Open Text Updates Its Social Set

Social networking tools are permeating the enterprise. We've been hearing that quite a bit lately, of course -- but now there's a new piece of evidence to add to the case. Enterprise content management (ECM) vendor Open Text, which has its roots in information governance but has been steadily moved along the path to social, recently launched a free microblogging tool for its users, and is now extending beyond internal employee collaboration.

[Editors' Note: Open Text's moves earned the company a nod as a Rising Star in the 2010 CRM Market Awards, revealed in the August 2010 issue of CRM magazine and at CRM Evolution 2010 in New York.]

Open Text recently updated its Social Communities, Social Workplace, and Content Server products, all with -- you guessed it -- additional social capabilities. "This announcement lets the world know we have expanded use of social to add not just organizational productivity needs but also the needs of the marketing department," says Director of Product Marketing Debra Louison Lavoy.

To hear Lavoy recall the evolution of Open Text's social roadmap, the progression seems as organic as can be: A few years back, she says, Open Text began building on its strength in information governance to allow customers to apply regulatory and legal rules to user-generated content. Then, last year, Open Text announced a new solution enabling companies to create social workplaces for internal use cases, followed by the addition of social media capabilities for marketing and external audiences picked up in the May 2009 acquisition of Web content management specialist Vignette.

"The technology [Vignette] brought into it — where we had these core capabilities in what we call the social workplace, connecting people and making workplaces efficient — they brought expertise and capabilities for market engagement," Lavoy says. 

Lavoy further digs into Open Text's key three products:

  • Open Text Social Communities: Formerly Vignette Community Applications and Services, Open Text Social Communities can work alongside a broader CRM strategy in providing market insight and findings from the community.
  • Open Text Social Workplace: Updates to this offering include deeper integrations with the Open Text ECM Suite and Open Text eDOCs. After first launching Social Workplace in summer 2009, Open Text subsequently committed to make the offering ultra-usable, and overhauled every preconception about how employees work and how users truly spend their days. Aligning with user productivity means providing dashboards, content editors, profiles, and wikis. "A happy side effect of all of this," Lavoy notes, "[is that] because you're working in shared digital spaces your work is getting captured and getting indexed."
  • Open Text Content Server: "A lot of customers have invested a ton of time into this product and aren't necessarily ready to move, so we're giving them new features," Lavoy says. One new feature, available at no additional charge, is called Pulse, a microblogging tool that runs inside the enterprise. 

In his evaluation of the enterprise collaboration tools space, Info-Tech Research Group analyst Tim Hickernell gives Open Text high marks. "We were blown away with what we saw from Open Text and [its] social media product," Hickernell says, "Any organization that looks at [Open Text] will immediately take to it." Open Text offers a good price point with its social media solution, Hickernell says, and is a "great jack-of-all-trades" tool to provide teams with support.

"As we mature our product, we are investing not in how we make cooler social media tools," Lavoy contends. "But more how do we most effectively help you solve business challenges that matter to you most."

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine.

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