Thursday, June 28, 2007

Invites using your email address book, plus international payments

We just rolled out a new feature and an improvement to OpenTeams. The new feature may sound small, but eliminates a major hassle. Previously, to invite others to a space, you had to add their emails to a web form. If you're like me, you don't know email addresses - you rely on your email program's address book to keep up with those. That means you're looking at some tedious copy-and-pasting to use a web form, a task that gets particularly onerous as the number of invitees increases.

We now let you invite others to a space using your personal email address book. We do this by sending you an email, then you forward it to the other invitees while CC'ing it back to us. We strip out the names and emails from the To field and add them as authorized users on the space. We've also included several security measures: the emails contain a security token that expires in 24 hours (you have that long to forward it and cc us - the invitees can take as long as they like to join), they can only be forwarded once (and then the token expires), and when we receive it back, we instantly send you a confirmation email with the list of invitees that have been added to the space.

Just like web-form invites, you can invite people whether or not they have OpenTeams accounts. If they already have an account, they simply get notified and the space gets added to their list. If they don't have an account, we'll send them an email to create an account, and then they will automatically have access to the space once they validate on their email address.

In addition to this new feature, we also upgraded our payments processing to handle credit cards from around the world, rather than just the USA. We've gotten a lot of interest from places like Canada, France, and Brazil (among many others), so obviously this is an important improvement.

So if you've been trying out OpenTeams, but haven't yet invited others to a space, or, well, paid us (for your own account or to sponsor others) - now's your chance! And don't forget our "double your money" 2-for-1 sale celebrating our launch, which we will probably end in the near future - so grab the free money while you can!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Solution Watch in-depth review of OpenTeams

This is probably the most in-depth review of OpenTeams' functionality to-date, with some good screenshots. It's nice to see briefing outlines get some specific recognition. They're a powerful, but often overlooked, feature of OpenTeams.

"Reinventing the Wiki with OpenTeams"

Friday, June 22, 2007

Great success at Enterprise 2.0 Collaborative Technologies Conference

Tim and I just got back from several days in Boston as exhibitors at the Enterprise 2.0 Collaborative Technologies conference. I'm very happy to say it was a roaring success. We got lots of interest and positive feedback from analysts, media, and potential customers. The conference sessions also reinforced all sorts of themes we built OpenTeams around: increasing employee engagement, centering software around people rather than technology, the power of emergence, the importance of innovation, current problems with wikis, and applying open source principles to organizations. It was very nice to feel validated.

Here are some highlights:
  • David Berlind and Matt Conner from CNET/ZDNet spent some time on Tuesday interviewing us. That lead to this short blurb, this post on the pain of Javascript across different browsers, and, best of all, this video and post, where David declares that "OpenTeams takes the icky out of wiki." That's definitely going on the web site. David and Tim did a great interview and demo, and Matt did an excellent job editing together a very engaging video of nearly 8 minutes. I had no idea how difficult it is to put together a mixed video of screenshots and talking heads under difficult lighting until I watched Matt do it.
  • Michael Sampson blogged on OpenTeams on his laptop right from our booth - listening, watching, and typing all simultaneously.
  • We got strongly positive feedback from just about everybody who visited our booth. Tim brought his 24" Dell monitor, which made all the difference in the world running our demo video on a continuous loop. It caught a lot of peoples' attention. The exhibitor pavilion was way too noisy for the audio to work at all, but it was still great for us to point to and explain the app. At various points through the conference, people expressed a desire for more demos and less "slideware" - and I think that video on a big screen helped us break through the noise. They could instantly "get it."
  • In the "very unexpected" category, at one point we were visited by a couple IT people from the US Supreme Court, and they expressed interest in OpenTeams. The idea of constitutional law being debated and shaped on OpenTeams by Supreme Court justices and their clerks makes my head spin. Of course, for security reasons, they're looking for a "behind the firewall" solution, which we'd be more than happy to provide to them. In fact, there was interest from several different people for something like a "Premium Support Enterprise Edition" of OpenTeams, including behind the firewall and integration options. Something we'll definitely be looking into if there's demand.
  • While we were there, a couple more blog posts on OpenTeams popped up: Bonj and Webtribution, titled "Wiki + Outlook = OpenTeams Collaborative Innovation", with some very nice quotes:
"...what I see from OpenTeams (specifically the UI) blows away most of the competion"

"... if you are even considering a Web 2.0 type collaborative office system give OpenTeams a serious look."

All in all, a great - if exhausting - experience. Now to tackle all the post-conference follow-ups...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Information Week declares OpenTeams one of five Enterprise 2.0 startups to watch

Some very exciting pre-conference buzz for us from Information Week!

