Wednesday 28 February 2007

A Big Day Out in Sydney looking at Social Software for Business

Tuesday was a busy day for me, getting out of the 'Gong early and up to Sydney where I started the day at Lotusphere Comes to You. The highlight of the morning was hearing and seeing a bit more about Lotus Quickr and Lotus Connections:

  • Mike Handes gave a great overview of Lotus Quickr, who described is a more interesting than talking about cricket at BBQs (ok, the Aussies aren't doing to well at the moment...) and explained how the different Quickr connectors, templates and services will make it "open and flexible". On the face of it, Quickr is a big improvement on Quickplace but on the other hand some of the views felt very familiar. Personally I'd like to see more things (if they aren't already there) like support for simple Web 2.0 ideas such tag clouds and more complex Web 2.0 functionality like "widgets". And while you're waiting for Quickr to arrive on an intranet (or extranet) near you, Mike suggested we take a look at the free Blog and Wiki templates for Quickplace available from SNAPPS.
  • The Lotus Connections concept ("Profiles,Communities, Blogs, Bookmarks, Activities") was also compelling and really suggests to me that IBM Lotus really do get this space. But to be honest I just want to get my hands on it to see how well it lives up to buzz in practice!

Later in the day, in a complete change of gear, I spent a bit of time chatting with James Matheson from specialist wiki consultancy, Saikore. There were two particular interesting parts to our conversation that I want to comment on here:

  • Firstly, the good news is that James feels that Australia has finally reached a level of maturity where wikis are beginning to achieve more main stream adoption. I personally hope this is part of a wider trend I've been watching coming to fruition, which will see more organisations adopting everything from wikis through to IBM Connections.
  • Secondly, some great observations about the essence of what makes an enterprise wiki a wiki, versus the wiki-like functionality appearing from the big software vendors like IBM and Microsoft. Some keywords for me that describe this are simplicity, solving specific business problems and being non-document centric. What this says to me is that the success of wikis in the business is more than just providing an edit button on every page and, on further reflection, why I don't believe tools like Jotspot are really a wiki because they are just too complicated (that doesn't mean they are bad by the way, just something different).

James doesn't have a blog as such, but check out the news page on his Website. I also found out that James made some contributions to the Wikipatterns site.

Later in the day I caught up with some old friends at Ernst & Young to see how "KWeb" was looking these days, before heading over to help out at the NSW KM Forum's first meeting of the year.


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