Writing for IT Business Edge, Mike Vizard in February highlighted the release of version 3.5 of the eXo Platform, which companies could use to build a custom social intranet application that could run on the public cloud via platform-as-a-service offerings or be deployed in a private cloud. As Vizard wrote, eXo Platform 3.5 supports the use of Java, PHP or Ruby on Rails to create multi-tenant applications that can run in public or private clouds, and it includes support for a variety of built-in social network integration features.
Now eXo is introducing eXo Cloud Workspaces, a service built on Platform 3.5 that allows organizations to quickly create hosted implementations of intranets with social features such as wikis, communities and group calendars. eXo, a French company better known in Europe than in North America that counts the U.S. Department of Defense among its clients, says the service can be used to integrate social activity streams with existing business applications, so users can receive real-time notifications of relevant events.
Organizations can use eXo Cloud Workspaces to create intranets in the public cloud and later migrate them to an on-premise or private cloud environment via eXo Platform 3.5, an option that allows business users to take a more active role in the creation of intranets.
"Adoption of social enterprise technologies has created a serious power struggle between end users and IT," said Benjamin Mestrallet, eXo's founder and CEO. "With eXo Cloud Workspaces, we remove that tension. We give users the freedom to self-serve in the cloud, and the robust collaboration tools to be productive. At the same time, IT can maintain centralized access to enterprise information, with the opportunity to scale horizontally, either on-prem or in the cloud."
In another move designed to get users quickly onboard with eXo Cloud Workspaces, the company is offering the beta release of the service free of charge. Users can sign up for accounts on eXo's website.
The idea of adding social features to encourage more folks to use corporate intranets is gaining steam, as evidenced by Jive Software's March announcement of a new Social Intranet Solution, which combines social graph analysis with collaboration tools, Microsoft Office support and "gamification" technology to transform intranets into internal social networks.
Socialtext is another company that sells software used to give intranets a more collaborative look and feel. Jack MacKay, CIO of the American Hospital Association, said Socialtext software has helped make the AHA's intranet a hub of social activity, which has created new opportunities for cross-departmental collaboration and made it easier to align departmental initiatives with a central strategic plan.