This article originally appeared in the Jan. 2011 issue of InfoTECH SPOTLIGHT.
Months back you may recall I covered Cisco (News - Alert) Quad, a corporate social networking solution for truly massive companies. While many organizations use Microsoft SharePoint as a social solution, another option is to turn to MangSpring’s MangoApps, a solution which takes the best elements of Facebook, Yammer, Quad and others and combines them into an easy-to-use app that the company proclaims is a powerful open communication and project execution solution for Fortune five-million companies.
The company, founded in 2007, has over 35 employees and I had a chance to speak with CEO and Founder Anup Kerjiwal as well as Mike Jensen, vice president of customer engagements, a few months back and it was like drinking from a fire hose. The company supplies a solution that answers so many corporate needs and it is priced at only $2 to $7 per user per month (based on total users).
In fact, the biggest challenge the company has had and will continue to have going forward, is explaining to customers that they have an inexpensive solution that does so much.
For example, MangoDocs allows you to share, collaborate and follow documents through your organization while MangoTalk allows VoIP, IM and microblogging. MangoTasks is a collaborative to-do-list while MangoEvents allows corporate events such as meetings to be scheduled. There is also software which allows tasks to be created, managed and socialized and MangoIdeas allows you to take ideas from concept to completion via the assignment of an idea committee who monitors idea socialization and provides guidance as ideas go through their life cycle.
The reason d’être of MangoApps is to take social networking and seamlessly merge it into your corporate activities in a way that boosts productivity and collaboration to allow any organization to work more effectively. They see both Twitter and its corporate cousin (no real relation) Yammer as lacking purpose beyond status sharing. This sentiment was echoed by Cisco’s Murali Sitaram (News - Alert) as well and makes perfect sense as you aren’t going to see skyrocketing productivity just learning about what your coworkers ate for lunch in 140 characters or less.
This past February the company launched its 1.0 solution and more recently MangoApps 2.0 has been released with over 100 new features such as what the company calls enterprise-grade instant messaging and presence which allows teams to instantly start group chats or conference calls from directly within the MangoApps application and beyond. In addition, the company allows a solution to be deployed in the cloud on a shared computer (multi-tenant), a stand-alone computer or even on your premise behind the firewall. In addition, you can purchase apps on an a-la-carte basis if you choose. This reduces the corporate commitment and allows a more pay-as-you-go strategy. Other recent improvements include tighter integration with other cloud-based solutions such as Google (News - Alert) Apps, desktop syncing and two-way email integration.
At this point, many of you are likely seeing this solution competitive SalesForce Chatter in some ways – and this would be a correct assumption. Other features you should be aware of are a built-in media player, the ability to follow others, actionable status updates, two-way email streams and the ability to associate an email with a process or an activity feed.
In January we can expect to see enhancements to the task and project portions of the solution as well.
One example of how the system works in the real world: You can assign Mango Apps as a user in a project via an alias and subsequently track it via Mango Apps. As Mango Apps get updates, the most recent activity bubbles to the top allowing others to keep up-to-date on the latest developments. In addition there is unified search allowing users to see the results from Mango Apps, instant messages and chat sessions. The company is also working to integrate with Skype, GotoMeeting and WebEx.
The company also has an open API allowing customization as needed. In the future, we can expect more hooks for legacy application communication as well as better reports and custom workflows. Finally we can expect MangoQ&A, MangoPage, MangoHelpDesk and MangoExpense.
In an age where corporate software is very expensive and in some cases prohibitively so, a solid option for getting your organization into the realm of social networking at a reasonable cost is to turn to MangSpring’s MangoApps and see if better inter-office communication can help your organization become more productive and efficient.