» Archive for the 'In the Briefing Room' Category

In the briefing room: Confidela WatchDox

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009 by Cody Burke

Creating content is easy; however, managing the distribution of that content in a secure and traceable way is problematic to say the least.

Confidela WatchDox

Confidela WatchDox

Simply e-mailing documents is not the answer, once the document leaves the outbox, all control and visibility is lost.  Additionally, solutions that do exist for sending documents securely often insert friction into the knowledge worker’s routine; some require an additional application to encrypt or send a document, ultimately lessening the likelihood of the solution being used.  For a tool to be used and widely adopted, it must be seamlessly incorporated into the knowledge worker’s existing toolset.

One company that is offering a solution to the problem of secure document sharing is Confidela, with its Software-as-a-Service WatchDox offering.  The product is a tool for sending documents securely from within Outlook via a plug-in or, alternatively, from a Web interface.  The Outlook plug-in adds a button in the UI when composing a new message.  The plug-in can be set as a manual option, an automatic suggestion whenever attachments are sent, or as fully automatic whenever a document is sent outside of a company.  Attachments are replaced with WatchDox links that the recipient clicks on to securely view the document.  When sending, the system prompts the sender to define policies, give permissions, and determine recipients.  The attachment is then pulled into a separate outbox, converted to a WatchDox link, and sent.

To receive a document, a recipient goes through a one-time authentication for their computer, similar to the way many banks do, with the computer’s footprint saved.  Users access the document via a link delivered in an e-mail, and the document appears blurred out when the focus is not on it.  According to the company, this feature should prevent screenshots and the like from being taken.  For the sender, a My Docs view provides usage information for documents that have been shared and sent out, what actions recipients have taken, any action required, and metadata surrounding the documents.

WatchDox is hosted on Amazon’s EC2 cloud Web service, and all documents are encrypted with a unique key.  For further security, Confidela keeps access controls separate from storage, and the company does not have access to those controls.

WatchDox impressed us with its ease of use and the fact that it works within existing tools without introducing additional friction between the knowledge worker and software.  Particularly as an Outlook plug-in, the ability to either set WatchDox as optional or automatic grants the users control while at the same time increasing the likelihood of use by locating it in the primary domain of the knowledge worker, the inbox.

Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.

In the briefing room: Mindjet Catalyst

Thursday, October 15th, 2009 by Cody Burke

Collaboration should be a given in practically every task a knowledge worker undertakes.

Mindjet Catalyst

Mindjet Catalyst

Frequently, however, it isn’t and, in many cases, where collaboration does take place, it is not used to its best advantage.   Part of the reason for this is due to much collaborative work taking place without a full a picture of the project at hand.

Indeed, there exist different dimensions to collaboration and there is a significant need to connect knowledge workers, the collaborative process itself, and the organization with relevant complex information, ideas, and processes.  Given the trend towards both a dispersed workforce and the need for collaboration among multiple entities, the need to effectively manage a project requires new approaches to joining people with information.

One approach that will make collaboration between knowledge workers more effective is to ensure that the supporting information is captured in a form that adds context and is easily shareable.  To add context, information must be linked to people, documents, and other supporting content.  One method of doing this is to create a mind map.  Mind mapping is a technique for brainstorming and organizing data that starts with a central point and then adds branches with related content such as links, documents, attachments, notes, and tasks.  The resulting diagram is a visual guide to a set of information that allows knowledge workers to see the big picture and understand the context of what they are doing.

One company active in this space is Mindjet.  The company has made its reputation through the development of mind mapping products, such as its MindManager product line.  Adding further value to the company’s mind mapping capabilities, Mindjet recently launched Mindjet Catalyst, an online visual collaboration platform.  The offering has clear roots in Mindjet’s visual approach to mind mapping that the company is know for, and adds a team-based collaborative element.

Catalyst is an online service and can be accessed from anywhere via any Web browser and hooks into standards-based document repositories such as SharePoint.  Multiple users can make edits and attach supporting documents and other content to a mind map and have the changes reflected in real time.  The offering also includes pre-built map templates for common business situations such as online meetings or idea generation sessions.  Once maps are generated, they are shareable with colleagues (both users of Catalyst and with those who do not use the product) via links that are e-mailed or posted on social networking sites.  Workspaces are assigned with permission levels to assign reader, author, and owner access.  In addition, the environment is persistent, meaning that users are able to see changes that have occurred.

