Tomoye Socializes Its Expert Advice Platform

The enterprise expert advice service goes social, adding profile, blog and wiki capabilities with an eye on the big Web 2.0 pie.

Tomoye, one of the myriad enterprise social networking platforms jamming the Web interstate today, will soon launch version 2.0 of its Ecco platform, fitting the software with profiles, blog and wiki tools.
Tomoye, which in ancient Japanese means "revolution in the universe," is essentially an online expert advice aggregator for businesses.
Designed for professional learning and problem solving, the platform helps workers find answers to questions (and by extension, solutions to problems), network and collaborate inside and outside of the enterprise they belong to.
"It's similar to what you'd see at Yahoo Answers, but we work in the enterprise so those guys are more like inspiration for us," Eric Sauve, CEO and co-founder of Tomoye, told eWEEK May 23, noting that the enterprise focus puts it more in touch with the BluePages tool in IBM's W3 intranet.
Ecco 2.0 allows users to ask questions from their computers, laptops or smartphones via their Microsoft Outlook e-mail applications and get answers to specific topics and themes. Users may also go online similar to the Yahoo Answers, but Sauve said Tomoye has an e-mail focus because "we recognize that's where people are at in the enterprise."

Yahoo Answers for the Enterprise

Now, like so many of its rivals, Tomoye is hopping onto the socialization bandwagon by offering software that lets users create communities, access personal profiles and conduct people searches to find the most relevant experts. Searches are done with social filters applied as content type, top ranked and best answers.

Users of the platform will collaborate around community content, including wikis, blogs, videos, documents, social tags, personal file sharing and social bookmarking.
Importantly, Ecco 2.0 is integrated with Microsoft's SharePoint collaboration software, which has grown to a $1 billion-plus business. Thanks to this integration, users can go back and forth between the two products.
Tomoye Ecco 2.0 is available immediately now from the Ottawa company and its reseller partners. The company offers a number of pricing options, including a SAAS (software as a service) model, which includes everything from software to consultation services. SAAS pricing information was unavailable as of this writing.
Users can also procure Ecco 2.0 behind their firewall for $35 per seat or buy the software from Tomoye to sell to other companies on a per-server basis. The company is currently offering 50 seats for free for organizations that want to get communities up and running now.
Tomoye, whose customers include Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Education, is playing in a crowded field of enterprise social software.
Forrester Research said it expects this market to blossom to $4.6 billion over the next few years, but that number could be suspect with the current economic downturn. However, social software providers such as Slide, Ning and others continue to get funding from bullish venture capital firms.
Will this prosperity translate to the enterprise? It's tough to say, but Tomoye doesn't want to fall behind, which is why equipping its new platform with user profiles, wikis and other like tools is a no-brainer.