Every Friday I’m going to be reviewing a vendor in the emergent collaboration space and will provide an overview on that vendor which includes everything from leadership and vision to technology and market focus. If you are vendor that would like to participate, please contact me (email is in the sidebar as is the twitter link). The goal of these posts is not to bash or praise vendors but to simply offer an objective view on what various vendors offer so that YOU can decide if they are a good fit for your business. Every post will cover the same elements for different vendors. If you have ideas or recommendations for other items to be covered in these posts then please let me know and I will consider them.
This week I’m taking a look at Moxie Software. Moxie is headquartered in Mountain View, California and currently has around 200 employees. I spoke with Nikhil Govindaraj, VP, Products and Tara Sporrer, VP, Marketing and Sales Operations.
Moxie’s integration framework has been at the core of their product architecture from the beginning — to enable Employee Spaces to access information from other enterprise systems and provide social interaction to third party applications. Moxie’s integration framework enables organizations to use Moxie Software as a social layer on top of their existing applications. Moxie currently integrates with platforms such as Sharepoint, Outlook, Salesforce, and Atlassian Confluence (among several others). Simplybox is an integration partner with Moxie which helps them integrate on three different layers.
- At the User Interface layer where customers can pull information and make it visible in a variety of ways, such as viewing dashboards, for example a sales pipeline from Salesforce.
- At the application layer where customers can embed things such as activity feeds within other applications. For example, a sales lead gets triggered in Siebel and the activity feeds pulls that information into Moxie Spaces and creates an activity or creates a workgroup as a result of that lead being created.
- At the data level where customers can bring in data elements from other systems and push them out to others. For example, importing content from a third party wiki such as Confluence, or pulling in people profile information from a system such as SAP. Everything is also available via search so that when you look for information, you can find it even if it exists withing a third party system. Autonomy is the search engine used to power this.
Moxie provides 24/7 support to all customers via multiple channels such as email, chat, phone, and a community support portal. Technical support and regular maintenance upgrades are included with the on-demand pricing. For customers who choose the on-premise model support services are charged as a percentage of the software license fee. Standard support on-premise is 18% of software fees and includes access to tech support by phone email and chat and access to upgrades. Premier includes upgrades support which gives customers the option of going down the road of upgrading on their own.
Pricing begins at $8 per user per month and goes up from there depending on additional add-ons, the solution is offered in the cloud.
Maintenance and upgrades
Moxie typically updates its product on a quarterly basis and does integrate customer feedback and ideas into product enhancements. Moxie also looks for and constantly monitors trends in the marketplace which help them decide on future prouct changes and upgrades.
Overall direction and strategic vision
Moxie believes that enterprises are increasingly needing a single platform to communicate and collaborate with customers and employees. Companies have traditionally segmented these types of communities but Moxie believes that the real value if going to come from bridging the two and being able to share data, ideas, and insights between them. As a result of bridging and connecting customers and employees, businesses should see tremendous business value such as accelerating innovation and improved customer experiences.
I asked about their competition from other vendors such as Jive software and Moxie said they are going beyond just offering communities and actual offering customer and employee business solutions such as social media response resolution, knowledge bases, click-to-call options for customers, and co-browsing functionality for customers and companies.
As businesses continue to realize the value of these collaborative solutions vendors will also have to evolve the ways in which they can filter, organize, and distribute information. Moxie isn’t focusing on collaboration on workflows and documents but is more concerned in developing solutions around the actual ways that people work. Oftentimes collaborative solutions can become barren ground for empty workspaces or abandoned project groups, the goal is to keep that from happening. Making sure that platforms are easy to use and comply to security standards is also crucial for any platform today.
Although there are some basic standards for collaboration in terms of data transfer such as XML standards, Moxie wants to be the platform and the layer for business when it comes to communication and collaboration. Moxie also believes that the Cloud is the future that all businesses will move there. This means things such as security, scale, and integration are all going to be critical components of success.
Analytics is also going to be crucial. If companies have control over data and analytics then that is really power that the company can leverage. Moxie feels that the reality is that business applications will never go away and a collaboration platform will not remove that but a collaboration platform will replace inboxes.
Moxie does not want to be a replacement for what organizations have but instead they want to help bring everything all together. CRM tried to do that but failed. Today, these solutions are easy to deploy and integrate. As a communication device Moxie believes that email will go away, it will become an alert mechanism instead and then die and communication will shift towards social channels.
