noodle

Vendor Profile: Noodle (Vialect)

The Intranetizen team are often asked advice about intranet vendors that supply software and hardware solutions to run your intranet. Whilst we have 35 years of blue-chip intranet experience between us, in common with many intranet practitioners, we have relatively limited experience of the 200+ software systems that companies use.

To help you, to help us and to help the vendors themselves, we’re running a series of posts of over this coming week showcasing 5 intranet companies. We’ve supplied them with the same standard set of questions and will publish their answers in their own words to ensure equity! All the images have been supplied by the company themselves and are reproduced with permission.

Today, we showcase Noodle (Vialect).

In a brief paragraph, who are you?

Noodle is the social intranet that helps organizations reach their business goals. It combines the best of traditional intranet functionality with new social and collaboration tools. The result is a platform that makes it easier for users to communicate, collaborate, and innovate.

Briefly describe your product’s history? Why did you start it, where does it come from?

Noodle started as a software product called IntraNet. It has evolved over the years based on client feedback and market requirements. Typical Intranets fail because of poor design and complicated navigation. That’s why we made Noodle easy to use and scalable to fit many different situations.

Describe your typical customer – what kind of company, what size, what are the kinds of problems they need to solve?

Oklahoma City-County Health Department Intranet – click image to enlarge

We have many different kind of customers, but a typical client is a 200-person company that needs unified communication and a central repository for content. They understand the importance of an intranet but lack the resources and time to build something from scratch. They don’t want to spend 10 months creating an intranet, then another 10 months teaching staff how to use it. They want an intranet that will help them hit the ground running, and be easy to maintain.

What do you see as your product and company’s USP?

Noodle’s elegance lies in its simplicity. You can set up a cloud-hosted Noodle intranet literally in 5 minutes. You don’t have to be an IT person to manage and administer it. Staff don’t need hours of training to figure it out. Companies don’t need a dedicated IT unit to maintain it. All of Noodle’s features are available right out of the box, so there’s no need to worry about software integration.

Noodle is not flashy; it has just enough bells and whistles to help users do their jobs faster and better.

Which feature(s) of your product do your customers rave about most?

The Folder Application lets users share and collaborate on documents. Its workflow builder can automate many processes, such as routing documents to various staff for approvals.

Screenshot of Noodle’s features – click image to enlarge

With the Database Application, users create web-based forms to capture data, which they can later sort and create reports with. Our clients use this application for anything from vacation request forms, to customer relations management, and tracking sales.

Noodle also has a microblogging feature, the Status Application. Our clients create ambient awareness by posting snippets about their jobs. But they also use the Status App to broadcast quick announcements, share something funny they’ve found online, or run company-wide contests.

Which feature(s) of your product do you feel are most under-used?

Noodle has a Question Manager that can effectively capture and archive corporate knowledge.

How much customisation does your product typically need / how much to you recommend your customers make?

The aesthetics of Noodle is very customizable. For cloud-hosted versions, the logos, colors and layouts can be customized. Self-hosted Noodle is even more customizable, because clients have access to the cascading style-sheet. They can also tweak the features a little through javascript, but we limit any source code work.

What advice would you give a company planning to invest in a new intranet platform? / what are the most important factors to consider?

Before you even consider the options available in the market, take the time to understand your organization and your staff. The three most important factors to consider are your organization’s:

•    needs and wants – what do you want to accomplish through the intranet?
•    resources – what financial, operational, and human resources do you have to develop, run and maintain the intranet?
•    culture – what type of intranet setup and features would resonate best with the existing corporate culture and way of doing things?

What’s your cost model? Free; one-off; per seat per month charging; something else?

Click image to enlarge

We have a free 30-day trial. After that, it depends on the type of deployment:

Cloud-Hosted: Starts at $10 per user per month, plus a one-time setup fee of $100. The cost per user goes down, as the number of users goes up.

Self-Hosted: The one-time license fee starts at $70 per user. Software upgrades and unlimited support (via email, telephone and web conferencing) are free for the first year. From the second year, upgrades and unlimited support are an additional $1500 per year.

We have special pricing for organizations with over 160 users, and for nonprofits.

Who are your main competitors?

Many of our clients come to us looking for an alternative to Sharepoint. Others have tried Yammer and open source free tools.

What do you need from *your* customers to deliver intranet success?

We need a good understanding of what problems they are trying to solve. When we have that, then we can put Noodle to work to solve those problems.

What does the future have in store for your product?

It’s a secret!

(Definitely enhancements to help clients reach their business goals)

What does intranet 2015 look like?

We believe that enterprise and consumer products will start to look more and more the same. Consumer products have always been a testing ground for enterprise. We learn from how consumers use technology and use that to keep improving Noodle.

Who should intranetizen readers get in touch with for more information?

Lexi Rodrigo. You can reach her at lexi.rodrigo@vialect.com or +1 312-884-9073.

What question should we have asked? And if we had, what would the answer have been?

Is it cold In Canada? Yes, and we’re thinking of getting an office in Florida and spend winters there.

But seriously, we wish you’d ask, “How can you promise unlimited support?” The answer would have been: Because Noodle works so well!

We are very grateful for the time taken by Noodle (Vialect) to respond to our questions and hope you find their answers informative. The full set of reviews can be found here. We intend to run this series again in 2013 – get in touch with us if you’d like to participate.




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