Lotusphere 2011 – press conference notes

Finally, I am coming around to blog my notes from the Lotusphere 2011 press conference.

I won’t regurgitate any press releases, you can easily find them at the IBM Lotusphere press room, rather it’s notes about the questions (and consecutive) answers (with an occasional snappy remark by me, of course).

So what was in there? First, recapitulations of the things we’ve heard already at the opening session, ie. the importance of mobile social business (stressing that clients will be there for all major mobile platforms), the upcoming Project Vulcan-enhanced new Connections next, Sametime next and everything next, and the announcement of new programs to help partners embrace the “growing social business market opportunity”.

I think that “embrace to leverage” is good, needs some coaching and education and IBM is stepping up their efforts, see eg. the Become a Social Business site, aimed not only at customers but also at partners et al. Fitting that they’re taking great efforts at also educating and motivating IBM staff. As Paul Greenberg tweeted: “They are not only eating their own dogfood, they’re breeding their own dogs!” – yes, and it’s a great investment too: “IBM aims to train 50K of its employees on #socbiz this year, so they can be more effective and help others” as Larry Hawes says correctly.

In the question round it started off with an analyst asking how IBM prioritizes open standards – and which ones?

Alistair Rennie chose the safe road and answered that – whether inside or outside the firewall – with standards there’s always a spectrum (or as I would say, there’s legion to choose from and some of them don’t catch on even if they are very cleverly devised and all). So, for IBM HTML5 is a big one, OpenSocial, OAuth, Activity Streams and more. This parallels what eg. RIM is thinking (there should be no Apps needed for the web, native access is cool because it also allows you to employ your existing tools) and is mirrored as well in the provision of the Social Business Toolkit (more on this later, I have to sort out some things on this, like seeing through my notes from Charlie Hill’s sunday morning talk “Executive Insight: The IBM Social Business Platform”)

How long will it take for widespread adoption?

Again Alistair Rennie took to it – explaining that IBM sees it as a business-driven thing (and I say is obviously grounded in it’s approach, you better be when you’re that old …, no need for too much revolutionary /missionary zest), where you need to be able to act sensibly and contextually relevant. But the social business mindset can be applied to a wide variety of business processes and the advantages are tangible (sure, they are I say) so he’s optimistic about adoption.

What are the ideas to help people filter through the information avalanche? (this wasn’t the exact wording of the question, but close enough -I thought it a bit awkward, ie. remember the notion of Clay Shirky – filter failure, not information overload)

Two elements – one filtering (yes, analytics, applying semantic analytics to extract meaning and act upon it), the other (predicitive) analytics – especially important when you think of the synchronization of activity streams on mobile devices. You don’t want all info tidbits presented there, so you need to differentiate the super-important or urgent from the rest. So you filter stuff in the back, then push the best onto the device. The exact methods to do this are in the working, but it’s essential that this filtering and high-lighting is done in an open and transparent way.

Concerning organizational change management – what is IBM doing to help people understand the importance? Does it reshape fundamental (departmental) organizational processes? What are IBM’s experiences?

Hmm, here I didn’t get the whole answer, but I am pretty sure it revolved around demonstrating benefits, educating and coaching (see above on what IBM is doing, yes) and the need for an (internal) team of ambassadors (think what the BlueIQ team has done for IBM) who explain, show and tell, … Alistair also pointed out that while it always depends on the context, ie. industry and business segment, IBM has brought a row of clients to #ls11 that can give insight into what they’ve done, so go ahead and talk to them.

So what is part of Project Vulcan?

Short answer: last year it was a project not a product, this year there’s tweaked products, ie. Notes next is heavily Vulcan vision influenced. Equally the mobile solutions (there was talk about this at ls10 for sure, see eg. my write-up of last year’s analyst briefing), the provision of the Social Business Toolkit etc. So basically Project Vulcan is everywhere …

There were more questions on Symfony, the dangers risks of social software, ie. downsides of transparency, and also on how much IBM is investing and expecting to earn. Needless to say that this last one was asked by a guy from forbes.com (I bet you knew that already, huh?). He got a short answer, ie. core focus, big play, big expectations (I bet you knew that already too, huh?). The longer answer involved some grounded reasoning around the benefits not alone being in saving money, but eg. also driving down cycle-time, time to market etc. And there was a nice remark on CSC seeing social business is working and consequently not putting the numbers on close scrutiny all the time. So much for this zombie-alike recurring theme of “We can’t do this as long as we don’t have numbers” (aka the RoI discussion et al.).
ps. very geeky picture above (“it goes to 11, we checked”) by The Original Turtle

Staying connected and building relationships from afar

In this week’s episode of Work Smart, IBMer Rich Edwards asks about the best practices for staying connected and building relationships from afar. I share some advice based on my own work-at-home experience, and then I ask author of Telecommuting Success Michael Dziak for his.

