knight’s work product was anything but transactional. Jack Pedzikiewicz took on the task of turning the culture to one of knowledge capture, sharing, and collective decision-making while maintaining the context provided by the company’s core business systems.

    Pedzikiewicz targeted several of Hayes Knight’s core business processes for the initiative. Bridging the structured business systems and the new enterprise social capabilities through rich and deep integration was the key technical capability. After exploring the capabilities of multiple core business systems, his primary criteria for product assessment focused on the APIs provided to get information in and out of the system. He landed on Socialtext as the best platform to achieve his goals.

    Meanwhile, at Socialtext we’ve remained focused on moving our part of the Social Layer story forward (see an article today in CMSWire). We’ve not only been developing our own features, but we’ve been working with customers in our SocialDev community to help them create the integration they require to run their businesses. The best part of the community is that customers are sharing code and ideas among themselves, without us even having to be involved.

    I know I speak on behalf of the entire Socialtext team in saying that we’re thrilled Jack and his team got the recognition they deserved in this important research note. And we’re looking forward to more social layer stories going forward.

    Four Reasons Why We’re Betting on the Open Web in the Enterprise

    Last week, I blogged about why “Social Software needs to be a Layer, not a Feature, in the Enterprise.” Now, from an architectural perspective, I’ll riff on what we’ve done to make this a reality. Back in June, we launched Socialtext Connect, a new offering that enables companies to surface critical events from enterprise applications and inject them as streams into our social software platform, where employees across an organization collaborate and take action.

    On a high level, we made a strategic bet with Socialtext Connect that an embrace of Open Web standards and REST APIs will make it easier for companies to integrate their traditional systems with social applications.

    Here are four reasons we have made bets on the open web in the enterprise.

    1. REST APIs — We’re developing to where the puck will be, not where it’s been. We’re helping channel the wave of open web standards inside the enterprise firewall. A large number of enterprise IT departments have been rethinking their approach to their enterprise architecture, using REST instead of SOAP – for faster and more agile development cycles, better scalability, and cleaner separation between client/device and server/service. We’ve focused on REST as our API strategy from the very beginning, and we’re doubling down on that bet with Socialtext Connect.
    2. Bringing architectural patterns, not just Twitter and Facebook, from Web 2.0 to Enterprise 2.0 — We continue to monitor emerging patterns in the consumer Web 2.0 space for relevant value within the enterprise firewall. The most recent of these are Twitter Annotations, Webhooks, and activitystrea.ms – all of which we’re incorporating into Socialtext Connect. Our co-founder, Adina Levin, has also blogged about the power and usefulness of these standards in the enterprise.
    3. To escape application silos, the Social Layer needs to be usable by non-users of applications — Ease of use remains key – application streams and App Bots are designed to facilitate productive, context-based conversation around reports, events, and exceptions in the underlying application, by injecting these into what was previously only a channel for conversation between people. AppBots aren’t just persona that “tweet” – they are interactive agents that can respond to queries and drilldowns by users – all of which contributes rich context to the overall conversation about a specific event or exception. This video can highlight what I mean.
    4. We’re trying to straddle and connect the applications and social worlds without binding you to either — With regards to integration and architecture, we take a different approach that our competitors in the Enterprise 2.0 world. Some believe that social technology should be an add-on feature to their departmental application, and therefore produce a programming model that’s an extension of their application model. Others think social software should be a heavyweight Java container, where you pour your development resources, time and money. Our objective is to enable you to liberate information, events, and transactions from application silos and the user community silos that are captive to them – by liberating your development resources from a monolithic, stack-bound development model.

    By embracing open web standards and making social a layer in the enterprise architecture, we’re already seeing how this can play out with our customers. As we shared recently, Hayes Knight, an accounting consultancy in Australia, used Socialtext Connect to integrate their CRM system with Socialtext Signals to make it easier and faster for the company’s accountants to collaborate and answer important customer questions.

    “The speed with which we’re answering questions has been cut in half, and is a full 7−8 minutes faster on average,” says CTO Jack Pedzikiewicz, a very active member of our SocialDev community, which shares best practices on Socialtext Connect. “The wonderful thing is, as we capture these great answers inside of Socialtext workspaces, we also cut back on repetition where questions cover the same issue and build best of breed responses and knowledge on key issues of importance. It allows us to serve our customers faster and more consistently.”

