The Social Graph Meets the Enterprise
Welcome to the Reachable Blog! In this space, we’ll share our thoughts and engage in conversations about leveraging social and professional relationships within the workplace. New technologies have made it possible to greatly extend our “network” of contacts into a much larger and more powerful “social graph” that can help us reach well beyond our current contacts. Reachable was founded to bring this social graph to the enterprise.
In the Spring of 2011, I heard about an interesting startup that would better leverage social and professional network connections in the enterprise. I was immediately interested and checked out their product, which showed how you knew people and how those people were connected to other people. Within a few minutes, I could clearly see the power of this application, and how it could have a tremendous impact on how businesses operated. I joined as CEO shortly afterwards.
One of my fundamental beliefs is that business is about people. Working with people, leading people, serving people. It’s all about people. And if we can better leverage the people relationships that we have already established, and have a way to better maintain and manage them over time, that would be a tremendous asset to virtually any business function.
The Real Social Graph
We live in a highly connected world. I am always amazed at how my friends and colleagues know my other friends and colleagues even though I am not aware of it. It’s a tangled web of thousands of people that we know from former companies, schools, clubs and other associations. And yet, the average number of Facebook connections is only 130, LinkedIn connections only around 100. What if we could find all the connections from the thousands of people we know, and keep track of where they are working now and what they are up to? This concept was the genesis of Reachable – making it possible to better leverage the network of everyone you know.
We started to show the early Reachable application to prospective customers and an interesting thing happened. They said, “This is great. We can totally use this. But can you also add our customers to the social graph, or our prospects, or potential candidates we want to recruit, or our employees? Because we want to see how all of them are connected together.”
The Birth of the Enterprise Social Graph
It quickly dawned on us that this uber social graph with enterprise data would be incredibly powerful. It would be not just a map of everyone you know, but also an extended map that could show you how you know your customers for example. And which customers know the prospects you are trying to sell to. Or which of your company employees know the candidates you are trying to recruit, or know the executives at a potential strategic partner.
Some have referred to this as the ability to “connect the dots” between you and anyone in the workforce. We think of it as ability to put anyone in context with:
- How you know them within your personal network
- How anyone in your company’s ecosystem knows them (employees, customers, partners, etc.)
- Delivered within the workflow of an enterprise application, like Salesforce.com for CRM or Taleo for Talent Management
Effectively utilizing a larger network can greatly speed many aspects of business. No longer do sales reps need to make cold calls. Now they can scan through their prospects and see where they have strong connections that they can leverage to open doors. Account managers can better leverage their existing account contacts into new contacts and expand account penetration. Recruiters can more clearly find critical talent and how to get introduced to them. Executives can better leverage their contacts for developing new partnerships.
Reachable sheds light on the tangled web of connections and relationships that make up our business world. We help our customers extend their reach and better leverage these connections to get business done faster. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on the enterprise social graph and other topics discussed in the Reachable Blog.
– Al Campa, Reachable CEO