For simplehoney, a travel startup that tailors lodging choices to users' personality profiles, keeping track of its staff as they scour the world filing reports is as easy as a few taps on a smartphone, thanks to an app called Pride. Team members don't need to rely on e-mail, text messages or phone calls to stay up to date with their bosses or each other, no matter where business takes them. Think of it as a closed Facebook social network, limited to people within the company, that works on iOS and Android mobile devices and can reduce intraoffice e-mail traffic by one-third.
Pride is one of three apps developed by DoubleDutch, a San Francisco-based startup, to help everyone from the CEO to the intern keep a finger on a company's pulse. Another, the white-label events app Flock, gives attendees the power to check in to seminars and panel discussions and also connect with other professionals.
But DoubleDutch's most disruptive app is surely Hive, which allows a salesperson to download a prospect's complete background file from a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) program such as Salesforce. The app can also track sales analytics and transmit those back to home base. It's a mobile challenge to traditional CRM and reporting tools.
"All these CRMs [on the market] are about reporting what has happened in the past," says DoubleDutch CEO and co-founder Lawrence Coburn. "We're capturing many more data points than traditional reporting software. It goes
from being a reporting tool to being a real-time window into what's happening right now."
The biggest sticking point for CRM programs has been reluctance on the part of sales teams to input data. To create an intuitive app that promotes engagement, DoubleDutch incorporated easy and clear objectives and gaming principles.
"Companies use the app's game mechanics to motivate the behaviors that are known to drive sales," Coburn says. "For example, one Fortune 500 customer gives away an iPad to salespeople at the top of the monthly leaderboard. It seems basic, but it moves the dial."
So far, customers like what they see. The company, founded in 2011, is doubling its business every two quarters thanks to signing clients such as Cisco, Roche pharmaceuticals and Lowe's home-improvement centers. To handle that growth, Coburn expects to increase staff from 18 to 30 employees by the end of the year.
A big part of DoubleDutch's success has been stripping down the sprawling concept of mobile connectivity. According to Coburn, the goal was always simplicity: "People want simple apps that do one thing well, not many things at once."
Logan Kugler is a 22 year-old entrepreneur and technology writer based in Silicon Valley. He's written for more than 60 major publications including Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes, Fast Company, Men's Journal, Autoweek, Computerworld, PC World, and PC Magazine and he's been hired by Fortune 500 companies including IBM, CDW, BMW, and Oracle. He started his first business when he was 10 and turned a five-figure profit within the first year. He's currently working on getting humanity into space.