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Caras Purchases Open-Source Engagement Portal to Support Solution Providers

The Solata Engagement Portal, the open-source platform for the management of enterprise-wide engagement programs, has been purchased by Caras LLC, a diversified holder of businesses, including Eagle Recognition LLC in Tucker, GA, a leading recognition firm with Fortune 500 accounts. Solata was developed by Engagement Enterprises, publisher of ESM, with the support of Eagle Recognition and FIRE Light Group, Madison, WI. 
Explains Randy Nobles, CEO of Caras: “Now that the field of engagement is quickly emerging, it makes no sense for all the incentive, marketing, loyalty and other firms in this marketplace to create their own technologies, no more than it does for us all to create our own Customer Relationship Management systems. We have made this acquisition not only to bring a cutting-edge engagement portal solution to our clients, but also to the industry.”
Nobles adds: “Technology is mission-critical, but the true competitive edge is providing professional program design, not just owning the technology. We believe that the support for Solata will foster hundreds of variations and new applications that can be easily integrated with the platform. By building off a single open-source platform that enables organizations to get started easily and quickly, we believe we can help more rapidly advance the emergence of engagement, not only for our clients but for any type of organization.”  
Under the sale agreement, Caras will continue to support The Engagement Agency LLC with the ability to license Solata to the solution provider community on an arms-length basis, meaning that The Engagement Agency will manage implementation and management of solutions for these companies. 
Bruce Bolger, President of The Engagement Agency, says, “We originally developed the technology only because there was a need for an open-source platform that reflects the vision of The Enterprise Engagement framework. Caras LLC has made a significant investment and commitment to supporting a platform from which the entire world of business, government and not-for-profits can benefit, and we’re excited about adding it to the multiple engagement solutions The Engagement Agency brings to its partners in the engagement space. We are also dedicated to supporting any company’s products and services that help organizations achieve their goals through engagement.”
The Solata technology was initially developed by TheZoneMedia group for Eagle Recognition and FIRE Light Group for unique and custom engagement initiatives. While the Solata Engagement Portal allows a direct connection to the Universal Rewards Exchange from Hinda Incentives, it can be connected to any award platform.
As reported in ESM, the Solata technology is unique in that it is built specifically for the use of engagement solution providers on a private label basis to provide their clients a low cost, highly configurable open-source platform that can support an enterprise-wide approach to engagement. The platform is designed for management consultants, recognition & incentive companies and marketing firms seeking to bring engagement solutions to their clients. Built in Drupal, a leading PHP-based open-source content management platform, Solata specifically aligns with the formal Enterprise Engagement framework developed by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance at TheEEA.org. The EEA’s proposal to create formal standards for employee engagement was recently approved by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization).
Organizations can now create their own highly configurable and unique central Engagement Portal that runs multiple programs to address every organizational audience and objectives in a single responsive platform; create a complete information center with news, how-to, and other information to help foster alignment across the organization; run assessment surveys and tests; manage news feeds and social walls; support multiple languages; run incentive and all types of recognition programs (including peer-to-peer, manager-to-peer, etc); and provide sophisticated analytics, including return-on-investment measurement.
“More of our recognition clients are seeing the importance of creating complete engagement solutions, and we realized it was critical to have a highly customizable, flexible platform that enables companies to create programs based specifically on their needs,” explains Nobles, President of Eagle Recognition. “Because we know that the biggest competitive advantage comes from the design of effective programs, and not just technology, we’re pleased to have supported a platform that can be configured and used by all engagement solution providers across the industry to help advance and elevate the field of Enterprise Engagement.”  
Nobles and Bolger agree that “traditional technology in the engagement space is highly fragmented, focusing on incentives, social recognition, gamification, etc., when what most organizations require is a strategically integrated solution that becomes the hub of their entire organization’s engagement efforts. We are confident that Caras’ further investment in the Engagement Portal will help foster the development of more integrated solutions for the marketplace, much as did the early pioneers in Customer Relationship Management”.

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