Tuesday 27 September 2005

The Write Stuff

Nancy White provided a review of Writely, a Web-based word processing application, so I thought I'd sign up and give it a go. As well as giving people the power to collaborate on a document you can also post directly to blogger. Signing up for an account is nice and quick, so why not give it go.

My only complaint is that it was a little slow, but that may be the fault of my slow Aussie broadband connection. Also, a non-US spellchecker would be nice too ;-)

Tags: writely

Monday 26 September 2005

Are you mashing?

If you're interested in social software, then the idea of "mashing" or "mash-up" is an important concept to understand. The Economist provides an introduction and discussion of the future direction in social software mashing. They explain mashing as:

"The term mash-up is borrowed from the world of music, where it refers to the unauthorised combination of the vocal from one song with the musical backing of another, usually from a completely different genre. Web mash-ups do the same sort of thing, combining websites to produce useful hybrid sites and illustrating the internet's underlying philosophy: that open standards allow and promote unexpected forms of innovation."

I've mentioned a number of examples of social software mash-ups on this blog, including:

Tags: ,

Sunday 25 September 2005

Dazed and confused about IT jargon

A survey by a UK recruitment firm reports that "Over two thirds (67%) of office workers feel 'bewildered' and 'inadequate' due to not understanding IT professionals' 'tech jargon'". Apparently the use of analogies is the most effective way of helping people who are not IT literate grasp how technology works.


The BBC's low-tech KM

A few months ago I posted a brief blog about Euan Semple from the BBC. Semple continues to attract interest (such as on excited utterances) with his knowledge management work at the BBC. His approach, which is apparently making good use of blogs and wikis, is described in this new short article by David Weinberger in KMWorld.

PS Also, have a look at this interesting argument/conversation linked from Semple's own blog about blogging and marketing. Also worth reading, from another BBC blogger Tom Coates, is his related response "to the rhetoric of weblog marketing".

Tags: , ,

Thursday 22 September 2005

Knowledge and Innovation - 21st-23rd Nov. in Sydney

I'll be presenting at the Ark Group's Knowledge and Innovation conference in November on the use of collaborative tools in facilitating innovation in the corporate environment, including:

  • Understanding the role of collaboration tools;
  • Examining the different forms of social software; and
  • The future of collaboration tools: blogs, wikis and instant messaging.
The conference also includes two half-day workshops - one from David Rymer (former Director of Know-How at Minter Ellison) and another by Optimice. As part of the conference, Optimce will also be using their Accelerated Networking approach help people network more effectively.

Tags: ,

Thursday 15 September 2005

More from Tom: Why Office Design Matters

Following on from Tom Davenport's special presentation for the NSW KM Forum, you can read an excerpt from his new book on the HBS Working Knowledge site that discusses his thoughts on the link between the physical work environment and knowledge worker performance.

Davenport comments that while there "is a good deal said about this topic, but not much know about it". His own argument on the subject focuses on the observation that while knowledge workers prefer closed offices, they seem to communicate better in open ones.

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy some of Davenport's CIO magazine columns, such as Serenity Now!, Putting It All Together Again and Withering Heights.

PS While you're on the HBSWK site, also have a look at another article in the same edition that looks at the future impact pervasive high(er) speed broadband access is going to have.

Tags: ,

Wednesday 14 September 2005

In the Know And On The Move

My July/August Image and Data Magazine article, In the Know And On The Move, is now available for download from my IDM article archive page.

"It has been said that knowledge knows no boundaries. But as knowledge workers begin to access technologies like personal area networks, wireless broadband, Voice over IP and 3G, can we finally say the same about knowledge management and make it truly mobile?"

Tags: ,

The VoIP Advantage

Technology analyst and Supernova organiser, Kevin Werbach, has been writing for a while about the impact of wireless and VoIP technology.

I like the ideas in his VoIP-for-dummies article from this month’s Harvard Business Review, titled Using VoIP to Compete. It reflects my own thoughts on VoIP that the long-term value of VoIP won’t be about cheap long distance calls, but will be about using next generation networks for competitive advantage.

