Entrepreneur of the Year: Classroom idea evolves into successful firm for Edmunds
Sometimes the value of an education is not just in what is taught to students — instead, it is in the ideas that fire into being as a result of that teaching.
Take Adam Edmunds, chief executive officer of South Jordan-based Allegiance Inc.
The idea for Allegiance's voice of customer software platform came to Edmunds while he was an accounting student at BYU taking a class from Gary Rhoads, director of BYU's Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology.
That spark of an idea occurred during a discussion of opportunities surrounding the 2002 passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which enhanced standards for all accounting firms, company boards and management operating publicly in the U.S.
Edmunds decided there was potential in a Web-based service providing ethics training as well as a method for employees to anonymously notify their companies' top managers of wrongdoing. He called his company SilentWhistle.
Eventually, Edmunds merged SilentWhistle with Rhoads' firm, a comment-management software company called Allegiance Technologies.
The combination of feedback management and ethics reporting was a successful one, which Edmunds refined by selling off SilentWhistle to buy Inquisite, a highly regarded provider of on-demand survey software.
This consolidated the company's expertise on customer-focused buyers in the voice-of-the-customer market. The company offers real-time feedback systems for any firm's customers and employees that can quickly show Allegiance clients why customers are engaged and how to increase customer loyalty — thereby increasing profits.