Some of the most successful companies in the world today began as startups and no one would be likely to dispute the major role they have played in driving disruptive innovation. And new startups are born every day in dorm rooms and coffee shops- though chances are that only a select few will become household names like Amazon.com or Google. The startup culture, often defined by agility and an entrepreneurial mindset, is one that many corporations would love to replicate in their own company culture.
I recently met with James Sinclair, Founder of EnterpriseJungle, to learn more about their solutions and how their relationship with a corporation like SAP has impacted their business. Businesses of any size can undoubtedly benefit from the insights and possibilities that successful startups and their leaders like Sinclair can offer.
What does EnterpriseJungle do in a nutshell?
JS: EnterpriseJungle provides a social discovery service which sits on top of your existing people-centric applications – whether that be an ESN, HRIS or as a SuccessFactors extension. It provides employees with real time feeds on people, groups, content recommendations and team building queries likely to be of value to the job role or project being undertaken and business network analytics of the social relationships of the workforce to employers. It enables quicker and more relevant access to information as part of a job role and an ability to connect, communicate and start conversations as part of the workflow.
What business outcomes can enterprises expect by leveraging your solution?
JS: Pilots are demonstrating that the integrations with LinkedIn profiles not only augment the users profile but also allow more detailed, richer profiles across the enterprise which dramatically increase adoption rates of the internal platform and increase the relevancy and recognition of value of a more collaborative environment. In addition, the explicit benefits of a more connected workforce, the sharing of silo knowledge and awareness of the unknown unknowns dramatically increases efficiency in knowledge workers, team building and sales enablement. In short, it’s good for business and businesses.
What is a lesson that enterprises can take from startups?
JS: We can all talk about the agility and innovation of startups, their different approach to product developments and other overused, well-worn and regularly quoted buzzwords and stereotypes. However … there is a fundamental difference between preaching innovation, embracing change and actually making that change. Larger companies who have been willing to explore a pilot with EnterpriseJungle have been able to benefit from both the cost savings of build vs. buy but also receive a ‘bonus’ secondary development team as they become an intimate part of the development and feature set process.
There is a genuine equilibrium between quality startups and enterprises working together – a lesson I hope we specifically can share with the market. Forward thinking enterprises who recognize this are able to get incredible returns not only from the technology they are acquiring but also via the market knowledge they gain from the trenches: The difference being it is gained over a Starbucks coffee because we don’t have a generous wine-and-dine budget expense accounts!!
How has SAP technology served as a competitive advantage for your startup?
JS: SAP technology alone is not a competitive advantage: Like pieces of a jigsaw there are other alternatives available in the market to companies like us. Where SAP has truly defined itself is in providing a total ecosystem platform to developers to not only build applications on that platform which integrate and run seamlessly but also bringing us to their marketplace. The Trial functions provide a sales channel and ease of customer acquisition or customer opportunity which accelerates our model and assists us in getting in front of the right people. This end user approach to onboarding developers and taking them all the way to implementation and sales combined with the technology backbone are what set SAP apart in the crowd.
In your opinion, why is it critical for businesses today and in the future to “Think like a startup?”
JS: Many startups emerge as scrappy, fast moving, innovative and hustling young companies and some turn into a stellar success stories. Thinking like a startup, or one I am involved in, means placing innovation at the heart of the business. Tech is a fast moving, evolving, exciting industry and without this dynamic mentality at the core of the company, companies risk being being the ‘disrupted’ and not the ‘disruptor’. Thinking like a startup ensures that internal innovation is not stifled.
James Sinclair is a serial entrepreneur with a focus on technological advancements, products and services that can drive great operational efficiency; he has been at the heart of technology and innovation for 15 years in both corporate and startup companies. Latterly, he has focused on social and enterprise collaboration which led to him co-founding EnterpriseJungle in early 2013. He is also a consultant to a private equity company evaluating emerging technologies.
Hear from James Sinclair and other start-up leaders at the THINK LIKE A STARTUP FORUM at SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando June 3-5, 2014- Register Now!