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    GT Nexus Builds “The Grid” To Facilitate Enterprise-Wide Collaboration

    Here at Socialtext, we work hard to communicate the importance of transparency and sharing information openly inside companies to foster greater innovations and drive better business results. We believe in it philosophically, and design our products to work well under that paradigm.

    So when we have a customer who feels as strongly about it as we do, we know we have a good fit — and that has been the case with GT Nexus, an on-demand cloud supply chain technology company with offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. With Socialtext’s enterprise social software platform, GT Nexus built “The Grid,” a place where all departments share vital company information, such as implementation best practices, key sales & marketing materials and technical product knowledge.

    “Every time someone plans to send an e-mail or completes a phone call, I want them to ask themselves: ‘Could someone else benefit from this information?’” says John Atherton, Vice President of Solutions Consulting & Knowledge Management at GT Nexus who championed The Grid. “I’m a big believer in explicit versus tacit knowledge, and the importance of getting more knowledge to be explicit — in this case, using enterprise social software to do it. This is true for both internal and external knowledge pools alike.”

    Using Socialtext Signals, a secure enterprise microblogging tool, GT Nexus employees can keep each other updated on the changes made within The Grid, keeping new stuff in the flow of work. The teams also use it to exchange deal-related data, an important aspect in global sales cycles. With easy-to-edit Workspace pages, any employee can update critical content that their peers need to do their jobs more efficiently and serve customers better.

    Prior to Socialtext, John says that GT Nexus relied on Windows shared folders to exchange documents and collaborate. This proved inefficient, as they grappled with version control and limited search capabilities. Now, the goal is to keep information current on The Grid ( the company’s “central nervous system”), and use robust tagging to help GT Nexus employees find the people and information they need to serve customers and prospects.

    Just how pervasive has GT Nexus’s use of enterprise social software been? Here’s some use-cases that span across departments.

    • Sales and marketing –> To keep sales and marketing better in synch, GT Nexus keeps all of its sales collateral and marketing material inside The Grid in a workspace fittingly called the “Collateral Center.” Now, when a sales representative walk into a meeting, they can be confident they have the most current materials (white papers, webinars, powerpoints) that explain the benefits of GT Nexus products. On the technical sales side, this means sharing demo scripts and sample EDI documents by industry vertical.
    • Supply Chain Knowledge –> GT Nexus helps some of the world’s largest enterprises efficiently manage their inbound and outbound supply chains. Coupled with the ever-changing technical landscape that is could computing, this requires GT Nexus to chronicle the best practices around the supply chain and IT disciplines, which is now kept inside The Grid.
    • Technical Knowledge –> All the best FAQs and product requirements are kept up to date in a central workspace. As GT Nexus improves and modifies its products, the documentation surrounding those are kept up to date, such as release notes and recordings. In-depth product configuration documents are also available.
    • Purely Social –> And it’s not all work. The GT Nexus Signals stream routinely sees updates on general social activity — a new employee visitor, a department-sponsored happy hour or a personal success are some examples.

    GT Nexus utilizes Socialtext’s flexible SaaS appliance. It gives GT Nexus the ability to deploy Socialtext behind the firewall and hook it into the company’s existing infrastructure, while still getting seamless updates to the software sent from Socialtext. John believes, however, that internal collaboration is just the beginning. He is already adding another Socialtext appliance, where GT Nexus can securely and privately interact with external customers and partners (a B2B Extranet).

    “This will help our customers stay in touch with the products and services we offer, and will improve our ability to serve them faster and better than ever before,” John says.

    Industrial Mold Uses Enterprise Microblogging and Social Software To Serve Customers Faster

    One of the coolest parts about working at Socialtext is to see the diversity of our clients and the types of businesses they run. Today, I’m happy to announce one of our newest customers, Industrial Mold & Machine. Industrial Mold is one of those companies that works quietly in the background of American business, yet whose work touches the lives of millions of consumers each day. As the name might suggest, the company makes metal moldings for a variety of manufactured products, helping shape things like plastic cups, playhouses, sleds, milk jugs or kitchen utensils (to name just a few).

    According to Larry Housel, Knowledge and Information Manager of the Twinsburg, Ohio-based company, Industrial Mold needed enterprise social software to serve its customers faster and better. With employees residing both in the offices and the shop floor, Larry and his team wanted a central, searchable place to store meeting notes and customer information. He also wanted to improve internal processes and workflow by providing tools that enable the company’s employees to share information with each other openly. So Industrial Mold turned to our enterprise social software platform, and is now using secure enterprise microblogging (Socialtext Signals) and wiki workspaces.

