Wednesday's announcement of the Spaces by Moxie platform follows through on a direction Moxie CEO Tom Kelly described in an interview last month. Although Moxie's social collaboration platform competes in the enterprise social networking market with vendors such as Jive Software and Yammer, Moxie starts with the assumption that the main reason for getting employees to collaborate is to ensure they provide better, faster answers to customer questions and requests.
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"Our definition of a Moxie social enterprise is driving knowledge out of the enterprise to answer these questions," Kelly said. Although he is all in favor of taking advantage of Facebook-style social interaction for faster online collaborations, "90%" of the interest comes from sales, service and support departments, which tends to be where it pays off most, he said.
Jive Software seemed to be thinking along the same lines with the Customer Service Solution announced earlier this month, which bridges private employee social communities with public support communities. Similarly, Lithium is developing employee collaboration features to pair with its customer community product.
Moxie isn't playing quite the same game because it doesn't compete with Jive and Lithium in the market for customer-support community software, which tends to be focused on peer-to-peer support and social discussion between fans or users of a product. Moxie's products for customer support through email or chat are one-to-one channels, while its knowledge base is self service. That one-to-one communication can still tap into the power of crowdsourcing and collaboration behind the scenes, but its goal is to provide customers with more-definitive answers.
Customers were already using the two sides of the system together, but this week's update to the Spaces platform binds them together more tightly, Nikhil Govindaraj, VP of products, said in a briefing prior to the announcement. "We believe what you're doing on the inside can really benefit your customer, and should benefit your customer," he said.
Tara Sporrer, Moxie's vice president of marketing and sales operations, said she is not surprised to see Jive starting down a similar path. "We don't blame them," she said, except that the type of social community Jive offers represents "only a fraction of where customer interactions occur today" as opposed to knowledge base, email, phone, and chat, whereas Moxie offers applications specifically for customer contact centers. "We think Jive is missing a pretty key part of where customer service takes place," she said.
The Spaces by Moxie first-quarter 2012 release also includes an updated integration framework with application programming interfaces and connectors for CRM, ERP, content management, and human resources applications.
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