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Emergent Collaboration Vendor Review: oneDrum


Posted by on December 16, 2011

On Friday’s I’ll be reviewing a vendor in the emergent collaboration space and will provide an overview on that vendor which includes aspects from leadership and vision to technology and market focus. If you are vendor that would like to participate, please contact me (email is in the sidebar as is the twitter link). The goal of these posts is not to bash or praise vendors but to simply offer an objective view on what various vendors offer so that YOU can decide if they are a good fit for your business. Every post will cover the same elements for different vendors. If you have ideas or recommendations for other items to be covered in these posts then please let me know and I will consider them.

This week I’m taking a look at oneDrum. oneDrum is headquartered in Scotland and currently has 10 employees. The best way to visualize oneDrum is as a platform that provides a Google Docs experience but in Microsoft Office. At this point oneDrum is live but they haven’t 100% launched yet. I spoke with Jasper Westaway the CEO.

Integration capabilities

At this point oneDrum focuses on integration with Microsoft Office products such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. In the future there will be an API for enabling other 3rd party applications as well.

Support

oneDrum has two types of customers, those that are on the freemium model and those that are on the paid model. Enterprise customers pay 18% of the annual license for support and maintenance. However, there is also a level of free online support and a community, which usually responds to issues within just a few hours.

Pricing

The basic paid version is $10/user/month but for the enterprise this is $15-$20/user/month. The higher fee is due to different kinds of security and LDAP integration.

Maintenance & Upgrades

Right now minor upgrades are released around every 2 weeks but once the product is completely launched this will most likely be 1x/month with major upgrades around 2x/year. The current roadmap takes oneDrum into 2013. The focus thereafter will be on oneDrum as a synchronization platform.

Overall direction/strategic vision for the company and industry

As a company, oneDrum is trying to be a synchronization platform. In the future they will begin exposing SDKs and APIs actively to allow for further integration and development. oneDrum is currently in the process of raising more money and is currently funded from the UK. In 2012 they are expecting to spend more time in California but this will be to focus on the commercial side of the business, that is marketing, sales, and business development. Their goal is to really focus on the enterprise with the Microsoft Office solution.

As an industry oneDrum believes that many people don’t really understand how hard synchronization is. In their opinion nobody will ever build a non-networked application again because it just doesn’t make sense to do so. At this point they see the market as an incredibly immature marketplace that nobody really knows that well. Jasper (the CEO) mentioned that Sharepoint is not really a Gorilla like everyone things; it has perhaps around 10 million users. Some vendors are starting to own specific verticals. Jive for example owns the finance market but there is still lot of mess and a lot of noise. There needs to be more differentiation amongst the products and Jasper correctly pointed out that it’s hard to see them all surviving. Jasper also mentioned that Microsoft needs to come up with a credible replacement for Sharepoint which I thought was interesting, the reasoning behind this is that most companies can indeed get sharepoint at a low cost but then they end up spending a lot of money on maintenance.

Jasper and oneDrum believe that all companies are moving towards a more integrated collaboration experience.

Key differentiating factors from competition

  • Real real activity in Microsoft office, as someone is typing you can see it just like in a wiki
  • Modern architecture, light weight, and no dedicated servers
  • Enterprise-grade file sharing

Customization

At this point there is no customization available for oneDrum

Time to go live

It takes just a few minutes to go live with oneDrum.

Overall technology

Not specified

Industry/vertical focus

oneDrum has seen four key verticals which have been fast adopters: consultancies, energy companies, logistics providers, and education companies. The focus is on the enterprise but oneDrum also offers solutions for small and medium size businesses.

Capabilities (customer, partner, employee collaboration)

Employee collaboration

My take

I haven’t seen any other vendor do exactly what oneDrum does.  You may recall that Jive purchased a vendor called OffiSync which also built this social and collaborative layer on top of Microsoft Office but from what I recall it wasn’t as clean and didn’t do as much.  Since most large organizations (and most organizations period) use Microsoft Office it only makes sense to use this as a vehicle to get into the enterprise.  The approach here is not to deploy a collaboration platform where employees upload and share documents but to actually use the place where these documents are created as the basis for collaboration.

If you have ever used a Wiki or Gdocs you are already quite familiar with what I’m talking about, no imagine being able to have this some collaborative and social layer but within something like Microsoft Word, pretty cool huh?  You can see who is working on the document, where they are working on it, and can even interact with people via messaging while they are working on the document with you.  All in all it’s definitely an interesting approach to document collaboration in the workplace.  However, oneDrum itself is not full-scale collaboration platform.  Meaning you wouldn’t use it as a way to ask and answer questions from a network, to find subject matter experts, or as a platform to submit and share ideas within your enterprise.  The type of collaboration that oneDrum at this point is specifically focusing on is on document collaboration.  I can easily see some interesting partnerships between something like oneDrum and other niche collaboration vendors.

I’m not sure how ready oneDrum is for the enterprise yet as security and technology issues were not specified during my interview.  Also, I think the price point for oneDrum is a bit high considering what I’m seeing other vendors charging.  Overall I like their approach to building on top of Microsoft Office and I think 2012 is going to be an interesting year for them as they fully launch their product.

To find out more about oneDrum you can visit their site at oneDrum.com or email them directly at enquiries@onedrum.com, make sure to reference the article (no I don’t get paid any referrals for any of these articles).

Screenshots

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