NewsGator (news, site) adds a new module to its Social Sites for SharePoint collaboration solution. The focus this time is on recognition and rewards  and finding experts.

Recognizing and Rewarding Positive Behavior

Many organizations have some type of recognition program in place and it's often a manual process. Newsgator, recognizing this and the desire by organizations to reward employees for using and participating in collaborative solutions, has introduced a new module called Spotlight.

The module, built for Social Sites 2.0, has two components:

  • Badging & Recognition
  • Expertise Discovery

Expertise Discovery

Expertise Discovery takes both user profiles and their behavior and scores that information against certain terms. Organizations have the ability to adjust the scoring weights based on the things they see as important. This ensures that people can load their profiles with terms, they need to actual be doing something within the system related to a term to score higher as an expert. You can also incorporate inputs from external systems to drive the expertise scoring.

Top tags and automated recommendations for profiles updates are also available.

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Spotlight Expertise Management

Here's a view of expertise for the term competition. The closer the person is to the term, the higher they rank. Note that this is available via a Silverlight viewer.

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Visualization of Expertise

You can also compare the expertise of several users to get a better feel for who might be the right person to talk to:

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Spotlight - Comparison of Expertise

Rewards & Recognition

Badging has its roots in gaming. It's a way to recognize and reward employees for positive behavior and it's a way for organizations to drive the type of adoption they want within the collaboration system.

Badges are completely defined by the organizations -- none come out of the box --including graphics and description. More important though, is that the organization can define the rules and weights for scoring.

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Spotlight - Rules for Badges

Employees earn points by doing certain things within the system (and also, if defined, in external systems). Administrators can set max points that can be earned for a particular activity, so an employee must participate in a range of ways to earn a badge.

Earned badges show up in both the activity stream:

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Spotlight - Recognition

and the leader board:

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Spotlight - Leader board

Reporting Available

There are several reports available that provide insights into both expertise and recognition. You can run a report by Tags and see who the top scoring employees are. You can also run a report by Users, which shows you the top scores by users and allows drill down to see top tags.

Spotlight 1.0 for Social Sites v2 is available as an add-on module. It comes not long after NewsGator announced Social Sites 2.0 v2 in May which came with a number of updates itself.

There are many who say that rewards for positive behavior are not the way to drive adoption. But if that's the case, then why are so many vendors incorporating this capability into their enterprise collaboration platforms?