SystemOne: gather your resources as you write

SystemOne will launch their new enterprise collaboration service at DEMO this month. I just got a look inside and it’s impressive.
A small and medium business edition should be available later this year or early next year and a consumer edition is slated for the middle of next year.

Essentially, it’s a wiki that analyzes what you are writing in real time and offers up related search results from other pages in that wiki, the web in general, your uploaded OPML file of RSS feeds, your emails and any files the system is given access to.

You can see the number of available results change as you type and your text is run through a semantic algorithm to determine what subjects your text is really about. Those numbers can be clicked on and an ajax drop down box displays your results. Those items can be copied and pasted into the body of the text and linked to the resource referenced.

There’s also a Java applet that displays inbound links from inside the wiki, from the external web and recommends other users who have written consistently on the same topic as the document being analyzed. A graph view displays how many times and when any given document has been viewed.

In other words, any document you are collaborating on is analyzed in real time and surrounded with related resources from a wide variety of personal and global sources. If you’d like to see the company’s own explanation of their product, they have a very well made and buzz-word-free screencast available.

The UI is as beautiful as the concept; it’s very simple to understand and use, the kind of thing that non-technical users won’t be scared of at all. Privacy and edit control can be set easily, in the future admins will be able to assign specific access privileges to specific groups of users. Sections of text or other elements can be dragged around a page and there’s a very nice WYSIWYG editor. Files, images and other elements can be inserted into a document by drag and drop from the dashboard. It’s generally quite smooth. There’s also an easy way to turn your wiki pages into an internal blog with password protection.

The real power here is the semantic analysis, the relevance. From my initial tests it looked pretty good, though I don’t have a file server for it to connect to in order to have my personal or shared files and other documents searched. You can also connect any IMAP or POP3 enabled email account into the system to have your related emails displayed. The system’s ability to determine what the key topics of my document were as I typed looked solid so far.

Company Head of Strategy Bruno Haid told me that though many people would like to do what SystemOne is doing, but scaling semantic and relational operations is a real challenge. Haid believes his company has found a way to do it, and says that initial pilot implementations with several large European companies went well.

The company’s enterprise service will launch at DEMO and will be available as either a hosted service at SystemOne facilities or customers can put the pre-loaded server at their own location. Initial cost will be 80 Euros per month per seat but Haid says that price will go down as scalability goes up.

Many people really like online collaboration and document development systems, but security has been a major impediment for enterprise use. The option of getting a SystemOne box on site could be a great solution to that problem. There are small but important feature questions that still need to be answered: can users see resources related to a particular section of a page instead of the whole page, whose OPML list do you want searched in an organization – just your own or everyone’s. Things like this will likely take form over time; the fundamental concept of SystemOne is great. Let’s hope they can execute when they go to market.