Gina Trapani on telecommuting and staying in touch – I can relate, yes. Meeting in person is adding substance, way beyond warm, fuzzy feelings (remember office wars) hence the successes of coworking, meeting on weekends for geek talk (and there’s some well deserved criticism of the approach, high time to re-engage and re-design), taking great lenghts for attending conferences in (marvellous) places far away, … we’re social animals, that’s what we are.

ps. check out the creepy telepresence robot in the video, this is a joke, no?

Past, present and future of ECM

After a week filled with designing concepts/drawing and revising flow charts/troubleshooting and caring/explaining and advocating/et al. I feel stressed out. This may get better over the weekend, and some original content may emerge. But until this I am happy to relay other people’s stuff (spirit of sharing, yes) – say the things John Mancini published on the past, present and future of ECM. This is timely because I had a loose discussion on this topic these days (Sharepoint at al., how fast everything changes in technology, what role [commercial] Open Source [vendors, solution providers and integrators] plays, etc.).

It’s funny because it’s true – there was no Sharepoint in the industry’s mind 5 years ago, this has changed for sure.

And yes, the perception of ECM has also changed – if only because the people in the niches are developing curious ideas about the nature of social intranets, what role “ECM” intelligent information management should have in the design of (social) business, how trends and opportunities like cloud computing, mobile use, open platforms and open source, big data and the collapse of data/document walls will play out. Add to this the challenges of dealing with social (and ad hoc) content and communiaction and collaboration and you see what I mean …

Needless to say that the ad-hoc stuff is the most interesting area to deal with, this is where the real (business) action and the tacit knowledge is.

Tacit knowledge exchanged

[…] explores how knowledge is distributed and dispersed throughout an organization, and asks: “How do we capture it, and make it available to others?”

A blog is a wonderful place to exchange and document, to note and to put forward, to link and to organize. Right?  It’s not a repository, it’s a creation space. That’s why linking to John Hagel of Deloitte’s Center for the Edge and the various videos collected at the HBR site is just closing the circle …

Linear vs. iterative models of implementation

Morten Hansen did the opening talk at yesterday’s Virtual Enterprise 2.0 Conference – and I must admit not everything resonated with me.

For one this linear process of 1. get clear about your business case, evaluate opportunities, 2. identify barriers 3. tailor a solution, ie. “get a grip on the levers and pull” is only sounding easy – in real life these mucky Enterprise 2.0 implementations are rarely linear, clearly set out and easily manageable, ie. easy to plan for, to control and to measure.

Mostly I’ve seen iterative and “perpetual beta” initiatives – and that’s not a bad thing to have at all. Ideally it allows for rapid learning from pilots and prototypes, and the gradual emergence of patterns of collaboration that make sense to the organization (be it a team, a department, whatever). In my mind this freeform, emergent and adaptive approach is also instrumental in “instilling both the capabilities and the willingness” in people – after all Enterprise 2.0 is not a classic IT-project that can be rolled out – and it’s complementing the freeform and emergent nature of many of the tools, systems and environments we employ to meet business objectives. A linear model of implementation might be good for selling and appear rational at first sight, but it’s not realistic and – I really hate to say that – merely academic.

Anyway, most of his other thoughts and ideas are vastly agreeable (“bad collaboration is worse than none”; his advice on evading collaboration traps like over-collaboration, the underestimating of costs, hostile cultures, solving the wrong problems et al.; the meme of disclipined collaboration as a whole; his focus on nimble interpersonal networks and the advantages of T-Shaped people) and are of value and interest to Enterprise 2.0 people of all kinds. So, yes, seems I have to get me the whole book after all, for now check out the (a bit sales pushy) video with Morten from BNet below:

It’s the dream of any organization to have all of its departments working together harmoniously for the greater good of all. But is collaboration within a company always a good thing? Author Morten Hansen thinks not and provides a guide on how to avoid common collaboration traps and how to create an environment in which collaboration can thrive.

