Salesforce.com and LinkedIn in a Wiki

 
 
By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2008-07-23
 
 
 

MindTouch Wiki Integrates Salesforce.com, LinkedIn


With a mind toward becoming the de facto standard for enterprise collaboration software, MindTouch released a new version of its open-source wiki platform that lets users interface with Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, LinkedIn and other applications.

The Kilen Woods release of MindTouch Deki, launched July 22 at OSCON (O'Reilly Open Source Convention), in Portland, Ore., is geared to help colleagues, customers and suppliers work together leveraging disparate enterprise systems and data sources.

MindTouch has come a long way since launching its Deki wiki platform at OSCON 2007. This anniversary release mashes up disparate enterprise systems, Web services and Web 2.0 applications, allowing workers to leverage these assets to enrich the projects they collaborate on.

Deki features the same wiki interface as always. The magic occurs behind the scenes, where the company has written a dozen adapters that enable users to tap various systems and Web services from within the wiki.

These systems and services include SugarCRM, Salesforce.com, the LinkedIn social network, the MySQL database, Microsoft's SQL Server, Microsoft Access and Microsoft ADO.NET, among others.

Users may "surface" or access data from these CRM and ERP applications, databases and legacy systems to create workflow perks, mashups, reports and dashboards.

For example, MindTouch CEO Aaron Fulkerson told me, Deki can surface content from a Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft Access database and mash it up with Microsoft Live Earth, a CRM app from Salesforce.com or SugarCRM, Google Maps, or LinkedIn.

Users may then work in Deki and add data from these mashups to augment their Web documents and projects.

Salesforce.com and LinkedIn in a Wiki



Many companies enable similar mashups. Few do it in a collaborative wiki environment and even fewer offer products that are crafted so that business users with little to no technical know-how can create the mashups after a site administrator registers the apps. Once created, these mashups may be shared with colleagues, customers and suppliers.

MindTouch Deki Kilen Woods is being previewed at OSCON, but won't be available for download until later in July.

Kilen Woods is easily MindTouch's strongest foray into the enterprise yet. While traditional wiki apps allow users to work on documents, spreadsheets and presentations together and share video, e-mail and other files, the new Deki is integrating significant business apps that millions of users employ to improve business processes.

Granting users access to Salesforce.com, LinkedIn and other popular apps through a wiki is a smart move for a company looking to cater to Microsoft systems integrators.

By winning the hearts of these integrators, MindTouch could endear itself to Microsoft, which lacks this type of strong wiki capability in SharePoint and finds itself integrating with Awareness, Tomoye, Telligent Systems and others for such capabilities.

In the meantime, Fulkerson told me, MindTouch is gunning for MediaWiki's spot as the de facto enterprise wiki provider. Currently, he said, MediaWiki does a whopping 15,000 downloads a day; MindTouch racks up 2,000 to 3,000.

Fulkerson said MindTouch is gaining and believes Deki Kilen Woods will help the company meet its goal.

Replacing MediaWiki will be tough, but not impossible, as long as MindTouch continues its rapid innovation cycle. The adapters it created for Salesforce.com, et al., were created without the approval of those companies.

Look for MindTouch to start cementing actual business relationships with the companies it is integrating with in the future.

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