2009 map of the marketplace


Probably good to make a mash-up with the old saying “It’s not about the technology, folks” – and open source advocates may even do a reinterpretation mash-up with George Siemens:

A corporate technology infrastructure is not so much a system to control what is permissible as it is an infrastructure that needs to be co-created with end users. […] Open source software has developed largely because people are seen as participants in software creation rather than as end users.

Posted via web from frogpond’s posterous

Design Thinking und Social Software im Unternehmen

René Seifert vom eLab-Blog hat ein paar Eindrücke von den Workshops der Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco gebloggt, u.a. zum “Design von Social Software” mit Christina Wodtke.

Mit gewissen Anleihen aus der klassischen Architektur wie man Räume beschreibt, entwickelte Wodtke dann die Prinpien für die Erzeugung von “Social Spaces” im Internet, die auf den drei Säulen Identität, Beziehungen und Aktivität ruhen.

Identität, Beziehungen und Aktivität – erinnert mich daran, dass im Idealfall auch ein Intranet ein Ort sein kann an dem eine vielfältige und lebendige Community zusammenkommt, um gemeinsam zu lernen, neues zu schaffen etc. Und Design Thinking kann dazu beitragen daraus eine “powerful engine of innovation” zu machen, wenn, ja wenn Designprinzipien beachtet werden:

1) design handles the user can invest in
2) design a way to be members in good standing
3) you need barriers to participation
4) find a way to spare the group from scale.

Zum Kontext von Enterprise 2.0, Intranet 2.0 und Social Messaging passend und interessant, diese Präsentation von Ross Mayfield von Socialtext “Putting Web 2.0 to Work”, aus der Übersicht der Proceedings:

Interview with Euan Semple

While posting Euans profile over at the Enterprise2Open blog I was alerted to this interview with him via the Zemanta sidebar (ah, I love serendipidity, in effect pushing me onto the Fastforward blog and it’s video collection of this year’s conference):

He discusses his effort at the BBC, as director of knowledge management, and since […] to put the emphasis on “connecting people and helping them have conversations with each other [rather] than about helping them search for other people’s badly written, out of date documents.” Euan touches on the sophisticated and subtle ways in which people search, find and use information, the “non-trivial” challenge of getting employees to engage, who’s often purchasing and owning the products that companies are using (and the attendant downside of that), and more.

The digital company – freedom to collaborate

I am closing down some of the open tabs, cleaning up draft versions and stuff I always wanted to blog about. Not all drafts stand the test of time, but some do. On the topic of good organization the report Digital company 2013: Freedom to collaborate written by Kim Thomas for the Economist Intelligence Unit stays interesting. Some of the key themes explored by the report are

  • Technology knowledge will permeate the enterprise.
  • Social networks will be common in the workplace, like it or not.
  • Beware information paralysis.
  • Digital tools will democratise access to information.
  • Digital tools provide employees with greater control over the information they can access.
  • IT will also need to loosen the reins.
  • Ceding technology control will be good medicine.

And they note that in order to realise the benefits of improved collaboration business leaders must come to terms with autonomy: “for employees, in how they access information and spend their work time; and for business units, in what technologies they purchase and how they use them. Above all, it will require from executives a great deal of courage—to allow technology to bring customers and other third parties into the company’s operations—and trust in their employees to access and use information freely.”

In Auto industry and Enterprise 2.0 Andrew McAfee speculated what he would do if appointed “Detroit CIO”. While the set of 10 principles he’s applying is good, I am not too convinced that technology, i.e. rolling out emergent social software platforms (ESSPs) to all employees of the company, starting internal CXO blogs etc. would do the trick. The car industry is a heavy user of IT already, adding to the pile of tools won’t help in overcoming resistance. And that’s where the rub is: implementing Enterprise 2.0 concepts must cope with the people, processes and the tools they employ in these processes (I specifically doubt that Six Sigma or Lean Production processes can benefit much from Enterprise 2.0 concepts, these are repeatbale and highly automated processes, i.e. they don’t need no flexibility, adaptivity or emergence). But some other advanced (knowledge work) processes might benefit a lot – hey, collaboration and social software might even help in turning around a basically flawed business model, so Andrew’s thought experiment is very welcome.

