Trio of European social collaboration start-ups acquired

Europe-based start-ups Podio, oneDrum and Blue Kiwi picked up by Citrix, Yammer and Atos respectively

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Trio of European social collaboration start-ups acquired

Three European social collaboration vendors were acquired yesterday, implying growing interest in the use of social media-like functionality in the workplace.

Application infrastructure and virtualisation vendor Citrix announced its intention to acquire Podio. The Danish software-as-a-service provider's collaboration and project management tool allows users to form social groups, and to follow one another's activity streams in a Facebook-like fashion.

According to Citrix's official statement, Podio offers a "more robust cloud-based platform" than early social collaboration services "where people ... do actual work utilising social elements".

"For example, real-time status update, or providing the ability to link to, share, manage tasks, comment and give feedback are now part of business processes," it says.

Constellation Research analyst Alan Lepofsky described Podio yesterday as "what Lotus Notes should have evolved to be."

"This acquisition represents an exciting new chapter in our collaboration business," said Brett Caine, general manager of Citrix's online services division. "Podio extends our ability to provide a simple, secure and ‘works for everyone’ collaborative work platform in this post-PC era."

Also yesterday, enterprise micro-blogging company Yammer acquired oneDrum, a UK-based company that allows teams to collaborate on shared Microsoft Office documents.

Yammer said that the acquisition would allow it to offer a more social, collaborative alternative to traditional enterprise content management (ECM) systems.

"Today's ECM systems are built on document-centric architectures designed for file storage and are inefficient for collaboration," it said in a statement. 'As a result, users typically resort to email for file sharing, which presents significant challenges for version control and information discovery."

"The acquisition of oneDrum will help Yammer users get work done faster, smarter and with greater transparency by bringing content to the place where employees from across the organisation come together – the enterprise social network".

And thirdly, IT services giant Atos was reported to have acquired French online community software provider Blue Kiwi. The company sells social collaboration systems that are tailored to the requirements of business functions, such as marketing, HR or 'innovation'.

According to MWD Advisors analyst Angela Ashenden, Blue Kiwi's customer base in mainly European, "with strong traction in government and manufacturing".

"The company has made several efforts to grow its presence outside France... but none of these have been particularly effective," she wrote yesterday.

Atos has made much of its commitment to new forms of workplace collaboration, pledging to end the use of email internally by 2014.