Thursday 28 September 2006

ROI on collaboration technology in the construction industry

Care of the Attensa blog (Attensa is an enterprise RSS solution), a good news story about the high levels of satisfaction in UK construction with collaboration technology, where 96% of respondents to an industry survey "interviewed said they had experienced benefits from using collaboration technologies."

Two of most important benefits identified by this and other research suggests that users value audit trail related benefits and the ability to access data and information quickly.

A report on this research by the UK's Network for Construction Collaboration Technology Providers, which was designed to demonstrate the ROI on using collaboration technology, is available to download (PDF).

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Wednesday 27 September 2006

Universal Sharing Bus?

Is there anything we can't do with a USB port these days? For example, here is an idea for a USB-port powered rechargable battery (care of Read/WriteWeb). And considering how ubiquitous USB is for sharing information and multimedia, running applications and doing other stuff maybe we should include in the Web 2.0 cloud and extend the model to include hardware as well as software?

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Tuesday 19 September 2006

Social barcoding

If you're a dot-com veteran you'll remember the CueCat - now the basic idea has been reborn in a couple of ways as SmartPox and also Mytago. Based on previous experience, should we be afraid? Well, both SmartPox and Mytago appear to designed to be part of the social software cloud, but I guess it remains to be seen how successful either will be.

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If they aren't strategic, why are they so essential?

I've been thinking about a piece by Mark Jones in the AFR last week (IBM notes changing trends in bid to boost Lotus, 14 September 2006, Australian Financial Review) where he comments "chief information officers rarely consider Notes, or competitive software such as Microsoft Office, to be a strategic purchase."

I don't disagree with the observation - but it troubles me greatly that CIO's don't think much about the strategic value, or strategic impacts, of their decisions about the basic messaging and office productivity tools they provide to staff. Could this be why so many experienced Lotus Notes users are so passionate about their tool or why so many businesses run on the smell of an Microsoft Excel spreadsheet?

So if they aren't strategic, why are they so essential? Take these work horses away from people, and many organisations would grind to a halt. And perhaps this is why so many people inside the firewall are getting excited about what Web 2.0 technologies will let them do?

BTW The context for the article was to report on IBM's attempts to rejuvenate Lotus Notes by positioning it as a social software-friendly platform - the AFR's article isn't available online (except to subscribers), but this ARNnet article from earlier in the year gives you an idea of what IBM are planning.

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Monday 11 September 2006

In the eye of the beholder

Following on from yesterday's post, Brian Keairns makes a similiar observation:

"I find Andrews’s definition to be effective even though I don’t believe it will be possible to say that an application inherently meets that definition out of the box. There will certainly be applications that can be deployed in either an Enterprise 2.0 mode or a traditional mode or a transitional mode and enterprises will find a way to deploy even the purist Enterprise 2.0 web software in a way that’s not optional or egalitarian. So if you wanted to “certify” an application as Enterprise 2.0 you’d have to look at the implementation to decide whether it was Enterprise 2.0 or Enterprise 2.0 Transitional or not Enterprise 2.0 at all."

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Sunday 10 September 2006

Setting boundaries on Enterprise 2.0

Andrew McAfee wants to define Enterprise 2.0 as "the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers" but is concerned that others are expanding the concept to include a discussion of software development models and delivery methods.

Similarly we see some uncomfortable overlaps between the concepts of Web 2.0, Social Software and everything that has gone before. Something I've always done to help deal with this issue is to consider the difference between function (what is does) and form (how it does it). Unfortunately in doing this we have to accept a grey area to exist between the tools and technologies used, the way they are used and how we attempt to explain them using management theory. In other words people don't use technology in such a bounded fashion - think about the spreadsheet, a classic user-driven software tool, and the different ways it is put to use. Another point is that if we separate function and form, then organisations can use what ever tools and technologies they want to achieve Enterprise 2.0, not just (for example) an open source Blog written in PHP and running on Apache.

From a management point of view I think Enterprise 2.0 is a good place to start a conversation about Enteprise Social Software, but if we ignore the broader picture of Web 2.0 inside the enterprise then we may miss out on another story unfolding. The trick is learning to discuss them as both form and function so that we understand the opportunities and implications.

Incidentally part of this other story is something my CSC colleagues have previously identified and labelled "Extreme Data".

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Saturday 2 September 2006

Around the Google world in 24 hours

We've been mapping the Internet since its earliest days, and now we have what Richard Akerman on the O'Reilly Radar blog describes as a "hypnotic view of a day of Google traffic on a map."

We talk about being always on, always connected but for the most part this map shows a lot of the developing world in darkness while the rest pretty much still sleep when we expect them. Still, I suppose Google is everything.

For maps of the Internet have a look at the Atlas of Cyberspace.

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