Catalyst also features integrated online chat functionality, and (optional) Web conferencing capabilities.  The integrated online chat embeds community into the work environment and allows for communication between colleagues without forcing them to leave the environment and switch tools.  The Web conferencing module includes desktop sharing, video and VoIP support, file transfer, and session recording.

Mindjet has taken a good and underappreciated idea, the visual mapping of information, and successfully integrated into it collaborative capabilities and tools.  Displaying information in a visual and connected way gives the knowledge worker context that is critically important for making informed decisions, capturing new information, and understanding business processes.  The addition of powerful collaborative elements extends the value of mind mapping by allowing knowledge workers to use the environment for the kind of collaborative team-based work that is a reality in the knowledge economy.

Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.

In the briefing room: Teleplace 3.0

Thursday, October 8th, 2009 by Cody Burke

The Teleplace 3.0 environment.

Meetings, particular the online variety, can be dull, tedious, and, most importantly, not terribly productive for participants.  This may very well have something to do with the medium and the manner in which the meeting is conducted.  In a typical online meeting, the main speaker may share his screen with the attendees, roll through a slide deck, perhaps demonstrate an application, and solicit feedback (in online meetings this occurs via the fairly rudimentary tools found in most meeting environments).

The limitations of this kind of approach to meetings are significant: a single two-dimensional interface common to all participants and a lack of a connection between participants due, in part, to a lack of visual cues.  In addition, online meeting rooms typically differ from their real-life counterparts in that materials and files are typically not stored in them.  Many meetings are ongoing; participants meet several times a week or month and need to update materials in between, as well as to be able to return to a virtual room and have the needed materials in one place, in the state in which they left them.

As anyone who has read Snow Crash knows, the concept of using virtual environments for business use is not new.  Organizations as varied as IBM and the U.S. Army have explored the possibility of using virtual worlds for training, meetings, and collaboration.  During the recent Second Life land grab, enthusiasm for which has since died down, that virtual world was flooded by companies establishing virtual properties for marketing and customer outreach.  Ultimately however, the perception of virtual worlds and environments as a toy, not a tool, has proven difficult to shake.

One company that is pushing the business case for virtual environments is Teleplace, née Qwaq.  The recent name change was part of a shift the company is taking to make clear its focus on enterprise customers.

Teleplace 3.0 is the latest version of the company’s online environment for meetings, training sessions, visualization, and virtual operations centers.  Teleplace has been designed from the ground up as a business environment first, and a 3-D virtual world second.  Spend as little as an hour in Teleplace (I’ve spent several already), and you will see it is suited for serious business.  In Teleplace, business applications exist in a persistent state on virtual walls and displays.

Teleplace can accommodate different sized meetings: small meetings with a handful of people allow for complete interaction amongst participants.  Virtual lecture halls can handle up to 60 people and, if more attendees are expected, can support a broadcast mode that can go to thousands.  Participants can use a laser pointer to direct everyone’s attention to objects or specific areas of a chart.  Meeting leaders can bring people into rooms or areas, and also conduct polling and control communications.

There are many features in Teleplace that effectively demonstrate that virtual environments can be an effective business tool.  Teleplace goes beyond the traditional meeting environment and provides tools that have the potential to introduce greater efficiencies into the workplace.  One example is the persistence of the environment; this is a huge step up from traditional online meetings; an attendee can view a shared chart or slide show on a display wall, move to another area to interact with other attendees, and then simply return to the wall to view the chart again.  Environments that have been populated with content, such as video clips, slide decks, documents, and integrated business applications, remain in place, enabling users to drop in and out and later return to the same work area.

Virtual work environments may in some ways remind us of their toy predecessors, but offerings such as Teleplace 3.0 remind us that they are in fact powerful business tools.

Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.

In the Briefing Room: eDev inteGreat

Thursday, October 1st, 2009 by Jonathan Spira and Cody Burke

Many people think of software development as lone programmers working in isolation, perhaps reminded of Douglas Coupland’s 1995 classic Microserfs, where programmers slide flat foods, such as “Kraft singles, Premium Plus Crackers, Pop-Tarts, grape leathers, and Freeze Pops” under the door of a fellow coder after they hadn’t seen him in days.  In reality, the process of software development is a collaboration-intensive activity that would benefit greatly from improved knowledge management technology and thinking, much in the way knowledge sharing and collaboration happen between workers in far less technical occupations.  Unfortunately, many managers fail to realize the necessity of actively managing knowledge and facilitating collaboration in this area.

