Knoa Puts $5.1M to Work Bringing Efficiency to Enterprise Software

Piling on software for workers to use does not necessarily mean they will be better at their jobs.

Even if employees clamor away at their computers to meet a quota or other targets, it can be hard to know if they are getting the most out of the software they use. New York-based Knoa Software believes it has the answer, with a bit of “gamification,” to help enterprises determine just that.

“It’s sort of a top down view, management looking at how employees are conducting themselves,” CEO Brian Berns (pictured) says.

Previously known as Knoa Corporation, the company is far from being a new kid on the block. It was founded in 1987 and became Knoa Software in 2003. Berns says the company is growing with an entrepreneurial strategy these days. It develops software that companies use to monitor and measure how efficiently workers use enterprise software from the likes of SAP. That includes knowing if software helps employees be more productive and gauging their understanding of the digital tools at their disposal.

On Tuesday, Knoa outlined details of its plans for the $5.1 million it raised in a Series B round from Advantage Capital Partners, Ascent Ventures, Gefinor Capital, and Rand Capital. Berns says the money will go towards expanding the company’s operations and sales, as well as adding features to its software, which is used with cloud-based services, analytics, and on mobile. “Our software is about insights into workforce efficiency, optimization, and motivation,” he says. Along with the funding details, the company also announced the hiring of Simon Adell as its new CFO and Sue Spiner as vice president of worldwide marketing.

Knoa’s software, Berns says, is part of a trend to help managers give employees feedback through a digital dashboard. He says there is a growing movement to use analytics in human resources to motivate personnel to be more efficient. That can include showing individual or team progress towards meeting goals, and noting their advancement with digital badges. “It’s really [about] deciding what metrics you are analyzing to determine if a reward is warranted,” he says.

Though it is important for employees to reach objectives, Berns says managers want to be sure this happens in meaningful ways. For instance, staff members might be given a target of making 50 phone calls in one day, but rushing through a flurry of calls may not be that effective. Knoa’s software could help gauge if those connections led to any tangible results. “We’re trying to determine what behavior is in line with the corporate objectives and how we can influence that behavior,” Berns says.

To be sure, there is intense competition to sell to enterprises that want to understand how efficiently their software gets used. Aternity in Westborough, MA, for example, offers tools for managers to monitor the ways workers use software and apps. Oracle has platforms for its own insights on software user experience.

Berns believes his company’s software offers unique data and an outlook on behavior and efficiency that others do not. As Knoa expands, he says, it will advance its analytics to better understand the data it collects—and in turn help enterprises be more efficient. “We’re going to provide a platform to feed those metrics back to the employee to motivate them,” he says.

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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