The Urgency of Now

Picture 1The news about Sarah Palin broke today while I was working.  Where did I see the news?   Twitter (of course).  Seconds turned to minutes, and I found myself impatient with not knowing the inside scoop on the why behind the resignation.  What was the target of my impatience?  The Twitter community.  Seems ridiculous, but it’s just expected these days that you’ll get to the heart of a breaking story within seconds.

To that end, it reminded me I wanted to write a post about the “unbearable heaviness of not-being” current.  Way, way back around the Christmas holidays, I was flattered to be one of only three reviewers for Andrew McAfee’s book on Enterprise  2.0 by Harvard Business Press.    They asked me to review the manuscript, and I accepted (for a small stipend).  They gave me a couple weeks to review it, and I submitted my comments in mid-January.

At the back of mind, however, and something I probably should have included in the review and regret now that I didn’t was a lingering doubt.  “This book will be obsolete before it’s published for the community of folks who track this sector.”

When Andy and I caught up at the Enterprise 2.0 conference, he told me that he too is really troubled by the delay on the publishing schedule.  He had hoped the book would have been published by the conference deadline (June), but it is now pushed back until December.  December?   You’re kidding me.

The demand for Andy’s book is today, not six months from now.  I’m wondering if, as a community, we can lobby Harvard Business Press to move the publication date up as its value is inextricably tied to its timeliness– especially in this fast-moving space.  The Editorial Director in charge of the publication timeline is Jacqueline Murphy .   I urge you to contact her and express your support for moving the book up in Harvard Business Press’ publishing queue.  I also started a Facebook group with the same goal.

Social(er)text: From Wiki to Wonderkind

I’ve often said that Ross Mayfield is one of the best 2.0 evangelists we have in the community. So, it’s no surprise that Socialtext recently announced a wholesale makeover this week that not only defines the company as a thought leader in Enterprise 2.0, it launches the company into an entirely new category. Known universally in the 2.0 community as “the open source enterprise wiki company,” Socialtext now crosses over to a robust, social collaborative platform player with a great deal of promise.

Socialtext 3.0 supplements its excellent wiki functionality with a Netvibes-like widgetized dashboard front end that enables individual users to personalize their enterprise interface with workspace updates, conversations (internal and public), user profiles (with LDAP and Active Directory integration), a new micro-blogging capability, RSS and life-streaming feeds, and drag-and-drop-ready external widgets. The renewed Socialtext offering is cleanly designed and offers a host of possibilities for small and large enterprises. In effect, Socialtext 3.0 has presented a “mashup palette” from which a user can customize his or her enterprise experience blending external seamlessly with internal.

The new features/capabilities are offered as a trio of applications: an improved wiki, Socialtext People, and Socialtext Dashboard. Additionally, Socialtext announced its own enterprise micro-blogging interface, “Signals” which provides context-relevant secure social messaging. Read more on Ross’ blog.

On our briefing yesterday with the Enterprise Irregulars, two major advantages for Socialtext stood out for me. The first was an extremely attractive pricing scenario. The price/seat with Socialtext is incomparable in the market with this much potential enterprise system integration and social functionality. The second was Socialtext’s approach to targeting business process-oriented LOBs that are eager to embrace 2.0 tools where material improvements with collaboration and social networking are well understood. These two advantages, combined with the Socialtext heritage of thought leadership on all things enterprise 2.0 have positioned this company well going forward. With the recent addition of Alan Lepofsky who was IBM’s senior strategist for Lotus and under its new CEO, Eugene Lee, I’m bullish on a Socialtext strong finish in a market that has become increasingly crowded.


Enterprise Homebrewed Mashups

As I mentioned early this week, a few of us at BSG saw a demo of IBM’s QEDWiki last week with its latest added developments: OpenSearch and Programmable Web. Since my interest in mashups far surpasses my ability to comprehend them, I’m doing the honorable thing and pointing you immediately to David Berlind’s blog where he not only explains Dan and John’s new cooperative arrangement, but has taken the time to put up a viewable video of how it all works.

The upshot of the announcement is that IBM is working with the development community promoting OpenSearch, which should make mashup-making easier for everyone in the mashup ecosystem. Although the mashup phenomenon is mostly still relegated to mashup enthusiasts and developers, I still see tremendous potential in this arena for the enterprise. I give Dan, especially, a lot of credit for reaching out to the community to start galvanizing the move toward some standardization.

An interesting newcomer, well maybe repositioned old-timer, in this market is Serena Software. I haven’t spoken to Serena yet, but intend to. I first saw Bill Ives’ post a few weeks ago with Serena’s new go-to-market pitch for the enterprise mashup arena. According to my Enterprise Irregular compatriots, Serena has been a fairly substantial software company that got taken private by Silver Lake in early 2006. They have, “…a few (update, see comments) hundred million per year in traditional license revenues and a core business that isn’t going away any time soon,” according to Jason Wood. And as it turns out, Bonvanie did a stint doing developer relations for SFDC’s AppExchange and appears to be re-creating the same environment for mashups at Serena. I’ll know more after I speak to them.

