Intel Capital, the chipmaker's venture capital organization, helped realize the arrangement. Intel's venture group has investments in each of these companies and aims to be a matchmaker that can add value to the Intel platform, not to mention its portfolio.
"Small- and medium-sized businesses purchase software best when it's an integrated suite that's going to be available very easily through an ASP model, through a SaaS [software as a service] model, and that will be supported by a third party," says Lisa Lambert, managing director of the software solutions group at Intel Capital.
SaaS accounted for about 5% of business software revenue in 2005, Gartner said in October. The research firm expects that 25% of new business software will be delivered as a service by 2011.
Intel's decision to endorse consumer and open-source tools for business use reflects the shift toward bottom-up technology adoption that has been occurring over the past few years, says Ross Mayfield, CEO and co-founder of wiki software company Socialtext. "These are tools that have been designed for users first, because they've embraced this bottom-up demand pattern," he says. "This is the first time that you have in effect an enterprise 2.0 solution being offered that an IT department could in one fell swoop deploy to meet those grassroots demands for the tools that users actually prefer."
Most large companies, says Mayfield, have some wiki and blog use and are now at the point of deciding how they're going to manage it. Citing Gartner figures, Mayfield says that half of enterprises will have wikis and 80% will have blogs by 2008.
SuiteTwo's value proposition is increased productivity because the tools don't get in the user's way "in the same way the enterprise 1.0 did," says Mayfield. "We're projecting a 50% increase in knowledge worker productivity, 25% faster project cycles, and reducing information overload by reducing e-mail volume by 30%.
"We're shifting from this push model of attention management, where nobody has control over what information is overloading them," Mayfield continues, "to more of a pull model, where we have a choice of what we want to subscribe to, at what level of interruption, and at what time," thanks to strong search tools.
Intel's Software and Solutions Group will make the suite available to its partners and resellers, including Dell, Ingram Micro, NEC, and Tech Data, through what the company calls the Intel Channel Marketplace later this month.
SuiteTwo will be the first of what will likely be many application bundles for the Intel Channel Marketplace. "Our hope is to add other features as we go down the road, among them social networking, podcasting, and some mobility functions," says Lambert. Right now, the software is available in English and Japanese, but additional languages should be available by the end of 2007.
Distributors will have the option to resell the suite and then Intel will get a nominal fee for deploying it via the Intel Channel Marketplace. The price range is from $175 to $200 per user per year.
SuiteTwo will run on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and Microsoft Windows.