In a couple of weeks I’ll be winging my way to the Enterprise 2.0 conference in San Francisco. As part of the conference, there is a launchpad series where start-ups get to produce a pitch video and have the community vote for their favorite. It was this same launchpad program that YouCalc won at the Boston Enterprise 2.0 earlier this year. Before the Boston event I went out on a limb and predicted that YouCalc would win – I figured it would only be right to give me assessment of this years crop also.

The quarter finalists for this event are;

  • CubeTree – CubeTree’s hosted collaboration suite helps companies create internal social networks. CubeTree’s social networking features include profiles, microblogging, tagging and activity feeds for 30+ types of feed items A company’s CubeTree network is private to the company, free for any number of employees and comes with enterprise-ready security and administration. To help employees collaborate better, applications like wikis, microblogging, file-sharing, link-sharing, polls and group chat are integrated into CubeTree’s social networking platform, and included for free.
  • The Garland Group – A compliance and collaboration company focusing on the community bank and credit union industry. They have built a collaborative compliance management platform called RiskKey to bring transparency & legitimacy to banks and the industry that are supposed to be in the business of protecting consumers money as they were supposed to do.
  • Twiki – Twiki, Inc. is the leading enabler of Enterprise Agility. The Twiki Open Collaboration Platform transforms corporate intranets and portals, creating a powerful knowledge infrastructure for the organization. Users can share rich web pages and existing enterprise documents with powerful search and connect with enterprise social networking. Twiki situational applications, dashboards and reports that model enterprise business processes can be created using a simple markup language that does not require deep programming skills, enabling true agility in the enterprise.
  • XWiki – XWiki builds open-source collaborative solutions for Enterprises. The XWiki platform is highly extensible and allows to structure content and build applications on top of a Wiki.

So… to my assessment (and bear in mind that, in keeping with my traditional approach, I’ve assessed these offerings purely on their pitch videos); XWiki seems way behind the right ball, Wiki’s (no matter how much whiz bang functionality they include) are last years story, I can’t see them exciting the voting attendees. They’re also hampered by a video that, while authentic, lacks any sort of charisma.

Twiki on the other hand arguably does far too much – their intro video (and seemingly the application itself) is a veritable treasure chest of buzzwords and themes de jour – agility, social, operating system, extranet, next gen, sales automation, actionable intelligence, situational agility, continuous innovation. I’m somewhat at a loss as to how to define Twiki – beyond “everything” which helps no one really. They’re possibly a victim of their own buzz. Add to that the fact that they’re in no sense of the word a start-up and as such arguably ineligible for a launchpad competition and you can see why they’re out of the running (what’ll be next? IBM and Cisco entering the TechCrunch50?)

Moving to Garland Group – while risk management is important and timely – the barriers to adoption for a compliance product are more cultural than technical – arguably compliance monitoring can be done on a million and one platforms – but without the cultural decision to adopt – it’s something of a waste of time.

Which leads me to my pick of the bunch, CubeTree. While I’m loathe to pick an offering that is just another “Facebook for the enterprise” offering, CubeTree have done a good job of articulating the proposition in their video, don’t try and sell themselves as a cure for cancer but manage to come across as professional.

So yup – CubeTree gets my vote, we’ll see what the masses decide in San Francisco in a fortnight. Videos of the finalists can be seen here.

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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