Sunday, March 19, 2006

Parlano Paves the Way for Federated Group Collaboration Content Channels

Go on to most any trading floor in the securities industry and you'll find not only the buzz of people chatting about the latest market trends and research but as well the tapping of keys as those same people participate in online discussions with their colleagues about many of those same topics. One of the growing stars of such groupware in these financial circles is Parlano, whose MindAlign software is used in many of the world's major investment banks to help their staffs communicate with one another. MindAlign is a robust platform that allows users to communicate on specific topics across specific groups as well as in point-to-point conversations - good enough to allow some investment banks to bypass email altogether in their disaster recovery planning in favor of Parlano's ability to keep all key parties in the loop instantaneously in well-organized communications channels.

In a recent run-through of Parlano's capabilities it became clear that major institutional investors are also beginning to take interest in group messaging products, even as Parlano begins pushing into non-financial markets and develops interfaces with public and vendor-based instant messaging networks. The inevitable movement in group messaging is to develop connectivity between the sell side and the buy side that moves beyond hit-and-miss emails and vendor message networks to persistent group-centered networks focused on specific topics that can distribute content to network participants as they keep market-driven conversations alive. Instead of the ubiquitous "inbox" as the destination of choice for market research group messaging channels will become the new common denominator for communicating transaction-worthy content.

Where are content vendors in this new mix? Not much of anywhere, so far. Financial research vendors are still very concentrated on traditional editorial products, finished pieces that travel through email and Web site-based distribution channels. But as group messaging products emerge as channels that connect market participants as a primary means of communications it will become increasingly important for content vendors to have effective strategies for participating in those channels. This will mean research vendors being able not only to transmit research and analysis in finished pieces but as well to participate as peers providing valuable conversation-level input to these networks. Content of all kinds needs to move with the people moving their peers, and increasingly content providers need to act as peers within those networks themselves. Parlano gives a broad hint of the power of this concept when it can live independent of content vendor networks via federations of market participants. Here's to hoping that financial content vendors begin to pick up on the hint.
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