For more than 25 years, Inmagic (www.inmagic.com) has been developing, marketing, and supporting software solutions for information and knowledge management. Over the last year, the company has worked a bit of transformational magic—securing new funding, expanding its management team, adding a customer advisory board, and re-examining its company direction. Inmagic officially introduced its revised strategic direction for the company and new product plans at the SLA 2008 conference in June (www.infotodayblog.com/2008/06/18/inmagic-works-some-new-magic). It moved to clearly position the company in the social knowledge network space with the promise of its new version of Inmagic Presto, which is designed to serve as a platform for creating "high impact social knowledge networks." Since then, Inmagic developers took the feedback from librarians at SLA and its customers to complete the development of Presto 3.0, which becomes generally available on Oct. 31. Presto 3.0 provides an open, scalable, and secure platform that fully integrates vetted enterprise information with social and community input, and it offers powerful search and discovery capabilities and a robust knowledge manager.
The company says that Presto offers a unique approach because it integrates "top down" vetted information (in a single knowledge repository) with "bottom up" social knowledge. It provides a secure place where content can be controlled and the community can enhance the content, according to Inmagic’s CTO Phil Green. The product handles diverse types of content (documents, images, video, blogs, etc.), each with its unique tagging structure, and provides multiple paths for information discovery, including a simple Google-like search, advanced search, browsable directories, and RSS alerts. The display of search results is rich and highly-configurable, with the context and metadata maintained. Social rankings, tags, and comments enhance the information and add value.
Green says that the control, access, and security capabilities for the social features are important differentiators in Inmagic’s Presto product (unlike the "free-for-all in consumer social sites"). Presto ensures that access is controlled with single sign-on, record-level control, individual user permissions, and other security measures. With the "social volume knob," an administrator can decide what and how content is affected by the social media—different kinds of social content from certain people can carry different weight or influence. The product has a middle-ware layer that the content administrator (not the IT department) can use for fine-level control—so business users can implement the appropriate business rules.
New since the June preproduct presentation is the product’s use of "Web Parts." Based on customer feedback, the newly added capabilities enable adaptability of the homepage/dashboard. Web Parts are an integrated set of controls that enable end users to modify the content, appearance, and behavior of webpages directly from the browser.
The company also says it is "embracing our library heritage" with the new Presto for Social Libraries. This integrates the advanced library asset management and workflow capabilities of the Inmagic Genie technology with the Presto social knowledge network platform. "This seamless integration is the industry’s first true social library, and [it] creates a framework to expand the reach and content of your library."
Inmagic stresses that Presto can add value to existing Microsoft SharePoint implementations within enterprises. Green says, "We understand that we’re not all things to all people, and because SharePoint is so ubiquitous, we need to be a happy partner in that environment." Here are the differentiators according to Green: Presto is an off-the-shelf, easy-to-implement application platform, whereas SharePoint offers a set of tools to construct solutions; Presto requires very little IT involvement, whereas SharePoint requires a lot of involvement; Presto is built using Microsoft technologies, and it integrates tightly with SharePoint; Presto users can take Web Parts and embed them within their SharePoint deployments, and the company is looking at deploying SharePoint Web Parts within Presto.
David Golan, vice president of sales for Inmagic, says the company offers flexible pricing options for Presto, and it will offer some "aggressive promotions" for existing customers through the end of the year. A traditional enterprise (perpetual) license starts at $37,500, with a 20% annual fee for support and maintenance. Subscription licensing is also available for $15,000 per year. Because this offers a lower initial buy-in, Golan says many recent customers are opting for this. Inmagic offers hosted SaaS delivery for customers whose knowledge management solution requires outsourcing.
Inmagic will start migrating customers from the current product release (Presto 2.2) beginning Nov. 3. Roll-out timing will depend on customers’ individual timetables, complexity of individual implementations, organizational readiness, customer business cycles, and their own business strategies. "We expect our entire Presto customer base to be converted by early ‘09."
Golan says the company is already focusing on improvements for the next release of Presto. Integration will be a continuing focus, as will improvements in the user interface and reporting functions.
Founded in 1983, Inmagic, Inc. has its headquarters in Woburn, Mass. The company now claims more than 5,000 customers in more than 100 countries. Its customer list includes 60 members of the Fortune 100, 18 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies, 87 of the top 100 legal firms, and seven of the top financial services firms in America. Marquee Inmagic customers include NASA; Newsweek, Inc.; Frito-Lay; the American Heart Association; Cephalon; Johns Hopkins University; Paramount Pictures; and RV Anderson.
Inmagic Presto: A platform for enabling social knowledge networks that tightly integrates vetted information with social and community input through powerful search and discovery capabilities and a robust knowledge manager.
Inmagic Genie: An integrated library system (ILS) that provides a searchable web-based management environment for collections, where users can find, save, and share results with others.
Inmagic DB/Text: Flexible information management tools for workgroups that provide an easily managed knowledge repository to utilize and preserve your content and information assets.
For More Information: Articles on Social Networks
"Online Social Networks, Virtual Communities, Enterprises, and Information Professionals—Part 1. Past and Present," by Mike Reid and Christian Gray,
Searcher, July/August 2007, www.infotoday.com/searcher/jul07/Reid_Grey.shtml.
"Online Social Networks, Virtual Communities, Enterprises, and Information Professionals—Part 2. Stories," by Mike Reid and Christian Gray, Searcher, October 2007, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/infotoday.
"Online Social Networks, Virtual Communities, Enterprises, and Information Professionals—Part 3. Applications and Survey Results," by Mike Reid, Christian Gray, and Craig Honick, Searcher, June 2008,
ITI NewsLink Spotlight: "Research Sharing Gets New Tools and Goes Trendy," by Paula J. Hane, http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbReader.asp?ArticleId=50584.