Then, IBM Research is looking at adoption, usage patterns, motivations, and overall impact of Social Software in the Workplace (pdf). The paper focuses on the internal usage of social networking (Beehive) and examines the individual goals people have when utilizing these platforms (like interacting with colleagues, career advancement, convincing and informing others about ideas and projects).

Via Stewart I found Gerard Tellis & Ashish Sood‘s article “How to Back the Right Technology” in the Wall Street Journals and MIT Sloan’s Business Insight – dealing with mistakes organizations often make when choosing which technologies to adopt:

  • They fail to distinguish among different levels of technology, with the result that they focus too much on one level and get tripped up by changes in another level.
  • They assume technological performance follows a standard path — from innovation to obsolescence. It often doesn’t.
  • They fail to recognize that technological innovations shape consumers’ tastes, not mere whims.

Good advice included, like e.g. try multiple things at once and don’t bet too heavily on one choice, on picking a winner:

  • […] Technologies, and the competition among them, evolve in more-complex ways than conventional wisdom suggests. To make the right choices, managers need to understand these patterns of evolution.
  • [so that] executives can avoid some common mistakes: missing a market-changing technological breakthrough, embracing a hot technology too eagerly or abandoning another one too quickly, and underestimating the effect of new technologies on consumers’ tastes.

And if you’re in doubt what technologies to evaluate for 2009 EDS’ Charlie Bess gives you something to think about, see his predictions for 2009 (granted, a mixed bag of IT technologies and/or approaches). To me, most important and most interesting is his starting point:

In this [financial et al. crisis] situation, the investments in technology can actually have more impact than at any other time, since your competitors may be in a purely cost cutting mode. In 2009 organizations must maintain a balance between the new/strategic and the immediate return, between operational cost-cutting and operational excellence. Anytime there is this level of conflict, the situation is ripe for innovation

Well, basically looks like a good situation for social software in the enterprise aka Enterprise 2.0 …

Outlook on collaboration in 2009

Besides playing experimenting with some new (sometimes cloudy) collaboration services and technologies (and I didn’t even make it halfway here), battling a nasty cold and family time I’ve been reading my share of Enterprise 2.0 outlooks for 2009 lately, starting off with Gil Yehuda of Forrester (“Predicting the battle over collaboration infrastructure in 2009“) who answers short questions with good long analysis.

Gil, do you think companies will cut back on Enterprise Web 2.0 in light of the economy?

First reaction – it depends. I’m an analyst, that’s always our first answer. […]

That’s not all for sure, he goes on to ponder what lies behind all this, i.e. he delves into the relation between IT department and business units, diagnoses an increased need for collaboration functionality as a result of “layoffs, mergers, and deepening external partnerships (requiring new infrastructure to collaborate outside the firewall with trusted, external partners)”, and sees a slowdown of IT-driven collaboration projects in 2009 compensated by more business-driven collaboration projects. A good read.

More general are FastCompany’s predictions that 8 experts have for Web 2.0 in 2009, even with Charlene Li among them who holds

“[that] the biggest innovation will be the opening of social networks so that they can exchange profiles, social relationships, and applications. As such, companies need to think about how they will “open” up their businesses.”

Read-write web compiles a list of enterprise-focused web products that are already doing well and are poised success in 2009, nice that there’s a subcategory of Wiki++ (oh, this geeky humour):

We added “++” to “wiki” because the leading vendors are rapidly incorporating micro-blogging, social networking, forums, and other collaboration tools. Integration is key, so we see this market moving towards suites, but with wiki at the core.

Yes, said that before, think “middleware for humans” – one might even argue that wikis are archetypical infrastructure, and being flexible enough to cater for diverse and changing needs.

Then Craig Roth of the Burton Group presents their views of the 2009 landscape for communication, collaboration and content and warns

It’s also important to note the cyclical nature of organizational dynamics, which underlies everything we talk about related to communication, collaboration, and content.  Rather than just disappearing, terms like “knowledge management” fade from view only to be rediscovered when their time is right.  Governance has been on the tip of the tongue for at least five years now in our space, but it may fade only to be rediscovered under a new name ten years from now.

