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Since Groupsite’s inception in 2006 (formerly CollectiveX), companies, non-profits, membership associations, healthcare organizations, educational institutions, and municipalities have created over 60,000 Groupsites. These communities have been used for intranets, extranets, boards, committees, events and conferences, public outreach communities, project management communities, faculty networks, customer communities, and professional networks. Following is the conversation that CIO Applications had with Clarence Wooten, the founder and CEO of Groupsite, on how his company brings together only the most useful features of listservs, collaboration software and social networks into a system that empowers groups to communicate, collaborate and network easily.
Please elaborate on the trends that will have an impact on the collaboration space this year, and how is Groupsite planning to leverage these trends and evolve?
The collaboration space has matured. There are many options to choose from across collaboration and community software providers. As a result, great design, user-experience, robust features, integrations, multi-device support are table stakes and should be expected in any enterprise-grade community/collaboration platform. Despite the increased competition and quality, costs have not come down on a per-user basis, and many providers still require custom integrations that require IT support for setup.
Groupsite, on the other hand, has been designed from the ground up to be affordable and robust with self-serve ease-of-use. The platform is only $99/month per Groupsite, regardless of the number of users. Each Groupsite comes standard with 40 GBs storage and up to 4 subgroups. Additional storage and subgroup capacity can be added in increments of $10/month.
In Q2 2020, Groupsite 3.0 will be released. We believe that it will have a major impact and set a new bar for cost, quality, and ease-of-use that will make enterprise-grade collaboration/community software accessible and affordable for any company, organization, or cause.
What are the challenges that CIOs face now in the collaboration space, and how is Groupsite effectively addressing these issues?
CIOs have always expressed the desire for flexibility, security, and interoperability across cloud-based tools while balancing ease-of-deployment and ease-of-use. Cloud-based tools are increasingly entering the enterprise from the bottom-up vs. top-down. As a result, CIOs have more challenges than ever across data security and provenance.
Groupsite’s mission has always been to bring the power and effectiveness of in-person group communication, collaboration and networking, to online groups and communities
Please elaborate on the collaboration solution that Groupsite delivers based on its methodology, features, and benefits involved?
Groupsite pioneered the term “social collaboration.” Social collaboration is what enables groups to communicate, collaborate, and network online as easily as they would offline if they were to meet in person.
Three essential characteristics define social collaboration:
1. Social collaboration is not just community or collaboration; it is the blending of community and collaboration.
2. Social collaboration is centered around groups; groups provide the context. So, social collaboration does not revolve around an individual’s friend list or contact Rolodex (like with social networks).
3. Social collaboration can only happen within a system of integrated communication, sharing, and networking. Remove one component from the system, and social collaboration loses its true value.
Groupsite’s mission has always been to bring the power and effectiveness of in-person group communication, collaboration, and networking, to online groups and communities.
Please cite a case study on how Groupsite enabled clients to overcome hurdles and attain desired outcomes.
American Bankers Association (ABA) uses Groupsite.com for several sites, each targeted to specific audiences within their membership. They currently have live sites for their Trust, Commercial Lending, Compliance, and Bank Marketing segments, with more sites under consideration. Access to the sites are exclusively for ABA members as a member benefit. ABA’s Groupsites have already been very well received by its members, with numbers of users regularly growing, and the level of engagement in terms of the number of discussion topics posted steadily increasing as well.
What differentiates Groupsite from the other players in the collaboration space?
Groupsite intendeds to stay true to our belief that great community and collaboration software does not need to be expensive or complicated to be effective for groups within enterprises large and small. We believe that great community/collaboration software should be affordable, enterprise-ready, self-serve, and simple-by-design. Here is how we address each:
• Affordable: No per-user fees or per-seat fees. Just $99/month per Groupsite collaboration community
• Enterprise-ready: Infinitely scalable, secure (insured by Lloyds of London), single sign-on (SSO) ready
• Self-serve: Intuitive user-interface, drag-and-drop customization, integrations, and white-label branding
• Simple-by-design: discussion forums, file storage, calendars, profiles, media sharing, analytics, subgroups, and member management designed in a way that doesn’t require an instruction manual or training to use
What does the future hold for Groupsite?
Groupsite will focus more on integrations with other collaboration and cloud-based tools and services. Enterprises typically use many tools and web services. More integrations will enable Groupsites to better serve a diverse customer base of groups across enterprises that integrate with various CRM, collaboration, and other cloud-based tools.
Groupsite 3.0 will be launching during Q2 2020. In tandem with the launch, Groupsite will be moving to its $99/month, all-inclusive pricing model with no per-user fees. Groupsite 3.0 is a complete refresh of the Groupsite user interface across desktop browsers, tablets, iOS, and Android phones.