CogMap, a organizational chart wiki, hopes to become the online destination for anyone wanting to know who’s in charge of what at which company. The wiki has been available since fall 2006, but founder Brent Halliburton is launching several new features — the big two being the ability to make a private org chart and APIs that let you download and modify charts with third-party applications.
Organizational charts may seem like a dry and limited subject for a wiki (that was my first impression) — until you think about times you’ve had trouble finding the right person in a company to help with a specific task. Even at VentureBeat, we occasionally scramble to figure out who to contact for a story, especially when we’re on deadline. Besides, as Halliburton notes, this is the kind of stuff that people are curious about.
“You think about the pecking order a lot,” Halliburton says. “At some level, anybody who has a job thinks about this stuff.” (You can see the CogMap chart for Facebook below.)
Forbes apparently thought this was a great idea too, because it launched a similar wiki about six months after CogMap. Halliburton says his site is richer — for example, you can add much more detailed information about each person in the org chart. (You can see CogMap’s profile of Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg below. It presents the opportunity to create a very detailed profile, but no one’s bothered to fill in Zuckerberg’s information yet.)
Right now, CogMap users have created charts for about 2,600 companies. Most of the charts I looked at (Google, Facebook, etc.) are limited to very high-level staffers. That can be frustrating, but it probably keeps things manageable, too.
Of the new features, Halliburton says the private network option has been the most frequently requested. After all, building an internal CogMap org chart for free is more affordable than paying for services like Dream Factory. It can also help companies figure out their post-merger structure. Halliburton says companies already call him after doing exactly that with the public wiki, and who then ask him to take down the charts before the beans are spilled to the entire world.
CogMap’s APIs can make the charts more useful, too. For example, companies can create maps of staffers’ geographic locations, and they can pull the data into a customer relationship management system.
Halliburton says funding for the Columbia, Md.-based company has been completely bootstrapped.