I recently ran through a demonstration of GroupSwim, a service that provides intelligent collaboration for small groups of between 50-1,000 users. The service includes blogs, RSS, rich media plus the ability to upload files of pretty much any kind. What sets GroupSwim apart from what is beocming an increasingly competitive category is its ability to
- Intelligently search based on learned usage of the system plus
- A ranking system that is not dependent upon Digg like popularity
The software 'trains' itself based upon the way users add terms and tags. When tagging pages, it will offer suggestions based upon what people have done in the past. This helps build a form of hierarchy that is somewhere between the purist view of folksonomies and the business need for structure. It also develops a form of inferred expertise by taking tags and then correlating between people and the implied importance of topics.This avoids the problems associated with 'popularity'methods which favor those who can game the system.
For enterprise use, GroupSwim incorporates single sign-on and supports Active Directory. GroupSwim has gone to great lengths to make the system as easy to use as possible with almost zero training and from what I've seen, it looks extremely easy to understand. It also has the ability to embed Google Docs inside the application for those organizations that already use Google Enterprise Apps service.
While GroupSwim doesn't include wiki today, the company expects to have that in place by around the end of June. I saw an early version which looks easy to use. The company is also considering how it might include a decision making capability based upon the intelligence it gathers aorund group projects. That will require the development of workflow which the company says it can create.
Pricing is reasonable, based upon the number of registered users on the system. A 50 person business would pay $450 a month or the equivalent of $108 a year per user with total storage of 20GB while a 1,000 person business would pay the annual equivalent of $58.20 for each user and have 200GB of storage at its disposal. I suspect the storage requirements will need adjusting upwards, especially for those smaller businesses making extensive use of graphic files but only experience will tell.
GroupSwim has 15 paying customers including Taleo, OpenAir and Discovery Mining but recognizes it needs to do more in marketing to get wider attention. To that end it is hoping to raise a second round of funding.