Who are you (company) and how long have you been around?
We’re ThoughtFarmer. We’re the original social intranet; in fact, we coined the term (http://www.thoughtfarmer.com/blog/what-is-social-intranet-definitive-explanation/). We’ve been around since 2006.
What does your product do?
If Wikipedia, Facebook and CNN had a baby, it’d look like ThoughtFarmer. It’s a fusion of the traditional intranet with social features, designed for business.
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What makes you unique in this industry that I am not able to get with other vendors?
When we ask clients why they bought, the answer is almost always ‘ease of use’. ThoughtFarmer is extremely powerful yet dead simple to use. We achieve that simplicity by practicing user-centred design, as outlined in this post about the recent redesign of our editing interface: http://www.thoughtfarmer.com/blog/user-centered-design-intranets/.
Who are your 3 main competitors?
SharePoint is the biggest player in this space, but most people who contact us have decided against it due to its cost or complexity. After SharePoint, there is no dominant competitor: it’s a smattering of custom builds, open source platforms like Drupal, and other vendors in the social software space such as Confluence, Igloo, Interact, Jive and SocialText.
Which are your existing customers?
Our business is roughly 65% North America and 35% UK & Europe.
Some of our better-known clients include:
Canadian Medical Association
Dorel (company behind Cannondale, GT, Schwinn, Sugoi)
Guardian News & Media
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
YVR (the Vancouver International Airport)
Among our smaller clients, we see lots of credit unions, design & engineering firms, and non-profits.
Is it possible to customize the environment?
Yes. You can customize:
The look & feel via the Theming Console
The functionality via configuration settings
The functionality via C# modules using the ThoughtFarmer Integration Kit
Integration via the REST API
What do you bring to the table in terms of top benefits versus us simply implementing it ourselves?
About 60% of our clients implement themselves. Our free intranets 101 guide is a great resource for do-it-yourselfers. The advantage to using our A-team is: (1) Speed: we can help you plan, configure and launch organization-wide in just a few weeks; and (2) Experience: we’ve worked on hundreds of intranets. We help you avoid the mistakes others have made.
Are there any differences between hosted and on-premise versions of the software?
Our Cloud and On-Premise versions are virtually identical. The big difference is that with Cloud, we manage everything for you, including upgrades, backups, and so on.
Who owns the data we’ll share on the platform, you or us?
Our clients own their data.
Can we monitor and track usage?
Yes. We provide a complete intranet statistics package. It’s similar to Google Analytics, but provides great insight into named user behavior rather than simply anonymous data.
How can I get my data out at the end of our relationship?
We provide you a download of your intranet database (or a DVD). Data can also be exported via the API.
What are your best practice approaches to gaining adoption of your product?
First, figure out log on. Nothing kills adoption faster than a URL no one can access or a password no one can remember. Set ThoughtFarmer as everyone’s home page, integrate single sign on, and make it accessible from home and mobile.
Second, figure out 3 “killer apps” for your intranet. These are the things ThoughtFarmer can do beautifully that address a real pain your organization feels. Figure them out, set them up, then seed them properly. Some examples:
A comprehensive employee directory
A news feed tailored by project and department
A place your CEO can share updates and engage in dialog with employees
An internal classifieds section
A place to share and download sales and marketing collateral
Third, get your CEO to use it, heavily. If your CEO leads by example, everyone else will follow.
The long version of this answer is our blog post, “How to encourage social intranet adoption.”
Which languages does your product support?
We’re based in a bilingual country (Canada), so we’ve dealt with multilingual environments since our inception. Currently supported languages are:
What kind of support can we expect from you after implementing your product in our organization?
Our in-house support team consistently receives rave reviews from clients. We publish our live satisfaction rating on our Support page. At time of writing, 100 of the last 100 clients we served said, “Good, I’m satisfied!”
Do you have a community of customers that we can participate in to share experiences and approaches?
Yes: http://helpdesk.thoughtfarmer.com. It’s a hub for ThoughtFarmer support staff and clients to interact and share updates, tips, and questions.
We also host free monthly client webinars that help educate our clients in social intranet best practices and effective ThoughtFarmer management. We post these on our YouTube channel: http://youtube.com/thoughtfarmer.
What is the model for upgrades and releases?
We generally release two new major versions per year.
What is your pricing model?
It’s user-based and changes depending on number of users. For 500 users, for example, Cloud is $5/user/month and Self-Hosted is a one-time fee of $69/user. See our website for the most up-to-date pricing information.
Who should our readers get in touch with for more information?
My name’s Chris McGrath, and I’m co-founder of ThoughtFarmer. You can email me directly: [email protected] If you have a sales inquiry, contact [email protected] Our Twitter handle is @thoughtfarmer.
Is there something else you would like our readers to know about you?
Hmmm. How about something exciting about our growth? Year to date, our bookings have increased 228% over 2012. Social intranets are HOT!