Targeting Amazon.com, Overstock.com, software providers and media organizations, the the MindTouch Collaborative Knowledge Base lets customers or partners with little or no technical savvy co-edit reference guides, tutorials, FAQs, files, images or videos. The Knowledge Base also features a permissioning system that allows documentation information to be winnowed down to specific users or groups. MindTouch's open-source approach sets it apart from messaging and collaboration providers such as IBM, Socialtext and Atlassian.
MindTouch Sept. 1 released a packaged solution to help companies open their
product and company documentation to contribution from outside users while
protecting companies from spam and other security threats.
A sort of Wikipedia for enterprises, the MindTouch Collaborative Knowledge
Base lets businesses allow customers or partners with little or no technical
savvy to co-edit reference guides, tutorials, FAQs, files, images or videos.
The wiki environment, based on the MindTouch 2009 open-source collaboration
platform, includes controls for editors to
accept and reject contributions, along with word blacklist, video editing, and
user or IP blocking and banning.
The Knowledge Base also boasts a permissioning system that allows
documentation information to be winnowed down to specific users or groups.
Changes made to any pages can be kept in a queue until a moderator or
administrator decides when or if to publish them. Moreover, MindTouch provides
an audit trail of changes made to documentation, so if there is any foul play,
the user can be pinpointed.
MindTouch CEO Aaron Fulkerson told eWEEK
virtually every sizable company, from eBay to Overstock.com, Amazon, Microsoft
and AutoDesk, has a problem keeping quality, up-to-date product information.
He added that while tools are available to let companies crowdsource the
documentation, they don't sufficiently protect these documents from spam abuse.
"There are a thousand e-commerce sites out there that need better
documentation," Fulkerson said.
"So, what we've done is create a new module for content moderation that
allows you to have a class of user that can accept or reject individual
contributions," he said. "You've have to be able to see not only what
is in the moderation queue at a glance but which of these contributions are
quality contributions and which of them are spam."
However, Fulkerson said MindTouch isn't just targeting e-commerce retailers
and software providers looking to crowdsource and improve product
documentation. The Knowledge Base could also appeal to media organizations that
want to let readers co-author on local content.
As an open-source company, MindTouch is mindful to make sure it enables all
content inside the Collaborative Knowledge Base to easily be exported to common
formats. In keeping with that open-source theme, the MindTouch Collaborative
Knowledge Base follows the MindTouch Collaborative Intranet.
Also based on the MindTouch 2009 platform, the intranet solution lets
corporate employees extract content from disparate
programs, including ERP, CRM, file servers,
e-mail, databases and Web services.
MindTouch's open-source approach sets it apart from wiki and collaboration
providers such as IBM, Socialtext and
Atlassian, according to a recent Forrester Research Wave report from analyst
"The open-source community support moves MindTouch into a very strong
position as a partner and provides customers with a wide array of add-on and
integration offerings," Koplowitz wrote in the report.
MindTouch may provide an open-source platform, but it doesn't cater
solely to open-source companies. Customers include Mozilla, Microsoft, Intel,
Intuit and The Washington Post.
What's up next for MindTouch? Fulkerson said to expect MindTouch to offer a
solution that blends its wiki with business intelligence capabilities. This
will be an in-house solution or a MindTouch-based partner extranet package.