It’s very common these days to hear talk of the consumerization of enterprise software. But in most cases, this phrase is simply an indication that software has been designed with an attractive and intuitive user interface, typical of that found in consumer software. Tomfoolery, a one year old, stealthy, mobile-focused startup, is taking this concept a level further by bringing fun and true social interaction into its enterprise productivity products. Today, the company whose credo is “Work Awesome,” is releasing its first product, Anchor.
Anchor is an intimate social communication and collaboration platform that is reminiscent of Path, but for the workplace. The app will challenge (but more likely augment) Yammer, Asana, and the like by taking communication away from to do lists and document sharing and instead focusing on fostering team cohesion, and intimate conversation. Anchor aims to be the digital water cooler or break room, a place that workers share their weekend adventures and pictures of their kids, make plans for lunch and after work drinks, and organize athletic activities. The app is highly visual and supports sharing links, pictures, articles, locations, videos and other content into company-wide or team specific feed. And if a document or two gets reviewed along the way, all the better.
“Our customer is the end user, not the enterprise,” says Tomfoolery co-founder and CEO Kakul Srivastava. “Which is why we held off on integrating with Sharepoint or focusing on calendars and task management. We hade some of these features built into early versions, but we found that they resonated far less than one-on-one and small group communication, which was truly habit-forming.”
The concept behind Anchor is simple. Co-workers do this type of sharing already but they have no natural destination for doing so. Email and existing enterprise communication tools are ill-suited for it, while Facebook, Path, Twitter and other general social platforms are too public. The Anchor app constructs macro-teams based on company email addresses, but users can create multiple purpose-driven teams with select invitees from within or outside their company. All content and conversations can be filtered according to team, and a user’s main feed is color coded according to these groups. The app also supports one-on-one or group chat, and offers a directory feature for one click chat, email, or phone calling.