Socialtext breaks out its Signals microblogging tool and People social networking utility into a separate appliance, allowing IT admins to deploy messaging and collaboration tools safely behind their corporate firewalls. The move comes as the popularity of Twitter and Facebook pushes companies to offer secure social software as enterprise applications for employees.
Businesses whose IT administrators are searching for ways to keep employees
off Twitter and Facebook have a new ally in Socialtext.
The Socialtext Microblogging Appliance is designed to let businesses enable
their employees to use the Signals enterprise microblogging tool and People
social networking application on an appliance running behind the corporate
The move is a potential salve for corporate IT administrators wrestling with
security concerns over employees using public-facing Web services, which admins
can't moderate in the workplace. Moreover, most privately hosted tools don't
let IT control membership, content or company policy.
The Socialtext appliance aims to provide security and control in one
package, Socialtext founder and Chairman Ross Mayfield told eWEEK. The two
applications will cost businesses $1 per user per month on top of the $1,000
per month server fee.
Socialtext already offers all of its applications-the Workspace wiki, Dashboard
widget interface, SocialCalc spreadsheet, Signals and People-on an appliance as
a behind-the-firewall substitute for its hosted enterprise social software
package. The Socialtext Microblogging Appliance is the same server, but only
includes the microblogging and social networking apps.
"People are all atwitter," Mayfield said. "Twitter has raised
the exposure of our Signals social software application to entirely new
Enterprises may also opt to integrate the applications within the appliance
with their LDAP or Active Directory directories to enable single sign-on with
other intranet apps and populate profiles. Businesses that decide they want to
add the additional Socialtext apps can do so with an automatic upgrade for an
extra $5 per user per month, Mayfield said.
The move is Socialtext's latest play to better compete with rival enterprise
social software providers. Specifically, Socialtext is targeting startups such
as Yammer Socialcast and Intridea's Present.ly, which focus on enterprise
microblogging. However, these companies don't offer their microblogging
solutions via an appliance.
More broadly, Socialtext competes with larger providers such as Microsoft, IBM
and Cisco, as well as smaller providers Jive Software and MindTouch. All of
these vendors are competing fiercely for new customers in a cash-strapped
Last month, Socialtext moved to undercut the competition by offering the Socialtext Free 50
, essentially its application
suite for free for companies with up to 50 employees. Mayfield reported
thousands of signups for this deal within the first week.