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Enterprise Flipboard

by Craig Roth  |  July 31, 2013  |  1 Comment

The user experience for accessing enterprise content on tablets has a lot to be desired. I had an interesting discussion in a 1:1 meeting here at Catalyst with a company that just wanted a better user experience for their SharePoint-based intranet. With my iPad ready on the table, I opened it to the New York Times app, which is my favorite newspaper UI.

But then I realized that a more appropriate consumer-in analogy is Flipboard. Flipboard has a beautiful interface for accessing the content and uses a page-flipping metaphor for reading it. Consider how the following attributes would work for tablet-based access to the static content on your intranet page or a subpage:

  • The ability to subscribe/unsubscribe to a variety of content sources
  • All the content sources are accessed through tiles on your homepage as well as aggregated into a unified “Cover Stories” page that creates a digest of new content
  • A “discover more” option helps the user find content sources they may not be aware of by browsing by categories
  • A search box lets you search from within your content subscriptions and has a separeate listing of sources outside your subscriptions that may contain content of interest
  • Article summaries can be downloaded for offline use. Here I’d like to imagine a more complete offline experience than Flipboard offers, wich is just a “fetch for offline” section in the settings which will fetches summaries, but not entire articles
  • Beautiful reformatting of content to pull out the title and author (a special formatted RSS feed is required) and an image to provide a summary of the article and then a nice experience when reading it
  • It connects to your social feeds, such as Facebook, to pull in postings as if they are newspaper articles, blending in any attached images
  • It gathers login information to social sites to allow for single signon
  • There are three collection mechanisms: liking an item (clicking a heart to link on Flipboard), tagging to read later,and adding to a collection (a personal magazine on certain topics)
  • Articles can be acted upon, by sending to email, facebook, etc.

Filpboard doesn’t seem to work for internal enterprise content and doesn’t seem to be interested. Flipboard’s official position is that “Flipboard currently does not have plans to license or otherwise offer a white-label version of its product for publishers or enterprise customers.” Too bad, because I know that a large number of enterprise users would be interested in this functionality.

Here’s how I see it working if someone did create a tablet-based app for enterprise content access:

  • It would have to gather content from existing enterprise repositories. SharePoint would be an obvious one, with other content management and portal systems as well.
  • It would also connect to communication and social content sources, such as activity feeds posted by users of an enteprrise social network or applications automatically publishing updates such as a CRM system posting that “Customer XYZ has just cancelled 2 of their 4 services”
  • There is way too much information to present it all, so it would have to pick a narrow subset of information. It would incorporate Enteprise Attention Management (EAM) principles to bring attention to content and postings of likely interest to the reader and ignore (not feel the need to include in the feed) items that are not likely to be of interest
  • It would integrate with enterprise single siginon mechanisms and, accordingly, require a login on each launch
  • It would use metadata from documents and that provided with repositories to pull out author and date information as well as provide categories for searching and categorization in tiles
  • It would work on a personal+group publish/subscribe model, so users can subscribe or unsubscribe to data sources and content, as well as have administrative uesrs that can subscribe to content on behalf of an entire group or role
  • Readers could collect articles as on Flipboard, by bookmarking them or adding them to a collection on a topic
  • Readers could act on articles as on Flipboard by emailing, etc.
  • Readers could comment on articles as on Flipboard, although these comments would be unified with an existing enterprise microblogging system such as Yammer

Any other ideas for what you’d like to see in this type of reader? Any pointers to products that you think already do this? I think there’s a great deal of pent up demand for a highly usable, enterprise, tablet-based, attentive (knows how to filter the information)

Category: attention-management  information-work  microsoft-sharepoint  mobile  portals  

Craig Roth
Research VP, Tech and Service Providers
7 years at Gartner
28 years IT industry

Craig Roth is a Research Vice President focused on cloud office suites, collaboration tools, content management, and how they are being impacted by digital workplace and digital business trends...Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Enterprise Flipboard

  1. Craig, while tablets are ideal content consumption devices the underlying problem exists for many devices and interfaces.

    Attensa has addressed your bullet points for customers at the server level and then UI’s and experiences can be optimized based the needs of the organization e.g. web, portal embedded, mobile, tablet, email etc.

    I would like to show you that along with some implementations that customers/partners have done.

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