Enterprise vendors start beating the drum

IBM web2.0 goes to work Last week was a banner 2.0 week for enterprise vendors. Gee. Do you think they were reading my blog? The week got off to a good start for me with a snappy little web 2.0 seminar hosted right here in Austin by IBM, “Web 2.0 Goes to Work.” Of course, SAP announced SAP By Design, but my fellow Irregulars did an awesome job conveying the import of that announcement. ibm seminar logoLike I said to Charlie Wood at lunch the other day, “I can’t even spell SAP…” So, I won’t attempt to comment on the SAP announcement. I’m scheduled to attend SAP’s TechEd Conference next week. We’ll see if I can be learnt.

On the IBM gig, I was surprised, frankly, to find that both Rod Smith and David Barnes were both in attendance at this seminar and both presented. Smith wasn’t there for the whole shindig, but he was there to lend executive support to the the day. Smith related some anecdotal accounts of IBM’s experiences discussing 2.0 with key accounts. In general he said it’s easier to sit with lines of business now (as opposed to IT) to brainstorm ideas. With these new approaches, customers are willing to experiment more, even fail if need be, rather than wait for long, protracted 6-month development efforts that incorporate all the bells and whistles required to support the enterprise environment such as security, privacy, and compliance. Smith said, “That takes time, and [LOBs are] willing to take certain risks.” What I loved about Smith’s early discussions with IBM customers was the interest level about what was possible in the enterprise. He expressed the sentiment that customers want information to be “mashable, remixable…” that they started looking at their data as modular assets– using it in ways they hadn’t planned for. One example yielded an unexpected result when a mashup uncovered shipping information that helped a global distribution company combat piracy on the high seas.

After Smith and Barnes were done keynoting and introducing, for some reason, they made us all wear white lab coats (question mark?) and we self-sectioned off into three breakout sessions focused on each of the three main areas: collaboration, mashups, and IT integration with web 2.0 (my interpretation). I attended the first and the last, as I was having a private demo of QEDWiki in a few days. The collaboration session drew a mix of IBMers, customers, and partners. Questions ranged from, “How do I get people in my company to collaborate with these new tools?” to “How can we get access to data buried deep inside those web2.0-soulless mainframes?” Okay, well that was me asking that question. I had the good fortune to be sitting next to a veteran IBMer who said it IS possible to layer on interfaces to get access to all data in the enterprise so folks can collaborate on just about anything. The question then became– how willing would IT be to let the whole company have open and free access to that data? And round and round we went…

On the IT software integration session, my BSG colleagues were particularly engaged. IBM has packaged its offerings under the bundle, “Info 2.0.” It’s basically an integrated suite of technologies that enable the creation of mashable content. At present, I believe it includes what they’re currently calling DAMIA which transforms content into syndication feeds, the Mashup Hub where you discover, catalog, tag feeds for remixing and then syndicate content and then finally, QEDWiki which I’ve blogged about before and will later. They also have something called Ms. Rita (lovely Rita, “meter maid” in a too short uniform skirt that will never fly with corporate branding IMHO; sheesh, boys!) which is a configurable “utilization management service” to meter, monitor, and monetize web 2.0 an SOA components, applications or environments. Miss Rita (or, whatever) will probably not be available in the first release of the Info 2.0 announcement, not sure why. One fairly cool IBM application in beta right now is Many Eyes. Check it out for a free trial. If you want to see some of these tools in action check out some of these demos, podcasts, and videos.

Blogger transparency dictates that I confess I’m not qualified to comment on the technical intricacies of IBM’s foray into web 2.0, but I give Big Blue huge points for promoting web 2.0 in the enterprise. Like SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft, IBM has something the startups do not: a massive installed base. Even if only IBM puts some massive marketing muscle behind evangelizing, I kind of don’t care if their solutions and approach are a yawner. My sense is, they are serious about this sector for interesting economic motives that may possibly not be obvious to us right now. For instance, did it ever occur to anyone that “the cloud” is not really a cloud at all? Is IBM viewing the 2.0 transformation as an opportunity to reap big benefits from big iron? Just food for thought. Here are two pieces to ponder– one from the WSJ, one from CIO insight.

A few days after the seminar, I had the chance to revisit with Dan Gisolfi to see what he’s been up to lately with QEDWiki. Dan has teamed up with John Musser of Programmable Web. I will have more on that later this week, maybe tomorrow, as well as a report from an interesting meeting I attended with the local Social Media Club here in Austin.

Suddenly SXSW

Austin is great for a lot of things, but at the top of my list has always been SXSW. I submitted a panel idea and have recently been notified that the “panel picker” is up. As there are hundreds of submissions, each panel needs its own personal promotion, I guess. This panel, “Mashups: War Stories from the Trenches” was an idea I thought would be cool coming out of mashup camp. I asked David Berlind if he would agree to moderate the panel, and he said he would. If you’re so inclined to give us a comment or a generous multi-star vote, that would be terrific.

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.