PBworks Aims Enterprise Social Suite at Ad Agencies

PBworks will release a version of its cloud-hosted enterprise social networking and collaboration suite designed specifically for advertising agencies on Tuesday.

With this new product, called PBworks Agency Edition, the company extends its strategy of tailoring its suite for specific vertical segments. It has versions for law firms, sales teams and educational institutions, and is considering one for the health industry. PBworks also has a "general purpose" version of its suite, Business Edition, that can be used by any type of organization.

PBworks developed the Agency Edition because it detected a need for this type of suite among advertising agencies, whose work is by definition extremely collaborative, said Chris Yeh, the company's marketing vice president.

From the initial efforts to land a client through the development of a campaign and the archiving of customer documents, advertising agencies require that a wide variety of creative, account, design and external teams work together, he said.

In addition to features common to enterprise social networking and collaboration suites, such as wikis, document management, file sharing, employee profiles, activity streams, microblogging, chat and project management, Agency Edition adds specific components for ad agencies.

These components include client dashboards that can be shared with customers so that they can monitor the progress of their projects, as well as the capability to upload video clips to PBworks shared pages and set granular access levels.

Agency Edition starts at US$30 per user per month for employees of the organization, with free access for the organization's clients and partners.

PBworks, founded in 2005 and based in San Mateo, California, is privately held and has about 25 employees. It competes against other enterprise collaboration players like Microsoft, IBM, Google, Jive Software, Socialtext, NewsGator and Zoho.

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