Akzeptanz- und Erfolgsfaktoren für kooperative Technologien

kooperative technologien

Via Netzpolitik und KoopTech-Blog – die Studie von Christiane Schulzki-Haddouti et al. an der Hochschule Darmstadt über Kooperative Technologien – internetbasierte Formen der Zusammenarbeit (pdf):

Welche aktuellen Internettechnologien aus den Bereichen Web 2.0 und Social Software verwenden Unternehmen und Organisationen bereits? Was für Werkzeuge stehen ihnen zur Verfügung und welches Potential bieten diese für eine professionelle Zusammenarbeit und Kommunikation? Diese Fragen beantwortet eine gerade erschienene Analyse, die am Fachbereich Media der Hochschule Darmstadt (h_da) erarbeitet worden ist. In einem vom Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) im Rahmen der Innovations- und Technikanalyse geförderten Projekt hat die Kulturpädagogin und IT-Journalistin Christiane Schulzki-Haddouti “Kooperative Technologien in Arbeit, Ausbildung und Zivilgesellschaft” untersucht. Schulzki-Haddouti war für die 14-monatige Arbeit an dieser Studie als wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin an der h_da beschäftigt. Das Projekt wurde zudem von Prof. Dr. Lorenz Lorenz-Meyer vom Studiengang Online-Journalismus betreut. Nach einem kurzen Rückblick, der zeigt, dass kommunikative und kollaborative Technologien seit Anbeginn im Internet eine herausragende Rolle gespielt haben, gibt der Bericht einen Überblick über mehr als 1000 Anwendungen. Anhand einer umfangreichen Literaturanalyse und mithilfe von 47 Experteninterviews präsentiert die Autorin einen Überblick über den gegenwärtigen Forschungs- und Kenntnisstand und identifiziert sieben Akzeptanz- und Erfolgsfaktoren für den Einsatz von kooperativen Internettechnologien.

Ich habe natürlich noch nicht das ganze Werk gelesen, aber mein Eindruck nach erstem Duchschauen ist gut. Zwar sind viele der Ideen und Konzepte für den geneigten Leser nicht neu, zumeist handelt es sich um grundlegende Dinge die aufgearbeitet und systematisiert werden (und das auf angenehmen Niveau, bspw. wenn die Entwicklungsfaktoren Resonanz und Ordnung, Bewertungen und Empfehlungen, Vertrauen, Identität und Privatsphäre und Öffentlichkeit differenziert werden), gerade das trägt aber zu einem gewissen “Referenzcharakter” bei. Sprich, man kann in dieser Studie durchaus nachschlagen und fundiertes finden.

Aus Enterprise Collaboration Berater Sicht sind die Anwendungsszenarien interessant, eben weil sie über den bekannten Unternehmenskontext hinausgehen (NGO, Nonprofit, Forschungsgruppen etc. – interessanterweise habe ich selbst schon Kunden aus allen diesen Exotenkontexten erfolgreich beraten, mit Ausnahme der beruflichen Bildung) und weil dabei auch konkrete Implementierungsempfehlungen und Erfolgsfaktoren auftauchen.

Die Bündelung in “sieben Akzeptanz- und Erfolgsfaktoren für den Einsatz von kooperativen Internettechnologien” – die KoopTech-Erfolgsfaktoren – Unterstützung flexibler Strukturen, Soziale Umgangsformen, Sensible Ressourcenerschließung und -nutzung, Nachhaltige Verfügbarkeit von Ressourcen, Unterstützung von Feedbackschleifen, Unterstützung von identitätsbezogener Teilhabe und Barrierenidentifizierung erscheinen denn auch nur vordergründig akademisch. Dahinter stehen letztlich Kernfragen (und -aufgaben) der Implementierung. Diese wird ohnehin besser weiter verstanden – es geht bei Social Software niemals um reine (IT- bzw. werkzeugseitige) Realisierung – der Charakter von Social Software Projekten rührt stets an softe Faktoren wie Unternehmenskulturen usw. und muss mit dem Kontext von gegebenen Unternehmensstrukturen und -kompetenzen sowie Unternehmensstrategien leben zurechtkommen umgehen können, manchmal auch indem das Social Software Konzept hinterfragt und modifiziert wird …