Werbach provides a good overview of VoIP from a business perspective and explains why he believes that unlike earlier telecommunications innovations, like the telegraph, VoIP “will become more strategically overtime”.

Tags: ,

Monday 12 September 2005

Tom Davenport on Thinking for A Living this Wednesday

Thanks to the efforts of Matt Moore, one of my favourite gurus Tom Davenport (who is in Australia to present a master class) will be speaking about Thinking for A Living to the NSW KM Forum on Wednesday 14th September (yes, that's this Wednesday). There is no ticket cost but we will be collecting for the Red Cross Hurricane Katrina appeal ($15 for an employed person would be appropriate). Visit the forum's Website for full details and how to RSVP.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it :-(


Thursday 8 September 2005

Board of IT

A few months ago HP and Aussie law firm Mallesons Stephen Jacques released the results of an independent survey on IT governance of 155 large organisations. From this survey they concluded that in many cases IT strategies are not regarded as an integral part of business strategies because of the separation of the overall corporate governance strategy.

An MSJ partner commented:

"This lack of alignment between corporate governance and IT governance policies is surprising. Technology underpins the day-to-day operations of almost every significant business in Australia and is also essential to creating financial statements on which the market relies. Ensuring business continuity and the integrity of financial statements should be key elements of all corporate and IT governance policies and on the agenda for directors, CEOs and CFOs of all listed Australian companies. This is another instance where complying with legal obligations should result in a positive business outcome."

Good point but what interested me more was that apparently 78% thought that time costs and resources were the biggest barrier to compliance. Could it be what they are really saying is that they don’t really understand IT enough to manage it at a board level?


Monday 5 September 2005

Katrina Information Map

Hurricane Katrina has unfortunately given social software the chance to step up again and help out during a major disaster. The Katrina Information Map is a particularly good example of how social software hackers (in the old school sense) can quickly build a useful tool. The Katrina Information Map has been described by Wired as "a giant visual 'wiki' page" that uses Google Maps to help people affected by Hurricane Katrina who have or are trying to find information about the status of specific locations affected by the storm.

What's even more interesting is the speed in which this tool was built. The programmer, Greg Stoll, told Wired magazine that "I had some existing code for putting markers on the map from an XML file, so adding the extra functionality took about an hour and a half. I spent another hour or two on Wednesday just making sure it was working."

However, he also comments that "I trust the information from FEMA and the government a lot more than just the aggregation of information anyone can enter. But it is pretty cool, and it does show the power of the internet, the kind of collaborative effort that can put together a lot of information in a very short time."


Thursday 1 September 2005

Understanding the Human Impact of Business IT

I find people either love or hate the work of research firms and the like, but if you can stay the distance Diane Morell, from Gartner has some interesting things to say in a report (published in the ACS's Information Age magazine) on The Human Impact Of Business IT.

There are some similarities between Morello's conclusions and many of the issues I've raised in this blog (such as the Intranet Imperative), other articles, as well as presentations I've made on topics on things such as social software, e-mail overload and the always on, always connected technology. Now its nice to see someone wrap this up into an argument that warns business they will undercut half the value of their IT investments if they fail to reform themselves.

I particularly like the observation she makes that "Consumers do battle with spam, pop-ups, identity theft and technical problems for which they lack adequate skills. Meanwhile, employees must operate within rigid standards, policies and security measures that save money for the company and tighten digital security – often at the expense of individual or team innovation."

She identifies what she call "three large disrupters":

  • Thrashing (the constant and unproductive switching between systems, applications and communication channels);
  • Judgement devaluation; and
  • Excessive e-contact.
Morello also points to another article called The Dehumanised Employee published in CIO magazine at the end of last year that is also worth a look. You might also enjoy some of the links to other CIO magazine article related to Supermarket self-service that I blogged about in April.

Tags: ,