Startup Messagemind Complements Enterprise Social Media Platforms

As enterprise social media services like Chatter, Jive and Yammer catch on, smaller companies emerge to add functionality to those platforms.

Messagemind is the latest entrant in an expanding market for services that build on the enterprise social media platforms of Microsoft's Yammer, Salesforce's Chatter, Jive and other services to deliver added value.

Messagemind emerged from stealth mode Nov. 27 calling itself an "enterprise social network intelligence company," according to co-founder and CEO Manish Sood. Messagemind searches through stores of unstructured and semi-structured data within an organization to provide deeper intelligence about the enterprise, and then uses that data to complement the social media resources of a Yammer or Chatter, Sood said.

While social media platforms present messages and links from various people within an organization, Messagemind also scans corporate email systems, collaboration platforms such as Microsoft SharePoint or third-party resources like research from Dun & Bradstreet.

"The challenge for existing [enterprise social media] technologies has been that they just focus on the social media channel or the collaboration part," Sood said. "They don't have the capability to collect, consolidate and unify the social activity … and give [the user] the overall holistic intelligence view of the company."

More information about who the go-to people are in an organization helps people using social media to solve a problem a better chance of success, he added. Someone doing cancer research at a pharmaceutical company "can just fire a shot in the dark or blast a Yammer message … and ask a question," he said, or they can use the Messagemind service to find the most appropriate person to ask.

This intelligence capability is particularly useful in situations where discretion is required, Sood added. That same cancer researcher may be developing a new drug and would want to keep that confidential for competitive reasons.

The Messagemind service is designed to find connections and sources while at the same time maintain security and privacy within an organization. The system uses algorithms and looks out for keywords that indicate sensitive information and blocks access to it.

Messagemind is one of a number of companies that has emerged of late to complement the services of enterprise social media networks. Messagemind interacts, through application programming interfaces (APIs), with the major services such as Yammer, Chatter and Jive.

Other companies interoperating with major players include Neudesic Pulse, a provider of a social networking platform that integrates with Microsoft systems such as SharePoint, Dynamics CRM and Lync for unified communications. Tibbr is the enterprise social media platform from enterprise software vendor Tibco Software. Also, IBM Connections, a social media platform from Big Blue, now incorporates social business and big data analytics.

Like elsewhere in technology, a major player or players create a market for a new technology and other companies emerge to add functionality or additional value to it. Microsoft's Windows operating system's spawning thousands of software companies writing applications is the simplest example. The same goes for Apple iOS and the hundreds of thousands of apps in its App Store.

The same dynamic is expected to develop for enterprise social media, though we're just getting started, said Rob Koplowitz, an analyst with Forrester.

"We're waiting for a clear market leader to emerge in social," Koplowitz said. "Once that happens, we can expect a lot of add-on vendors to extend the core value of social."

Messagemind saw in the formation of its company the opportunity for enterprise social media to do more for an organization, said Alain Oberrotman, a company co-founder.

"There is more demand for companies to get important information sooner, faster, better," Oberrotman said. "The two key areas [we offer] are, who knows who and who knows what?"