SAP Opens StreamWork Real-Time Collaboration Platform

StreamWork, the real-time collaboration platform formerly known as 12Sprints, is now available to the general public. SAP's Google Wave alternative, which offers instant messaging and document sharing tools, is free with limited storage and as a professional subscription for $9 per user, per month, with more storage and security features. Web startups, Evernote and Scribd have teamed up with SAP as technology partners for StreamWork.

SAP March 30 renamed its real-time collaboration platform StreamWork and is offering it free with limited storage or for $9 per user, per month, with more storage and security features.

StreamWork, profiled by eWEEK in February when it was launched as a public beta under the name 12Sprints, is a Web-based platform that includes instant messaging and document sharing.

StreamWork provides a meeting room where five to 30 corporate employees can virtually congregate for strategy sessions on projects. Users can analyze data from enterprise applications, such as a pipeline analysis in a business intelligence tool or purchase order approvals in an ERP system, and discuss the app using chat tools.

In that superficial sense, StreamWork recalls Google Wave, the first major real-time collaboration platform offered free to consumers. Google has been regularly adding management features to Wave, which debuted in September 2009, but it's still not as adapted to enterprise use as some companies would prefer.

Unlike Google Wave, which originally made "waves" available for all to see, activities created within StreamWork are not public. Participants upload content, but colleagues only see it if they are invited via e-mail.

StreamWork is more like Novell Pulse, another collaboration platform that rolls all of the communication and document-sharing tools into one package, albeit with stringent security policies for business use.

David Meyer, vice president of emerging technologies at SAP, revealed on a call with media March 30 that Web startups, Evernote and Scribd have teamed up with SAP as technology partners for StreamWork.

Specifically, SAP is allowing users to pull research reports, marketing and creative assets and project plans stored in Evernote and directly into StreamWork. The integration is unique because StreamWork users can also create Box folders directly within SAP StreamWork and associate them with a specific activity.

Scribd has contributed document reader technology so that StreamWork users may read documents in formats such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel directly within the SAP StreamWork environment, without having to download or open the file in a new window.

StreamWork is currently being used by more than 100 companies and thousands of users. Food recommendation startup is one such customer. CEO Geoff Bartakovics said on the call he and his 14 employees and other freelancers use StreamWork to discuss editorial, operations, marketing and sales issues.

Previously, they used the phone to collaborate and e-mailed files back and forth with traditional document management tools. The team also uses SAP StreamWork to collaborate on strategic analyses, share new product ideas and manage campaigns for key advertising clients.

Meyer stressed the open nature of StreamWork, which integrates with Google's OpenSocial specification and allows third-party developers to write or port applications to the environment through REST APIs.

Users will be able to work with data generated and collected in their SAP ERP and business intelligence tools. The company will be offering a version in the second half of 2010 that integrates with other enterprise systems, including on-premises platforms.

This will be an important part of SAP's strategy down the road because the company would love StreamWork to be the work room for users of all business applications.