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“We help employees achieve their full potential without the need for spying on them or blocking their access to certain websites.”

MySammy software encourages greater employee productivity by evaluating how a person spends time on a computer. User activity with duration and applications used are tracked for analysis and reporting. Pie charts and bar graphs give you the big picture.

MySammy hosts its data in the Internet cloud. That means you can access your data anywhere in the world. Whether you are on a business / pleasure trip or just around the corner, MySammy is there for you to access from your PC, laptop or smart phone.


Entrepreneur Edward Kwang

MO: How did you come up with the name for your software?

Edward: We called our first beta version Session Audit Manager, or SAM. We knew it would be difficult to trademark the name SAM, so we decided to look for an alternate name. My trademark attorney advised that it would be ideal if we could get an exact Internet domain name for our trademarked name. Through trial and error, we stumbled upon MySammy.com which is a sweetheart name of SAM. This name softens the fears employees may have regarding the product. After verifying with several key people, we decided this was the best name to use and successfully trademarked it.

MO: What is a “Time Engagement Solution?”

Edward: We first thought of classifying MySammy as “Time Management Solution”, but that term simply did not reflect the true nature of our product. What we are doing is measuring how a user spends his/her time in front of a PC and engages with their time. We break down their time into the following categories: Active, Idle, Extended Idle, Screen Saver and None-Productive. Optionally, we allow user to re-categorize their time as productive for events like meeting where there’s no computer activities. We also have a personal/privacy mode option to allow user to turn off MySammy measurement during, for example, lunch break. The essence of our solution is to engage with a user’s computer time. We want to provide quantifiable time accountability measurement without becoming “spyware”. In short, we help employees achieve their full potential.

MO: Can you talk about the development process behind the software? Did you encounter any issues or obstacles along the way?

Edward: Many years ago, one of my developer came to me and requested the opportunity to telecommute. She had moved away from our office area because of her boyfriend, and was spending two to three hours everyday on the congested freeways of Los Angeles. While I know she liked our company, I also knew we were not able to compete with her boyfriend. So if I didn’t do something, I would most likely lose her. She was a valuable employee and I wanted to find a way to accommodate her. But on the other hand, I was concerned that employees working from home might result in complacency. I was worried that I may lose control when we couldn’t see face-to-face on a daily basis. I first agreed to let her work from home one out of five days a week while searching for time measurement solutions. To my surprise, I was not able to find any solution on the market at that time for measuring telecommuting. Since we are a software company, I decided we could simply develop one ourselves.

After we had our first version MySammy, I began letting her work 2 of 5 days per week from home. After a while, we had collected more data. I set a standard of 80% active. If she could achieve it, then she could work 3 out of 5 days per week at home. She achieved 80% standard most of the time.

Each version of MySammy that we released resulted in a smaller, faster software app. Our first MySammy version was written entirely in Microsoft .Net. We were not too happy with the fact that, at the time, MySammy was using what we felt was too much memory and processor resources. With our next version, MySammy 2.0, we rewrote the client side with C++ and memory usage dropped to only 10% of the original version with processor usage less as well. We also drastically redesigned the MySammy Manager to make it easy to use and accessible for anyone. The graphs we display are completely interactive; you can click on a part of the graph to drill down or filter the data.

With the original MySammy version 1.0, only the admin user could access the MySammy Manager to view each employee’s performance. My telecommuting worker complained that if she had had the opportunity to find out her performance ahead of time, she could then work extra time to achieve the 80% standard all the time. So with MySammy 2.0 we developed a feature to allow each employee to logon to MySammy Manager so they can now see their own performance. With this feature, my telecommuting employee consistently reaches the 80% weekly standard.

The following year, after careful consideration, I offered my telecommuting worker the opportunity to work from home 4 out of 5 days per week if she can reach 85% standard. She gladly took the challenge and achieved 85% immediately. But I noticed this time around she sometimes had to work during the weekend. This means the 85% standard I set is challenging enough and she had to work beyond her normal hours range to achieve that standard.

I think this experience tells me that the MySammy solution is a win-win solution for both the employee and the company.

MO: Currently there are 2 options for companies to monitor their employees online. How is MySammy different than the traditional monitoring methods?

Edward: In regards to managing employee Internet usage, the two common methods companies used are “Monitoring” and “Blocking”. Monitoring can be done by installing client software on the PC where management can see exactly what users are doing with their computer. This is like looking at your company’s video surveillance system. This method can be time consuming if you don’t know what you are looking for. In my opinion, “monitoring” systems can be useful for investigating fraud or abuse but may not be optimal for management purposes.

The other common method is “Blocking”. Blocking can prevent employees from wasting time at websites like gaming, shopping and social networks from their work PC. The problem with blocking is it can either over block or under block. In many situations, a legitimate site can be blocked and most employees won’t bother to tell the management. It is hard to measure how much productivity lost because of either over or under block. In addition, with the arrivals of smart phone, almost everything you can waste time on the traditional PC is also available through the smart phone. According to a 2011 Cisco study of 2,800 college students world wide, 56% of them said that if they were offered a job at a company that banned access to social media, they would either turn it down or ignore it. While blocking access to websites may prevent employees from wasting time on the Internet through their PC, there are many different ways employees can waste their time if they choose to do so, including using personal devices such as smartphones. So blocking does not equate to productivity improvement.

MySammy is designed from the ground up as a quantifiable measurement solution. MySammy engages with users’ time and allows management to measure the accountability of an employee’s time. We are not so much interested in the fine detail. Rather, we are more interested in seeing the big picture on how hard an employee had been working. For example, if a salary exempt employee had been actively working 10 hours a day in front of their computer, do you really care if he/she spends some time doing personal banking during lunch hour?

MO: Who is your target market? Can MySammy’s uses go beyond the workplace?

Edward: Our first target is the telecommuting community. This software was primarily designed for that environment. But in general, I think every company with information workers that use a computer can use such a solution. I think human resources department would be very interested in our solution which provides quantifiable measurement of their employees. It can also be used by parents to measure their children, or even self measurement of one’s own productivity. We offer free accounts for single users and encourage everyone to evaluate MySammy for no cost.

MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for MySammy?

Edward: We are in the processing of developing a “Grouping” feature. The current MySammy version is suitable for small to medium size companies. With “Grouping”, we will be able to target larger organization which will be an exciting opportunity for us. We think the accelerating trend of telecommuting is also exciting and we are perfect for that segment of the market.

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