WyseTalk social business software launches mobile apps
Life beyond browsers for Apple, Android, Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry users.
WyseTalk, the South African leader in social business software (SBS), has broadened its access platforms beyond mobile and desktop browsers, to include mobile apps.
WyseTalk decided to break free from the limitations of browsers after one-and-a-half years. "We spent too much time on making the browser apps (which are HTML5) behave like a native app. Writing a native app lets you focus on the actual features of the app and the responsiveness is just so much better," says CTO and co-founder Gerhard Pretorius.
Apps for Apple iOS 6, BlackBerry v.5, 6 and 7, and Android are available for download from within the WyseTalk community or Apple's iTunes App store, the new BlackBerry World Store and the Google Play store, with the app for Windows Phone 8 coming soon.
Pretorius says the current sweet spot of the explosive mobile opportunity is in Android, which, according to comScore, comprises 54% of the global smartphone market. For that reason, WyseTalk's first app is based on Android 2.2, which Pretorius says covers about 98% of the Android market. "At this stage, we're getting ready for 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich, and will probably support it as a separate app from 2.2."
WyseTalk also has a desktop PC app that consists solely of a notifier. Notifications are clicked on in a small popup that appears in the task or menu bar and is executed in the browser, so office-bound employees can stay in touch with their mobile colleagues.
Social walled garden
The software combines business and social principles, allowing businesses to create walled-in communities that set meaningful context for conversations around innovation (whether crowdsourcing or seeding ideas), issues (a launch or a crisis), or events (internal system events, external alerts or meetings).
From the Web, companies can start a community for the entire company, to which employees belong by default or by signing up. Within the overarching company community, organisational sub-entities or interest groups can be formed. Members can start, participate in or follow conversations; follow and un-follow people; and 'like' comments.
Utilities that support and enrich these actions include a photo/document uploader, search and reputation scanners (currently scanning Hellopeter and Google). "A key difference between us and other SBS platforms is our ability to have system events triggering a conversation," says Pretorius. "This could be an internal system triggering an event, such as a sales target being reached; or a Google, Hellopeter or Twitter alert could kick-start a discussion."
While companies can simply register their community online through WyseTalk.com and download the apps once set up, Pretorius says it is preferable that larger enterprises go through a process of consultation and change management with WyseTalk to implement a social business strategy. A number of customers who have taken to social business platforms are disappointed in the results, despite viral uptake within their organisations. "WyseTalk is specifically a business tool to achieve organisational direction and inculcate a culture of open innovation over time, and the tone for this conversation must be set right at the top and at the outset. It's all very well for it to spread like wildfire, which is the take-up that you want, but it's very difficult to step in and shape matters once the conversations become misdirected, social-only and optional."
WyseTalk has become something of a verb among its enterprise users. This is a distinction it has earned by virtue of its clear value and differences from other social business tools, collaboration, messaging and social media.
* When someone mentions a good idea, another would quickly say "WyseTalk it, so we can get some feedback".
* Different from social media, WyseTalk conversations only happen within a pre-qualified community, lending context and incontestable value to it.
* Whereas e-mail doesn't lend itself to floating a new idea within a group ('reply to all' doesn't have the same round-table feel as the more engaging social mechanisms), SBS has high initiation rates in groups. Experience shows that the split between conversation initiation, participation and 'listening' is roughly equal in SBS. In addition, uptake of SBS seems often to lead to a drop in enterprise e-mails.
* Unlike collaboration, e-mail and social media, SBS has built-in rewards and recognition for activity and innovation. In addition, groups conform to organisational realities - they can be structured vertically and across companies - also geographically, enabling much better interaction between group-wide shared business functions.
* SBS lends itself to conversation, not simply to catching up on news.
Social business software should be a C-suite priority for the next two years, as the market is slated to reach $4.5 billion. Staying at the forefront of innovation will stand WyseTalk in good stead as the local market matures, as will its local support and hosting.
Pretorius says the next year will be as much about innovation as it will be about scalability and support.