This week in San Antonio Texas, Digital Workplace vendor Igloo Software held their annual user conference Igloo Customer Experience (ICE, Igloo... get it!) In addition to attending, I had the honour of keynoting the second day. I highlighted some of the challenges employees are struggling with today, and how bringing together content, colleagues and conversations can help employees not only get work done but be creative and feel like they have a voice in the company. My talk was designed to complement the conference theme of providing customers with a Digital Workplace, the new term being used for intranets or communities.

Here is a short video review of the news, with more details below.

There were four main items announced at ICE:

1. Igloo Marketplace , a repository of templates and integrations that expand the capabilities of Igloo.

MyPOV: This is a significant step in evolving from a product to a platform. To compete against vendors like Microsoft and Google, you need to have a vibrant business partner ecosystem and you need to have integrations with the popular 3rd enterprise business applications. In order to create a seamless experience for employees, they need to be able to access their files, HR applications, CRM records and web-conferencing tools and more... all without switching between multiple applications. A marketplace or catalogue provides a central place for people to add the tools and integrations they need to get their jobs done. 

2. "Unified Search: Through a partnership with Lucidworks, Igloo will be incorporating the latest in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing technology to improve search speed and relevancy."

MyPOV: While this is not available yet, it is a move well aligned with the trend of using AI to help people find, filter and focus on the things they need, ideally with personalized and context-aware results. It's not just about finding the right content, it's about finding the right content at the right time in the right location.  This partnership does not seem to be exclusive, leaving the door open for Igloo to leverage technologies from different vendors for things like image search or video indexing.

3. "Worldwide Data Residency: Igloo’s growing base of multinational enterprise customers will soon be able to use Azure for local data residency options in US, Canada and Europe"

MyPOV: This is a good indicator of the growth of Igloo's customer base. Clearly they are seeing demand outside of North America, and I look forward to hearing customer reference stories that leverage these new data centre options, as well as potential announcements around additional locations.

4. "General availability of the Networked Enterprise Edition provides complex and dispersed organizations with a hub and spoke architecture for connecting business units, vendors, suppliers, partners, and customers"

MyPOV: This appears to be a very interesting feature, enabling organizations to deploy a central "hub" of information that everyone can access, then multiple "spokes" that can be tailored to specific needs. I'd like to hear more about the benefits and challenges of administration and security of this architecture. Hopefully, Igloo will share case-studies and metrics around how their large customers are using this new feature.


Overall Impressions

No matter what you call it; Intranet, Employee Community, or Digital Workplace, the need to have a place where employees can create, share and discover knowledge is a critical component of empowering collaboration.

Several of the attendees I spoke to over the two days are currently using Jive Software or Microsoft SharePoint and are looking for alternatives. The high level of interest in Igloo is a good sign for the company, and they should continue to capitalize on the uncertainty in some of their competition's roadmaps and vision.

Igloo has always been very strong on design, not just in looks and branding, but in user experience around creating, finding and sharing knowledge.

They are now at the stage where they need to focus on enterprise needs such as scalability, security, compliance and administration.

The announcements at ICE this week are moves in the right direction, and validate why Igloo Software is one of the vendors on the Constellation ShortList™ for Corporate Intranet Platforms.


Business Research Themes