Thursday, July 31, 2008

Building the Web 2.0 Enterprise

The McKinsey Quarterly recently surveyed executives on the business use of web 2.0 technology within the enterprise in their second annual survey Building the Web 2.0 Enterprise. An interesting notion that this survey brings up is the fact that use of web 2.0 technology is changing. The survey details that users are stepping away from web services and mashups from the previous year, and they are instead focusing on social networks, podcasts, blogs, RSS, and wikis altogether. Another important finding the survey brings is that the majority of employees are satisfied with the way companies are adopting web 2.0 technologies, whether it be to develop new products and services, internal recruiting, enhancing company culture, training, or managing knowledge. Browse through this revealing article, and see how your compare how your company stands with the results given in this latest enterprise survey.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sequioa looks to the clouds for the enterprise

Sequioa Capital recently made a $5.6 million series of investments in Appirio, a SAAS distributor, as detailed here at ZD Net. Sequioa is already known for its early moving ways, as they have already previously invested in Google, Yahoo!, and YouTube. Now, they’re proving to be an early mover on the cloud computing in the enterprise.

Their new investment in Appirio will add the following to their arsenal of advanced computer practices:

  • A strong focus on Google Apps projects alongside
  • Specialization in ’serverless’ (ie cloud-to-cloud) projects (more on that below, plus a controversial prediction on Exchange)
  • Its combination of ‘trusted advisor’ professional services with productized on-demand services

Appirio also brings along over 60 enterprise customers and an additional 1,100 already using their enterprise products.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tips for Improving Collaboration Within the Enterprise

Peter Burris, a principle analyst for Forrester research reveals some useful tips in this article regarding Web 2.0 technologies in the workplace to foster collaboration. As he points out many businesses understand the need for these technologies in the new enterprise 2.0 workplace, but sill have little understanding of how to execute. Below are five tips that he recommends:

  1. Trust matters: The key to collaborative applications is to keep providing information regarding the status of participants.
  2. Encourage simple methods: Technology implementation is never automatic, but successfully applications of collaboration technologies inevitably start with a well-articulated set of simple objectives
  3. Let change bubble up: The most successful principles for collaboration system design, implementation and operation have emerged from highly decentralized systems.
  4. Intercept and guide: “Radical maintenance”, which involves overhauling a system without disrupting it, is a critical competence for any Web 2.0 technology specialist – and must be mastered by IT professionals.
  5. Leave your systems open: An open approach affords greater flexibility in use and agility in implementation

Do you have any tips that could be added to this list?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tribalization of Business

I came across this presentation “2008 Tribalization of Business Study” which details the findings of a study conducted by Deloitte and Beeline Labs about forming social networking and communities within the enterprise. The presentation goes over everything from reasons for setting up communities within organizations to measuring progress and success to community effectiveness. Take a couple of moments to go through the slides. Do you think that social media in the enterprise is changing the nature of business practices?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Microsoft Officially Done with Microsoft….so what’s next?

Reuters reported yesterday that Microsoft has fully stopped pursing Yahoo!, and now looking on to the next step. Microsoft’s Online Division has posted losses eight straight quarters and lost $1.23 billion last fiscal year. This is approximately 5.5% of Microsoft’s operating income. After this, they will now look to conquer the online world by looking at the deal they have with Facebook. The software giant will now provide web search and search advertising in addition to the graphical display ads they’ve already got running on Facebook. However, this endeavor will be limited to United States profiles.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Facebook Connect and Corporate Websites

This post by Jeremiah Owyang, Senior Analyst from Forrester Research, showcased some interesting views on potential avenues for Facebook Connect in the corporate world. Facebook Connect is similar to OpenID in that it allows visitors to third party websites to login with their Facebook ID like a “Passport” system. It will also give third party websites the ability to embed some code onto your website, and provide users with the opportunity to share their activities on their newsfeed. What makes this an interesting application to watch, as the article points out:

“Facebook Connect will allow corporate websites to allow users to authenticate, interact, and share with their Facebook network – all without leaving the corporate website. Boring, static corporate websites can now become social”

It will be interesting to see how many corporations adopt use of this tool to improve social interactions within their own company. Would you consider this an appropriate stepping stone for Facebook?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Social Networking: Is the Enterprise Truly Ready?

