Roambi Moves Flow into the Cloud

Roambi Flow, a platform for building interactive newsletters on iPad tablets, will now be available in the cloud.

Flow will be an added feature for customers with a Roambi Business account, requiring no extra charge to use. The core of Roambi's business has been its analytics platform, which focuses on giving users clean and touchscreen-friendly ways of visualizing data, including files pulled from Salesforce.com. Roambi Analytics reports can also be posted to Salesforce.com Chatter, allowing for interaction in the Salesforce.com environment.

Quinton Alsbury, co-founder and president of product innovation, described it as a way to merge text and graphics "like the Wall Street Journal does, in a connected and engaged way," referencing how the newspaper uses graphs to support its stories. The template-focused product requires minimal layout skills, making it a "tool for the everyman, but with an output that is a very high-end product," Alsbury says.

The Roambi Flow app has drawn comparisons to Flipboard, the social magazine app that emphasizes a clean, easy-to-read format.

With Roambi Flow, users can insert graphs from Roambi Analytics, pictures, or videos from YouTube or Vimeo, and then write a story around them. People who subscribe to a quarterly report, for example, will have their issues automatically refreshed as the author publishes the latest issue.

Roambi Flow also has features to enable real-time sharing and viewing. Using a wireless connection, a presenter can share a Roambi Flow presentation at the beginning of a meeting with the attendees. If the presenter wants people to follow along exactly, he can lock the screen, which will give viewers the exact view the presenter wants. After a presentation, the administrator can either let attendees keep the presentation or recall it, revoking access.

Until Flow, Roambi focused just on the data, not textual explanations of its graphs. An early player in the iPhone app game, Roambi's original product, Roambi Analytics, gained customers by offering a download of the app with sample data free. Unlike many similar business software offerings, Roambi won many large enterprise accounts first, and has since picked up in smaller markets. Roambi does not yet support Android, but sees corporate use of the device growing, especially for companies that have global presences.

Flow already has some early adopters, including the Australian division of advertising agency Group M, which began using the product prior to its release. "When we first saw a demo of Roambi Flow we all agreed we had to have this product immediately," Lee Bustin, chief information officer at GroupM Australia, said in a statement.

Its key value, he added, is ensuring clients truly understand the data Group M presents and helping intelligently influence their media buying decisions.

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