My Favorite Collaboration Tool, Mindtouch (Check out my previous coverage of Mindtouch here), has embraced SaaS wholeheartedly. In fact, in my previous post about Mindtouch, I characterized their platform as a glue to the clouds but, now, they have really embraced cloud computing by offering their collaboration tool as a service. No, they are not cloud washing by offering a Mindtouch instance running on AWS. This is a truly multi-tenant, usage based pricing, software as a service model.
Mindtouch is a powerful enterprise collaborative tool taking a totally different approach from Microsoft. Microsoft’s Sharepoint is more focused on the documents whereas Mindtouch takes out the data struck inside different silos within a corporate network. Its powerful mashup capabilities helps enterprises to take their data and mashup into real time charts, graphs, reports and tabular data, without any need for any kind of programming knowledge. With Mindtouch, one can be assured that their data doesn’t lay dormant in one of the silos but, rather, plays a crucial role in gaining competitive advantage in the marketplace. With the ability to talk to legacy enterprise systems like CRM, Accounts Payable, ERP, etc., Mindtouch offers a powerful collaborative environment for the enterprises.
Originally forked from Mediawiki, Mindtouch has undergone a complete rewrite of the underlying code to offer a powerful wiki which is also very easy to use. Their backend is done using C#, running on the open source mono framework, and, due to the RESTful nature of the platform, the frontend can be either PHP or Java. Unlike some of the traditional enterprise systems with architectural problems, Mindtouch uses a web services based architecture, making it both flexible and powerful.
I cannot finish any post on Mindtouch without mentioning the fact that it is Open Source. In fact, Mindtouch came into my radar couple of years back because they are basically an Open Source shop. In fact, I was using Mindtouch Open Source edition for my personal website till a few months back. I have personally seen how powerful their platform is. The very fact that they are open source and extensible, makes Mindtouch an extremely powerful platform compared to their competitors like Microsoft Sharepoint or IBM Lotus.
MindTouch Cloud allows companies to replicate the features and functionality of MindTouch 2009 Standard in seconds with the swipe of a credit card and without a call to their IT department. With this SaaS application, companies can get the powerful collaboration and automation of the Mindtouch platform without incurring huge expenditure and, also, without the headaches of managing any servers. They offer three tiers of plans starting with 10 users at a cost of USD 10 per user per month, 25 users at a cost of USD 8 per user per month and 50 users at a cost of USD 7 per user per month. Any company with more than 50 users can contact Mindtouch and work out a custom plan. In fact, with their cloud based offering, even smaller level businesses can afford a powerful platform like Mindtouch for peanuts.
Even though, I was only talking about the powerful mashup capabilities with legacy enterprise applications, Mindtouch platform also offers an one click mashup with many different SaaS applications in the market including Salesforce, Google Apps, Zoho Apps (disclaimer: Zoho is a sponsor of this blog but this is my independent opinion), Flickr, Linked In, Widgetbox, etc.. Now Dreamforce is in full swing and Salesforce is capturing the imagination of pundits in the Enterprise 2.0 market with some interesting developments on top of their Force.com platform and the newly announced Salesforce Chatter Social tool. It is worth noting that Mindtouch is tightly integrated with Salesforce platform and it is possible to query Salesforce data from inside the Mindtouch tool. A SaaS offering with such deeper integration with other SaaS products will come handy for the power users, already using the clouds for their IT needs.