Enterprise Software Strives For Consumer Simplicity
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SAN DIEGO, Calif. - It's not exactly SAP meets MySpace, but enterprise software vendors are increasingly looking to easier user interfaces and Web 2.0 technology to enhance the usefulness of their applications.
At today's kickoff of the DEMO conference here, several consumer and business software companies showed off new applications that emphasized the ability to easily present and obtain information from the Web, as well as other sources such as e-mail and remote servers.
"Enterprise software is looking more and more like consumer software," said DEMO producer Chris Shipley.
Probably the most controversial of the product debuts was Stream Messaging, a "recordless" e-mail service from VaporStream.
The Web-based service is meant to complement a company's existing e-mail system; users don't need to create a new e-mail address.
"Stream" messages are sent and received in a private system and therefore, according to VaporStream, not susceptible to spam and viruses.
The company said the messages travel through its own services in memory and vanish once sent, sans caching.
Also, unlike anonymous e-mail solutions, VaporStream said the identity of the sender is always verified. VaporStream plans to offer Stream Messaging to mobile devices in November.
"Today, no one has any real control over their messaging," said Joe Collins, CEO and co-founder of VaporStream. "This is a way to reclaim lost privacy."
The company is not promoting the service as an e-mail replacement.
"If you need to a record, use e-mail," said Collins. "If you don't, use VaporStream."
Meanwhile, Koral said it has created a way to provide better content management with the community aspects of Web 2.0 services.
The basic Koral service, which is free, is designed to easily access information from multiple sources in the enterprise: e-mail, services, intranet, Web, etc.
Koral CEO Mark Suster claimed enterprise content management is a $3 billion industry but only five percent of companies use any system at all.
In a demo, Suster showed how a search on a term like "high tech" returned an array of documents from different sources.
Koral generates previews to make it easy to scroll through different documents without having to open them, including PowerPoint files. RSS feeds and e-mails will send an alert when there are changes to documents you save.
Koral also works with Web applications from Salesforce.com.
"With a single click you can get all the content you're looking for into one list," said Suster.
Startup BuzzLogic also debuted an on-demand software service designed to help marketers identify who is influential within specific conversations taking place in social media such as blogs.
BuzzLogic said it's able to identify influencers who are shaping and driving specific conversations in social media with algorithms that analyze relationships, such as who connects to whom, what is happening and who is listening.
Marketing and communications practitioners can use these insights to understand influence and who wields it to manage their brands, reputations, products and customer relationships.
In a demo, BuzzLogic CEO Rob Krumpler, searched on "iPod Zune" to see what sources were most influential in the coverage of the music player battle between Apple's iPod and Microsoft's planned Zune entry.
The service combs through blogs, mainstream media, corporate Web sites and other information sources to get its results.
In the this case, a top ten list was created by a blog called Lost Remote and the Seattle Weekly.
One early beta tester, David Churbuck, vice president of global Web marketing for Lenovo, said he found the service useful.
"BuzzLogic promises to do for brand communications and customer satisfaction, public relations and press relations what Web metrics have done for online advertising," said Churbuck.
Sixty-seven companies are slated to present at the Demo conference which runs through Wednesday.