That is why it is so important to understand the basic concepts and dynamics behind communication, collaboration, and content before delving into the specifics of any specific technology.  If you don’t understand your history, for example, social networking can be felled by the same issues that caused collaborative workspaces to fail before them.

Craig also blogged about the implications of the tough economic conditions on the collaboration (and IT) market, something on which I will post a follow-up soon as well. Actually I think that the economic crisis might even turn out good for collaboration initiatives, open source and Enterprise 2.0 …:

Companies that come out of recessions in a stronger position than they went in are those that judiciously invest in technology and related processes that let more work get done with less resources as well as reducing costly delays and red herrings when making decisions. And when the market downturn ends – and it will – opportunistic organizations will be in a better position to succeed than those that had hunkered down during the recession.

Some more quotes and notables:

– Mike Gotta thinks about some acquisition possibilities (or dangers) in the Enterprise 2.0 market, triggered by an article in CIO magazine “Web 2.0, Social Networks in ’09: The Year of Consolidation, Not Innovation” that puts Lotus Connections and Sharepoint in perspective (btw, I don’t buy the article’s argument that consolidation in the enterprise Web 2.0 market could hamper innovation around those tools, I guess the innovators in this space have set high standards already, plus the real issues aren’t with nifty tools et al.). Yet, the triggered reasoning by Mike on “strategic fits” is good, and I can’t help wondering if some of these M&As might turn reality in 2009. Besides he’s done a great rundown of various Enterprise 2.0 issues too …

– Robert Scoble sees a fight coming between the collaborative web and Microsoft, besides being busy talking to Socialtext and Jive Software (during his Enterprise disruption week), while  David Coleman examines the underlying thinking (in “The Evolution of Collaboration Technologies“): “Most of these organizations are betwixt and between. It is safer to go with what you know (IBM or Microsoft) but also can be expensive in a recessionary period. Or phase out the aging collaborative infrastructure for something a bit more up to date, with more collaborative functionality. So far most of them seem to be playing it safe, a few are looking for new tools that will meet their collaborative needs both today (with the Millenials) and tomorrow.” and Kevin Mullins offers some Technology Predictions for 2009 (“I see Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 becoming feature sets in new products and services in the Enterprise, however they will not become feature sets in all Enterprise products”). Well, fair chance and clever arguing 😉

– At last, CBC had a feature interview with Clay Shirky on the pros and cons of social media, new online business models online, and how big change comes from human motivation, not shiny new technologies. Well, yes, don’t blame the web intranet when it’s filter failure, yes, the ability to pay attention in the Web 2.0 age is the “work smarter, not harder” version 2.0

    So now I wish all my readers, friends, colleagues, partners and clients a happy and successful 2009. I hope you all had time and rest to enjoy some quiet days with friends and family before the rat race starts again. Oh, again it’s making-fun-of-rats-time – I really must look out lest this turns out a standard operating procedure …?

    A mixed bag of tabs …

    … with some interesting stuff I found but can’t really blog about, at least not yet, I will see how much time I get next week when LeWeb is in full swing …

    • Wharton says what we should do when the times are getting rough: innovate. Well, yes, no point in playing safe these days, rather use the downturn to trigger serious change. A good idea (like supporting more efficient collaboration and teamwork with enterprise social software solutions) stays a good idea after all. A sense of urgency may just be what is needed to overcome some of the remaining resistance …
    • Kathy Harris of Gartner collects some thoughts on principles and actions to foster and increase creativity, like rapid knowledge and idea sharing, effective information management, listening to the customer, visualizing concepts and information relationships and to develop deep analysis and analytical skills (good list, competing on analytics gets missed upon too often).
    • Bruce adds some words of wisdom and a reality check warning the overly collaboration optimists, and while I agree that participation inequality is no real problem, I am more optimistic for enterprise wikis that have a clear goal and that support a dedicated group of people. That’s what gets wikis flying – a group of people that care and invest themselves into wiki gardening, motivating and educating (yet, wikis can do a great job as information platform even when “most people contribute nothing”, but that’s not the best they can do).
    • Ted Schadler blogs about extranet collaboration platforms, collects some (infra-)structural problems that must be solved and proposes in the comments his “working model for an extranet collaboration platform toolkit”. Seems like a pretty complete offering to me, at least in “advanced mode”. Well, I think that these are good and valid elements of an (extranet) collaboration toolbox, but I doubt that all of them will and must be used in parallel. Individual tool usage in Enterprises is highly dependant of the context, and “tool inflation” won’t help. It’s changed methods and practices of collaboration that do the trick, not tool A vs. tool B. Shines a little light on the “best of breed” vs. “integrated suite” debate too I guess.

