Is there any hotter market than social enterprise applications right now? Need proof? Just look at Microsoft’s acquisition of Yammer for more than $1 billion. Or Salesforce’s acquisition of Rypple. It seems clear that enterprises realize that one way to actually hone and measure employee productivity is to make that activity more social and collaborative.
There’s just one problem: Few enterprise social networks actually work very well. While they generally register high engagement at launch within an enterprise, activity tends to tail off after a few weeks or months once people get tired of using them as a replacement for email. They don’t provide much in the way of tools for actually getting things done. And it’s difficult to show a real ROI once one of these things is deployed.
NationalField is an enterprise social networking company that was founded to solve those problems. The platform is designed in part to provide more transparency between how members of the enterprise are performing and incentivizing them to improve on that performance. Instead of just letting organizations use its network for collaboration, it also hooks into their systems and provides tools for integrating with a company’s org chart to provide more structure around how users work together.
Formed out of the 2008 Presidential campaign in the U.S., NationalField was built to simplify communications between in-the-field campaign volunteers and regional campaign offices. But the lessons from that campaign could also be used to improve enterprise collaboration, particularly in showing how well members of an organization are performing and trying to lift organizational productivity as a whole.
According to co-founder Edward Saatchi, the goal is to show a real ROI around deploying its system. To do so, it works with enterprises to find out which metrics are important to them and actually builds improvement in those areas into its compensation. So for instance, a sales organization would hook NationalField into its CRM, and part of its payment would be tied into increased sales as a result.
That’s a pitch that is resonating with businesses: It’s got 250,000 active users spread over 800 different enterprise customers. It charges a flat $10 per user fee per month, as well as takes a percentage based on ROI that it shows. It’s also resonating with investors, as NationalField just raised a $1.5 million fund from angels including Excel designer Jabe Blumethal and DirecTV cofounder Jim Ramo. It’s also adding former Jive CMO Sam Lawrence to its board of directors. Advisors include Socialcast’s Matt Wilkinson, Cubetree founder Ross Fubini, Socialtext founder Ross Mayfield, and Blue Kiwi founder Carlos Diaz.