Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Possibility of Enterprise Collaboration

I found this post today on the “Be the Voice Blog” that has a podcast featuring Oliver Marks. The topic was “Is enterprise collaboration an oxymoron?” The author summarizes these main takeaways.

Summary (Oliver Marks):

- Competitive enterprises fight collaboration. People don’t like each other and they’re competing for funding for their divisions.

- An open internal and external editorial environment is necessary.

- C-level people aren’t reading blogs, but the people they trust are.

- Collaboration projects die because they don’t get the funding or credibility of the organization.

For the full article including a complete description, and to hear the podcast, click here! I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Enterprise: Serious Games?

You might ask what does video games and employee training have to do with each other, and then most likely you would find absolutely no answer for it. I came across this post on ZDNet from Larry Dignan which discusses how Forrester Research seems to believe that ‘serious gaming’ will likely come to an enterprise near us very soon. Here’s the full report from Forrester Research. So what’s the business value derived from video games in businesses?

Forrester notes that serious gaming is being used by emergency responders training through scenarios of terrorist attacks, university staff for its business process management game, and Cisco, Hilton Inn, and Johnson & Johnson to teach things like math, customer service skills, and drug development. Interesting enough, this is what Forrester mentions regarding proving ROI:

How do you prove their business worth and ROI? This is the hardest of the five questions facing serious games. For some games, such as advergames, it’s easy to see the link to ROI: For example, Burger King’s three Xbox 360 titles developed by Blitz Games Studios ranked among the top-selling Xbox games over the winter holidays in 2006 and were credited with the company’s 41% profit increase in its second quarter. However, such a 1 to 1 relationship between a game and a desired outcome is often hard to tease out in something as nebulous as diversity training. And for those deploying games, divining whether their target audience internalized the lesson instead of just becoming good at playing the game is paramount.

What’s your take on enterprise gaming? Is there really any business value to this practice?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The current challenges of enterprise 2.0

In a recent article at Read Write Web, they take a look at the current structure of the enterprise and how Web 2.0 components are going to affect the way it runs. The most interesting part to me was the challenges the current enterprise is facing due to their rigid structures and working for decades in the same fashion.

The current challenges according to Bernard Lunn are:

- Demographic time bomb of retiring baby boomers – Now that this generation has mastered the way the enterprise works, they don’t want to change their ways. There will also be decades of lost information if their knowledge isn’t captured before they retire.

- The difficulty of bringing in Gen Y – This generation has grown up with social media, and they don’t want to conform to the rigid power structures that are given by the enterprises.

- Enterprises are all about security, structure and control – With the incoming revolution of social media, we’re seeing two completely different mentalities. As this type of structure hits the enterprise, we’ll see it make waves as the enterprise tries to adjust to this new social concept.

- Figuring out what is core and non-core is hard – With all of the new components moving into the enterprise, when current careers tend to see that most things are done in house.

Did Lunn leave out any of the challenges your company is currently facing?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Trouble Implementing Enterprise 2.0

This article from Social Computing Magazine raises this interesting point:

“It's not the technology that is the problem with adoption and implementation of Enterprise 2.0, rather is the people, culture and habits we have built up in the workplace.”

The author goes on to mention that she feels that the reason for this normally enterprises have a top down approach, however the whole enterprise 2.0 movement has been one that has come up from “grass roots”. The disconnect comes from the fact that enterprises want to utilize this systems using “order, control, and structure”, which the author argues is the opposite of how the movement was created to begin with. The author fears that without taking into account the principles of “sharing, collaboration, co-creation, and engagement”, the Enterprise 2.0 movement will fail.

What are you thoughts on this authors view? Do you think that many organizations are failing at implementing Enterprise 2.0 systems?

Friday, August 22, 2008

5 Issues IT Want to Address about Enterprise 2.0

The addition of web 2.0 tools and applications in the enterprise has put immense pressure on IT depts that require knowledge of COBOL, C, and other modern technologies. Jeremy Chone lists 5 issues that IT managers and CIO’s should let their staff be aware of before starting a modernization process in this post on ZDNet.