Nowadays, we constantly hear praise about how social networking can boost productivity and collaboration within an organization, but Barb Moshe gives another perspective in his latest post on CMS Wire.

Barb points out that most employees still do not truly understand what Enterprise 2.0 really is. Most employees view social networking simply as “cool technology”, but they are still confused on how business value can be derived from social software. Towards the end of his post he mentions, “Organizations do recognize that they need some way to share knowledge internally.” Even though companies understand this need, they are still hesitant before venturing into adopting web 2.0 apps. So I ask again, is the enterprise truly ready?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Union Square Ventures goes into the clouds

At ReadWriteWeb, they discuss Union Square Ventures latest investment. Union Square Ventures invested $1.5 million in 10gen, an open source company. 10gen provides complete open source software, and users only pay for the hosting, a service legal agreement and customer service. Union Square Ventures earlier investments include, FeedBurner, EToy and Twitter.

Albert Wenger, part of Union Square Ventures, had this to say about it the new investment on the company blog:

10gen could be seen as a departure from the kind of investments that we have made. But in fact 10gen fits in well with many of our basic premises. First, 10gen is attempting to change the structure of a large market, the $20B+ a year hosting industry. Hosting providers running 10gen will be able to completely abstract away machines and instead provide developers with a platform a la Google App Engine. Second, it is doing so in a capital efficient manner. 10gen is not investing in physical hardware. Instead, 10gen is developing the software and services to run on existing hardware that has been built up and continues to accumulate. Third, 10gen is not looking to traditional sources of defensibility in the form of proprietary closed software or hardware. 10gen is opensourcing the key components of its stack and is actively recruiting contributors (if you are interested, check out the SDK and the contact page).

Monday, July 21, 2008

IT Department role in Enterprise 2.0

Many organizations have implemented web 2.0 technologies, and while for some companies the idea is new, industry wide these concepts are starting to become a necessity instead of simply a competitive advantage. A new research study from Forrester announced that IT departments have increased their role in implementing these initiatives. As Oliver Young, writer of the Forrester research study, mentioned, in the past marketing as well as communication departments were mostly responsible for the use of Web 2.0 in the workplace since many of the web 2.0 initiatives dealt with communication, however, IT departments are now becoming the leaders of this change in corporations. As the executive summary states

“our recent Web 2.0 survey shows IT departments taking a more active role in the acquisition and deployment of Web 2.0 technologies. Budgetary controls, the need for integration and technical skills, and the growing importance of Web 2.0 tools are all putting IT departments in the driver's seat.”

It will be interesting to see how this change in leadership will affect industry wide practices. Do you agree with IT playing a lead role for the future?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Social Networks to Improve Your Company’s Bottom Line

Enterprise networking still receives a fair amount of skepticism in this day and age. Most companies fear that employees will waste time and that overall productivity will decrease. Despite major criticism, this latest article on eWeek discusses how Wachovia, the nation’s fourth largest bank, is launching an enterprise social networking site for its 110,000 workers.

The real value of enterprise networking shines the more it’s used. Wachovia envisions a knowledge management system where employees can not only build relationships across departments, but where they can easily collaborate, share ideas, and locate information. This will be done through blogs, an in-house encyclopedia and an intricate intranet made accessible through a Facebook-like service.

Burton Group analyst Mike Gotta, analyst at Burton Group mentions:

"Social networks improve the ability of people to do their work.”

Web 2.0 applications in the enterprise make it easy for employees to get together online and offline on projects. Workers can easily combine expertise from across departmental boundaries which were previously unattainable through a social enterprise. Traditional organizational charts and the nature of organizational hierarchies are changing with each growing day. Out with the old and in with the new.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

IT Departments Growing Relationship with Web 2.0 Tools

With the proliferation of web 2.0 in the enterprise it comes as no surprise that a study from Forrester Research confirms that IT departments are paying more attention to the potential of these tools. Computerworld reported that of the IT professionals that were surveyed by Forrester, 63% have a firm belief that web 2.0 will have a significant impact on their business in the upcoming three years. The study also revealed that younger IT professionals were the most enthusiastic, where as more seasoned professionals were still a little more cautious about adopting these tools. Forrester analyst in charge of the report, G. Oliver Young, made this statement about the findings.

"It is a growing familiarity of the tools up and down the organization. Just a couple of years ago, a lot of these tools were very foreign. IT departments and professionals are increasingly using these tools for their own use."

