FASTForward ’08 on the ground.

It was the bus ride home from the analyst/blogger dinner that pulled this gargantuan Search Lovefest together for me. I sat next to an American product manager who lives in Oslo (FAST’s headquarters) who said, “Without search, there is no web 2.0.” I thought about that and realized, maybe he’s right. Even in Enterprise 2.0, “S” is the first letter in McAfee’s mnemonic, SLATES. The connection between the pricey marketing extravaganza FAST is putting on here and (what most of us know and write about) Enterprise 2.0 had not been clear to me until that bus ride.

Last night, Andrew McAfee kicked off the festivities and our man Don (Tapscott) did a great job presenting the Wikinomics story. Sandy Kemsley is here and she blogged the informational piece of both keynotes last night. What stood out for me was McAfee’s claim, “I haven’t seen a deal killer yet.” By this he meant, there hasn’t been a single instance of profound Enterprise 2.0 failure in the companies he’s talked to over the year. But he did highlight that although executives are fairly familiar with the phenomenon, the larger question is now, “How do you do this, rather than the why and the what.” McAfee also talked about providing soft incentives for adoption, such as including collaboration in performance reviews and employee evaluations. At first I thought that was interesting, but before I could mull it over too long, I realized that thinking really flies in the face of everything that is 2.0 for the enterprise. It’s imposing structure on something that is supposed to be freeform and emergent. My impression of these tools is that they ARE easy to use, ARE a major leap forward, DO encourage innovation and collaboration, and WILL spread virally thoughout an organization once users get a taste of them.

User revolution at FAST08Regarding FAST, I’m still a little uncertain what specific knowledge of Enterprise 2.0 the 1200 folks who are here have, but it’s a wonderful introduction for them. FAST has really put together a world-class customer/partner event. It’s similar to what I would expect from a Microsoft or an SAP. The photo to the left is of a sort of performance art routine that kicked-off the theme of the conference: The User Revolution.

I find myself wondering about users in departmental silos. Is it simply a matter of awareness that they’re not gravitating on their own toward Enterprise 2.0 tools? Judging from all we’ve heard about the next generation influx of GenXers, Yers, and Millenials who will be flooding the market, it seems to me, it is only a matter of time.

The FAST bloggers are doing a terrific job of reporting on the leading speakers that spoke today including John Hagel, David Weinberger, and Mr. Enterprise 2.0- downer himself, Tom Davenport. Check out the FAST blog for all the copious reporting. I will say on Davenport’s behalf, he stands on pretty firm ground when he talks about Business Analytics. He succeeds where the Enterprise 2.0 community has failed (with any convincing success) and that is to produce business and game-changing case studies of measurable business improvement. Maybe the case studies are out there, but they have not yet emerged. I’m on the hunt for them.

Rails Rules for the Enterprise

me and Tim BrayI spent Friday afternoon with an impressive technology crowd that gathered here in Austin from Avenue A | Razorfish. I’ve blogged many times over the past few years about how these Interactive Agencies hold the keys to the kingdom on bringing “sexyback” to the Enterprise. It’s been nearly a few months since the blog/firestorm kicked up starting with Mr. Bill (Gates) fueled by Scobleizer.

What I saw with mine own eyes at the AARF gig was red hot enterprise-worthy sexy stuff– borderline enterprise porn. 🙂 The integration was downright obscene!

One of the highlights of the event for me was meeting Tim Bray, pictured to the right here with me. Tim keynoted the event and was described to me by Shiv Singh as one of the original authors of the XML standard. Readers of this blog know what a geek fangirl I am, so I rushed poor Tim at the evening before’s cocktail party and talked his ear off for about a half-hour with mostly nonsense. He kindly took this photo, so I could post it on the blog.

The next day, Tim showed a slide on PHP referencing integration challenges with WordPress and Drupal. My video interviewing skills are (UM) lacking, but I managed to ask him about it, just in case any Enterprise 2.0 hopefuls were considering PHP as their platform choice… You’ll see Tim is very much the Ruby on Rails fan here.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=-jtBfgqXR0c&amp;rel">http://youtube.com/watch?v=-jtBfgqXR0c&amp;rel</a>

Incidentally, it’s worth mentioning that BSG’s web site and our e.laborate platform is all Rails, baby. It’s times like these that I wish I were more technical, but to hear a guy like Bray gush over the simplicity and ease of agile development with Rails, makes me feel proud of our apps team. I’ve been on many calls with Scott Brittain, our with customers and with industry insiders.  I always learn something from Scott and enjoy talking to the “apps guys” whenever I can. We talk a lot about how this so-called revolution is not about technology, but hey, the technology is one heck of an enabler, ain’t it?  It’s like trying to imagine the 60s social revolution without electric guitars.

Rawk on for freedom you awesome geek gods.

Enterprise Suits Up for the Ride, but Seeks a Safe Landing

This is what would happen if Santa were an Enterprise App and he tried to automagically incorporate 2.0 grooviness overnight.