    Rückblick auf den ECM-Summit – Keynotes

    Zweiter Teil meines Rückblicks auf den ECM-Summit – speziell auf die Keynotes von Ulrich Kampffmeyer und Lee Bryant. Dirk Röhrborn von Communardo hat diese bereits sehr ausführlich dokumentiert – vielen Dank dafür, ich weiß wieviel Mühe das Livebloggen macht, selbst habe ich nur vereinzelte Tweets absetzen können (ok, es waren rund 160 über die zwei Konferenztage …):

    Ulrich Kampffmeyers Keynote über “Human Impact” fokussierte auf die Wechselwirkungen zwischen Mensch und (Software-)Technologien (im Unternehmen). Aufbauend auf Thesen wie “Der Mensch ist das Maß aller Dinge” wurde ein Bogen zu Herausforderungen an Wissensarbeiter (Information Overload, anyone?) und mangelhafter Usability von Mensch-Maschine-Schnittstellen gezogen. Das skizzierte  Szenario eines Generationenkonflikts (digital natives vs. digital immigrants) sehe ich nicht ganz so – ebensowenig teile ich den (kultur)pessimistischen Ausblick. Klar, man kann diese Sicht teilen, man muss es aber nicht. Ich sehe mehr die positiven Seiten bzw. die Möglichkeiten diese zu stärken. Ganz im Sinne von Charles Leadbeaters “We-Think” – das Web kann gut sein für Freiheit und Demokratie, dies ist aber kein Automatismus, sondern muss immer wieder neu erarbeitet und bewahrt werden.

    Lee Bryant hat in seiner Keynote einen ähnlichen Grundtenor eingeschlagen – auch er sieht mehr die möglichen Wandelpotenziale von Social Software in Unternehmen. Dies ist auch dringend notwendig wenn “modern corporations bear the imprint of old organisational models and metaphors”. Während die veränderten Anforderungen und Umsysteme “Enterprises 2.0” benötigen haben wir “1990’s software and tools, coupled with 1930’s management practices”. Klassisches Enterprise Content Management (Create, Store, Manage, Distribute) ist so auch nicht ausreichend – es ist zu zentralistisch, zu unflexibel und motiviert nicht ausreichend zur Beteiligung. Wie nun vorgehen? Lee schlägt folgende Herangehensweise an Enterprise 2.0 vor:

    1. try to harness flow & go with the flow as well, like eg. with leveraging internal and external feeds

    2. leverage bookmarks and tags – building the base for

    3. blogs and social networks (“social objects” that are shared within networks …)

    4. group collaboration – intimate groups/teams organise knowledge in wikis and group systems

    5. and last layer of the “knowledge pyramid” – personal tools, organise my stuff by tags, arrange in a portal, manage networks and feeds

    “Feeds, flow and fluid navigation”, das erinnert auch an Stowes Vortrag bei der Web 2.0 Expo (“Better Social Plumbing for the Social Web“). Ja, dadurch können sich auch emergente Strukturen ausbilden, im Flow gewissermaßen – aber es braucht Freiheit und Ergebnisoffenheit. Plan- und Berechenbarkeit steht dem meist im Weg …

    Eine interessante Frage kam dann noch aus dem Publikum – wie Mitarbeiter zur Beteiligung und Partizipation motiviert werden können? Lees Antwort war recht pragmatisch “give people the tools so that they can do their jobs better”.

    Ja, das sehe ich ähnlich, ich würde noch ein “and step out of the way” hinzufügen, aber im Kern trifft das ins Ziel: Es geht darum mit Enterprise Social Software das “day to day corporate life” zu verbessern. In diesem Zusammenhang möchte ich gerne noch auf die Slides von Lees Talk bei der Reboot10 verweisen:

    […] about how [to] codify new freedoms within organisational structures and how we can create a win-win by helping humanise enterprises using social tools.