e-Builder, the Florida-based Software-as-a-Service construction collaboration software vendor, has just announced the release of its latest upgrade (e-Builder Enterprise™ 7.13), and e-Builder users “can now join real-time conversations with other users in the new e-Builder Community, the online social network for all e-Builder construction program management professionals.”
The e-Builder Community is the online meeting place for sharing knowledge, discussing ideas, solving issues and recommending new features and capabilities to e-Builder Enterprise. Membership in the e-Builder Community is open to all e-Builder users. Luke Van Santen, with The Metropolitan Council, said “the e-Builder Community is a place I can go to learn more about e-Builder, and also exchange ideas with others on how to improve e-Builder to maximize its functionality, or to get help on specific areas.”
As a keen social media advocate, I have urged collaboration vendors to adopt Web 2.0 approaches in their communications with existing and prospective users. While several vendors started to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other networks as part of their marketing and PR activities, fewer looked at using similar techniques for their end-users, or as part of their application toolset.
UK-based vendor Asite was a notable early exception. It launched its Asite Community three years ago (post), which was slow to start, then faltered, but has been patiently maintained as a means of engaging with its users, including polls regarding new features. US-based e-Builder rival Meridian Systems launched an online forum in 2009 (post), and Australia-based Aconex also created an Ideas Central feature and user forums. However, many vendors only appear to use Web 2.0 as part of their marketing – Facebook-type “wall” discussions, Twitter-style notifications or location check-ins rarely feature in conversations about future platform functionality, despite their growing popularity in other applications embracing the opportunities for increasingly mobile, real-time collaboration.