No more idle chatter: NewsGator Social Sites 4.0 integrates social within business processes to deliver real business productivity

Most social software tools for business do little more than amplify chatter in the workplace. NewsGator today continued to buck that trend with a new version of its Social Sites enterprise social computing software that integrates social directly within business processes to greatly improve workplace productivity and expertise.


Social Sites 4.0 includes many new innovations that enhance workflow and bring to light the most important information within social content so that employees can do their jobs more effectively. These enhancements are the result of the most popular user-requested features from hundreds of successful NewsGator customer deployments.


Social Sites 4.0 includes new “smart social” tools that intelligently learn from users’ behaviors which key information within social streams they need to match the way they work. For example: The Follow a Document feature lets users see and act on changes to important documents via the activity stream rather than having to monitor an entire document library. The Top News feature intelligently filters and prioritizes activity stream items to serve up the most important content. And the improved Question Routing feature improves the speed and quality of answers to questions posed by users to their communities.

Keep it in the workflow

Workflow approvals are another type of business process that can be optimized with social computing. Social Sites is the first solution to integrate social approvals directly within activity streams. It lets communities of users see and take action collaboratively on important issues and events -- such as a product developer who may want to recommend a feature change, or a team member who may want to work out holiday vacation days in cooperation with his/her peers.


“Social software for business should be more than just another digital ‘water cooler’ for conversations. It should adapt to and enhance the way people work more productively,” said Brian Kellner, NewsGator’s CTO. “Social Sites 4.0 intelligently filters out office chatter from high value information, while accelerating common workflow activities with the power of social collaboration.”


Social Sites 4.0 also includes a number of personalized features that improve the social user experience. To get the most out of Social Sites’ many features, a new Smart Tips capability watches the behavior of each individual to intelligently serve up the appropriate tips to complete a task. Activity stream settings have been enhanced to give users precise control over what kinds of events they want popping up in their streams.


Social business has moved beyond point solutions to a key requirement in business processes. In a recent Constellation Research survey, 56.8% of respondents have incorporate social into business models. The concepts underlying social business provide the foundation for good business strategy," said Ray Wang, Principal Analyst & CEO, Constellation Research." The new abilities to take social, mobile, cloud and Big Data will converge to create new opportunities for organizations."


Extending beyond the firewall

NewsGator also unveiled a number of enhancements that enable businesses to improve collaboration and productivity with mobile workers and external partners without compromising the safety of their data to unwanted access—whether it’s in the cloud or within the enterprise. Using a new kind of hybrid cloud model, businesses can take advantage of social in the cloud or mobile environments without having to abandon the strong security of their on-premise SharePoint systems.


Mobile users can connect to the cloud but are authenticated on Social Sites running on Microsoft SharePoint inside the company. This approach enables secure access without having to set up a VPN, proxy or other special mobile access solution.


Lastly, Social Sites 4.0 adds support for companies that want to add Office 365 – Microsoft’s online cloud-based version of its popular Office suite – as an option for external collaboration. A new Social Sites O365 Bridge feature allows Social Sites running on SharePoint 2013 to easily leverage Office 365 without the complexities of setting up a single sign on between the on-premises SharePoint and Office 365 accounts.


The O365 Bridge allows customers to use Office 365 as an extranet while allowing users to work from internal SharePoint accounts. Users can easily upload files to their Microsoft SkyDrive Pro online storage site and monitor all Social Sites activity stream items from the Office 365 site without having to log in. For organizations seeking to realize the full benefits of social in their organization, Social Sites 4.0 is available now.


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