    Because Socialtext is as software as a service (SaaS) product, it’s easy for people on the shop floor to access our applications via a web browser. In addition, Larry installed Socialtext Desktop, our Adobe AIR client that runs locally on people’s machines and provides an elegant and fast way to consume Signals, Activity Streams and other areas of our platform.

    industrialmold.jpg

    “We want to appear as one unit in everything we do,” Larry told me this week. “To do that, we want process improvement. We have a lot of people thinking about how we can improve our daily workflow and serve customers better, and I want to capture that information. For instance, how do we accept a piece of material? Who needs to be notified? Who needs to be here for things coming in? These ideas will now go into a Socialtext for us to figure out, discuss, and act on.”

    For the back and forth conversations that occur between employees during the day, Larry says Industrial Mold employees will update their colleagues using Socialtext Signals, our private, Twitter-like tool that enables people to share short messages with each other in real time. Industrial Mold wants more of its communication to happen openly, opposed to being locked away in e-mail boxes or people’s brains. “Signals allows all that communication to be searchable and discoverable later,” Larry says. “The more stuff we’ve normally done in e-mail that we can pull into a Signals is a victory as far I’m concerned.”

    So why did Larry and Industrial Mold choose us? He told me he likes the fact that the social features in our product mirror those that employees use at home, such as Facebook and Twitter. In addition, he appreciates how each social feature ties in nicely with another. For example, when you edit a wiki page in our platform, you can choose to Signal that action to your colleagues so it appears in their microblogging stream, where they can click on the link to view the changes made to the page.

    We’ll be tracking Larry and Industrial Mold’s progress, and we’re happy to welcome them to the Socialtext family.

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    Socialtext Enjoys Record 2009 Performance

    Momentum fueled by doubling of user base, record quarter-over-quarter bookings growth.

    PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 4 /PRNewswire/ — Socialtext enjoyed a record-breaking year in 2009, setting its highest quarter-over-quarter bookings growth in the company’s history. Businesses are turning to Socialtext’s social software platform to gain higher levels of employee engagement, commitment and performance not achievable in the past. As the leading enterprise social software company moves into 2010, it expects continued growth in new bookings and renewals, and another record year in overall bookings and revenue.

    “In 2009, there was a collective awakening about the value of greatly improved knowledge flows among a company’s greatest asset, its people,” says Eugene Lee, Socialtext’s CEO. “In 2010, social software will become a staple for enterprises looking to improve the way their employees communicate and get work done.”

    Large and midsized enterprises across many industries — including media, health care, manufacturing, and technology — have deployed Socialtext so their employees can collaborate more easily and tap each other’s expertise, enabling them to stay connected, aligned and informed. With greatly improved knowledge flow and teamwork, these companies can now respond faster to changing market conditions and new revenue opportunities. In doing so, they better meet the needs of their customers.

    “Socialtext got all my smart people pulling in the same direction.”
    Don Smith, Vice President of Customer Service, OSIsoft

    “People call it the single most useful tool that Davies has introduced to staff, period.”
    Brandon Edwards, President & COO, Davies

    To meet customer demand for its enterprise social software platform, Socialtext is expanding, hiring across multiple departments in 2010. While Socialtext is looking forward to the coming year, highlights from 2009 include:

    • From Q1 to Q4, the company grew bookings by more than 200 percent.
    • The company grew its customer base to 6,500, while active users doubled.
    • Each quarter, the company beat its record for renewal bookings.
    • Bookings growth from customer expansions nearly tripled, in large part due to organic adoption of Socialtext’s fully integrated social software platform inside companies.
    • “Once people saw what they could do with Socialtext, each business unit started their own social software revolution.”
      Steve Brewer, Customer Connection Mgr. & Systems Integration,
      FONA International

    • Socialtext released its Microblogging appliance, allowing companies to deploy secure, private microblogging enterprise-wide very quickly, and then expand into other uses of the Socialtext social software platform later, such as deploying a social intranet, a social corporate directory, and letting the activity streams and other automated mechanisms do the work of keeping the organization informed.
    • “With microblogging from Socialtext, people understand each other more, and they know what others are doing. This lets us respond more quickly to new opportunities.”
      Tim Eby, General Manager, St. Louis Public Radio.

