Spoke Revs Hosted Enterprise Social Networking Application

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-03-04 Print this article Print

The startup plans to offer Spoke Workgroups in the spring for smaller sales teams that want to tap into social networking without deploying software.

Spoke Software Inc. is planning to release by June a hosted version of its enterprise applications that will increase the options for businesses wanting to hook into social networking, company officials said. The Palo Alto, Calif., company this week announced Spoke Workgroups, a Web-based version of its Spoke Accounts applications designed for smaller groups of salespeople, said Chris Tolles, Spoke vice president of marketing. Spoke Accounts was one of the first enterprise applications the company launched in November and helps sales departments manage and monitor their accounts by analyzing connections. Social networking, the idea of mapping the degrees of separation among relationships, first gained attention in the consumer space with sites such as Friendster Inc. and online dating. Also on Thursday, America Online Inc. entered the field with a new service from it ICQ instant messaging group.
Vendors also are tapping social networking for enterprises. Spoke does so both by having a public network, called the Spoke Network, and by offering applications for enterprise to create private networks of their extended relationships. Spokes software mines peoples relationships through e-mails and contacts lists, and then maps the various connections.
Read more here about the push for enterprise social networking. With Spoke Workgroups, the company is trying to reach groups that dont want to deploy software to mine and map their social networks. It is most appropriate for groups of less than 100 people and allows them to create a private network of co-workers and partners to help in setting up meetings and researching clients, Tolles said. "People want choice about how to deploy this," Tolles said. "Part of the vision we had from the beginning was to span from the individual to the enterprise." Spoke Workgroups also includes integration into CRM systems, most closely with Salesforce.com Inc.s hosted CRM service, he said. Pricing for Spoke Workgroups has not been set, but it will be on a per-user, per-month basis, Tolles said. Spoke has about 20 customers already signed up for Workgroups and has begun beta testing ahead of a full release this spring, Tolles said. Spoke Workgroups customers include Bank of America Corp., Automatic Data Processing Inc. and the Atlanta Falcons football team. Check out eWEEK.coms Messaging Center at http://messaging.eweek.com for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
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Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for eWEEK.com, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for eWEEK.com. Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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