"At Rackspace they were big on Yammer, and I used it but I didn't like it. I felt like it got in the way too much. Maybe that's my inner Steve Jobs coming out there--I feel like tools should get the job done but should not make it difficult," Pfeil said. Rackspace also offered access to and training with several enterprise workflow and BPM tools, he said, "but I felt like there was so much work needed to make them work that it wasn't worth it."
DataStax is a commercial open-source company that backs Apache Cassandra, a NOSQL database used for high-performance Web applications. With about 50 employees, DataStax is venture capital-backed and growing rapidly, so it has had to establish the kind of rigorous processes that win enterprise customers and keep them happy, Pfeil said. A typical process managed through the tool would be bringing a new customer on board, where half a dozen tasks might be assigned to people in engineering, training, accounting, and other functions.
Sparqlight makes initiating any given process about as easy as sending an email. "Actually, [it's] a little bit easier," Pfeil said. "With an email, if I want something done I have to hit compose, type all the instructions, and hit send. Sparqlight has a nice option where at the end of creating a task [I] can save a template for it, so the next time I can just change the name of the customer and don't have to type the whole thing up again."
Sparqlight's Reisgen said Yammer integration allows his tool to bring its task management strengths to the social software environment, with Sparqlight events showing up in the Yammer activity stream. He hopes to achieve deeper integration with Yammer over time. Integration with the Box cloud file-sharing service is also on the horizon, as is integration with another major cloud software company Reisgen will not yet mention.
"We really want to be going deeper into the systems of record side of the house, helping expose those systems of record to new users and helping enterprises get a lot more [return on investment] out of their original IT investment," Reisgen said. In fact, Sparqlight began as a spinoff of another business venture, The Enterprise University, and was created to fill a gap in existing enterprise software capabilities.
The new Sparqlight cloud-based collaboration with Google Docs and Yammer social networking integration is priced at $20 per month per enterprise user. Sparqlight is free for small to medium teams, and a free 30-day trial for up to 50 users is available for enterprise use.
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