  1. There is no history of the code: Since applications have evolved over the years through upgrades and new features, it makes the underlying code behind web 2.0 technologies a bit challenging to fully understand.
  2. We don’t know exactly how many applications we have or how they all work together: Applications are being installed, updated, and ran throughout the company without notification of IT. A lot of time is spent maintaining existing codes.
  3. We’re actively seeking a new job: IT turnover rate is at an average of 22%. Two factors contribute to a lapse in progress. The younger generation might not be as interested to work on older technologies and 30 percent of the legacy application experts will be eligible for retirement in three years.
  4. You can’t prove the ROI: You can not talk in terms such as faster, stronger, and cheaper. You must instead prove that project skills will be enhanced and that the company will save on costs and time by employing before and after metrics.
  5. You need to share your vision: IT has front-line knowledge and so being kept in the loop of future plans 5, 7, 10 years down the line can weigh in on strategy.

What other challenges and issues do IT depts face in regards to enterprise 2.0?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

New Smart Phone Available

A new phone has come to the business world. We’ve already told you about the importance that cell phones are playing in the growing demand for social networking. E Week recently shed light on the newest Treo Pro to allow us to network, and more, with a new smart phone. Palm, Inc, has developed a new series of phones based on Microsoft Software, and their direct competitor will be Blackberry. New tools on this phone include WiFi, to boost internet speed where reception is low, and GPS technology. Palm, Inc, developed this phone specifically to target the 90% of the market who don’t already have smart phones.

This phone will be carried by Vodafone Group PLS and O2 in Europe and Telstra in Australia. Although there is currently no US carrier, Palm Inc, expects to see a demand for unlocked phones that will work on any network.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Players Involved in the Enterprise and Web 2.0

I came across this interesting article in the Social Computing magazine on defining various aspects of Web 2.0 and relationships to organizations. Author Susan Scrupski, in conjunction with Jevon MacDonald, have come up with a chart, shown below depicting various individuals roles and their relationship with Web 2.0 and the enterprise.

They continue their explanation beyond this chart and have provided the definitions below on how they view these four interwoven areas:

Digital Marketers: These are the good folks who track what you're searching for and buying on the web. They create digital brand extensions of leading brands and develop imaginative ways to capture your attention online.

Social Media: This group comprises a vast group of players who are exclusively focused on how communications in the interconnected social web impacts influence. Predominantly, the people involved with monitoring social media are involved in marketing communications.

Enterprise 2.0: Within the Enterprise 2.0 area of expertise, whether it's behind the firewall or out on the open Internet, this core area specializes exclusively on delivering a business value via 2.0 technologies.

Mass collaboration: This group is more symbolic of a new way of thinking about collaboration than any specific 2.0 tool. The notion of reaching outside of your boundary (whatever it is) to co-create innovative solutions is key here.

What are your thoughts on their definitions? What are the points that agree or disagree with?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why does Zoho Compete with Google?

The question of why and how Zoho competes with Google has been asked many times across this industry. Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu details why Zoho competes with Google in his latest post at the Zoho Blog.

Sridhar includes an excel sheet in his post that lists revenue per employee and profit per employee between companies like Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Adobe, Google, Yahoo, and eBay to name a few. What this sheet helps show is that all companies fall short of Google’s revenue/profit per employee metrics. Sridhar believes that even though Google has a huge market in the technologies sector, there’s no rational business incentive for Google to actively pursue the business/IT software category. Zoho already has an array of software applications like Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet, Zoho CRM , Zoho People , and Zoho Mail just to name a few, it will be interesting to see what steps Google might take in the future to involve itself more heavily in the business software market.

What’s your take on it?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Databases moving into the clouds

According to a new report at Forrester, detailed here at EWeek, cloud databases should be paid attention to and be placed in the enterprise database management system strategies. Some companies have already started to do this, such as Microsoft with SQL Server Data Services, and Enterprise DB, the trend is moving a quick pace. It is believed that with improvements made to this software such as improved data security as well as improved performance, along with increased availability, more companies will turn to databases in the clouds in the future.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Social Networks Made Easy

Six Apart just released Movable Type 4.2 that makes building social networks easy. For corporations, these tools have value since they could be used to create company specific social networks without a hassle. ReadWriteWeb announced that this new product:

“provides DIY tools for building your own social networking platform which includes member profiles, forums, friending capabilities, rating of content, and more”

WordPress, a competitor of Six Apart is also set to launch their own version of this tool, called BuddyPress, soon as well. So, as the article asks:

Is this the future of web publishing altogether?

