Shortly before I took off for a half-day of incredible skiing at Alta (see right), I spent some time on the phone with the founders of eTelemetry, one of the coolest start-ups I've seen in some time. eTelemetry maps the "social graph" within an enterprise. Want to know who the movers and shakers are within your company? Ask the graph, not them.
It's not quite what I've been hoping for since 2001: someone who can build trust into one's personal address book and use that trust to enable new e-commerce activities, among other things. But it's a huge boon for enterprises that want to peer into their ranks to separate the wheat from the chaff and benefit from the wheat.
How does it work?
Basically, eTelemetry monitors and analyzes e-mail, IM, and Web traffic. Through this intelligence it can help an enterprise to determine the networks that exist within its walls. Who is the go-to person for certain issues? Who are the people that everyone respects to answer certain types of questions? Who has the most contact with potential partners? And, though eTelemetry doesn't necessarily pitch this use, who are the weak links in the corporate food chain that can be RIF'd as necessary, i.e., those who do little and are relied on even less?
I'm willing to bet that in most companies the business development person has no clue how much activity is happening between the company and the prospective partner. eTelemetry's solutions would reveal these connections. Perhaps my company wants to do business with Oracle, for example. What if I knew that my developers actively collaborate with developers from Oracle on various open-source projects? That's power.
In fact, open source is a great reason to deploy a tool like eTelemetry, because all sorts of expertise could be mapped out to various projects and project developers by analyzing network traffic. There's a gold mine sitting in the enterprise network, with very little insight into how to mine it or what to mine.
Titles don't create business. People do. Figuring out where the truly productive people reside within your organization could foster an exceptional amount of business. eTelemetry is a great place to start in mapping your company's social networks to determine on whom to build your business.