While there is a tide shifting towards the utilization of web 2.0, IT departments remain concerned about risks associated with employees using the tools in ways not approved by the company. The Forrester Research study stated that 31% of survey participants said they were very concerned about this, and 48% said that they were slightly worried, while 2% said that they were not at all.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Making business sense of unified communication

I stumbled upon this videocast from Rick Seeto, VP of Marketing for Nortel Asia, on Enterprise Innovation in which he discusses the fundamentals behind unified communication and how organizations can harness UC to reach their business goals. How does your company use the integration of business applications and protocols to aid collaboration within the enterprise? Take a couple of minutes to view the webcast and take in valuable insight from Rick Seeto.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Get Rid of Email

This latest post on The Workstreamer Blog argues whether Twitter and Basecamp rely have any business value. It is true, email is going out of fashion, and it is being replaced by social media.

The post mentions that the real value of Twitter comes when you follow over 200 people and have just about the same number of people following you. Although I agree that following people on Twitter means you are genuinely interested and trying to learn more, being followed on Twitter does not bring much value to the Enterprise, it just means that you are popular. Nevertheless, the combination of tweets mixed in with work provides effective communication within the work environment, thus eliminating much need for email on a daily basis.

Basecamp is workplace oriented since it eliminates the social components Twitter has, and it allows employees to concentrate on work solely. But should social apps in the Enterprise be solely used for work purposes? Or should there be some leeway in allowing employees to have some fun and “poke” their employees?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Apple to Gain Majority Share in Enterprise?

Last Friday at 8am I saw the line at the AT&T store stretch from one block to another, in light of Apple’s new release the iPhone 3G. This post on ZNet discusses how Apple has moved over 1 million iPhones in a span of 3 days, and that 39% of buyers own PCs. It seems as if the iPhone is making a direct move to overtake enterprise share, since IT remains a Windows world.

With the growing popularity and acceptance of the iPhone in the corporate world, and Oracle are quick to build CRM and Business Intelligence applications for the iPhone. The iPhone already integrates Microsoft Exchange, calendar, contacts, world-class browsing, and many enterprise applications in its repertoire; what’s next for Apple?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Embrace Social Media in the Enterprise

According to article on Computing, a study conducted by Gartner has found that businesses should make more use of social media and web 2.0 applications within the enterprise to better communication with their employees.

Nikos Drakos, a research director at Gartner and a supporter of social media in the enterprise, mentions:

"With websites such as Facebook and other web 2.0 technologies such as blogging and forums, businesses have an open opportunity to promote themselves amongst their employees, and more importantly to customers. For example, if there was a Facebook group about a certain company or a product, they could intervene against negative postings or use the positive postings as a marketing asset."

Companies are slow to adapt to this trend though, and most organizations are still very skeptical about adopting social media practices within the enterprise. We’ve discussed how blocking access to social media sites like Facebook could actually decrease worker productivity. The premise is that by balancing job and life responsibilities at work, employees can focus more on job tasks at hand. The question still lingers, is there true business value? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Online Collaboration: Make Way for Microsoft

Google and Zoho watch out, Microsoft is taking aim at the same market these SAAS vendors have been eyeing. This article on eWeek highlights that Microsoft is launching several online services that will include collaboration tools and enterprise applications. Microsoft will release the following products as online subscription services: Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft Office SharePoint Online, Microsoft Office Communications Online, Microsoft Office Live Meeting, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

Microsoft still seems to be light-years away in terms of online collaboration. Companies like and Netsuite have integrated many enterprise applications that were designed for the Web, whereas Microsoft is new to the game. Should companies fear the arrival of Microsoft in this space?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Serena Software releases ARM

On July 7, Serena Software announced their latest release, the Serena ARM, or Application Release Manager. EWeek talks about it here. This tool takes mashups to the mainframe for businesses.

