the story behind commonsku

This story goes back to 2006 when two 31 year olds set up accounts on Facebook.

The social network instantly changed our view of how people communicated in the digital age. What really amazed us was the way that the software humanized many of the relationships we had with the loose connections in our lives. Almost immediately, Facebook’s newsfeed became our new Google, the place where we could find socially relevant information at our fingertips.

But something was missing.

What Facebook did for personal relationships was not present in the workplace. In fact, Facebook was the place you went to escape the drudgeries of work. Given that we spend the majority of our time at work, we wanted to apply the principles we had learned from Facebook – connectedness, transparency, deeper human relationships –  to the enterprise. commonsku was born from this insight in 2010.

Drawing on our experience as a technologically oriented distributor, we considered how enterprise software could be reimagined to promote a fun, yet efficient workplace environment. Fun was important because people should look forward to coming to work everyday. By the same token, efficiency was equally important because the nimblest and quickest companies are often the most profitable and successful. In our opinion, the world’s best companies are those that act as a cohesive, unstoppable team.

Over the past 2 years, we adapted the award winning technology we developed at RIGHTSLEEVE for the broader promotional products industry. In January 2012, we opened for business.

So, what is commonsku exactly?

commonsku is an enterprise marketplace for the promotional products industry. The two most important elements of the software are baked right into its name: community (common) and product (sku).

It’s the interaction between the two in a distributor and supplier environment that makes this software really special. As the selling of products underpin all business models in the promotional industry, we have focused on an integrated CRM and order management solution that allows for distributors to run their businesses more efficiently.

However, this is only part of the process. The truly exciting part of the system is the community and social elements that bind the operation together. This is best captured in the company newsfeed, the beating pulse of the organization that allows distributor employees to collaborate in real time around key sales and marketing activities generated from the CRM and order management platform.

Suppliers also have the opportunity to join as they can follow distributors and collaborate around business data within a promotional industry specific social network.

commonsku’s goal is to provide real time social context to the key interactions in the promotional products industry, be they products, orders or discussions. In our view, these connections are what’s necessary today to maintain the health of our vibrant industry.

Thank you for joining us on this adventure,

Mark Graham & Catherine Graham
Co-Founders