Fostering Collaboration to Leverage the Enterprise Business Graph

Reachable has received a tremendous response to its approach to fostering collaboration in the enterprise about personal contacts and relationships.  When we started talking to companies about the fact that they had an Enterprise Business Graph and that they should learn to use it, we had to explain to people WHAT was it was we were talking about.  We explained that one of the greatest assets of a company was who it and its employees knew.  (Some refer to this to as the Social Capital of a company but we feel this term to be too restrictive.)

The conversation with clients and prospects has now shifted from WHAT to HOW — how do we enable companies to leverage relationships?  It has become a hot topic and most of the incoming enquiries we get now are from people who are aware they have an untapped asset they should leverage.

The first thing we tell these clients is that leveraging relationships is not a science, it’s an art.  As well, we strongly believe that while automation has a role, it should not be applied to tracking interactions that employees have with others via email, phone, social networks, and chat — tracking and spying engender distrust and there is no way that people will collaborate when they feel violated.  We are not luddites and are quite adept in the use of Big Data analytics and algorithms to do what we do, but we don’t believe in simplistic technical solutions to solve complex social dynamics issues.

At the core of our approach is a data ownership and privacy policy that is really a paradigm shift in current practice in the CRM world.  We introduced the Bring Your Own Data/Take Your Own Data (BYOD/TYOD) policy to the market and it is catching on.  Basically, we believe that contact data that employees bring to an enterprise belongs to them.  Attempts by an enterprise to appropriate this data by requiring that it be entered in the CRM system are doomed — people don’t enter their contacts into the CRM system, and they are less likely to enter LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter contacts/friends/followers into CRM systems.  We do hear from time to time lawyers arguing that “this employee met this person at a company event and then connected on LinkedIn so the contact belongs to the company.” What does that even mean?

Reachable provides every person on the planet with a private, portable, and connectable web-based contact manager.  Private: Reachable’s Contact Manager belongs to the person who creates it and populates it with data.  It does not belong to the enterprise, even if the enterprise pays for special features and data enrichment that enhance the value of Reachable to the user.  Let’s be clear: we don’t give the enterprise a copy of the data in the Reachable Contact Manager.  Portable: When a person leaves the employer where they got access to Reachable, they can take the Reachable Contact Manager with them (but they lose the enhanced functionality paid for by the employer).  Does that mean that the enterprise loses the relationship data that the person brought with her to the enterprise?  Yes, it does.  Connectable:  Owners of Reachable Contact Managers can opt-in to enterprise groups (a TeamReach group) and allow their contact info to be mined by Reachable’s algorithms so that their contacts appear in connection paths generated for other TeamReach users.  At that point, Reachable tells the other person searching for the path that a colleague has a useful connection, and that they should contact that colleague and ask for insights about that relationship.  When connecting Reachable Contact Managers with other Reachable Contact Managers no data is shared or transferred — Reachable sees all the data and connects the dots where and when appropriate without data leakage.  In this manner, an entire enterprise and its ecosystem can become aware of each other’s contacts without giving them up to anyone. We think this is very powerful.

It’s a basic precept of human behavior that if you try to take something I care about I will never share it with you.  Relationships are extremely important to people and the mere hint of mishandling personal relationships will cause the entire idea of collaboration around contacts in the enterprise to go up in smoke.  Spying won’t engender trust and will violate privacy, which will cause companies that over-automate a lot of grief and embarrassment.

Reachable offers a foundation for enterprise collaboration around relationships and contacts.  It inventories relationships and collects data about the professional and educational biographies of people and infers who might be connected to whom using its proprietary algorithms.  But that data is used to show paths that could be useful, it is not shared.  By suggesting who might help who, we engender conversations and discovery of useful intelligence in sales, marketing and recruitment.  Technology does its job, then it’s up to people to create bonds of trust and choose to collaborate.

If your enterprise is people friendly and wants to unleash the power of its Enterprise Business Graph today, we invite you to connect with us today at sales@reachable.com or go to our web site at www.reachable.com.  Follow us on Twitter, Friend us on Facebook and Connect with us on LinkedIn.  Feel free to leave a comment here or on other social platforms.

Laurent Ohana, CEO

Top