Companies typically spend vast amounts of time and money to document their requirements and it is far from easy to keep such documentation up to date.  At the same time, they struggle to find ways to interrelate information, given that such information comes from diversified sources.  In other words, how does one create a document that leverages information that is anywhere and everywhere and still be able to make sense out of it?

One company that provides a tool in this area is eDev Technologies via the company’s inteGreat offering.  The product is a requirements management solution that allows for the creation and reuse of requirements through the development of a central body of knowledge, which the company refers to as iBoK (Integrated Body of Knowledge).  This knowledge base is a collection of reusable requirements.  InteGreat allows developers to create requirements using a drag-and-drop interface and then relate them to one another to aid in reuse.

Requirements are then visually mapped out as process flows using MS Visio, and are saved either as inteGreat files or exported as Visio files.  Users also have the ability to create mockups using an included simulation tool.  Once a process is created, generated documents are exported via MS Word, Excel, or Visio, or saved within inteGreat.

As in any form of knowledge work, the recreation of content, in this case requirements, is a huge and costly problem, and is essentially a problem of finding things and avoiding recreating that which already exists.  If the knowledge worker can not find information, be it a document or a requirement, they will have to recreate it, increasing project costs, squandering limited resources, and impacting an organization’s bottom line.  The end result of enabling the reuse of requirements is that, for future projects, there will be a reduction in the time and cost of gathering requirements, as well as lessening the burden of maintaining software.

In inteGreat, the ability to reuse requirements once they are developed adds a much needed knowledge management aspect to the development of requirements, affording software developers the same KM capabilities that other knowledge workers now take for granted.  In turn, as more companies adopt similar solutions, they will see increases in efficiency and a reduction in the time spent recreating requirements.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.
Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.

In the Briefing Room: Liaise

Thursday, September 24th, 2009 by Jonathan Spira and Cody Burke

Think carefully about the last action item you sent someone.  It was in an e-mail and it’s been several days and there’s been no acknowledgement.  In fact, you are not sure that the recipient is even aware of its existence.  So you send another e-mail and wait.

Your last action item is now with umpteen others that have not seen the light of day.

How many action items and requests fall through the cracks?  Some tasks, due to the nebulous nature of how they are communicated, may not even appear to the recipient as a task at all.  Some tasks are unimportant, busy work that is not critical and should never make it on to a task list.  However, others may be extremely important, yet these may not be recognized for what they are: steps that need to be undertaken as part of a process.

It is simply not possible for knowledge workers to recall on their own everything that has been done and what has not yet been addressed.

In a sense, e-mail is a pit that we tend to throw requests into, hoping that they will resurface, completed.  The problem is that the content of e-mail is static: once sent, it is locked into the e-mail and not linked to other content or systems in any meaningful way.

However, there are some potential solutions looming on the horizon.

One, the eponymously-named Liaise, is a new inbox add-on (currently only available for Outlook) that scans e-mail messages as they are being composed and creates a task list based on any action items it finds in the e-mail.  The underlying technology, called KeyPoint Intelligence, automatically finds, identifies and captures key points in a message.  Over time, the system learns and adapts to a user’s writing style in order to improve performance.

Liaise differentiates between issues (the report is late), and action items (review the report), and compiles all of these into a separate task list.  The tasks are scanned to determine the nature of the task, who is involved, and when it is due.   When an e-mail is sent, any new tasks are automatically added to the user’s list.  If the recipient does not have Liaise, the e-mail is delivered as usual and when it is replied to, the system scans the message and updates the task list accordingly.  If both users have Liaise, then both see the new tasks in their respective the task lists and any changes or progress made is automatically updated without further e-mail being sent around a team.

Additionally, Liaise allows a knowledge worker who is about to go into a meeting to automatically see information such as all e-mail, tasks, and issues associated with the attendees.  This provides context to the knowledge worker and gives a quick overview of where people stand on projects they have been assigned.  Liaise shows the people in the meeting, the level of interaction that they all have, and relevant open matters.

