In June this year, Pbworks (formerly known as Pbwiki) launched the Project Edition, an integration of project management tools with the traditional wiki. This edition was directed towards freelance consultants, advertising firms, design firms, etc. in such a way that the project management becomes an organic outgrowth of the real work done by these businesses. Later in July, when I wrote a post on the release of the new version of Zoho Projects and the evolution of project management software, I highlighted the role of social tools in the execution of a project and talked about how the current day project management applications incorporate the social components seamlessly.
Soon, companies also realized the importance of integrating social
technologies that can help boost the productivity within the teams.
After all, a successful and agile project is one in which information
is readily available as and when it is needed. The best way to
implement this is by adding a social layer on the top. It will help
keep team members informed about what others are working at a
particular moment and it will also help the users to get project
related information from fellow team members in real time. Companies
like SocialText and ManyMoon implemented this social component effectively into the project workflow.
We have already seen SocialText and Zoho combine Wikis, Project Management App and Social Tools in their offerings. Not to be outdone by these companies, today, Pbworks is announcing the Social Collaboration Update to its Project and Legal Edition. This free add-on adds a social layer on top of some of their existing products. It helps team members collaborate with other members more efficiently and, also, connect with the customers updating them of the progress in a totally seamless and in, somewhat, real time way.
The Pbworks Social Update adds the following three features
- User Profiles
- Integrated Microblogging
- Email Integration
The user profiles are akin to the profiles we have in the social networking sites, showcasing our brand related information. The user profiles in this update is about the user’s profile within the organization/project. The admin can set up the relevant fields in the user profile based on the needs of the organization. Since the user profile is integrated with the work itself, it helps users showcase their relevant skills/experiences, the tasks they are working on and the pages/files they have contributed to.
The integrated microblogging system is similar to the features we have in other services like Socialtext, Manymoon and Zoho. It allows users to post a short message which can range from simple feedback to brainstorming a strategy to a message about the current status of the user. The microblogging system is integrated in such a way that the messages are part of the overall activity stream and it offers an easy way to do unstructured collaboration. The fact that there are no high requirements makes it easy for employees in an organization to adapt it into their existing workflow.
The email integration might appear to be so old school but my own personal experience with some clients shows that many users still rely on tools like email to use products like what Pbworks is offering. Sometimes businesses may have to deal with customers who wouldn’t want anything other than the old fashioned email. In order to integrate these customers into the company’s workflow (on apps like Pbworks), the users want an easy way to email the contents to workspace. Pbworks offers this option with the new update.
With this release, Pbworks is now offering a product that matches many of the features offered by their competitors. This also ups the ante in this space eventually leading to more and more innovation and, thereby, helping the users of such products achieve better efficiency and agility.
Disclaimer: Chris Yeh, a guest blogger here at Cloud Ave is also the VP, Enterprise Marketing at Pbworks. But this is my independent opinion based on the online presentation as it is done with other bloggers and media people. Zoho, mentioned above in the post, is a sponsor of this blog but it is an independent analysis by me.