Apperian’s Epicenter gives iPad users a social, visually rich corporate directory

by David Needle

February 29 2012

Apperian's Epicenter gives iPad users a social corporate directory.
Apperian's Epicenter gives iPad users a social corporate directory.

How do you find someone with Android development skills in your company? Or who reports to Bill in the building next door because he's not answering his phone and you have an urgent problem only someone in his department can fix?

The answer could be on your iPad thanks to Epicenter from Apperian, touted as the first social corporate directory app. 

“As businesses embrace mobility, it becomes more and more challenging to locate and coordinate the key people within a company. Epicenter solves this problem,” said Reinhard Schumak, Apperian’s director of product management.

Schumak said the idea for Epicenter grew from the work Apperian did building custom apps for companies (now its main product is a mobile app management platform called EASE that's designed to help businesses easly deploy and manage apps as well as private label app stores)

“We were hearing and seeing that tablets and mobile devices were becoming important and transformative and we started to think: ‘What can we do to create a Super Mario for the enterprise?’ Something that would be very popular and useful? The corporate directory idea came up quite often from a variety of sources. And it’s a pretty horizontal app because people across any company want better access to resources.” 

More than just a directory listing, Epicenter has a number of features Apperian says make it easy for workers to “find, connect and do.” Examples of these three core features include: 

FIND
● Navigate the organization through formal connections such as report-to and teams, as well as informal connections such as “find similar”
● Find anyone with a particular skill, experience or location with an easy-to-use, faceted search
● Identify colleagues who are online and near you, even if they are just down the hall

CONNECT
● Learn about co-workers through rich, personalized user profiles that include photos, professional expertise, and educational background
● Share and view real-time status updates across the organization

DO
● Use built-in tools for the iPad, such as email, iMessage and FaceTime, to coordinate, find and communicate with coworkers
● Create and disband cross-functional teams and groups on the fly. Keep them only as long as you need them

Epicenter’s price starts at $5 per user per month, but volume discounts can bring the price down quite a bit, said Schumak.

“We already have pilots at companies with 50 to 100 and 500 users, “ he said. “And some of our customers have tens of thousands of employees. That’s a key advantage to what we do, scale and ease of use.”

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