Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Convercent's cloud app aims to help employees implement, measure, and rate corporate values and culture

Convercent, a new company that launched today, aims to fill a void in the governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) market with approachable tools that help employees implement corporate values while offering ways to measure and rate such contributions.

GRC has traditionally provided companies with tools to help customers meet government and industry regulations, enforce corporate policies and better deal with risk. Yet the areas of corporate culture and values -- which are becoming increasing important in today’s business climate -- were rarely addressed.

“Our platform allows companies to take the fuzzy-wuzzy of ethics –- to take the sign off the wall -- and turn it into structured data to measure employee actions against the organization’s stated values and culture,” said Patrick Quinlan, Convercent's CEO.
Companies like ours spend 85 percent of every dollar on people. If we don’t drive an effective culture, how can we drive performance?

Launching with 52 employees, $10.2 million in venture funding, the start-up hopes to capitalize on the recent trend of companies using their core ethics, culture and values to drive their business model. Convercent’s founders had earlier invested in a compliance software maker called Business Controls Inc. and is converting the 300 customers from that venture to Convercent.

Whole Foods is an example of such a company –- the grocery store’s brand makes a promise of quality and safety to its customers. If that promise is broken, the brand is damaged and the results could be far more devastating than a regulatory fine, said Quinlan.

Plenty of companies are making corporate values a top priority today, according to Quinlan, who offers the example of Google’s "Don't be evil" credo. Ensuring that employees walk the walk of the company’s ethics is becoming as important as making sure they abide by more traditional corporate or regulatory guidelines.

“Companies like ours spend 85 percent of every dollar on people,” said Quinlan. “If we don’t drive an effective culture, how can we drive performance?”

Cloud application

Convercent integrates corporate values and more traditional GRC activities into a cloud application that features mobile access and a clean user interface. For example, employees can use the application to read a definition of what their company considers community service, see examples of such activities, and log hours spent in service.

Aimed at legal, audit and compliance executives, the tool can also be used to distribute company policies, stay compliant with regulations, educate employees, and align company performance with culture, said CIO Philip Winterburn. It offers a way for companies to report and respond to incidents and craft escalations, investigations and resolutions.
It offers a way for companies to report and respond to incidents and craft escalations, investigations and resolutions.

Managers can receive reports on employee or department engagement and generate related scores, turning the ambiguous area of company involvement into a mathematical measurement, according to Winterburn.

The product is available at launch in more than 40 languages and can also produce on-the-fly translations. Mobile access from iOS devices is included at launch, with plans for support of Android devices to follow.

Founders Quinlan, Winterburn, and Barclay Friesen hail from compliance software maker Rivet Software. The three also founded Nebbiolo Ventures, which they describe as an entrepreneurial venture. A video of the Convercent product launch can be found here.

(BriefingsDirect contributor Cara Garretson provided editorial assistance and research on this post. She can be reached on LinkedIn.)

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