Santa as Enterprise App on 2.0 house

The irony just got the better of me… I’ve been wrestling with wretched old-school health forms all afternoon that will undoubtedly be, um, input or maybe scanned into some old-school enterprise system that will carefully set up my health insurance for 2008. If it weren’t Sunday, I probably could do some digging and figure out exactly what the “business process” is that will determine my paper-input-to-digital-imprint record through the labyrinth of enterprise systems. Will an outsourced provider be involved? Probably. A mainframe? Probably. A large-scale database? Oh yeah.

Have I enjoyed this process today? No. Was I able to customize my health insurance policy and my coverage according to my particular family’s health situation? Not in a 2.0 way. Was I able to choose a health insurance company by my review of doctors online and get recommendations from other insureds about which health insurance companies actually paid claims on time and answered questions with friendly, caring concern? Well, definitely not.

While I’ve been grousing about doing this all day, clicking on web sites, downloading forms, etc., I’ve had Snitter (a Twitter stream) up and have been keeping my eye on the chatter of the day. It appears Robert Scoble dared to ask why Enterprise Apps weren’t sexy, and well, you can imagine how my Enterprise Irregularguild” reacted to that. Nick Carr even got involved. It’s only Sunday too, so we’ll see where it goes. (See Dennis Howlett, Michael Krisgsman, Anshu Sharma, Vinnie Mirchandani.) Me? I agree with all of them, oddly enough. On the one hand, I’m having a miserable experience, and I agree with Nick Carr, and I really wish the health insurance company had more consumer-y features. New York Times Design Director Khoi Vinh expressed nearly the exact same sentiment with this post earlier this fall. I agreed with him then too.

On the other hand, for those of us who are working hard to try and transform, enlighten/educate enterprises on how they need to introduce some of this radical change to leverage innovation and wealth creation, we know what we’re up against. Enterprise applications are carefully managed fleets comprised of many battleships that simply cannot turn on a dime. Nor, would you want them to.

Should my son be rushed to the hospital in 2008 because he didn’t quite land that skating trick he’s been practicing in the street, I want to make sure all systems are go and the woman at the reception desk doesn’t get a message from my insurance company like this: 2.0 error

And now a word from our sponsor…

I’ve been sitting on some pretty big news for about a month now. This is extremely difficult for someone who is online and interacting nearly every second of every day with various folks in and around the community. The news was so top secret, I couldn’t even share it with people in my own company. Very strange in this era of openness and, ironically, mass collaboration and sharing.

The headline news today is BSG Alliance is mashing up with Don Tapscott’s New Paradigm think tank. It’s a pretty powerful combination. Tapscott, as you should know, has been pretty spot on predicting how the digital landscape will unfold. Wikinomics, the book co-authored by Tapscott and Anthony Williams, has been climbing the business book charts since 2006. Amazon.com is listing it in its top ten for 2007 (from which you can vote for the best). It was fourth when I voted last night. More importantly, the concepts in Wikinomics are opening minds all over the globe to the possibilities of massive collaboration and innovation.

This afternoon, we will be hosting a live announcement event in NYC at the Marriot Marquis. We will be webcasting live from the Marriott if you would like to join the conversation with a few of our customers. The discussion will center on the driving themes of innovation, opportunity, wealth creation, and risk in the next generation web era. This link will take you to the webcast.

I will be in Austin tomorrow, also participating via webcast. We are sponsoring the local Jelly Austin, which is a coworking event. If you’re in Austin, please come down and celebrate with us. Genuine Joe’s coffee house.

So, the journey continues. With even more interesting possibilities. Stay tuned.

The Remix on Generation Wired

It occurred to me that I was introduced to Facebook by Euan Semple in April of this year. By June, I had about 60 Facebook friends, and I have been progressively adding them since then. When I do a cursory review of my friends’ demographics, it surely does not skew GenX/Y/Z/New Millennial, and if I had to guess the median age of my social graph? Well, I’m thinking it could be over 40, definitely over 35. And, no, this is not another marketing post about affluent buyers and purchasing power and how I might be influenced to buy a specific brand of camera lens because one of my friends recommended it (although, I still argue there is a powerful case to be made here.) In addition to Facebook, I’m also starting to get connected up on Plaxo, more people are finding me every day on LinkedIn, and I make heavy use of the Ning social network at work. Same universe though, predominantly– seasoned professionals with over 20 years in the tech business.

What I’m getting to is recognizing the profound crowd wisdom density in my social graph. For those of us “of a certain age” who are getting this, it’s like striking and mining intellectual gold. I check the Facebook stats every so often and the fact that “more than half of Facebook users are outside of college” and that “the fastest growing demographic is 25 years or older” reinforces my own observations and experience. About a month ago there was a somewhat ugly conversation on Paul Dyer’s social media blog about whether anyone in my age group was qualified to consult, teach, or otherwise claim expertise in the social media arena. (The accused held their own in the comments; see for yourself.) Yet Dyer’s POV nothwithstanding, what’s more important is what those who do not participate in social networks are missing. These powerful social networking tools make knowledge and people more accessible. That sounds overly simplistic, but you have to put it to the test to experience the results.

