Canadian social business firm powers IDC Insights

Brian Bloom is a staff writer at ComputerWorld Canada. You can find him on Google+. He covers enterprise hardware and software, information architecture and security topics.

A small Canadian social business software company has defeated some hulking opponents in a bout over who would power the IDC Insights community. Igloo Software Inc., based in Kitchener, Ont.,  is now providing the cloud-based platform for the analyst firm’s community site.

A nimble and entirely cloud-based social business software company, Igloo is used to punching above its weight, says Andrew Dixon, vice-president of marketing and operations. But after this win, the company is really beaming with pride.

“That was pretty exciting,” he says. “We were up against some pretty heavy hitters. Jives and Lithium were sort of the final contenders, and we beat them both.”
IDC Insights is an open online community where people can read and comment on analyst blogs, and post questions or give advice in a number of discussion forums. IDC had previously used a platform provided by RightNow, a much larger company recently acquired by Oracle Corp.
(Full disclosure: IDC is a subsidiary of International Data Group Inc., part owner of IT World Canada.)
Dixon says winning the contract from a prestigious industry research firm like IDC was a huge vote of confidence in his company, and demonstrates the value in Igloo’s flexible yet robust approach to developing social business platforms.
“They’re really staking their reputation on a platform that connects practitioners and analysts and customers together. They need to have something that works very, very well. And they chose a small company like ours over a big company like Jive.”
What his company lacks in size, it makes up for in speed and agility, he says. Thanks to its cloud infrastructure, it can rapidly adapt a proof of concept to grab a prospect’s attention before the other guys do.
“Our company happens to be 100 per cent cloud, which means I can get a proof of concept skinned, in other words, it’s going to look like your company, up and running much faster than my competition. That’s essentially the secret sauce. It’s just the proof — putting it in front of them and letting them see for themselves.”
Mary Conroy, director of marketing for IDC Insights, says Igloo “was by far the strongest choice for us.”
“They came very prepared in their presentation, had researched the company. Very easy user interface for us.”
Igloo’s flexible platform puts more power in the users’ hands, she adds. “Instead of saying that, ‘here’s what you have and it’s in a box,’ we can sit there and say to them: ‘Here’s what we’d like to do. Is that possible, and how can we work to do it?”
The new platform is easier to use, Conroy says, not only for the company on the back-end, but also for their users on the front-end. Igloo’s business intelligence tools were also “superior to others we had looked into,” she adds.
Igloo has been able to capitalize on the recent trend towards turning social media into social business. It develops software for many more large clients, such as Cisco Systems Inc. and Deloitte.
Now that social business platforms have earned “pretty mainstream acceptance,” Dixon says, companies are now competing at a frenetic pace to adopt the technology. Top marketing executives are “scared to death that their competition is going to move faster than them.”
“A company like ours truly benefits from this.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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