I wrote a piece back in January called IBM’s Entry Into Social Networking, where I discussed the potential for applying web 2.0 techniques on the enterprise. Subsequently, I have written extensively about Enterprise 3.0 and the Extended Enterprise trends. A company from England had contacted me after reading the IBM piece. This company, Trampoline Systems, is the subject of our discussion today. It dovetails the recent eProject discussion, as yet another essential element of the online collaboration suite, one of my key interest areas for Enterprise 3.0. My conversation partner here is Charles Armstrong, CEO of Trampoline.
SM: Please describe your SaaS business value proposition and your product.
CA: Trampoline Systems offers two core products: Collaboration Engine and the SONAR platform.
Trampoline’s SONAR platform brings a fresh approach to information management: it harnesses the social behaviour occurring within organisations. SONAR plugs into the corporate network and connects to existing systems including email servers, contact databases and document stores. It analyses this data to map social networks, information flows, expertise and individuals’ interests throughout the enterprise.
SONAR allows an organization to leverage the embedded intelligence of the whole community as well as information stored electronically. Unlike traditional knowledge management applications, SONAR takes account of the ‘soft’ or hidden knowledge assets contained within an organisation – for example the expertise employees pick up during their tenure at a company but which is never formally recorded. With SONAR, individuals get the information they need instantly, unrecognised expertise becomes visible, the enterprise increases the reuse and value of its knowledge assets and the firm improves its agility and competitiveness.
At the core of SONAR’s technology is a combination of social network analysis and natural language processing which unites information contained in multiple electronic forms and the social behaviour surrounding it. SONAR’s output is presented in a single browser window which from the very first log-on presents uniquely personalized data.
Users can find the information they need at the touch of a button. With SONAR, a contact record becomes a way to reach a prospect; a document stored in a shared folder uncovers a previously unknown expert in a field of interest; an email archive reveals the map to a network of contacts to be leveraged by the whole company and a web browser forms an interface to the whole enterprise’s knowledge.
SONAR works around two key concepts: Connections and Themes. Connections are the people users communicate with. They might be project team mates, other employees or contacts in outside organisations. Themes are topics of interest. They might be projects, deals or areas of expertise – whatever people are communicating about.
In addition, Trampoline offers the Collaboration Engine to SMEs as a fully hosted solution. The Collaboration Engine was the first of Trampoline’s products and many of SONAR’s features developed from it. Collaboration Engine provides the key systems a small organisation needs, linked together to multiply the value of every piece of knowledge and encourage collaboration. It includes email, file sharing, contact management, extranet and search for mid-sized businesses, networks and virtual organisations.