Marketing

Mzinga Puts the Community Platform Puzzle Pieces Together

Mzinga, a playerin the evolving community platform space, has relaunched its flagshipoffering with a product that integrates many of its internallydeveloped features with acquired technologies.

The new platform, called “OmniSocial,” provides external and internalcommunication and collaboration tools for human resources, customersupport and marketing.

Social Software and the Enterprise

“Our vision is to make social software pervasive throughout businessby changing the way companies operate,” Eve Sangenito, vice presidentof marketing, told CRM Buyer.

It accomplished that by supplying the tools necessary to captureemployees, customers and partners’ ideas, she said.

Previously, Mzinga had two products — a social media suite and asocial learning suite — with a great deal of overlap between them,according to Sangenito.

OmniSocial merged their features, giving users flexible deploymentoptions that allow them to either implement it as a standaloneplatform or as an ecosystem of sites, she said.

Three Modules

The platform’s three modules — marketing, HR and support — areavailable as Software as a Service offerings.

They include the ability to create advanced social profiles, blogs anddiscussion forums, as well as features that enable idea sharing, filesharing, course management, event management and calendaring,assessments and surveys, Web conferencing and collaborative contentauthoring.

The platform also offers administrative capabilities for managing sitedesign and configuration, user access and registration, contentmoderation and management, and localization in up to 20 languages.

It allows businesses to create integrated applications and widgets,Sangenito noted, an ability particularly relevant to enterprises thatstruggle with siloed data and little connectivity between theirapplications.

“OmniSocial allows you to manage data across functional lines,” she said.

There is also an analytics component in the feature set that goesbeyond volume-tracking to give organizations greater insight into thekinds of engagements they are experiencing, she noted.

“It gives users a sense of the campaign’s viral reach and a betterunderstanding of the strategy,” Sangenito observed.

OmniSocial is available now, with additional features scheduled forrelease in Q1 2010. That release will include additional analyticscapabilities and a dashboard, Sangenito said.

Conflicting Focus

Wednesday’s release marks the culmination of Mzinga’s early growthstory, Matthew Lees, vice president and analyst with thePatricia SeyboldGroup, told CRM Buyer.

“Mzinga has been around for handful of years with its roots from threedifferent companies, including one that was acquired,” he said. “Ithink to some degree it has struggled reconciling the differentfocuses of those companies — reconciling the internal collaborationfocus with knowledge management, for instance.”

It also needed to solidify its code base along with developing astraightforward, coherent strategy, added Lees.

With those issues in the past, OmniSocial is an appealing package, hesaid. “What I particularly like is how it allows clients to deploy theapplication. A company can host it as a SaaS, for example, or it canput community elements on their own Web site by using code snippetsand widgets.”

Mzinga falls into a category that Lees loosely defines as “communityplatforms.” Perhaps one reason for Mzinga’s early divergence is thefact that the space itself is continually realigning to some degree.

“Everyone is still feeling out social media, what it means, itsblurring between not just internal and external communities but alsoamong personal and professional communities,” Lees said.

Another way to look at the issue: Mzinga has several competitors –but on a feature-by-feature basis. For example, in P2P support itcompetes withTeligent Systems andJiveSoftware, to name two, Lees said. In employee collaboration, thosecompanies would be competitors along withSocial Text.

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