Traction Software recently released TeamPage 4, the latest version of its signature enterprise blog and wiki product.
In this latest release, TeamPage takes hyperlinking and content relationships to a new level providing advanced integration and moderation of information which translates into greater usability and audit ability.
As Enterprise 2.0 continues to come of age, one of the challenges with blogs and wikis stems from its apparent unstructured and more chaotic nature.
Compared to the deep and distinct silos of the past, this new model can sometimes flirt with the other end of the spectrum — bringing content creation and interaction to the masses at the expense of moderated publishing, meaningful revision histories, and audit ability.
TeamPage 4 offers some breakthroughs to this challenge via its moderation model which is likely to impact the face of the enterprise intranet architecture.
Its ability to leverage the power of hyperlinking to connect information across multiple workspaces, provide a meaningful history of content creation/editing, and do so in a permission based work environment that can be accessed in different devices on the fly packs a lot of knowledge management power into one platform.
Let’s look at some of the key differentiators that make TeamPage more than just another blog and wiki product.
Since its earliest release, TeamPage has always had an integrated dashboard, blog, and wiki with built in mobile device interfaces.
The product does a good job of taking the same information and pouring it through different interfaces — RSS, mobile, web, e-mail using its built in “skins”.
In addition, information can be exported into PDF or MS Word with an interactive table of contents.
The export comes with a host of display options so you can include all/some comments as well as all/some of the cross-referenced articles without having to know where all that information resides.
In the browser based example shown here, you can see the 3 column layout is customized to have project, label, and tagging information on the left, content in the main pane, and date controls, feeds, shortcuts, and other tools on the right sidebar.
The main content is fully customizable allowing the user to choose which priority based information (to-do’s, status, etc.), time-insensitive information (documentation, policies, etc.), and external widgets to display there.
Using tags, users can put together different sections of information in a way that helps them organize the screen in a way that is most useful to them.
What was most interesting to me about the dashboard was its ability to give you a snapshot of a given project or workspace as of a given date in time.
For instance, you could click on the date range from a previous year or given month and see how the project looked at that point in time.
The dashboard would display to-do, priorities, status, news, etc. as of that particular date in time.
While not a feature you’d use every day, it could be particularly useful from a project management and post-project evaluation standpoint.
All content within TeamPage rests on the foundation of a rich permission engine so users can see relevant and related information across different workspaces and apply tags to different groups to alert them to important contextual relationships (for example: marketing may tag a question as a priority for the engineering group).
This breaks down information silos and provides a common view while still maintaining proper access controls.
Anyone who has ever commented on a blog post knows that all the comments are lumped together at the bottom.
There is no easy way to determine which comment goes with which part of the article. Rather than be able to glean the knowledge you need at quick glance it becomes a search and rescue mission to find the relevant parts.
With TeamPage, users can comment directly within a specific section of a larger post or reply to a comment and have it automatically threaded.
This style of commenting drives relevant content within the article body to contextualize it.
According to Jordan Frank, VP Marketing and Business Development at Traction, “Within TeamPage, comments are not a second class citizen.”
Comments can be itemized, labeled and tagged within the context of the main article body.
Users can add images, attachments, and other rich text formatting and all information is automatically cross-linked within and between posts. Just like the parent post, comments have a complete edit history associated with them.
Here is an example of how comments are integrated within the main content:
For many use cases (HR policies, executive communications, and so on), there are requirements for moderated publishing.
TeamPage has a number of built-in and necessary controls to facilitate and control this process.
Once again the underlying permission model plays a big role in enabling this functionality.
Some users can only see published, public content. Others have the ability to read but not approve/publish drafts.
This helps prevent duplication of effort where multiple people attempt to comment on or answer questions when someone else has already resolved the issue.
Moderators can view and approve drafts to make them public. Using labels and the tag cloud, information can be instantly updated based on its current state.
These different levels of integrated permissions provide for:
- Permission users to view, navigate and search Traction in “Draft” or “Latest Stable Version” mode
- Simple actions for publishing, editing or rejecting content
- Page locks to prevent certain users from editing specific pages.
Tagging, entities, authors and time are key elements of the TeamPage taxonomy.
The individual authorship even with moderation in place offers individuals a chance to give and receive credit for contributions made within the corporate machine.
In many blogs and wikis you might be able to view content edit dates, but that is all.
Within TeamPage every time an update is made — to content, relationships, tags, or comments, that information is tracked. For any content you can view an edit history that tells you:
- What changed
- Who changed it
- When it was changed
Even when page names change, the edit history of the previously named document is not lost.
This is possible because a global namespace drives the overall TeamPage wiki while individual workspaces can have their own distinct, yet integrated namespace.
This aliasing and cross-aliasing helps avoid the restrictions of unique naming conventions while still leveraging aliases across spaces/projects.
This information is particularly powerful for providing an audit trail that is useful and meets corporate governance requirements.
Here is a visual view of the edit history available within TeamPage. History can be viewed visually (shown here) or textually within a timeline.
Traction Software’s products are built on their patented hypertext engine.
Server products are build on 100% Java technology and run on Windows, Linux, Solaris, or Mac OS X as a total solution, requiring no additional database or software licenses.
It delivers a cross-platform Web browser interface.
Traction can be integrated into the enterprise using their Solution Developer Kit (SDK) which adheres to standard protocols such as RSS and Atom feeds, XML-RPC, and the SOAP protocol.
It integrates with LDAP and Active Directory and provides the ability to augment authentication using SSL/TLS and other security extensions.
Learn more about the technology behind the scenes on the company’s site.
You can download a free version which is limited to 5 projects and 5 named accounts at their home page.
For enterprise use, pricing begins at $3,750 for 25 named accounts. Non-profit pricing is also available.
To see the complete list of product options and pricing visit the pricing page on their site.
About Traction Software
Founded in 1996, Traction Software, Inc. set out to eliminate the frustrating and costly inefficiencies in team communications and information management by creating a web-based hypertext Journal.
Traction TeamPage was first released in 1999 and launched commercially in July 2002. It is one of the leading blog and wiki products for the enterprise.