I started my own business in 2006 called Netociety first and then eventually renamed it to Socialwrks. I ran it for about 6 years. Initially the business was based on the back of Confluence.
Confluence started out as an enterprise wiki. A platform developed by Atlassian at the beginning of the enterprise social movement that has gone on to become so much more. It is still billed as content collaboration software for modern team work.
As an individual I resold Confluence for a few years and helped large enterprise customers implement the platform into their own environments. I helped them with launching the platform, early stage adoption and then value creation. This was the beginning of my work in and on customer success.
I soon realised the need customers had for custom/bespoke solutions from a functionality as well as design point of view.
I went on to build and run a team of designers, developers and customer success managers. We would customise the platform and extend its functionality through plugins. We also did a lot custom design work. These were mostly around social intranets and idea management platforms.
The company grew to a team of around 12 at its height and the management team grew into a team of four that managed to secure some government grants and early stage investment with some of the angel investors becoming owners/advisors.
At some stage we decided to develop our own product called Crowdflo. This was equivalent to Confluence in many ways but leveraged newer Java technologies and approaches to make the building of custom forms and structures easier. This provided added flexibility in building enterprise social platforms we could create and run for customers. It also got us into the nascent SaaS space. We ran our platform and customer instances on Amazon’s AWS hosting environment.
The business dissolved in 2012 and not in a good way but I learned a great deal from that too. Like the importance of choosing the right partners and how to structure your business right from the beginning. I mean structure from a shareholding point of view. I went on to join another startup (Yammer, the Enterprise Social Network) to help grow its EMEA base from a customer success point of view. This was acquired by Microsoft where I stayed on for many years working on the Office 365 business, still in customer success.
Below are some screenshots of some the work we did (click on an image for a larger pop up and slide show) and you can check these two project pages that detail some specific areas of work with demo screencasts:
7 thoughts on “Birth of Enterprise Social”