Indian product design and software company Pramati Technologies has developed a social networking environment that is integrated with enterprise applications such as enterprise resource planning, and customer relationship management, a company executive said on Thursday.
A number of vendors including Salesforce.com are trying to integrate social networking into enterprise applications, but Pramati expects that the pricing of its service, which can be as low as US$2 per month per user, will make it attractive, said Jay Raghavendra Pullur , founder and CEO of Pramati.
The application, called Qontext, is described as an enterprise social collaboration platform, and will be sold in the SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) model through Qontext, a new wholly-owned subsidiary of Pramati.
The application will be offered from multi-tenanted hosting or dedicated hosting environments, or through an appliance at the customer's site, said Pullur who is also the CEO of Qontext.
The development challenge for Qontext was to create a social collaboration environment that is relatively unstructured and as interesting to use as a public social network, while at the same time providing the tools for companies to take advantage of the application to meet their business objectives, Pullur said.
While employees are free to set up and interact in a variety of groups, Qontext also allows companies to set up private groups for certain functional areas, and control access to these groups, Pullur said. Conversations on a particular subject may also be limited to certain categories of employees.
Business applications provide the triggers or the context for business-related conversations, which can be launched from within the applications, Pullur said.
Important conversations also remain linked to original content, and can be contextually recalled, he added.
Qontext is already being tested by some companies worldwide, Pullur said. The platform is targeted at companies with between 500 and 10,000 employees.
Pramati's first product was a Java application server, that has been deployed by a number of customers worldwide. Its SocialTwist business unit, started in 2008, focuses on hosted word-of-mouth marketing widgets for deployment on customers' web sites. Its Tell-a-Friend web widget lets readers recommend and share content directly with their friends through a variety of methods including e-mail, instant messenger, social networks, or their blogs.
Salesforce.com announced in November that its Chatter collaboration application will be available this year. Other small, specialized vendors are also planning to sell social networking platforms into enterprises.
Pullur expects Qontext will be attractive to users because of its easy integration with other applications in the enterprise.
The Qontext platform has already been integrated with some popular applications such as those from Salesforce.com. Its "Visual Layer" integration technology allows easy integration with other business applications, as it accesses only the presentation layer of the application, which is displaying HTML (hypertext markup language), Pullur said. By the addition of a line of code, Qontext can extract the HTML page and display it, he added.
A Foundation Edition of Qontext, offered from a multi-tenant hosted environment, will be priced at $2 per user per month, while a Professional Edition, hosted in a dedicated environment, will be priced at $10 per user for a month. The cost of the appliance, called Qontext in Box, will vary according to the customer's requirements, Pullur said