As far as where Moxie is headed, they are going to be focusing a lot on integration and connectors to help companies start up and get running easily. Moxie is also looking at integrating with various document management platforms such as Box.net because they believe storage is going to be very important.
Key differentiating factors from the competition
- Not just about internal collaboration but also have a very robust and powerful set of offerings on the customer side. Moxie is more than community platforms they are business solutions.
- Architecture is also very different because it is built on a social architecture and built for the cloud.
- Easy to deploy and very fast to get up and running.
- Best practices and thought leadership from the team is also a unique offering to help determine vision and strategy and customers have access to that as well.
- Offer cloud and on-premise solutions.
Moxie’s system allows for full customization of the look and feel of client and staff/ administrative interfaces. Moxie’s Customers have full customization capability of branding, colors, fonts, images, Layout, Content and the Style sheets. However, if customers extensively customize the platform then it becomes a challenge or future upgrades to work easily. To help avoid this Moxie has put in place several parameters to help customers from making changes that might adversely affect the platform.
Time to go live
A typical implementation can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks based on the specific requirements, customization’s, and integrations. This is typical for all platforms. Smaller organizations that have fewer integration considers to worry about can be up and running quicker than a large enterprise.
Moxie is going after mid and enterprise size customers, this means everything from a few hundred seats to many thousands. Moxie can work for a variety of departments and verticals but they are really seeing a lot of traction around HR, IT, and marketing.
Capabilities (customer, partner, employee collaboration)
Moxie can be used for collaborating with customers, partners, and/or employees. This is done through two sets of products that Moxie offers aptly called Employee or Customer Spaces.
Moxie Search is powered by the Autonomy Search engine and utilizes the Intelligent Data Operating Layer (IDOL) Server for search and discovery. The IDOL Server collects indexed data from connectors and stores it in its proprietary structure, optimized for fast processing and retrieval of data. As the information processing layer, IDOL forms a conceptual and contextual understanding of all content in an enterprise, automatically analyzing any piece of information from over 1,000 different content formats and even people’s interests.
Users can access Spaces through a native iPhone app or a mobile optimized browser.
The last time I saw the Moxie product was probably around 8 months ago and if you would have asked me then if they were ready for customer collaboration I would have said no. They had some capabilities out there but nothing substantial. Today it’s actually quite a different story and they offer a very robust set of customer collaboration features on their platform. Moxie also differs in that Ideo (the famous design firm) helped design their platform, it doesn’t mean it looks that different then some of the other vendors out there but it does mean that the usability and ease of use is great. As a platform you can expect that Moxie will be able to deliver on all the same (if not more) capabilities and features then it’s rivals. Moxie also has a great thought leadership team Don Tapscott (author of many books including Macro Wikinomics) helps lead and they have recently brought on Megan Murray who used to be a practitioner over at Booz Allen Hamilton and now helps lead collaboration strategy for Moxie clients. It’s safe to say that the company has a very solid team behind it. Moxie also offers a very impressive resource center, in fact I’ll go as far as to say it’s the best resource center I’ve seen from a vendor to date.
The 24/7 support is great and is in fact greater than what I have seen at several other vendors, however, the cost at $8/user/month is also a bit higher than I’m seeing other vendors offering (and keep in mind that’s the starting price). Moxie also benefits in that their platform offers capabilities for collaboration and communicating with any type of community, whether it be employees, partners, or customers. Some vendors offer this functionality in the form of communities by Moxie goes beyond that to offer business solutions which take the engagement beyond just “talking” on a community platform. Moxie calls itself an enterprise social networking software solution which is interesting since their value proposition is on collaborative business solutions not on networking. The word “social” is a bit too prevalent in certain aspects for example “social mobile collaboration.” Which makes me wonder what “non-social mobile collaboration” looks like. Collaboration is inherently…social, is it not?
However, having said that, Moxie, like many other vendors is still trying to determine the best type of positioning for themselves, is it social business, social collaboration, social enterprise, emergent collaboration, or something else? It sounds like the concepts are all the same but the terms aren’t.
A native iphone app and friendly user mobile interface is also a plus, although not every vendor offers this yet it will become standard within 3-6 months. Overall I think it’s a great platform to help with customer, partner, and employee collaboration and communication and it seems as though Moxie is committed to helping their clients succeed with a very robust resource center and experienced team with plenty of thought leadership.
(Cross-posted @ Social Business Advisor: Social CRM and Enterprise 2.0)