BrightIdea Wants To Be Salesforce.com for Innovation Management

4 minute read
Barb Mosher Zinck avatar

 BrightIdea believes that a platform to manage ideas offers more intrinsic value than a sales lead and they are making an enterprise play to become Salesforce.com for Innovation Management. What does that mean exactly? Let's have a look.

Different Flavors of Innovation Management

There aren't a huge number of Innovation Management vendors in the market today, but that could change pretty quickly considering the attention these solutions are getting from organizations. 

On one side of the spectrum we see Kindling, which is a relatively new solution that is designed to work primarily as a standalone product. Although Kindling does offer the ability to integration with other applications, they believe organizations need to get the processes working before considering application integration. We also have Spigit who recently picked up US$ 10 million in funding, and took their solution to SharePoint.

BrightIdea sits at the other end of the spectrum offering three solutions that start with the capture of ideas and ends with implementation management. Around since 1999, they are a sizable company with a sizable client base (300+) and according to Vincent Carbone, Founder and COO, the company understands what it takes to turn an idea into projects that are actionable.

BrightIdea Solutions

There are three primary solutions:

  • WebStorm -- The Idea collector, WebStorm collects and manages ideas, solicits feedback and suggestions and runs contests and competitions. WebStorms can be adhoc communities (i.e. for a meeting), or deployed as communities or subcommunities.
  • Switchboard -- The next step in the innovation management process is selecting an idea and resourcing it. Scorecards tie business metrics to an idea, screening and prioritization and resourcing are just some of the features available.
  • Pipeline -- Supports the implementation of an idea through project management and documentation.


SaaS and Easy

BrightIdea can be deployed both on premise and as a SaaS offering. Carbone told us that most of their on premise customers are legacy -- 95% of their clients are SaaS. In fact in the last two years, BrightIdea has not sold a single on premise version. 


Brightidea and Crowdcast Prediction Market Integration

Carbone also said BrightIdea operates with a strong self-service model. They offer webinars and online training to get customers up to speed quickly. Last quarter, 90% of their revenues were for licenses alone, so the solutions can't be that hard to implement and use.

They also released an iPhone app a couple of months ago for WebStorm.

The BrightIdea Platform

So we've seen the solutions BrightIdea offers, but there's more to this Innovation management story. Other vendors are developing integrated solutions on top of BrightIdeas platform. Integration with reporting, portfolio management, project management and predictions solutions are in the works.

Learning Opportunities


BrightIdea - Dashboard

This is where the Salesforce.com comparison comes into play. BrightIdea see itself as the platform base offering the core capabilities, while other vendors build integrated solutions for value add. This approach is much like the AppExchange. However, BrightIdea is still a ways away from offering an open API and an marketplace like AppExchange.

Recently, CrowdCast and BrightIdea announced a partnership that demonstrates the platform play. Crowdcast provides prediction market solutions. Integration with BrightIdea brings predictions on ranking metrics like revenue potential and likelihood of success for an idea or group of ideas.

According to Anthony Townsend in The Future Now Blog,

"the combination of these tools opens the door for disrupting innovation systems inside companies in ways that allow lightweight innovation to happen earlier.[ ].. it means that little ideas that could be quickly prototyped using lightweight models - fast, capital efficient, and end-user engaged - won't get filtered out through multiple levels of management. Senior leaders will be able to see the constellation of ideas and innovations rather than just the filtered picks of breakthrough ideas. "

BrightIdea also has integration with Planview for portfolio management and Asterisq for concept linking and visualization capabilities.

Wanting to Be Like Salesforce.com

It was interesting hear that BrightIdea wants to be the Salesforce.com of Innovation Management, especially considering the company was rumored to be a potential acquisition target for Salesforce. Of course that was just a rumor and it doesn't look like BrightIdea has intentions in that area.

CRM for Ideas is what Carbone called it and it is an interesting concept. But with so many social computing vendors adding different levels of innovation management to their own solutions, one does wonder if there is a market large enough to support this degree of application integration.