A guest post by Ben Kepes of diversity.net.nz, a blog that focuses on SaaS, cloud-computing and Web 2.0 for the real world.

GroupSwim is an innovative company which has created an intelligent community building and collaboration SaaS solution. It was mentioned here on RWW previously as one of the finalists in the Enterprise 2.0 launch pad. GroupSwim aims to connect individuals and build knowledge utilising social based methodologies. Their method of working comes from four observations of  current offerings and methods of working:

  • Knowledge is everywhere - be it within individuals, in Salesforce, via Google, in emails etc
  • Search sucks - it's hard, it's not semantic and everyone has different ideas how to use it
  • Knowledge is locked in people heads, so an individual doesn't know who is an expert on any one particular subject
  • Other offerings are difficult to use and expensive

So what does GroupSwim offer? Their solution has:

  • A nice Web 2.0 interface
  • An open architecture that allows it to grow, adapt and morph at will
  • The benefit of leveraging community intelligence
  • A robust enterprise grade architecture

How does it work?

Once a user creates an account, they can create multiple communities within their account. This has two benefits - it means a business can have different communities for different parts of the business, but it also means that an individual user, with one single sign on, can access all of the groups they are subscribed to. This is all nice but not unique, GroupSwim's main benefit comes from its semantic approach and its qualitative differentiation techniques which together improve functionality and user experience.

Semantic Approach

Content entered into a discussion is automatically analysed and tagged with keywords. This allows better classification, better searching and a more relevant and proactive customer experience to be offered to the user. Of course users can edit, change and add to the automatically generated tags but it speeds up the process no end. My experience with other collaborative platforms is that the search tends to be a little clunky - often giving poor results, Groupswim's semantic search improves the search and therefore overall usability of the service.

Qualitative Differentiation

GroupSwim keeps a running tally on both explicit and implicit rating of material. Explicit rating comes from user ratings as per other solutions, implicit rating comes from a host of automatically assessed criteria - how often an item is read, how many times it is on-forwarded, how long it remains open etc. In this way users get a true assessment of the quality of any piece of content. Groupswim have done a nice job of capturing the two streams of rating - together the overall rating gives an improved experience - this coupled with the semantic search really sped things up in my trial.

Conclusion

GroupSwim provides a compelling offering - I can see it providing real value for organisational community building both internally and externally. Check out their elevator pitch video below.