More and more IT departments uses wikis -- those Web pages that all authorized users can add to and edit -- as the platform for everything from document management to project planning to knowledge bases. They’re easy to set up, easy to use, and perfect for the “let’s just get it done” IT group tired of complicated, formal tools.
But what if you could use the wiki concept to stitch together user applications from the tools they’re already using a lot, such a Microsoft Excel and Word? That’s where JotSpot comes in. Its hosted platform that handles data management, permissions management, and integration with apps from Outlook to Excel, from Salesforce.com to Google Earth. “We’re trying to leverage the existing habits that people have,” says CEO Joe Kraus.
JotSpot supports forms, embedded applications, and other objects essential to applications. That could enable, for example, a nontechnical user to set up a wiki with functionality approaching that of a commercial project management app, only modifiable and available over the Web.
Kraus expects both IT folks and the kinds of businesspeople who create detailed Excel models to adopt JotSpot under the corporate radar, to get a quick collaborative application up and running. “We’re not selling to the top of the IT chain, we’re selling to the bottom -- that’s also where wikis came into the enterprise,” he says.
That’s why JotSpot’s pricing starts at $10 per month to get a dedicated Web space and access to several users -- the goal is to make it easy for people to try it. Kraus hopes that they’ll then get hooked and get a more expensive plan to support more applications and users, as well as use some of JotSpot’s own applications, such as calendaring. (If hosted services are a no-no at your enterprise, JotSpot also offers a version delivered on a server that you can slide into a 1U rack.)
The grassroots strategy is risky, but Kraus thinks it’ll broaden JotSpot’s appeal. He’s convinced that business staff -- who are accustomed to using Web apps and creating photo galleries or home videos -- will go ahead and give it a whirl, creating “mashups” from existing applications and build demand for JotSpot. After all, aren’t those the same people who helped push business adoption of Web-based remote access and wireless LANs?
Click for larger view.