Saturday, April 26, 2008

Workstreaming, or the Facebook of Enterprise Management

My flagger pointed this out a couple of days ago but I haven't been able to blog it until now. Trampoline Systems' Sonar Dashboard is meant to marry workstreaming, social networking, and enterprise dashboards (well, the term "marry" doesn't work so well for combining three things, but whatever). It also tackles the chief problem with Web 2.0 solutions, which is that they are hard to scale because their information is hard to aggregate:
So at Web 2 Expo this week, Trampoline Systems, the UK-based enterprise startup, launched its new Sonar Dashboard tool designed to be a “Facebook for the enterprise”. This allows employees to create profiles, watch a news feed of colleagues’ activity and use a contacts list. Dashboard automatically tracks employees’ everyday work activity, such as email. Their Sonar Server product analyzes the social graph, information flows and expertise hidden within the company, allowing users to work out who in the company can help them, across departments and geographies. Sonar Dashboard makes the network searchable, and gives visibility to the right people via a simple visualization tool that maps the user’s social graph. Users can completely control what they share (the system automatically filters out blatantly personal material) and also lets them work out what they themselves are most preoccupied with. I haven’t seen a product like it so far and the visualization tools are pretty amazing.
Obviously there are some privacy concerns here, and one thing that struck me about the screen caps at the Sonar site was that it provides different views for peers and managers. But let's bracket that for now. The really interesting thing for me is the visualizations, which allow people to visualize their formal and informal social networks. There's a piece of the aggregation/summarization puzzle. But there are more pieces to find and fit.

The Enterprise Social Network, Auto-Generated And Visually Mapped
Blogged with the Flock Browser


JoelKline said...

Hi Clay,

Been awhile since I've posted. The development of enterprise Web 2.0 KM tools is definitely a hot area. Has Trampoline addressed or resolved how the system will connect with people outside the enterprise?

One challenge for enterprise Web 2.0 is to mimic the natural networking function of social networks. Plaxo, xing, LinkedIn attempt this, but these pure networking tools lack the sharing/push 2.0 features of Trampoline.

Once software can push the appopriate parts of the connect, share, and collaborate functions we will have realized enterprise 2.0.


Joel Kline
Lebanon Valley College

Clay Spinuzzi said...

Couple of things.

One, I had completely forgotten that Trampoline Systems was behind Enron Explorer, a demo app that "lets you investigate the actions and reactions of Enron's senior management team as the noose began to tighten." I remember flagging this app at the time.

Two, re your question, Joel -- I haven't thoroughly explored the system, but my impression is that this tool functions strictly within the enterprise. As the Enron example suggests, there are some real privacy issues once you go beyond the bounds of the organization (actually, some privacy issues even within those bounds, although Sonar filters out obviously private communication).