At the Web 2.0 Expo recently, I was pleasantly surprised to see the increased focus on social media offerings for the enterprise space.
So when I heard about Vignette’s introduction of Community Applications 7.1, as part of its Social Media Solution, I sat down with Gerardo Dada and Lee Shepstone from Vignette to learn more about their Social Media Suite for the Enterprise.
My first question to them was How can Vignette’s new solution help large enterprises?
Gerardo Dada referred back to the beginning of the web, when companies wanted to capitalize the web content and Vignette started by helping folks manage their work flow and make the experience be more personal. He sees the same trend today in media and video. Vignette is leveraging its expertise in content management systems to help companies better manage social interactions in an efficient and user-friendly manner.
The advantage Vignette enjoys is its existing relationship with key brands and expertise in content management for large enterprises. In addition to enabling the creation and support of Web 2.0 capabilities such as blogs, wikis, forums, ratings and reviews, the solution allows companies to quickly and easily create unique social micro sites.
It also allows aggregation of content on global sites which allows global companies to leverage information across countries. However, the ability to translate and search multiple language sites is still limited but their in-country offering is quite robust.
So my next question to them was, What makes Vignette’s solution better than thousands of other enterprise social media offerings out there?
According to Dada, the Vignette offering is much more comprehensive and eliminates the need to cobble together offerings by different vendors. The company has incorporated advanced search and analytics feature into its social media offering that makes the solution very robust when it comes to finding relevant content.
Shepstone described how the Vignette solution allows companies to create an unified social microsite for their web audience that includes social features and tools like wikis, blogs, forums, and video-sharing capabilities.
He went on to say that these flexible sites combines microsite features with social-centric benefits such as idea management, calendars and events and the sharing of multimedia-rich assets including videos and podcasts.
What impressed me about Vignette is that it’s still a fairly small and nimble company with about 700 employees it operates with the efficiency of a small company, yet it has the depth and breadth of experience working with larger enterprise companies.
What are the key challenges that an enterprise faces today in this social media age?
Dada was blunt in his assessment that many companies still lack a cohesive social media strategy, which is a great challenge and he went on to say, “..social media can not be done in isolation and you can not have community on the side. Community and social media content has to be a central part of an integrated strategy.”
At the end of the 90s, businesses needed enterprise grade vendors who understood web as a space. Today’s there’s a similar need for experienced vendors who can manage, govern, and publish end-to-end solution for enterprise social media. Here is Dada’s presentation – 20 Social Media Trilogy Vital Components for an Enterprise Strategy on creating a social media strategy and building a community.
For anyone working for a large enterprise, one question always comes to mind, so How about those legacy systems?
Shepstone said that the advantage of the Vignette solution is that it can work with any legacy system. Even companies without a content management system can use it because it can be deployed as a standalone sytem. Existing website integration very flexible, modular. The goal is to bring the customers back to the site. There is content out there, where all commuity can host content, doesn’t need to be one place. Widgets and gadgets are used to share content in a single place for connecting around product. Integration of content happens around community, be it external or internal community.
What does deployment , cost, & support look like?
The solution includes Portal license so it’s included at no additional cost for that. The solution costs approximately $50K (perpetual license) and support is available at 20% annual cost. The solution comes with web API and advanced API, making it easier to integrate with other vendors. Vignette, says Dada, “..Drinks its own Champagne” and uses social media tools that it advocates for training and support.” They use wikis for training documentation on the product, making it easier to update and provide training to their customers.