Columbus Technologies, one of South Africa's most innovative and fastest growing software companies, has launched Columbus Interactive, the first technology in South Africa to guarantee delivery, receipt and acknowledgment of corporate information. The new medium addresses the limitations of corporate intranet and e-mail with a new communications methodology that encourages participation and is hard to ignore.
Managed from a simple interface, Columbus Interactive ensures that any information a company needs to distribute to its staff or a specific group of users is delivered and read and if necessary, that a response is sent. The information communicated can be in text, graphic or even video format: whatever is required to communicate a message to staff.
"Columbus Interactive takes intra-company and inter-company messaging to the next level; it is traditional corporate communications on steroids," says Ricus Ellis, business development director and founder of Columbus SA. "A small component of Columbus Interactive is installed on every user's computer and remains active in the background, ready to receive messages.
"When a message is received, an icon on the taskbar flashes, alerting the user. Alternatively, if the message is urgent, the sender can make it pop up on the user's screen so that it can only be dismissed after it has been acknowledged."
Messages are created and sent from a simple, template-driven interface.
Columbus has made it as simple as possible to create messages, allowing the sender to design a graphically rich message and send it to the desired recipients with a few mouse clicks.
"The system has been designed to allow for quick and easy polling and feedback, making sure that not only do staff hear from management, but that management also hears from staff," adds Ellis. "The sender simply selects a feedback message template, types in their questions and waits for the responses to come in."
Columbus Interactive contains numerous messaging templates out of the box and customers can have brand-specific templates created. The template approach ensures a tight rein is kept on corporate branding, ensuring that the corporate image style is maintained. This intuitive approach also means that the person responsible to create and send the messages can be, for example, the office assistant, implying that such a person need not know anything about graphic art or video production.
Even though the messages are rich in graphical content, they do not consume corporate bandwidth. Templates are distributed to individual computers during the installation process in order to avoid potential bandwidth bottlenecks. When a message is sent, therefore, only the message content is distributed and a template on the user's system is populated with the relevant data.
The messaging system is not restricted to computers, however, and can be used on kiosks or publicly displayed screens to convey a corporate message to a broad audience. This is important as it can overcome corporate shortcomings. For instance, internal corporate communication such as sales, marketing and HR are often neglected when it comes to communication in large companies. Columbus Interactive can address this.
"Columbus Interactive is a high-impact messaging service that attracts and retains users' attention through the use of rich graphical interfaces and quick response options," says Ellis. "Not only can companies be assured that their messages are delivered, but that users actually read and process the information instead of simply deleting it as happens when e-mail is chosen as a corporate messaging system."