Taking Time to Explore SambaCloud

We’ve all been there, in a rush to get from point “A” to point “B” we end up missing the stops along the way.  That’s the way I feel after first taking a look at Razmik Abnous and Ian Howells’ new start-up SambaCloud.  My first cursory quick glance really did not show me what they were all about.  So I’m glad I took some more time to really explore what SamabaCloud is about.

For those familiar with Documentum will recognize Razmik as a Founding Engineer for Documentum.  So when his LinkedIn profile updated to say founder of SambaCloud, I had to take a look.  I will say that as first glance I thought, “Oh. Ok.  Interesting.  Yet another content management company.”  But after further digging and a presentation from Razmik and Ian I was thoroughly impressed.  This was not Content Management but something a lot more.  They had developed a tool that would cut repetitive research time within a collaborative interface.

Digging into the SambaCloud

SambaCloud’s homepage shouts: Collaboration, Big Content, and Consumer Experience.  So at first glance I’m thinking they’re going to compete with SpringCM and Box.  Their key features are: Projects, Pin It, and Channels.  Ok, some new features.  But here’s where the judge in Doc Hollywood cites an unseen voice in the past to Michael J Fox’s character, “Get off the interstate, Ben Jones.”  The real story is about the Channels and Pin It features.  Specifically that the channel content is automatically discovered for any project you create and Pin It allows you to add that content which was not discovered automatically.

The presentation focuses on several concepts that are mentioned in the site’s blog.  The scenario presented was a sale team’s deal analysis (which I later tested on the beta site).  They simulated a user’s first interaction with SambaCloud to create channels (a.k.a. projects) for companies the user would be tracking.  They created the channels for six real organizations.

With a traditional collaboration platform you would now have six project folders that may include some specific attributes and some generic templates.  But here’s where SambaCloud takes off.  SambaCloud creates an overview of the organization today and live streams to help continue tracking the company.

The first thing SambaCloud does is develop an Overview of the organization.  The overview includes: a brief bio of the organization, number of employee, ticker symbol, rankings and competitors.  All of these pulled from various sources on the internet.

Next SambaCloud creates Streams to content feeds from the organization you are following.  Currently the system creates Stream entries for RSS Feeds, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube with more to come.  This is also where the Pin-It feature comes to play.  When browsing the internet, if you discover a site or a feed that you would like to add to a channel you can simply click on a “Samba Pin It” and choose the channel you where you want to add the stream.

Finally SambaCloud adds Content searches your enterprise for content relevant to the organization you are following.  This content is from content repositories your organization is already using like SharePoint and Documentum.  What was really cool is that SambaCloud uses CMIS to do this, something I’ve been saying for years that companies should be doing.

Today the SambaCloud automatically creates overviews, streams, and content for channels based on “companies” and “people” (following the same principals) with the ability to have new frameworks added.  It also allows for generic “topic” channels that does not automatically search for streams and content but does support the pin it feature to create streams and content.  They also mentioned content analytics, something I was glad to see.

Also content management is a key feature of SambaCloud.  Content can be check in and out of the system and notes can be added to streams and content.  And project management is a tasked based engine.  But these are here to support stars of discovery and aggregation.


Had I just glanced at the highlights of SambaCloud, I would have missed the real WOW factor.  Looking at the business case around the new sales on-boarding scenario, it takes a sales rep several months to get familiar with their prospects.  In researching prospects much of this is repetitious internet searching and agent creation.  SambaCloud does this all for you automatically giving you one easy to dashboard to review and monitor your prospects.   Those months of discovery and aggregation have been reduced to days if not hours.  For those that already looked at SambaCloud and thought, “yet another content management company,” might I suggest you take another closer look.  I know I’ll be watching.

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