SAP's 'StreamWork' now available

A Google Wave-like enterprise collaboration tool developed by SAP became generally available Tuesday and also gained an official name: StreamWork.

StreamWork has been described as a "virtual war room" for solving business problems in real time. Users employ widgets called "methods," such as a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) matrix, to arrive at answers.

It can pull in data from a variety of sources, whether SAP's software or other platforms, such as Microsoft SharePoint.

Early StreamWork customers, partners and SAP executives discussed the cloud-based tool during a Web event Tuesday.

Three vendors have integrated their applications with StreamWork. They include document management vendors Evernote and Box.net, as well as Scribd, known for its social publishing platform.

A feature-limited version of StreamWork is available at no charge, with paid editions starting at $9 per user per month.

The release is "the end of a beginning stage of a long journey," said David Meyer senior vice president at SAP, during a Web event Tuesday.

His statement had a layered meaning. SAP is regrouping after a period of upheaval marked by customer discontent over support fee hikes and the departure of top executives, including CEO Léo Apotheker. He has been replaced by two co-CEOs, Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe, and the company has pledged to spark fresh software innovations moving forward.

StreamWork is "great example of a step on that road," Meyer said.

The application "will naturally extend the places you do work today," he added. "Today, you call a Web meeting or write diagrams on a white board and try to bring people into a room. StreamWork lets you solve that problem in situ."

Although SAP is no doubt eager to sell the tool to the many large enterprises it serves, a customer that participated in Tuesday's event resides on the startup end of the spectrum.

Tasting Table, a company that produces a daily e-mail report about dining trends around the U.S., is using StreamWork to solve day-to-day situations, such as what to name a new service, said CEO Geoff Bartakovics.

It has 14 employees distributed around the country, and "no official office," he said.

He showed how Tasting Table used a poll to vote on a particular issue. The method provided "a quick way not to have to have people e-mail stuff in," he said. "And on conference calls, voices get lost because people get talked over," he added.

This story, "SAP's 'StreamWork' now available" was originally published by IDG News Service .

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