Office applications suites are not new. So, what sets the competition apart? How about social connection and extensbility through your own, custom-built apps?
Podio (link here) is a new social office platform, invite only at this point, that offers customization of your virtual office suite with application add-ons. Through these applications, Podio allows you to modify your virtual office to better fit your particular needs. You can then invite people to join your workspace to get your particular job done.
The basic set-up includes “Activity”, “People”, “Calendar” and “Tasks.” It looks much like a “Facebook for the workplace”, but it doesn’t stop there. On top of the basic, you can create your own, function-specific applications yourself, or you can search the directory of applications offered by other app-creators. Open API is coming for further third party app innovation. Add-on applications currently include a wide variety of tools, from recruiting, bug reports, sales leads, meetings, ideas, team blogs, workshops, milestones, moodboards, PR trackers, projects, photos, brainstorms, investors, and scripts to inspirations, votes, mentors, menus, sprints, suppliers, and tons more.
The overview of workflow on your various projects appears in a familiar stream format. Of course, you can like, comment and share within the stream, a la Facebook. Very social. Tasks can be integrated into other apps to assist workflow, or can be connected to individual objects, like meetings. Contacts are created from the groups of individuals with whom you are working. The Calendar is smart – it pulls tasks, deadlines and other important data from your schedule to keep you notified of what’s next. Spaces are virtual “work rooms” – you can incorporate your coworkers, your internal team, your customers and your outsourced developers or vendors.
With an open API coming, any third party can come in and develop apps to extensify the basic set-up.
Podio seems a very smart implementation of the tools required by a virtual office, with more than a little nod to the social networking format to which we have become accustomed. Looking forward to seeing where this innovative service goes.