Blogs are now visited by some 10 percent of the online population, according to Forrester Research. No surprise, then, that enterprise versions of blogging software are gaining popularity, offering simpler, lower-cost alternatives for some of the same features provided by collaboration and portal environments.
Enterprise blogs are for group rather than individual journals, with content organized by time and topic. They provide a place to share meeting notes, status reports, discussions and information. The software usually has version tracking, permission controls, collaboration features, calendaring and search. Content linking and dynamic real simple syndication (RSS) features are also common. Administrators can keep important elements such as open issues or task lists at a top-level view.
Among the growing list of corporate users is Enel North America, a 200-employee energy company specializing in wind and hydroelectric power. Last March, Enel was looking for a quick way to "give our users the ability to access, post and control content," says Ernest Kayinamura, director of information and communication technology. The company invested $15,000 in Teampage software from Traction Software, and it had the system up and running within "a couple of days," he says.
A dozen contributors at Enel now post basic information including HR policies and company news, and they use RSS features to post energy industry news summaries. Work is underway on a collaborative application for some 30 employees who handle due diligence on acquisitions.
Traction and competitors such as Six Apart (developer of Movable Type) are seeing growing interest in enterprise blogging, and the larger vendors are jumping on the bandwagon. "IBM has an alphaWorks project ... and Microsoft and Oracle are doing their darnedest to catch up," says Traction VP Jordan Frank. "There's no lack of interest from the big boys."