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Socialtext Brings Social Networking to Corporate Intranets

By David Needle     Feedback

The latest release from the enterprise social networking company aims to make intranets more real-time and relevant to employee needs.

How popular is your company's intranet? Socialtext has added new features to its enterprise social networking system that are designed to bring more interactivity and relevance to corporate intranets that haven't always kept up with the times.

"We literally heard from some customers comments like 'Our intranet sucks,' which is what one CIO told me," Eugene Lee, CEO of Socialtext, told InternetNews.com. The customer said they call it "the junk drawer."

"The problem is that a lot of the content on these Intranets are static because they require an outdated top down publishing model and they become more a document dump where the employees often don't even know what they're supposed to be looking for," said Lee.

Early customers of the new release are using Socialtext as the framework for their company's Intranet.

"Mixer, our social intranet built on Socialtext, has been adopted by 95 percent of our organization," Jennifer Fox, director of learning and development at Getty Images, said in a statement. "How do you put a price on an employee coming in and knowing they can find the information they need, know it's relevant, and be more efficient at their job?"

Lee said Getty, with about 2,200 employees, went from zero to 95 percent adoption in six months. "In the enterprise 2.0 world, no one can come close to that kind of adoption rate," said Lee.

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Improvements in the just-released Socialtext 4.6 give employees the ability to easily embed widgets anywhere throughout the Socialtext platform — including wikis, blogs, group pages and profiles — with no coding or technical experience. Socialtext said this new feature gives users the ability to easily personalize their intranet experience. Examples: You could add a widget to your profile that shows your latest Flickr photos, or embed a shared calendar on a departmental group page.

Socialtext said these widgets can also be used to access key enterprise systems (CRM, ERP, DMS, etc.) from anywhere inside Socialtext.

The new release also includes administrative and analytic improvements that the company said will help IT and "business champions" get more insight into how employees leverage the social media software to work more effectively.

For example, Socialtext 4.6 now integrates with Google Analytics which the company said will allow administrators to not only see which pages employees are accessing, but also how they got to them, how long they stayed, and where they went next.

The system can also collect information about the location, the browsers employees are using, and even their screen resolutions. "These details can help companies measure and optimize their intranets, leading to higher levels of adoption and increasing business value," Socialtext said in a statement.

Another new feature, the Signals Intranet Digest, takes a step back from all the real-time information feeds, providing an email digest of relevant Signals that pertain to people individually as well as the groups they belong to. Signals is Socialtext's enterprise micro-blogging service similar to Twitter.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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This article was originally published on February 25, 2011
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