    We believe Hayes Knight’s success is just the beginning, and look forward to sharing more customer stories in the coming months.

    Accounting Consultancy Hayes Knight Utilizes Socialtext Connect To Serve Customers Faster

    With the recent launch of Socialtext Connect, Socialtext customers have begun surfacing events from other critical business applications (CRM, ERP, etc.) inside of Socialtext Signals and Activity Streams. This gives employees the ability to see relevant work their colleagues do in other systems, engage in conversations around those events, and take action on them.

    One great example is Hayes Knight, an Australian accounting and consulting firm. Hayes Knight uses Socialtext to share knowledge and provide its clients with the best and most up to date information about tax and accounting issues. Hayes Knight utilized Socialtext Connect to trigger a microblogging message when critical actions occur inside of Salesforce.com.

    Hayes Knight’s knowledge management company, Knowledge Shop, provides a web-based member service subscribed to by 500 accounting firms and the thousands of accountants who work for them. It serves as a place for members to ask questions about accounting issues and get access to all kinds of tax and accounting information that experts at Knowledge Shop deal with everyday. The questions range from general accounting questions, to more complex tax advice issues.

    The customer service representatives for Knowledge Shop use Salesforce.com to manage membership information, seminar registrations, and to assign and track questions for Knowledge Shop advisers. When a rep enters a question into Salesforce.com from a Knowledge Shop member, the service rep can push that question into Socialtext Signals with the click of a button. Even though the question is addressed to a specific tax adviser, Hayes Knight finds value in letting others see the questions being asked.

    Then the Knowledge Shop adviser documents answers in Socialtext Workspaces, for current and future use. Once they’re completed, using a customized button inside Socialtext, they can send the proper answer back to Salesforce.com for processing.

    Hayes Knight CTO Jack Pedzikiewicz used Socialtext Connect to perform the integration. The ReST API within Socialtext Connect allows Socialtext customers to take events from a variety of other enterprise systems and surface them inside of Signals. Jack says he wants the advisers working in Socialtext because the software has deep collaboration features that allow them to create, share and capture knowledge −− something they wouldn’t get if they worked in Salesforce.com.

    “Signals allows us to respond faster,” Jack told me recently in a video chat. “The speed with which we’re answering questions has been cut in half, and is a full 7−8 minutes faster on average. The wonderful thing is, as we capture these great answers inside of Socialtext workspaces, we also cut back on repetition where questions cover the same issue and build best of breed responses and knowledge on key issues of importance. It allows us to serve our customers faster and more consistently.”

    We’re always looking for more great uses of Socialtext Connect to share. Please feel free to send me yours. Customers or business partners interested in joining our Socialtext Developer community, where practitioners can learn how to get the most from Socialtext Connect and share best practices, please contact us at socialdev@socialtext.com.

    Integrating Business Applications With Socialtext Connect

    Chances are your company uses multiple systems (CRM, ERP, collaboration, etc.) to run your business. Switching back and forth between them wastes time and creates silos of information. Wouldn’t it be nice to integrate all the tools together? With Socialtext Connect, information from all your business-critical tools can be displayed in a single unified activity stream.

    To help you get started with Socialtext Connect, we’ve recorded a training session which takes you through examples of extending and integrating Socialtext with systems like Bugzilla, SharePoint, Google Maps and more.

    Bugzilla to Socialtext

    Example: Displaying Events From Bugzilla In The Socialtext Signals Stream

    This session just touches the surface of what is possible. To help us plan for future events, which systems would you like to see connectors for? Please leave a comment below with details about the tools your company uses and the type of things you’d find useful to have integrated with Socialtext.

    If you are an existing customer or business partner and would like to join our developers community, SocialDev, please contact me at alan.lepofsky@socialtext.com.

    Click here to access Integrating Enterprise Applications with Socialtext.

    About This Blog

    Weblog on gaining business results from social software.

    On this blog, Socialtext staffers and customers explore how companies can gain the most business value from their use of enterprise social software, including microblogging, social networking, filtered activity streams, widget-based dashboards, blogs and wikis.

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