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9/2/2011
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Rypple Lets You Reward Employees On Big Screen

Employee recognition and rewards service Rypple provides a social feed optimized for big screen TVs to showcase accomplishments.

Done something good for your company lately? Rypple thinks you ought to see your accomplishments on the big screen.

A social software specialist in tracking and rewarding employee performance, Rypple recently introduced Rypple Flow, which provides a version of the Rypple activity stream optimized for display on big screen TVs. It came along at just the right time for e-book retailer Kobo Books, where VP of employee experience Jennifer Ricci was looking for a way of making employee performance metrics just as widely recognized within her company as sales and operational statistics.

Kobo has about 250 employees in its main office in Toronto, a loft-like space where data feeds on statistics like order volume are already displayed on large monitors. Ricci said she was in a meeting with Rypple a few months ago where she mentioned how great it would be to have employee recognition shared the same way. "The reply that came back was, 'Well, funny you should mention that because that's just where we're going,' " she said.

One of the things that has made Rypple a pleasure to work with is the company often seems to be anticipating what she needs next before she has thought to ask for it, she said. "We're very agile and very fast-paced, and so is Rypple."

Rypple co-CEO Daniel Debow said the feed for large screen displays was created by one of his engineers partly as test case for the application programming interface the company will launch later this year. Many Rypple customers already have large performance monitoring displays in key locations for measures like server uptime, so this is something easy for them to add, he said. The feed is essentially a simplified, read-only version of the Rypple activity stream that continually refreshes as new posts are added.

This feature also reflects one of the big picture goals of Rypple, which is to do for all sorts of work what agile programming has done for software development--make it more productive by emphasizing ongoing communication on goals and accomplishments over paperwork, Debow said. Agile teams often keep their plans tacked up on walls or drawn on whiteboards--always visible and continually updated--and Rypple Flow provides that kind of visibility into organizational productivity, he said.

Rypple Flow is free to customers with Premium and Phenomenal plans ($5 and $9 per user per month, respectively). Rypple also offers a Basic plan, which is free.

At Kobo, Rypple is largely used to track individual contributions toward organizational goals, like a current effort to launch a German language e-reader and all the supporting activities around that, Ricci said. "The best way we've found of using Rypple so far is for focusing on those goals that require cross-functional collaboration."

Even though it's not marketed as a general purpose enterprise social networking product like Yammer or Jive (and is available as part of the Jive Apps Market), at Kobo Rypple functions as the firm's main social collaboration application, Ricci said. "We had a bit of tool overload going on prior to Rypple, and it was creating a silo effect where different groups were using different social or collaboration tools."

The company hasn't mandated that people drop those other tools, but Rypple adoption has been dramatic enough that it has displaced most of the other products, she said.

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