Liaise is an exciting new tool for e-mail and task management that has great potential to reduce Information Overload by cutting down on the overall amount of e-mail in the inbox.  More significantly, Liaise has the potential to illuminate the dark pit that often is the knowledge worker’s inbox by extracting the important tasks, issues, and action items that otherwise would be lost in a sea of noise.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.
Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.

In the Briefing Room: Gist

Thursday, September 17th, 2009 by Cody Burke

In an age of Information Overload, the inbox has come to dominate the knowledge worker’s world.  E-mail is, however, far from alone in competing for the knowledge worker’s precious time.  The rise of social networking, tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, along with other sources of content that have exploded in use such as wikis and blogs, have created a tidal wave of content that more often than not swamps the knowledge worker.  It isn’t only the sheer volume, but the disparate sources of content that create Information Overload, which in turn impairs the knowledge worker’s ability to process information, make decisions, and get things done.

One solution to this overwhelming amount of content from various sources is aggregation, where the tidal wave is filtered down to a manageable stream, with only the most important and relevant content being presented to the user.  This reduces the harmful effects of Information Overload by limiting the non-essential content that is presented as well as dramatically reducing the time that would have been spent locating that content manually.

One company that is addressing this pain point is Gist, which launched an open beta of its eponymously-named  relationship and information aggregation offering.  Gist retrieves content from sources such as Gmail, Outlook, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, ranks the content, and then prioritizes it based on relevancy (determined by analysis of a users inbox habits).  The content is also enhanced with further material culled from the Web, such as a blog posts and news stories that set context.  The result is a dashboard presenting a snapshot of the user’s contacts and wider social network, combined with supplementary relevant information.  Assembling the same array of information manually would be a time consuming process; Gist does this automatically, by parsing and rearranging the data in a meaningful way, depending on the context.

In practice, Gist is useful for drilling down on a person; a meeting attendee for instance, and quickly compiling information, past communications, and other relevant data.  From the individual’s page, which would present contact information, blog posts, aggregated communications, the user can pivot to a company’s page, which presents the same variety of information, giving context on the person for an upcoming meeting or sales call.

The service can be accessed from an account on the Gist Web page, via an Outlook plug-in, or from within Salesforce.  Gist has three options for inputting data.  Names of people may be added manually, and the system will then compile content on them; a list of contacts may be uploaded, such as a list of meeting attendees; or the system can run automatically and pull information from e-mail accounts and contact lists.

Gist, as its name suggests, is meant to provide the user with a general understanding of what is going on with their contacts and allow for deeper drill downs as needed, reducing the information flood to a manageable, and critically, relevant stream.  The offering does an excellent job of extending the functionality of Outlook via the dedicated plug-in, adding some much needed capabilities to the knowledge worker’s inbox.  As Gist moves through its beta phase, it shows great potential as a remedy for Information Overload and is certainly worth keeping an eye on.

Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.

In the briefing room: Alfresco Share

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009 by Cody Burke

Information does not exist in isolation; indeed, most if not all content in an enterprise setting is touched by multiple knowledge workers who have to collaborate in some manner to complete their missions.  Not only that, but as more and more knowledge work is performed by distributed and disparate teams, with members located in different cities and time zones, companies need to factor this in and integrate collaborative processes with content management.  Despite the reality of how work is conducted, there is little to no underlying functionality to achieve this in tools that manage content.

Alfresco Share is one option to address the lack of collaborative features in content management systems.  Alfresco has made a name for itself in the content management space through its commercial open source business model that provides a cost-saving alternative to offerings from traditional content management (CM) vendors.  Not satisfied to rest upon its laurels, the company has introduced Alfresco Share, an interface for its ECM offering that manages team collaboration around documents, projects, and teams.

Alfresco Share sits on top of the company’s document repository alongside its Document Management and Web Content Management solutions as part of Alfresco’s Enterprise Content Management offering and is included in both the Community and Enterprise Editions from Alfresco.  In Alfresco Share, all content, be it in documents, blogs, or wikis, is treated the same and stored in the central document repository.

What Alfresco Share brings to the table is the empowering of knowledge workers to interact with content and colleagues via features they are familiar with from social networking applications that allow them to share content, form virtual teams, and monitor project status and team updates.