    • Socialtext shipped SocialCalc, the first and only social spreadsheet integrated with a social software platform, developed with VisiCalc creator Dan Bricklin. SocialCalc has allowed companies to stay in touch with the state of the business.
    • “With SocialCalc, I can go in at one point in the day and see what’s going on in all our active campaigns right now. It helps us distribute information and knowledge faster, so we can react more quickly.”
      Dave Ball, Vice President of Consumer Marketing, Meredith Corporation.

    • Socialtext Desktop allows people to access the Socialtext platform via a fast Adobe AIR app, providing a real-time experience for Activity Streams and Signals.
    • The new Socialtext Mobile brought the enterprise social software platform to employees on-the-go.
    • The company’s new service partners program complements their in-house professional services organization and ensures customers get the fastest adoption and path to strategic business results.
    • The company launched a “freemium” package that allows companies to get up and running with secure microblogging in minutes, providing a replacement for microblogging networks that have cropped up organically among employees, and that are neither secure or IT-friendly.

    About Socialtext:

    As the enterprise social software leader, Socialtext applies Web 2.0 technologies such as microblogging, social networking and wikis to the critical challenges facing large and mid-market businesses. Socialtext’s enterprise social software platform allows employees to share expertise, speed workflows and get their jobs done faster. Socialtext provides hosted and appliance-based solutions to more than 6,500 customers world-wide, including EgonZehnder, Epitaph Records, Mayo Clinic, McGraw-Hill, OSIsoft, Symantec and The Washington Post. Learn more about Socialtext at www.socialtext.com.

    SOURCE Socialtext

    RELATED LINKS

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    WikiBirthday 2009: 14 years of collaboration

    Happy Birthday Wiki.

    “March 25th marks a very special day in the history of the Internet. 14 years ago on this day, Ward Cunningham publicly launched the revolutionary technology that is the wiki.”

    Socialtext is very proud to play such an important part in the history and adoption of this great technology. As the first company to bring wikis to enterprise customers, we are thrilled to see how the features and usage of wikis have grown.

    wikiwayt.jpg

    “Through wiki, we discovered an organic way of working together online, one that would come to be known as The Wiki Way.”

    While working together online is still one of the core concepts of collaboration, it is important to note how wikis have evolved. Rather than remaining a standalone tool for creating and sharing information, Socialtext has moved wikis forward, integrating them into a larger platform that includes employee profiles, social networks, social messaging, spreadsheets, and dashboards.

    So Happy B-Day wiki, and congratulations to everyone at AboutUs.org. Also, please visit Wikipediarevolution to learn more about the new book covering the history of the site that made wiki a household name.

    Introducing Socialtext 3.0

    Today we released Socialtext 3.0 to our production hosted service. Socialtext 3.0 is a trio of enterprise social software applications built on a common platform:

    • Socialtext People – Putting social networking for work
    • Socialtext Dashboard – Personalized dashboards with work-centric social update feeds
    • Socialtext Workspace – Dramatic upgrade to the enterprise wiki for business people>

    There’s likely to be a lot of press and blogger coverage about Socialtext today, and a lot of it is likely to cover our announcement of another exciting product in the works – Socialtext Signals. Most folks are likely to call it “Twitter for the Enterprise” but we are thinking about it much more deeply – particularly how integrating it with People, Dashboard, and Workspace will help make it much more of a tool that blends with the flow of real work, and not just another cool social app. But more on Signals later.

    Socialtext 3.0 has been in the works for awhile, and is the result of lots of learning from our innovative customers, input from our insightful advisors, adaptation of major social software trends in the public Web 2.0 world, and good old-fashioned home grown innovation. But at all times we focus on making our products relevant and useful to business users, which builds on our years of experience delivering business value with enterprise wikis.

    Our team has put together a lot of materials to introduce you to these new products and capabilities – and how they work together. They’ll be posted on the main www.socialtext.com website on an ongoing basis – so check back to see what’s new.

    For our existing customers, we’re completely refreshing the Customer Exchange www.socialtext.net/exchange – where we’re adding lots of content to help orient you and your colleagues to the new user experience in Socialtext Workspace 3.0 with Socialtext Dashboard, as well as the benefits of blending these with Socialtext People .

    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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