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Giving enterprise software a social makeover attracts users

John Moore | April 17, 2013
When it comes to developing enterprise applications, organizations are increasingly realizing that user experience is as important as functionality. In response, vendors are taking a more agile approach to building those apps in order to better meet users' needs.

Kona provides "spaces" for group conversations, à a la Facebook "Wall," but does so within the milieu of a particular project and its associated calendar events and tasks.

Blair has pushed Kona to at least a half dozen work as well as personal groups, and the adoption rate is high. The software, she says, catalogs and keeps track of myriad activities and reduces the company's dependence on the email inbox as an information archive to near zero.

One difficulty: Blair hasn't been able to find other business applications that provide a similar user experience. "Nothing compares to the ease of use and adoption rate," she says. "Rather than trying to mimic Kona's interface and experience, I'm trying to pull it into my intranet solution and use it where it's most appropriate."

Social Gives Razorfish Real-Time Marketing Capabilities

Another consumer-meets-enterprise story is playing out at digital agency Razorfish, which announced in March that it will standardize on the Adobe Marketing Cloud.

That suite, which includes analytics and social marketing software, includes a revamped user interface that bears a resemblance to Pinterest. The interface consists of a feed of images-new ad concepts, for example-that marketing team members can annotate and comment on.

"We have been pretty amazed with the Pinterest interface," says Ray Velez, global CTO at Razorfish. "One of its goals, among many, is to help harness a way for everyone in the marketing organization to be able to contribute to real-time marketing and real-time conversations with clients."

Velez cites the Oreo "dunk in the dark" Super Bowl ad as an example of the type of rapid collaboration and real-time marketing Adobe Marketing Cloud and its Pinterest-like interface can facilitate. The ad was devised amid the game's 34-minute blackout and launched on Twitter.

The Adobe Marketing Cloud interface's accessibility also encourages engagement across all levels of an organization, Velez said. People working together on a marketing project would have less of a need to log into a content management system and navigate to the appropriate asset bucket. With the Pinterest-type interface, he says, they would just see the content as it flows past on the feed. That interface would suit such needs as collaboration or workflow and approvals, he adds.

Under its Adobe partnership, Razorfish will integrate its own digital marketing technology software, Fluent, with Adobe Marketing Cloud. Fluent lets marketers create and manage multi-channel digital campaigns.

New Enterprise Software Model, New Application Development Model

Software makers adopting consumer and social interfaces are retooling their development strategies. The consumer approach marks a departure from previous design and development methods.

At Kona, Eckerle and co-founder Scott DeFusco had worked together on enterprise resource planning (ERP) software before turning their attention to the social collaboration product.


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