Knowledge workers form virtual teams around projects that allow them to collaborate together and create communities where both internal and external users can work around specific content.  Specific sites are created for projects were team members can access content such as blogs, wikis, and documents, find contact information for team members, and keep track of recent activity around the project.  One key omission is the lack of imbedded presence awareness and direct contact options, although it is possible to work around this to some extent, for example by cutting and pasting phone numbers into a soft phone.

One feature that knowledge workers will find particularly useful is the inclusion of activity feeds, which allow the knowledge worker to keep tabs on the actions of coworkers and stay up-to-date on relevant content.  The utility of activity feeds, or streams, is that they provide a personalized single location to present activity that is relevant to the user.

Collaboration is without question the wave of the future for knowledge work, and surely we will see more collaborative functionality from Alfresco and other CM vendors in the future.

Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.

In the Briefing Room: Contextware

Thursday, August 27th, 2009 by Cody Burke

One of the missing pieces of a puzzle the knowledge worker faces in the course of performing knowledge work is context. Without context, the knowledge worker is looking at isolated bits of information that are, more often than not, of limited value. Most content doesn’t stand on its own; there is always important related and supporting information that completes the picture. Beyond a single document, what else should one read and whom else should one query? Knowing what to read next or which experts to contact completes the puzzle and increases the value of the content exponentially.

Indeed, capturing the expertise of subject matter experts and linking to documents and processes so that others may benefit from their knowledge is not only important as a way to add valuable context to information, but also as a means of preserving knowledge. This is particularly timely as an aging workforce means that large numbers of baby boomers will be leaving the workforce and be replaced by younger, less experienced workers. The massive quantities of information that knowledge workers must contend with on a daily basis is another compelling argument for adding context to content. Without it, searching for information is akin to searching for a needle in a haystack.

Contextware is a company that is addressing these pressing issues by providing tools that enable companies to capture the steps and information for a process and present knowledge workers with the relevant and related materials that they need to proceed. Simply put, the software adds context to support an activity. The Contextware system allows users to set up relationships between content, tools, and people that dictate steps that should be taken to complete the process; there are hard rules underlying the hidden processes, and soft rules that authors can easily set. The focus is on keeping things simple: if users add too many rules in the authoring environment, a prompt will alert them that they may have created an overly complex process. Or if a process is created with only one or two rules, the system may suggest that perhaps it does not need to be created.

In practice the knowledge worker logs in and receives permission-based access to processes. Drop down menus are used to select initial areas of interest, these are then drilled down into, with relevant content, tools, and people shown for each. For items shown, a number indicates how many assets (content, tools, or people) are available for that topic, and a link is provided. Metadata that determines what is presented to the user is stored on a database with a central taxonomy of topics, with rules determined by the hard and soft rules that were set up in the authoring environment.

The system captures not just the established relationship between content, such as the order in which a business process must be conducted, but also the unique knowledge of subject matter experts. Experts in a topic develop their own methods for completing tasks, often in ways that are not covered in the official rule book, and enabling access to this accumulated knowledge is invaluable. The context that is added to content through the use of what amounts to lightweight process management can effectively guide a knowledge worker through the haystack of information, and allow him to find the information needle he is looking for.

Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.

In the Briefing Room: Oracle WebCenter 11g

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 by Cody Burke

The recent trend towards updating portal platforms with a variety of social features and mashup capabilities is indicative of the growing recognition that this sort of functionality has significant potential business value.  Social software and collaboration tools, which have become increasingly popular in the consumer space, facilitate the kind of tacit and ad hoc interactions that can drive productivity and increase knowledge sharing.  This shift is occurring in lockstep with the move towards the Collaborative Business Environment (CBE).

Today’s companies use a variety of tools and platforms to support knowledge sharing and collaboration. This has proven wholly unsatisfactory because knowledge workers frequently can’t find the information they are looking for and find themselves perpetually reinventing the wheel, resulting in a loss of efficiency and effectiveness.  Help, however, is on the way.  As companies move more and more towards the model of the Collaborative Business Environment, a term Basex uses to describe an all encompassing workspace that will supersede the traditional desktop metaphor in a period three to five years out, the lines between different types of software and tools will begin to blur and eventually disappear.

