Blogs, wikis, social networks, sharing — it’s all giving IT departments a major migraine.
Here’s a summary of the findings, plus a listing of recent fundings and other news in IT and business software.
IT departments have not stopped worrying about the many “risks” that employees introduce through using social web services, one of the Forrester reports says: Security hacks, intellectual property leaks, noncompliance with regulation, and other problems. Still, it goes on to say that IT managers, along with the rest of the employees at many companies, recognize that these services offer more efficent ways to create and share information than current software. Many employees are already using web services at work without IT’s permission, the other report says, making these employees the “gateways” for web 2.0 companies to get their wares adopted then sold within a business. In between the lines of the reports: IT departments are afraid web services will make their own roles less important.
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Meanwhile, here are the latest companies targeting IT, and the money chasing them:
OnForce, an IT services marketplace, raises $6.75 million — The company’s web site connects IT professionals with businesses who want on-site help with their computers, local networks and other office technology. OnForce and its competitors can help businesses take care of one-time problems without having to bring an IT person on staff or enter into a longer-term contract with an IT services company.
OnForce says 5,000 businesses are using the service to find help, with more than 10,000 IT workers available for hire. It say says businesses have used the site successfully over half a million times with strong growth in the last year. The company [DROP: currently] does most of its business in the US, and is looking to expand internationally. Accel Partners led the investment. Earlier investors include General Catalyst Partners.
Free-lance.ru, a Russia-based online marketplace for software development, raises $400,000 — The company connects freelance software developers, designers, product managers and others with clients looking to build software. It has up to 15,000 freelancers and clients on the site per day, with a total of 100,000 people signed up on the site, it says. It will use the funds to seek more work with large companies in other countries. (Tip from Yakov)
PlanHQ, software for business planning, raises $250,000 — The New Zealand company offers a guided planning process for entrepreneurs looking to start a company. It walks you through creating team goals, financial projections, marketing and other aspects of starting a business. Once you start your company, it measures your ongoing progress against your plan, showing you valuable information like your financial performance. A sort of Basecamp, but customized for businesses — it even has a similar-looking interface to Basecamp. The software, which starts with a free 30-day trial, costs $9 to $49 per month. The company will officially launch at the DEMO conference next week, although the site is in public beta now.
Salesforce introduces developer platform for building customized applications — The provider of web-based services for businesses has launched Force.com, designed for companies, especially large companies, to build their own Salesforce-based applications for managing internal processes. Many startups offer ways for people to create customized databases — DabbleDB, Zoho Creator and Coghead are but a few of many. It’s not clear if this move will hurt their businesses.
Salesforce + Facebook = FaceForce — This application connects the fun of Facebook with the business-focused utility of Salesforce, a good example of how Facebook’s developer platform can be used to connect with other applications outside of Facebook.
If you’re using Salesforce to keep track of customers, and you’re also friends with them in Facebook, you can use FaceForce to see their Facebook profiles within Salesforce, alongside their Salesforce contact records. You can even message, poke and send gifts to your Salesforce contacts through Facebook. You can also search Facebook for possible leads, and link your Salesforce data to them. You can see also see all of your Facebook friends within a specific company. More here.
A Salesforce developer and a Facebook developer teamed up to create the application.
Screenshot at top via.