Cogenz social bookmarking for the enterprise

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A newly-launched enterprise bookmarking system, Cogenz, has announced it is looking for beta customers from a range of vertical industries. The system has been developed using .NET and SQLServer 2005 by London-based Niall Cook, who has been running the system in alpha since July this year with “No superfluous use of AJAX!” according to Cook.

Until recently, Cogenz was in private beta and trialled only by bloggers but it’s now ready to be further tested by its target audience of end users from banks, manufacturers, energy providers, government departments and charities.

You can sign up for the beta here, but Cogenz is only offering one invite per industry sector, so be quick now!? Beta testers will be given a 100-seat license of the system when it is out of beta.

Del.icio.us is the poster child for social bookmarking in the consumer space, and it is also used in many enterprises I have come across, in the way Cogenz hopes it will be one day. Cogenz even looks like del.icio.us. So what’s the real difference?

The main difference between Cogenz and publicly accessible social bookmarking sites is that subscribing companies get their own “silo” that only its’ users can access. As beta tester Anu Gupta more eloquently puts it:

“Instead of the del.icio.us model of a huge vat of shared tag soup (ignoring private bookmarks), Cogenz pours the soup into different company bowls and only allows you to drink from your own bowl. OK, enough with the soup analogy – basically it allows companies to have a private version of del.icio.us and not worry about installing and maintaining scuttle or similar.”

So what is a specialist enterprise social bookmarking like Cogenz better suited for within the enterprise? “The ability to locate expertise within an organisation,” says Cook. In other words, getting staff to create some intelligence for the management team and the analysts, in a quick and easy way, maximising the power that technology brings to social networks.

From what I understand, Cook believes the use of Cogenz will be to locate experts and communities within organisations, based on key topics that have been reported on. But I see there being far greater use from a reporting and issues-mining perspective. With a managed enterprise bookmarking system an organisation can run reports on niche issues for daily competitive or market intelligence, based on minimal input from front-line staff for example. In other words a firm can better understand its surrounding by receiving real-time and scheduled collaborative reports from a networked workforce. This also enables industry issues to be monitored by central management in a bottom-up intelligence funnel that could create a culture of progressive learning and improvement.

What would be neat is if Cogenz gave its beta users some guest passes to a group blog and get it to post about the next few months so we can read about the next steps in its development.

[note: Drew Benvie is a guest journalist on TechCrunch UK. From time to time I will be inviting other voices to help discuss the UK start-up scene, as I think it makes it more interesting for all of us. Drew is currently helping organise Byte Night on 22nd September. The evening will begin with a reception at the House of Lords followed by a sleepout in Victoria Tower Gardens Byte Night is the IT industry’s annual sleepout in support of young people who are coping with life after care or facing homelessness. If you would like to know more or help please visit the site.

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