In large companies, it’s all too easy for employees to duplicate work or fall out of sync with the company’s strategy. Métier‘s workforward product uses natural language processing (NLP) and semantic matching to help managers find the right employee to work on a project, speed up project planning and ensure that company strategy is actually being executed.

Let’s say that you are a manager starting a new construction project. You can search for the word “construction” using workforward and its semantic matching engine will return relevant project or task plans for construction, demolition or renovation projects that the company has completed in the past. It does this by mining unstructured text like project descriptions or task names in a project plan for words with a similar meaning. Workforward can also generate a sample project plan based on relevant previous projects.

In addition to helping with planning, wordforward identifies other employees who are starting a similar project or have just completed one, or who have the right experience and availability to work on your project.

Métier’s research has shown that it takes an experienced project manager with over 25 years of experience an average of 60 hours to create a complex project schedule.  The company claims that, during beta testing, the workforward center generated smart project plans in less than thirty seconds.

In a Big Brother twist, wordforward also lets executives track whether strategic initiatives are actually being executed. If employees are executing an initiative they will be talking about it and planning for it. So the semantic engine searches text in project plans, reports and collaboration tools to ensure that the words being used correlate with the words used in strategic initiatives.

Métier’s competitors include Microsoft, Oracle, HP, SAP, Computer Associates, Planview. The company says  wordforward differentiates itself from similar tools by being useful to employees at all levels of the organization. Employees are often merely expected to supply data to business intelligence tools, but wordforward can help them in their everyday work too. The business model is SaaS (software as a service).

Métier was founded in 1998, is based in Santa Rosa California, has 60 employees and is privately funded.

Métier is one of 80 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Fall 2011 event taking place this week in Silicon Valley. After our selection, the companies pay a fee to present. Our coverage of them remains objective.