Solutions that will serve as a Collaborative Business Environment will come from “traditional” IT software vendors as well as new upstarts.  One platform worth looking into comes from Oracle.

Oracle WebCenter Suite 11g is the latest release of the company’s enterprise portal platform. It adds social features that begin to move the product to be more in line with current trends towards social and ad hoc communities and collaboration.  Using Oracle WebCenter Spaces, users can set up formal or ad hoc work spaces and communities for team members and projects; these can be assembled on the fly and function as team portals.  Oracle WebCenter Services enables tagging, linking, rating, recent activity feeds, RSS, and networks of personal connections to be integrated into existing business applications.  Applications themselves can be manipulated and customized into mashups via Oracle Composer, a browser-based tool.  A catalogue of applications and content is also available through Oracle Business Directory, a library of enterprise applications, processes, content, and business intelligence that can be utilized to create custom dashboards.  WebCenter has the potential to serve as the foundation for a Collaborative Business Environment, supporting a single work environment and social tools that can reduce friction in knowledge sharing.

In addition to Oracle WebCenter, Oracle recently introduced Oracle Beehive, which provides a collaboration platform with team workspaces, instant messenger and presence awareness support, blogs, and wiki capabilities.  The combination of Oracle WebCenter and Beehive will provide companies with a solid foundation for a platform that integrates traditional portal functionality with social software and collaboration tools, thus bringing knowledge workers into an integrated environment that supports knowledge sharing and collaboration, and ultimately, helps them find what they are looking for.

Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.  He can be reached at cburke@basex.com

In the briefing room: Yakabod’s Yakabox

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 by Cody Burke

When one strips away all the marketing hype, technical terminology, and buzzwords from knowledge sharing and collaboration products, the real measure of a tool is simple: does it help get work done?  The future of the knowledge workers’ workspace is the Collaborative Business Environment (CBE) but, until our vision is addressed and realized by vendors in this space, it is incumbent upon companies to find tools that support the CBE’s basic principles, namely to provide a single work environment for knowledge workers, reduce friction in knowledge sharing, and embed community into the workspace.

It is easy to lose sight of the fundamental question an organization should be asking when deploying a knowledge sharing and collaboration tool, that is: “how will this tool help my company get work done?”  This often happens because products and tools are segmented into arbitrary and confusing market segments (just look at the variation in TLAs in the content management market, you have CM, ECM, WCM, DM, among others).

A breath of fresh air in this space is Yakabod; the company offers a product, the Yakabox, that promises to be an end-to-end platform that gets work done.  This offering is a hardware appliance incorporating enterprise search, content management, collaboration, and social networking functionality.  A hosted version is also available.  Yakabod’s value proposition is to keep things simple by placing those four applications in one place, aiding in knowledge sharing, collaboration, and the ability to find what one is looking for.

The user interface is very clean and straightforward, and features an activity feed-like stream of items that are relevant to the user, as well as user profiles and favorites that are content-based, such as documents, teams, blogs, or any other item in the system.  What is presented in the activity feed can be fine tuned via a “Matter Meter”, which can be adjusted to show items of varying degrees of importance.  A busy knowledge worker, for example, could set the meter to only show items of high priority.  Yakabod’s enterprise search works in a similar way: the system learns a user’s preferences and adjusts search results accordingly based on relevance to the user.  The results are drawn from structured and unstructured data sources, including online repositories, wikis, social tools, and existing legacy systems.

To make deployment easier, the Yakabox integrates with existing sources such as Microsoft SharePoint and Office, shared drives, and electronic repositories.

Security is a strong point for the Yakabox.  The company has its roots in providing collaboration and knowledge sharing tools to the U.S. Intelligence Community, and the Yakabox meets Department of Defense PL3 security standards.

One promising aspect about Yakabod’s philosophy as a company is the recognition that knowledge sharing and collaboration applications such as enterprise search, content management, collaboration, and social networking are interconnected and interdependent.  Put simply, when these normally disparate elements are combined, the sum is greater than the parts.  The Yakabox may be in some respects closer to the Collaborative Business Environment than many other offerings currently on the market: it provides a single, overarching environment for knowledge workers, reduces friction in knowledge sharing through tight integration, and embeds collaboration tools into all areas of knowledge work via social networking functionality.

Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.