Igloo targets its social network tools to mid-market clients

The seventh part of Ragan.com’s series on enterprise social media tools profiles a company that touts quick deployment and ongoing customer-inspired upgrades.

If you think about companies that offer enterprise social media tools on a grid where one axis is price and the other is complexity, it isn’t too hard to figure out what goes where, says Andrew Dixon, vice president of marketing at Igloo Software.

Yammer would go in the quadrant with the cheapest and simplest tools, while platforms such as IBM’s or Jive’s would likely be among the most expensive and complex.

“We live somewhere in between,” says Dixon, whose company offers what he calls “a purpose-built suite, primarily for the mid-market.”

The tools

Igloo’s suite of tools includes file sharing, a knowledge base for policies and best practices, a central repository for brand information such as logos and templates, idea generation spaces and a social stream similar to those in Facebook and Twitter. That shows up in an activity stream that users can filter by team.

Users can go back and forth among three different views within the suite or an Igloo-developed intranet. There’s the personal view, where users view documents, tasks, and people they follow. Then there’s the team view, where the information is all relevant to the team or teams to which the user belongs. In the corporate view, users can view information that’s important to all employees.

Users can create forums, wikis, event calendars and document folders for use within groups, but that are visible in each of the three views. “Those applications follow you throughout,” says Stephen Rahal, communications specialist at Igloo.

Dixon says the Igloo software is “laser-focused on specific business problems,” with separate sales and marketing applications, as well as external options such as a customer portal and a partner portal. Customers get just what they need, he says, ranging from one tool to a full corporate intranet.

What’s different

All of Igloo’s services are delivered “100 percent via the cloud,” says Dixon, which enables users to get up and running quickly. “You can be up and piloting in a matter of minutes, and you can be deployed in a matter of days or weeks,” he says.

That in-the-cloud service also gives Igloo more flexibility to update its software. “We’re able to release new capabilities every 45 to 60 days,” says Dixon, who notes that at least 50 percent of every update is based on customer input.

Igloo’s suite can fit into an existing intranet for what Dixon calls “a very seamless user experience,” as it can be branded and built to match the rest of the site architecture. And IT staffers who may have concerns about security can feel assured that they have lots of options.

“We give them permissioning at all levels,” he says. For example, IT managers have the option of making comments open or moderated.

Who it’s for

“We don’t really compete in the enterprise space with the largest of the large,” says Dixon. The ideal customer for Igloo has somewhere between 200 and 2,500 employees, he says. It would likely be a fast-growing company looking for ways to manage and boost productivity.

Igloo’s clients are in lots of different industries, but the top three are high-tech, health care and professional services, Dixon says.

There are three reasons a company would turn to Igloo, he says: The existing intranet is no longer working for the company, the company needs a way to manage external clients and partners, or the company has never had an intranet and wants to build one from the ground up.

What a client says

David Phipps, director of research services and knowledge exchange at York University, says using an Igloo-powered collaboration tool called O3 helped immensely with streamlining internal communication at ResearchImpact, the university’s knowledge mobilization unit.

“We no longer use email,” he says in a YouTube video. “We use the message system within O3. And we no longer share documents back and forth. We use the document sharing in O3.”

The tool has also proved useful for projects, he says. For example, ResearchImpact carried out all the build-up to a meeting between United Way organizations and universities throughout the world.

“We blogged about what was going to be happening, we share documents within O3, we were able to choose where we were going to go to dinner using a discussion forum,” Phipps says.


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