With the forthcoming release of Microsoft Office 2013 and the acquisition of Yammer, Microsoft clearly thinks social networking will be playing a bigger role in the office as time goes on. There are other vendors, however, that argue no one should have to wait until next year to take advantage of those capabilities.
Huddle, a provider of an enterprise collaboration service delivered via the cloud, announced today a new update that adds social collaboration features such as the ability to direct comments and notifications to specific individuals or teams using the "@" symbol within a conversation around a specific file. It also adds the ability to set up and customize workflows for specific sets of individuals or the entire organization.
Huddle CEO Alastair Mitchell says that while social networking tools will not completely replace email anytime soon, they are becoming an increasingly important part of the workflow dynamic within many corporations. The Huddle approach allows organizations to not only define who should see what based on their role in the organization, but also alerts people about their potential interest in a topic based on the documents they have previously accessed.
In that regard, Mitchell says that Huddle as a collaboration environment was designed from the ground up to support social networking across multiple platforms, versus a Windows-centric approach that is anchored around 13-year old Microsoft SharePoint technology and groupware that was originally developed as part of the Groove acquisition that Microsoft made in 2005.
Huddle is competing in the enterprise collaboration space against any number of file sharing and social networking offerings that can be delivered on premise or via the cloud. Ultimately, IT organizations need to decide where to apply their expertise in a world where the number of devices and applications is rapidly changing. In any of those scenarios, the way the organization works is fundamentally changing, along with the way IT gets delivered and consumed.