Ed Yourdon and Susan ScrupskiPersonal Case: On Nov. 7, via Twitter, I noticed that Ed Yourdon was speaking in Austin. I asked him if he would have breakfast with me here. He agreed. Now, I could have done this via email and via a web page or newsletter, but Twitter has a way of making something that could be formal, quite informal and casual. It breaks down barriers. Ed Yourdon, for any Gen X/Y/Z/Millennials who may be reading, is an icon in the world of software design and analysis. My short breakfast was delightful, and I’ve since added him to my broader social network on Facebook, Dopplr, etc. The “network effects” of adding Ed’s knowledge and experience to my social graph has immeasurably added gains to the IQ (insight quotient) of my social graph. And now, Ed’s wisdom is within reach of all my friends. This is where weak ties theory really can begin to return tremendous benefits.

Ed is currently inviting collaboration on a massive slide deck that captures everything that has been published on web 2.0. This deck is available for sharing on SlideShare, as well as editing on google docs.


Incidentally, Ed posted a note last week on the failure of his middle-aged friends to adapt to this new way of connecting, learning, and growing. Here is an excerpt:

And so it is today with social networks. It doesn’t matter which ones you belong to; the point is that, to increasing degree over the next few years, if you adamantly and noisily refuse to participate in any of them, an entire generation of people who do use these networks will conclude: you’re irrelevant. They won’t bother trying to convince you or persuade you; they won’t object, protest, march, or complain loudly. They’ll simply ignore you. It’s okay with them — and if it’s okay with you, then everyone is happy. But if you wonder why fewer and fewer people are paying attention to you, there’s a reason …I find myself slowly building a new network of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances … and slowly leaving behind a much larger network of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances I’ve built up over the past 40 years of my adult life. It’s not that I dislike any of my old friends and colleagues … but it’s almost as if they’ve consciously chosen not to have an email address, not to have a cell phone, and not to have a fax number… There’s a younger generation that’s learning how to communicate, collaborate, share ideas, and keep track of each other’s travel plans, and day-to-day activities through a variety of new networks. As for the increasingly irrelevant set of old friends: good luck, have a nice life, and send me an annual Christmas letter to let me know if you’re still alive …

Office 2.0 Enterprise 2.0 Track Zeros in on Adoption Issues

office 2.0 logo

In true 2.0 form, the conference organizers for the Enterprise 2.0 track team have been collaborating around the world, assembling an A-list of early adopters on Enterprise 2.0, evangelists, and visionary entrepreneurs. Using Skype, IM, wikis, and the occasional email, we have been able to bring together a terrific team of speakers from three continents.

Ismael will be posting the agenda sometime in the next 24 hours, and some of the invited speakers are not yet confirmed, but I wanted to start getting the word out about what we have going on on our side of the house (there is a mobility track running concurrently with the Enterprise 2.0 track).

I already blogged about the dynamic duo Gavin/Revell Show which will open the conference track on Day One. This presentation will set the agenda for much of what will be discussed at the remainder of the two days of the conference, as these guys were early into the Enterprise 2.0 game. As Ismael is interested in focusing this year specifically on customer issues, the Pfizer case study will cover the gamut of early adoption issues. I don’t know exactly what these guys will present, but if my hunch is correct, you may want to bring ear plugs to soften the sound effects of their presentation. 🙂

We also looked hard at what is happening in the social media space in the enterprise. We are still trying to put this together, but our intention is to have Facebook, Ning, Plaxo, and LinkedIn together on a panel moderated by Shel Israel. Shel has agreed, and we’re slowly signing up the vendors… I’m particularly excited about this one. Please start formulating your questions for this panel. Remember, you’ll be able to send your questions directly to the panel via your iPhone…

Like Andy McAfee says, “It’s not (just) the technology.” Culture, culture, culture is the new barometer for success with Enterprise 2.0. But cultural changes can be painful especially within a large enterprise. Some argue they are too disruptive to be effective and that hierarchical systems work for a reason. We put together an expert panel on Culture in the Enterprise to discuss these larger issues. Similarly, we will have a Customer Panel who will share real war stories from the trenches. From investment banks to pharmaceuticals to manufacturers, hear first hand from evangelists and practitioners what’s working and what’s not.

Day Two begins with a presentation by Adam Carson who has been on a mission to bring Enterprise 2.0 to Morgan Stanley. Adam’s story took some interesting twists and turns this year. Everyone will find something they can relate to in Adam’s presentation. Then, coming from half-way around the world will be Stephen Collins who has done some of the best slideshare presentations I’ve seen on Enterprise 2.0 this year. Steve will present “Knowledge Worker 2.0.” Who is the KW2.0? It’s you.

This year’s new collaboration tool is mindmapping. We included a session on the power of visual collaboration. This panel will explain this powerful new collaborative tool and how to employ it within the enterprise. Finally, still pending confirmation, we hope to have Dion Hinchcliffe give us a wrap-up of the state-of-the-market in Enterprise 2.0 and then lead a panel on company-sponsored user communities such as SAP’s Software Developer Network (SDN). Other user communities we are recruiting include Sony, Webex, and Atlassian. If you have a large user community and would like to be on this panel, please let us know.

These sessions may change as we near the conference date, but this is what we have planned thus far. Keep checking the Office 2.0 site for Ismael’s posting of the conference track agenda.