Five Enterprise 2.0 Startups To Watch
To differentiate their products from companies like Microsoft and IBM, they'll have to do things differently.

Enterprise 2.0 is Web 2.0 technology taken to the corporate world. Just as in the consumer Web, the goals of Enterprise 2.0 technologies are better collaboration, easier information management, and more personalized productivity.

And just as in the consumer Web, from mashups to wikis, startups abound. Next week's Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston (a conference run by InformationWeek parent company CMP Media) will see startups alongside companies like Microsoft and IBM. To differentiate, they'll have to do things differently. Here are five presenting or showing their wares at next week's conference that may meet that challenge.

OpenTeams: OpenTeams claims it has "reinvented" the wiki, and sure enough it's come close with an interface that greets users with a three-pane look and feel reminiscent of Microsoft Outlook. The left-hand pane is a list of topics and colleagues to track, the middle pane lists documents that fall within individual topics or are created by those colleagues, and the right pane shows an individual document. OpenTeams also makes it easier to track changes to the wiki -- something often tough to do without looking at individual page history -- by notifying users of any changes made to a page they've been tracking. Another smartly added feature: integrating related wiki pages into a hierarchical "briefing" or narrative view of an idea or proposal.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

OpenTeams in 100 words

The Enterprise 2.0 Expo (see below) asked us for a 100-word company and product description for their web site and printed materials. It was an interesting exercise trying to boil down our essence into 100 words (a word count we somehow managed to hit exactly), which you may find a helpful shorthand for yourself or trying to explain OpenTeams to others.
OpenTeams is web-hosted collaborative software specifically designed to enable the agile, innovative Entrepreneurial Organization. At the business level, in addition to project collaboration, blogging, and knowledge management, it’s an "innovative initiative development environment" where employees collaboratively seed and mature new ideas for additional revenue, productivity, and cost-savings. At the technical level, it reinvents the wiki with an intuitive 3-pane interface similar to email and newsfeed readers, making it far easier for non-technical users to create, organize, and navigate content while transparently tracking changes. This dramatically shrinks the learning curve and ensures adoption while ramping up productivity, payback, and employee engagement.

OpenTeams attending Enterprise 2.0 Expo in Boston, June 19-21

Just wanted to let everyone know we are a last-minute exhibitor addition to the Enterprise 2.0 Collaborative Technologies Conference in Boston from Tuesday June 19 through the 21st. We'll have a booth (really a "pod") in the Demo Pavilion, which is open parts of Tuesday and Wednesday. We'll be in pod 62, very easy to find right next to the demo theater. If you'll be in Boston, hope you drop by to see us.

Enterprise 2.0 2007

The Enterprise 2.0 Conference helps forward-thinking IT and business professionals understand how technologies such as conferencing, social software, shared workspaces, enterprise search, presence, unified communications and VoIP can give their organizations a competitive advantage. The program addresses new technologies, the infrastructure required to support them, the cultural changes that must accompany them and how to craft a strategy to make it all happen. Enterprise 2.0 2007 will be held June 18 – 21, 2007 in Boston, MA.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Getting beyond email for collaboration

Steve Wylie, GM of the Enterprise 2.0 Expo, had a great column in Information Week last week on the impact of Enterprise Web 2.0 inside organizations, titled "Get Ready for Transparency and Collaboration." There's a lot of good stuff here, and it's a great introduction to the whole Enterprise 2.0 concept. After talking about Dr. McAfee's E2.0 definition and SLATES model, he gets into the weaknesses of email as a collaboration tool:

We have become addicted to e-mail in a sort of love-hate relationship. We check our e-mail obsessively yet dread the ceaseless flow of messages to our in-boxes and, of course, the endless spam. We struggle to find relevant information buried in an e-mail or question whether the right people are copied on a thread. E-mail is a closed communication medium that does a poor job of capturing and sharing knowledge, a key ingredient to success in any business and a key feature of Enterprise 2.0.

Enterprise 2.0 tools offer a chance to break our e-mail addiction and our reliance on other Enterprise 1.0 applications. These tools unlock new value in the form of transparent, contextual communication; ease of access to information; and more effective use of data trapped inside applications, on desktops, or embedded in e-mail attachments. They allow us to capture the knowledge and opinions trapped in the minds of our knowledge workers through simple participation. The early adopters of Enterprise 2.0 tools and concepts are finding them both powerful and liberating.

He then goes on to discuss the culture shift required and the challenges. Adoption can take some coaxing, but the benefits are amazing (see the list on our home page), and most people I've spoken to can't imagine trying to go back to email for collaboration after using a powerful E2.0 tool like OpenTeams.