Dexrex Gear’s Technology Makes Instant, Text Messaging and Social Media Appropriate for the Workplace

There have been countless times where I’ve started a conversation on Facebook, expanded on it via e-mail, and wrapped it up through text messaging.

For me, it’s not really a big deal, as I’m usually discussing weekend plans or roommate issues and not anything subject to examination by a federal agency. But for entities that have to remain accountable to the government—say financial institutions or other big public corporations—it’s a bit more of a problem.

Enter Cambridge-based Dexrex Gear (Xconomy’s downstairs neighbor), a maker of software and servers for capturing instant messages, social media updates, and SMS messages for compliance and archiving. The startup’s software grew out of a “universal inbox” for instant messaging that Derek Lyman and Richard Tortora developed when they were students at UMass Amherst. The technology caught the eye of SECCAS, a maker of e-mail compliance and long-term storage software. The firm asked the college students to rebuild their technology for capturing instant messages inside financial institutions for regulatory compliance.

“We created it for their use and they rode shotgun the whole way,” says Lyman, a co-founder and now director of the company who left college in 2007 to run Dexrex full-time.

Dexrex’s ChatSync software platform has expanded over the past two years to capture social media conversations, and this fall introduced the capability to capture messaging on BlackBerry, Android, Windows Mobile, and Symbian mobile phone platforms, The software works by plugging into a company’s fleet of devices, extracting and encrypting what was said, and sending it to a server (which can be hosted by Dexrex or on customer premises, Lyman says). The system pulls the different records of communication into a database, and then threads them into one conversation. So, if employees are discussing a single issue via multiple platforms like text messaging, Facebook, and instant messaging, ChatSync makes it all appear together as a single conversation.

It might sound invasive, but in industries like financial services, employee communications are subject to examination if an agency like the SEC is examining a firm for wrongdoing, occurrences that really came to light as Dexrex was developing the product in the wake of the big banks’ crash in 2008. If companies aren’t archiving these communications all along, electronic discovery can be a huge expense, Lyman says. “If [companies] weren’t systematically doing it, they had spot solutions, and would … Next Page »

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