So Alan, why did you choose Socialtext?

July 30 2008 03:30:00 AM Comments Disabled
Over the last few weeks, I've been asked numerous times by Lotus customers, business partners, IBM employees, as well as friends and family "Why did you choose Socialtext, and what should I know about them?"  Below are the answers.

Why did I choose Socialtext?

Hopefully when I announced Career 2.0, it was clear that my decision to leave IBM was driven by my desire for change, not by any "issues at Lotus".  This was not a quick decision.  For months I had conversations with mentors both inside and outside IBM.  After a great deal of soul searching, I concluded that I really needed to leave in order to gain the new experiences I am looking for.  I could have stayed within IBM and changed jobs, departments, or even divisions, but ultimately I think that would have lead to more of the same.  While going to Microsoft or Google might seem like a logical next step, I don't feel that they would provide the difference I'm looking for either.  I knew that for now, I needed to go somewhere small.

Similar to back in the era, there are dozens of different web2.0 vendors popping up everyday.  So I started thinking about which of these companies are doing things that interest me, and which ones I could help become successful.  It was also important to me to go to a company with a proven executive team.  I spoke with several vendors, but ultimately Socialtext was the clear winner all around.  They are a small company which began as the first enterprise wiki provider, but under the guidance of some amazing people is now evolving into a full service enterprise social software company.  While my title highlights my role in marketing, I am also going to be helping with business partners, strategy, product development, and more.  Everyone at Socialtext has been so welcoming in listening to my ideas, trusting my experience, and making me feel like a lot more than just a cog in the machine.
So what should you know about Socialtext?

Obviously the social software market is hot, and everyone is working to claim their space.  At one end of the spectrum there are small niche vendors which develop individual products such as a wiki, blog, or dashboard/portal.  Some of these products are even free.  At the other end are the large enterprise vendors such as IBM and Microsoft which offer a full portfolio of features, but are complete platform plays requiring large amounts of time, money, and resources to implement.  Socialtext is well positioned to fill the huge market segment that falls in between.

The foundation of Socialtext is our wiki platform which provide companies a way to create and share information.  However, as mentioned above, Socialtext is evolving beyond it roots, to now offer an integrated portfolio of social software tools.  Coming soon are Dashboards and People, providing a home page that aggregates multiple sources of information (from Socialtext products as well as others partners, Google gadgets, and more), and access to your business contacts.

Image:So Alan, why did you chose Socialtext?  Image:So Alan, why did you chose Socialtext?

Also coming soon is Socialcalc, which allows embedding of spreadsheets inside wikis, and vice versa!  A spreadsheet that supports wiki features!  This is so AWESOME, and one of the main reasons I came to Socialtext.  I can't wait to talk more about this, but I'll save it for future posts.  Let me just say that this has the potential to really improve the way people input and share structured information, and redefine the way you think of delivering reports.

We also have some products coming that I can't talk about yet... stay tuned!

Unlike some of the other vendors in this space who simply provide software for you to download, and then leave you on your own, Socialtext delivers our products either via hosting in our data-centers, or via an appliance which you install behind your firewall.

Finally, Socialtext provides consulting services to help you plan and implement your solution.  This is incredibly important, as a well planned project will be far more successful than just throwing up a server and hoping your employees decide to use it.  We'll work with you to find business process inside your company that can be improved, and tailor solutions to your unique needs.   If you don't solve a business need, and deliver that solution in an easy to use manner, than the project is doomed to fail.

No other vendor offers such a complete package at anywhere near our price.  That is why I choose Socialtext, and why I hope you do as well.

I look forward to talking about each of these things is much greater detail, and I'll obviously be covering how we compliment your investment in Lotus technologies.  We're a Lotus Business Partner!  (wow, I'm on the other side now!)

Anyone looking for specific details, either as a customer or a business partner, please don't hesitate to contact me.