Tacit updates Illumio collaboration tool set

Updates interface, search features in tool that 'brokers' worker communication

Tacit Software is set to unveil this week an upgrade to its Illumio productivity tool that lets workers collaborate with colleagues on specific topics.

Illumio, which is used by companies like Johnson & Johnson, Morgan Stanley and Northrop Grumman, analyzes employee e-mail contacts, PC documents and browsing history to identify the best qualified employees to answer questions they post to the system, said David Gilmour, Tacit's president and CEO.

In addition, the tool can be used to automatically monitor news sites, blogs and wikis that correspond to a user's electronic activities, he said.

The new version 2.1 of Illumio, which will be announced and available on Wednesday, includes a revamped user interface and improved search and navigation features, Gilmour said.

For example, the new version lets users specify a keyword topic of interest and then be automatically alerted when RSS feeds from Internet sources or from a company Intranet include information on the topic. The system will also recommend feeds based upon the user's interest.

Version 2.1 can also identify users in a specific group of employees that can best answer questions from other members of the group. The software bases its choice on a user's e-mail contacts, browsing history and documents.

The system will first ask the question of the user it has identified as being best qualified to answer. If that user opts not to answer the question, the system will move on to the next most qualified user until it can get an answer to the question, Gilmour added.

The new version, which integrates with Microsoft Outlook, can also recommend articles from a blog or wiki to share with colleagues based on past e-mail interactions.

Finally, version 2.1 includes stronger reporting and administrative features, such as the ability to export Illumio's question and answer feature to any application that supports XML so that the knowledge base accumulated by the tool can be expanded across a company.

"We're a collaboration brokering system," Gilmour said. "It replaces the very expensive content sharing model as a way to find expertise, social contacts, and files ...and stimulates collaboration by making connections between people."

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