Podio is one of the newest social software applications to hit the cloud service market. Now acquired by Citrix Systems, Inc. and part of the Citrix GoTo cloud services, Podio differentiates its product offering from other social software.
Podio's blend of ready-built and build-your-own apps may satisfy autonomous teams yet provide a set of collaboration tools for use in team workspaces. But, teams contending for the perfect workspace would have to spend a lot of time adding different business applications.
Business processes need not be cumbersome--essentially what Podio has figured out--so teams can decide for themselves what apps they need based on the project. Highlights of Podio workspaces and apps follow.
Employee Network Workspace
Podio's common area is the Employee Network. The main idea is to connect people in one place. The activity stream in the Employee Network keeps employee status visible.
Podio's only registration requirement is a domain email address. As a cloud-service, each employee can log in anywhere and on any device.
An employee's page has a home activity stream, and other personal artifacts, including calendar, contacts, and email inbox, where email inside Podio is exchanged.
Workspaces for Teams, Projects, and External Clients
Can you have collaboration with autonomy? This question may seem counterintuitive to the notion of a collaborative workspace, but essentially workspaces are created for departments, project teams, client projects, and so on. Collaboration will always rely upon the needs of teams and individuals to work together; so by design, the collaboration tool needs to facilitate collaborative work.
To automate collaborative workspaces, access can be made public or else private, which is by invitation, to add individuals in a similar way as team needs change.
Familiar social features, including Commenting, Likes, @mentions, and Status Updates display in the activity stream (similar to Facebook's news feed) relevant to each workspace.
Podio Apps – Business Applications by Function and Sector
Pre-Built Apps. Within a given workspace, the pre-built apps can be selected individually or by bundled pack. For example, the Intranet App Pack includes styled apps to quickly launch an Intranet, including apps for Bulletins, Staff Meetings (with optional GoTo Meeting integration up to 15 people), Documents, Department, and Vacations.
Each of the apps connect people via social, collaborative activity streams. App references is an important function to cross reference information from one app to another. Consider a Recruitment workspace, an example Podio uses, where people need to access candidate profiles stored in the Candidate app and see the job opening title the candidate applied for that is stored in the Job Openings app.
Build-Your-Own App. A customized app can be quickly built with the Podio Apps builder tool. For example, let's suppose you want to design a simple event marketing app for setting up different categories of events by month, budget, and event contact. Then, think of assembling building blocks.
The drag and drop function allows you to place items into the app builder container. Tech savvy individuals will enjoy the build-your-own model approach, but it is best to prepare an outline of information you intend to collect and track in your app. The new app you build is modifiable, and if you so desire, may be offered to Podio to showcase and use in the Podio App Market.
When a project is completed, it is helpful to deactivate the app so you may reuse it, whereas deleting an app will permanently remove your app and data.
For developers, a Podio API is available to build apps on top of the Podio platform.
Pricing and Additional Features
Podio has a free application package that enables all employees to use the Employee Network, though only five employees to create workspaces and apps as well as add five external people.
The premium application is priced monthly, per user, to take advantage of the features of workspaces and apps, and includes adding any number of people to collaborate with outside your organization. The premium application also provides greater depth of administrative permissions as well as Podio personal support contact.
Major cloud-sharing services like Dropbox, Google Docs and SkyDrive, among others, are accessible using drag and drop functions to attach and distribute files from external sources--without having to leave the application.
Mobile phone apps are available for iPhone and Android.