Cloud computing and communications specialist Citrix launched the first phase of Podio Chat, which includes instant messaging--available now--as well as video and audio chat, which are planned for release this summer.
In contrast to standard IM tools, Podio Chat gives teams the ability to see which contacts are online across the entire company ecosystem, whether it be internal employees or external contractors, suppliers or partners working with a team in a Podio workspace. Teams can ask questions, share updates or discuss a project in real time.
"Despite the huge investment in enterprise collaboration solutions, siloed information management systems and stilted collaboration practices are still having a negative impact on the productivity, creativity and overall business agility of organizations," Richard Edwards, principal analyst at IT research firm Ovum, said in a statement. "Citrix Podio helps teams share their knowledge, know-how and experiences in a range of interconnected social ways, and the introduction of Podio Chat rounds out this experience, delivering a transformative opportunity for businesses and institutions to do things differently."
Podio also gives teams the option of using Video Chat for unplanned and ad hoc face-to-face discussions, as well as setting up regular, recurring and additional planned team video conferencing using GoToMeeting with HDFaces. The platform is also available as an application for Android devices, the iPhone and the iPad, allowing for mobile meetings.
"Workers will ultimately choose the most appropriate combination of tools, such as conferencing, instant messaging and activity streams to perform daily tasks and get work done," Vanessa Thompson, research manager for research firm IDC’s enterprise social networks & collaborative technologies program, said in a statement. "Podio Chat provides a sophisticated multi-modal collaboration and communication experience, through the convergence of IM, video and audio but also offers the same basic functionality found in easy-to-use software-based consumer communication tools."
In addition, Podio apps can be found in the Podio App Market and customized by any team member using the drag-and-drop Podio App Builder, a tool that enables users to create custom business apps for their work, such as managing sales, customer relationship management (CRM) or IT, interfacing with clients or partners, planning a conference, coordinating email marketing or receiving customer feedback. Users can also share files as needed from all Podio-connected file-sharing services, including Sharefile, Google Drive, Sugarsync, Dropbox, Box, Microsoft SkyDrive, UbuntoOne and YouSendIt.
"Any effective team will tell you that the key to success is having open and accessible communications, whether it be in a physical office, face-to-face on a GoToMeeting with HDFaces session, an audio call, through live comments on Podio or via instant messaging," Bernardo de Albergaria, vice president and general manager of SaaS products and markets at Citrix, said in a statement. "Podio Chat bridges the gap between ‘real time’ and ‘my time,’ increasing the velocity of communications within Podio and making purposeful collaboration happen faster and more effectively–no more waiting for answers."