NewsGator has upgraded its Social Sites enterprise social networking (ESN) add-on for SharePoint to make the software better able to tailor the content, notifications and capabilities it displays for each user.
The overall goal is to make it easier for Social Sites users to stay engaged with work tasks, information and colleagues.
ESN software, which adapts social media features for workplace use, is seen to fail when employees view it as yet another separate “inbox” that they need to check. When this happens, the ESN system becomes a deserted island.
Thus, NewsGator and other ESN vendors consider it a priority to make sure their software is threaded into the business applications and processes that employees use daily.
In version 4.0, NewsGator for example has a new feature called Follow a Document, which lets employees receive notifications on their activity streams about changes to documents that they consider important.
Another feature called Top News rearranges items on users’ activity streams, giving more prominence to items Social Sites deems more relevant and important based on each individual’s actions and profile data.
An existing feature called Question Routing has been improved to get questions posted in groups answered more quickly and precisely.
Also new in Social Sites 4.0 is the ability to post requests that require approvals to the activity streams of those involved in deciding on them, and giving them the ability to approve or deny them in the Social Sites interface.
Social Sites, which is designed to be used with SharePoint implementations on customer premises or in dedicated hosting environments, now gets in version 4.0 a link to Office 365’s SharePoint Online, hosted by Microsoft on a public cloud.
The feature, called O365 Bridge, lets Social Sites on premises installations tap their organization’s Office 365’s SharePoint Online as an extranet for external collaboration, giving users the ability to upload files to their SkyDrive Pro accounts and monitor Social Sites activity streams from Office 365.
NewsGator will also announce on Tuesday a special version of the product tailored specifically for internal corporate communications tasks called Social Sites for Internal Communications.