This new tool will provide:

an automated way for application developers, IT operations and business users to communicate and collaborate with each other during the release process so that applications can be released on schedule

Rene Bonvaine, Senior Vice President of worldwide marketing, partner programs and services, had this to say about the new release:

This [ARM] relates a lot more to our roots, but it combines very nicely with a lot of things we’ve been talking about with mashups. This is part of the continued mainframe drive toward Web 2.0, and we see a lot of application development happening for the mainframe. We have quite a number of mainframe customers, and we continue to add them to our stable.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Microsoft May Reopen Negotiations With Yahoo

In our last update concerning Yahoo, we brought you news regarding the reorganization of the business following Microsoft’s failed bid for the company. Latest news as discussed in this article from the Wall Street Journal, indicate that Microsoft may renew their bid pending changes on Yahoo’s end. Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer has informed activist shareholder Carl Ichan that the company will not reopen negotiations with the current board in place. Any potential negotiations will take place after Yahoo’s August 1st meeting where it is expected that a new board will be elected. The bid that the previous board of Yahoo had turned down was worth $47.5 billion.

This statement was issued by Microsoft regarding the matter.

"We respect the right of Yahoo!'s shareholders to determine the destiny of their company, and we do not intend to engage in ongoing commentary on these issues in advance of Yahoo!'s shareholder meeting."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Mozilla Announces New Version of Weave Tool

This post on Read Write Web discussed that while Google announced that they were going to cancel their Browser Sync tool, Mozilla is releasing a new version of their comparative tool Weave. In the initial version, it was not as good as Google’s but the recent updates will help browsers sync more seamlessly. This could mean a lot to enterprises who want to standardize favorites lists all of their employee’s computers. In addition to synching bookmarks, other applications of this tool include that it saves: cookies, passwords, form data, tabs, and browsing history. Combined, this could help power the enterprise to collaborate better.

The Evolution of Enterprise 2.0

At the Ribbon Farm blog, Venkatish Rao drew out his theory on how Enterprise 2.0 formed:

From the beginning bubbles that start out as beginning social media, to the fall of Enterprise 1.0 to the new organization where organization is in the clouds. What do you think of this interpretation? Would you change anything?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Portal 2.0 and Beyond

Over the last few years, we’ve seen the evolution of portals within the enterprise to become more personalized to specific information needs of users, but what does the future hold in store for the portal universe? I came across this post on builder au in which Lana Kovacevic notes a couple of points from Gene Phifer in a recent conversation about the direction that portals are heading into.

Here are several characteristics Gene lists that the “portal of the future” will have:

  1. Portals like iGoogle and MyYahoo already aggregate content, but portals of the future will facilitate content aggregation making it even more personalized.
  2. Portals fabrics will evolve to the idea of the “follow me portal”, in which the look and feel of the portal will transform based on your location. This especially will be increasingly popular as the enterprise is experiencing a surge in mobile browsing on smartphones.
  3. Social Web 2.0 functionalities are here to stay. Portals will continue to make use of technologies such as social networks, wikis, forums, and blogs.
  4. Portals will fully integrate with all social networks. Plaxo is a good example of an integrated portal that aggregates updates from sites like Flickr, Twitter, and Digg. The “portal of the future” will be able to aggregate updates from these social applications as well as other networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Xing.
  5. Collaboration is key in the enterprise; portals will play a part in improving the overall user experience.
  6. The ability to aggregate mashed up content from more than one individual websites will be facilitated by future enterprise portals.

So you’ve seen Gene’s description of future portals, but what components and functionalities will your ideal “portal of the future” have?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Internet Use at Work: Necessity or Option?

There have been many ongoing debates regarding Internet use at work. One side views Internet use as a distraction that leads to decreased productivity and can create a legal liability. The other camp argues that allowing employees to use internet can lead to increased productivity by enhancing focus at work as we mentioned in one of our earlier blog posts.

This post at MSDN Blog Postings brings up an interesting twist. Instead of viewing Internet use at work as a way for employees to better organize their lives thereby enhancing their focus at work, maybe a restriction of employee access at work limits timely access to information. It might be that organizations no longer have the option of granting access to the Internet, and instead Internet access may be a necessity to keep up with the fast pace of the world today. As the post at MSDN sums up:

Enterprise 2.0 is much more about leveraging the data on the outside to enhance the data on the inside than the operations guys of today are willing to admit.”

An article, found at, concurs. According to them:

“Companies that take advantage of the Internet to maximize their e-business strategies have the potential to increase their productivity levels 5% to 10%. And studies show that companies that have employed e-business solutions and have a networked virtual organization are four times more productive than companies that have not.”

What are your thoughts on Internet access being a tool to seek out information in the fast paced world?