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think that the ease of these tools will help to introduce more web 2.0 tools into the enterprise?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Is Google Apps Enterprise Ready?

I came across this post on eWeek this morning which gathers insights from different analysts on the idea that is floating around with the recent infrastructure outages from Google Gmail and Google Apps. Does this mean that Google’s software is not yet dependable for the enterprise?

Melissa Webster, an analyst at IDC, mentions that corporate networks, and email systems have outages all the time. Abner Germanow, another analyst at IDC said that in the beginning companies are not too attached to apps, but as time goes by the level of reliability on the application increases as well. The real question lies: Is the application reliable enough to run a business on it? Can your business afford any downtime in case of outages?

Dana Gardner, founding analyst of InterArbor Solutions claims that organizations go through email outages internally regularly, it is just that users from web based apps have higher expectations than those who pay higher for internalized communication systems.

How has the recent outages of Google Apps affected the enterprise and cloud computing realm?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Distinction Between SOA and Enterprise 2.0

I came across this useful blog post that definitively provides an explanation of the distinctions between SOA, and Enterprise 2.0. The two terms are buzzwords currently in business and often times used without knowledge of the exact meaning. I hope post helps you as it did me!

SOA is not equal to Enterprise 2.0. If SOA is the complete architectural transformation to a service based information topology, Enterprise 2.0 is the new method of operating in a fully deployed SOA environment, and the set of modern applications that are largely driven by and controlled by the business. So the deployment of SOA should happen in a series of stages, moving from a core set of technical services upwards to the end vision of a full Enterprise 2.0 set of services.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Implementation of Web 2.0 in the Enterprise

I recently came across this study released from The McKinsey Quarterly titled: Building the Web2.0 Enterprise. The study itself reveals that organizations are using these tools mainly for internal use, change management practices, and organizational structures. Also IT and senior management need to be proponents for these new tools for a company to have any success at implementation.

This post from Social Media discusses the author’s opinions of this study

- Organizations are changing and may look the same externally but will operate very differently on the inside once social technology adoption reaches critical mass (i.e. a majority of employees using these tools for work purposes)

- In the near term, this may be a case where the irresistible force (i.e. web 2.0) meets the immovable object (i.e. senior management). Adoption of social computing correlates higher with younger generations...and Gen Xers aren't yet running Fortune 500 enterprises.

- Marketing, IT, HR, and Finance all need to get along...but any department's role as an order taker will be justified unless it can tie itself to business goals and objectives.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Enterprise is Moving Towards Cloud Computing

With enterprise organizations moving into cloud computing more frequently, Elastra, a startup company that hosts and runs software entirely on the internet, has decided to jump on this opportunity. This latest article in eWeek discusses how customers can save money by renting the computing power necessary to run applications, instead of purchasing their own hardware and software needed.

Kirill Sheynkman, Elastra's founder and CEO mentions:

"Enterprises are moving into the cloud and understand its financial value, but they need software that lets them deploy and manage applications that meet complex requirements."

This is why Kirill has launched the Elastra Cloud Server which allows customers to deploy applications across the internet by simply pointing and clicking their mouse. The startup is being funded both by and Hummer Winblad Venture Partners for a sum of $12 million., Yahoo, and Google are among some companies that already run enterprise applications for other organizations. Could Amazon reign on top with its newest cloud computing project?

Friday, August 8, 2008

ESME: Twitter for the Enterprise

Here is a video preview of a new tool for enterprise 2.0. Called ESME (Enterprise Social Messaging Experiment) it is similar to twitter but for SAP’s ‘Netweaver’ SOA. As this article explains it:

“is essentially a behind the firewall version of Twitter, designed to run on top of Netweaver. In some ways ESME is more advanced than Twitter since it features user groups and tag clouds, enabling project based contextual messaging.”

