Integrate cloud app activity streams to improve productivity: Hojoki, Busy Flow

2012-12-15

While the cloud has simplified some aspects of managing IT, it has also increased complexity through the number of choices available. The needs (and budgets) of big enterprise, departments and teams within large companies, small-to-medium size business and freelancers are also all very different, which means there is room for lots of different solutions.

Obviously there are solutions from vendors like Microsoft, IBM, Google and Zoho which aim to give you an integrated stack of core products.

But another approach is to integrate all the different cloud apps you are using into a single activity stream. This is slightly different from task or project management tools that simply leverage file sharing apps like Box or DropBox or integration engines like IFTTT.

Hojoki

Currently in free public beta, Hojoki provides an integrated activity stream for 25 cloud apps:

Introducing Hojoki from Hojoki on Vimeo.

You can create workspaces in Hojoki and filter the activity stream in different ways.

Busy Flow

BusyFlow (which they say is aimed at small teams) integrates 8 cloud apps:

BusyFlow introduction from BusyFlow on Vimeo.

It also supports a workspace concept (e.g. for different projects) and each workspace provides its own comment wall within Busyflow itself.

Other options?

To an extent these tools aren't dissimilar to other enterprise social networking/microblogging tools, which also offer the ability to integrate apps into the activity stream. For example, Socialcast Reach. However, enterprise products typically provide more than just integration - for example, Microsoft Yammer offers a variety of app integrations but also provides a range of features outside the activity stream too.

With a heritage in Enterprise RSS, Attensa have also been working in the space for sometime:

"StreamServer bolsters existing infrastructure with the ability to organize, filter and deliver relevant content to the people who need it — wherever they need it to be."

In larger companies there are good reasons for leaning towards solutions that provide more than just an activity stream, but this may also be a barrier to the creation of a better integrated activity + social + email 'inbox' experience for users (although I'm not necessarily advocating that this will be a single inbox). Individual users may also still be pulled into other apps (either willingly or through necessity) and the lack of integration will make the overall user experience worse.

Considering that enterprise software is often influenced by the user experience and ideas developed by Web startups, it could be worth watching the influence of tools like Hojoki and Busy Flow.

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