Glasnost was initially developed for our own use. As a company that did not exist before the Internet we have always operated pretty much virtually. We have always needed our tasks, comments and documents to be instantly available to team members via the Internet. Coding takes place via a VPN (Virtual Private Network) but all interactions between the team are over the public Internet. We needed a secure flexible intuitive but powerful set of tools to make this work so, over a period of years, we developed the first - HTML based - version of Glasnost. This included Contact, Project and Image Management. Some two years ago, as online tools became more and more powerful and the age of RIA's (Rich internet Applications) started to emerge, largely in the form of Adobe's Flash/Flex platform we looked to see how we could build a 'Next Gen' version of Glasnost that we could start to use directly with clients but also with a view to making it available to third parties. And that is what we've done.
Starting in early 2007 we had, by January 2008, a product ready for use. Since then we have been refining and redefining the functionality as we garnered feedback from clients and came to understand ourselves how a service like Glasnost really can improve the way we run our business. On top of the core Contact, Project and Image Management we added:
1. A Notepad' feature, which is unique to each user, to mimic the scribbling of notes and aide-memoires one normally uses paper for.
2. A simple to use but powerful Newsletter module which allows for the easy creation and sending of smart, functional email newsletters (that are 'likely' to get through corporate firewall's).
3. An Instant Messenger like module (Online Now we call it) that allows you to 'chat' with other Glasnost users in real time, as well as send attachments.
Nowadays Glasnost is at the heart of how we operate, both as a company, and with our clients and suppliers. For us, being able to handle all our Contacts Projects and Images in one place, knowing that - if it matters - 'it's on Glasnost' is a godsend.