Samepage’s new collaboration offering targets business users

Collaboration software firm Samepage is hoping to court your employees by offering them quick and easy collaboration solutions as a shadow IT purchase.

Created by email communication and cyber security company Kerio, Samepage recently came out of beta, and has launched mobile versions of its service. It offers teams a way to collaborate without focusing primarily on file sharing or group chat, said CEO Scott Schreiman.

“Our premise is that both of those things are equally important, and you should bring the content and the conversations together in an easy to use way,” he said. “We believe the organizing principle is something called a page.”

Samepage brings together files of various types onto a single page. It integrates with cloud-based services including Dropbox, Office 365 and Google Apps, enabling people to drag files from most services directly onto the page, where they can be edited by multiple parties. Participants can also create comment streams within the pages, adding their opinions and discussions about files.

Schreiman says that existing commenting features inside Office 365 or Google Apps documents are often not enough.

“When you’re working in that sort of mode, you might be inside a document and maybe commenting about it. But those comments about a document only pertain to a document,” he said, arguing that conversations often need to pertain to bigger projects across various documents.

These conversations can be aggregated into newsfeeds for a single person, enabling them to see everything that is being said about a topic.

Schreiman sees users adopting his SaaS-based product as a grassroots option, using it as a quick way to get things done inside an organization.

“We want that adoption to come from the bottom,” he said. “You call it shadow IT and it can be perceived as a negative for IT administrators, but users love this, they love going out looking for products that meet their needs. So that’s our focus right now, focusing on that shadow IT.”

That may be why the company has so little differentiation between the consumer and business versions of its product. The business version costs $10 per user, and is required for teams of ten and over. It offers user management capabilities not available in the free version, enabling an a page administrator to name users and put them into groups. However there is no Active Directory or LDAP integration in the business or free version, and no option to run it locally as a server-based option.

Samepage joins a crowded space of other online collaboration tools also claiming to offer spaces for combined content and conversation management, although few seem to bring together files and conversations in the same way. Axero’s Communifire offers social collaboration and workplace features, while Azendoo integrates with cloud-based services like Evernote, and also facilitates discussions around them. Atlassian’s Confluenceprovides team pages with rich text editing and team discussions. It is available for $10 per user, in a cloud or local server-based installation. Wrike features project management and social team collaboration and it  integrates with a variety of cloud-based services. There is also an enterprise version.

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