ActionThis CEO Edward Robinson and Chris Auld did a session on the Voice of the Customer track, "Software Plus Services on the Microsoft Platform: How We Built ActionThis".
Soon afterwards they were joined by Chief Marketing Office Tim Howell and Chief Technology Officer Derek Watson to meet the press and provide first hand information about this new service.
In summary ActionThis is a task management workflow framework, completely integrated to tools a vast majority of users are comfortable with, and making it available as a platform for expanded services provided by others.
Users can access the service from web browser directly on the site, through a SharePoint server or even through desktop tools such as Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Project.
The service provides the infrastructure so that other companies can develop their own services bolting the framework into their offering. For example you could develop a new project management service and use the ActionThis task management engine as the background platform.
The company worked to focus in features they could provide value for users. For instance they don't have storage facilities with large datacentres, instead using Amazon's S3 service to store information in the cloud.
ActionThis also bet on a viral approach. Users don't need to be all provisioned in the system before using it. If anyone create a task and assign to a friend, an e-mail item is sent, and if the friend is not using ActionThis yet s/he will have the opportunity to sign up on the spot and start using it.
The viral aspect is not much different from social networks where you can invite friends, and each project would similar to "groups" those social services offer.
Even though the company is based in New Zealand, they are aiming to the international market from the start. CEO Edward Robinson used to work for Microsoft Corp in Redmond (U.S.) and was a program manager in the Visual Studio .Net team, as well as Lead & Group Program Manager in Content Managerment Server and SharePoint Portal Server. The company did try to impress international users, including utilising the American spelling in all their material, to prevent the "cultural shock" of using the British spelling more common in New Zealand.
ActionThis is coming live pretty soon, as soon as some patent procedures are finalised. The pricing model is on a per seats basis (and I was told a free version would also be available).
Other related posts:
AvePoint at Tech.Ed New Zealand 2009
Who is at the Microsoft Tech Ed New Zealand 2008 marketplace?
Intergen at Microsoft Tech Ed New Zealand 2008