Wiki Providers Eye the Enterprise

 
 
By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-03-21
 
 
 
The two leading wiki providers are retooling their services in an attempt to attract larger enterprises to using the still-emerging form of online collaboration.

In separate announcements Monday, JotSpot Inc. and Socialtext Inc. expanded their product lines and features with a focus on the enterprise. JotSpot launched JotBox, a hardware appliance version of its wiki service, while Socialtext remodeled its user interface and expanded its e-mail capabilities.

Wikis are essentially collaborative Web pages that are open to editing by anyone. They have become increasingly popular in technology circles as a way to manage development projects and create documents.

Socialtext and JotSpot have emerged as the two main rivals in the wiki space, but the leaders of both companies downplayed the competition. The rivalry made headlines earlier this year when The Walt Disney Company, then a Socialtext customer, decided to switch to JotSpot.

"Both Socialtext and JotSpot are trying to pioneer a market," said Joe Kraus, JotSpots CEO and cofounder. "The most important thing were doing is legitimizing the use of these technologies rather than competing head-to-head."

Click here to read about online collaboration products launched during the Demo conference.

JotSpot, of Palo Alto, Calif., decided to offer a Linux-based appliance to better target the needs of enterprises that prefer that applications reside behind their firewalls, Kraus said.

The appliance provides all of the features of JotSpots hosted service, which was launched in beta in October. JotSpot focuses on using the wiki as a platform for building simple collaborative applications, such as tracking job candidates, managing help desks and organizing projects.

In future releases, JotSpot plans to integrate the JotBox with enterprise authentication and directory systems, Kraus said. JotSpot will remotely manage the appliance by keeping it updated with the latest code and software versions.

The JotBox will be available in limited quantities for the next few months, Kraus said. Pricing was still being determined.

Meanwhile, Socialtext, one of the first providers to offer an enterprise wiki product, has tweaked its interface by adding more dynamic navigation and has expanded its e-mail.

Click here to read more about JotSpot and the uses of wikis in the corporate world.

Socialtext already supported the ability to e-mail content and attachments to a wiki workspace. Now it supports HTML-based e-mail and a feature called "round-trip editing," where a user can send a wiki page as an e-mail, edit it and then send it back by e-mail to a workspace, said Ross Mayfield, Socialtexts founder and CEO.

"This matters not just to small and medium-sized business but also to enterprises," Mayfield said. "E-mail is a driver for adoption since a users first exposure may be from using Socialtext in e-mail."

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Socialtext also announced an expansion of its enterprise-focused features for both its hosted service and enterprise appliance. It is providing backup, monitoring and storage capabilities, Mayfield said. The move follows the release of Socialtext Workspace 1.5 last month, which added enterprise directory integration.

As for its product line, Socialtext has rearranged its lineup into three categories—Socialtext Enterprise for large-scale customers wanting a hosted service or appliance, Socialtext.net for SMBs, and Socialtext.org for nonprofits and academic customers.

Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.

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