In a review from ZDNet they say:

“In the meantime the community around ESME should be congratulated for pushing the envelope. This is a valuable differentiator for the enterprise focused, which is helpful in cutting out some of the Twitter inanity and focusing on powerful business case uses of social networking.”

Below is a demo video of ESME:

Thursday, August 7, 2008

GE Understands Enterprise 2.0

Support Central is the heart of GE’s global business. It is available in 20 languages, has 25 million hits a day, supports over 50,000 communities and over 100,000 experts are on the site daily to manage information and answer questions. Oliver Marks takes an in depth look at their system and how it works in a recent post on Collaboration 2.0.

Using the new tools for Enterprise 2.0, GE has created a way to digitize their documents and internal processes. The complete system is protected by a firewall, but there is 30,000 external users who can log on to the site and access the Support Central system. GE hosts its own internal cloud to support this impressive enterprise system. In addition to all of the processes available to GE throughout the world, they also offer a way to make mashups at the click of a button and a professional networking system that provides a way to instantly find the experts. Also in the works is a program to collaborate on online shared documents.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Symantec Virtual Desktop

In the latest product offering from Symantec they unveiled what they are currently calling the virtual desktop. While no official name has been given, this should prove to be an interesting addition to the world of enterprise 2.0. As described in this article from, it is a new

“platform that allows enterprise users to take their personal business desktop, all the applications they use, and all their stored data with them wherever they go.”

In an example provided by the article, if you were to sign in to a kiosk on one, floor, than later signed in on another, the platform would pick up exactly where you left of down to the keystroke. Furthermore, as the article states:

“This is different from a conventional virtual desktop because the resources are aggregated from several different locales, regardless of geography. Local applications already in use on the connected workstation or laptop can also be utilized, thanks to separate layers of virtualization software.”

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Yahoo’s Zimbra Desktop Could be Google’s Top Competitor

I came across this post earlier today on TriAdeptDotCom which pointed out a couple of highlights from Zimbra’s new Collaboration Suite. Zimbra Desktop now offers a way to manage and search through email, even when offline and it also expands on services and mashups which it previously did not offer. It has the capability of showing one’s schedule when hovering over a date, and it even shows flight statuses when hovering over flight numbers. The Zimbra Desktop is downloadable and is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux users with access to the Zimbra Collaboration Suite.

Yahoo is seriously looking to take some of the spotlight away from Mircosoft and Google as it enters this space. Will the Yahoo Zimbra Collaboration Suite overtake these two giants?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Gmail versus Outlook

In a recent article at Read Write Web, Bernard Lunn recently made the change from using Microsoft Exchange as an email service provider to Gmail. He noticed two main perks to using this system for business after it took him ten minutes to set it up. Virtually all spam was eliminated from his inbox and the search function proved to be easier. Gmail is also more portable than Microsoft Exchange, as it can be accessed from anywhere at any time. Lunn has decided to make the switch. One thing Lunn did not mention was the chat function in Gmail. Once you’ve emailed someone who has Google, they appear in your contacts list, which shows when they are online. If a group uses Gmail, could it possibly be easier to communicate this way rather than email? If it’s a quick question, it may be easier to G Chat instead of send another email to someone’s inbox.

Have you used Gmail to conduct your business? What are your thoughts?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Cost of Enterprise 2.0

William Buist, president of BlackStar life community for Ecademy, made this important point as mentioned by this article from WhatPC.

“With the current economic climate, cost will return to the corporate equation. Therefore, finding the right partner at the right cost makes collaboration even more important,” he says. “Big businesses need to understand exactly how to collaborate effectively, both internally and externally.”

Communication is a key ingredient when it comes to collaboration, and as noted by many experts, enterprise networking sites are starting to change the dynamic of the traditional business communication style. As researchers at Forrester Research have already noted, blogs, wikis, rss, and other web 2.0 tools, have become the biggest buzz words in business and it doesn’t look to be just a current craze that will soon die out. Instead it looks to be what will be considered the norm of tomorrow. Oliver Young, analyst for Forrester, made this interesting statement, however, that

“Until now, IT Departments have resisted Web 2.0 tools, often viewing them as consumer grade”

This soon may no longer be an option since as mentioned above, with the current stated of the economy, companies simply may not be able to afford this type of thinking.