Where Business Process Meets 2.0

The 2.0 Adoption Council is experimenting with a range of new market ideas that leverage the power of the social web.   The 2.0 thinking surrounding network effects, scale, voluntary collaboration, free (as a business model), and social performance/productivity improvements are just a sample of some of the drivers that have made the Council thrive.  Much of these attributes are present in a new concept described recently by John Hagel and John Seely Brown as, “The Collaboration Curve.” Specifically the authors point out, “The more participants–and interactions between those participants–you add to a carefully designed and nurtured environment, the more the rate of performance improvement goes up.”  Hagel also describes on his Edge Perspectives blog the move away from a transaction-based economy to a trust-based relationship economy.   He refers to as this as a “passionate community.”  His words:

In sharp contrast, passion holds the key to creating and shaping relationships that will help us thrive in a rapidly changing world. It motivates even the shyest of us to reach out and connect with others in ways that become catalysts for creativity and growth. Passion fosters a uniquely strong and productive bond that provides both the stability and stimulus needed to continue to grow and succeed in a constantly changing world.

What Hagel is describing is present in the Council today.  Simply look no further than the comments from the members themselves on my LinkedIn profile and our testimonials.  With this passion, comes business opportunity.  The combined intelligence of our early adopter 2.0 membership has become a no-brainer target for vendors interested in harvesting the group wisdom of these world class customers.   To that end, we are proud to announce today we have entered into an innovative co-creation research relationship with SAP.  SAP announced its 12Sprints public beta today.  It’s important to note that 12Sprints is not typical social/collaboration software, but rather a a SaaS-based, goal-oriented, collaborative decision-making tool that incorporates social features such as activity streams, presence, and profile data.  The objective for 12Sprints is to draw enterprise data into a conversation where it can be discussed, analyzed, and openly decided upon by geographically dispersed team members.

Although I’ve often been critical of SAP in the 2.0 arena, I’ve always marveled at the “engine” that drives global business on the SAP platform.  This first step toward bridging that gap between the core business processes that make the trains run on time and a front-end of 2.0 capability (including integration with various  popular 2.0 tools) is a welcome advancement in the maturation of the market.   Further, it’s particularly encouraging that SAP would choose the Council to partner on the co-development of this strategic new direction for its blue chip customer base.  It represents an unmistakable endorsement and recognition for our business model, the power of our membership, and the promise of innovative alliances to reshape how products get to market.

Below is a Skypecast I did informally last week with SAP SVP Marge Breya that discusses trends in 2.0 adoption and the nature of our relationship.

SAP’s Marge Breya discusses e20 with Susan Scrupski (aka ITSinsider) from susan scrupski on Vimeo.

Recession-ready 2.0 Stimulus Packages, the series.

First post in a series of great products that will help jumpstart the economy.

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I had a great interview and demo yesterday with someone I admire in the blogosphere, fellow EI Bob Warfield. More than a few times this year, I’ve checked out his stealthy, yet healthy company: HelpStream. What the world needs now is not Love, Sweet, Love or Skittles, it’s products that help create profitable relationships and foster customer loyalty. HelpStream is one of a number of fantastic tools in the market that can help an enterprise improve their customer experience while improving their balance sheet.

With impressive ROI analytics and a gorgeous, easy to use UI, HelpStream goes far to give customers solutions with a minimum of effort and offers companies the means to engage customers on their own terms relying on a searchable knowledge base and self-supporting Web community. Particularly suited for web savvy and web-centric companies, HelpStream brings a social advantage to customer engagement. Further, tight integration to Oracle CRM and Salesforce enables (from the site) “customers and service representatives to search solution articles, post and answer questions, participate in group discussions, engage in idea brainstorming, utilize Interactive Checklists (step-by-step instructions), and instantly transition between unassisted and service rep-assisted processes at any time. In addition, customer service representatives using the pre-integrated solution access all of this information from within the Oracle CRM On Demand or Salesforce system.” What’s most impressive to me is Bob can demonstrate a ROI for HelpStream in months, not years. Ask him to show you the chart.

We got to talking about how there is a lack of awareness outside of the echo chamber regarding the power of communities and socio-collaboration. He said he hears the comment, “I had no idea that was even possible” all the time. There are areas within enterprise that should be moving quickly to embrace social leverage. One of the most obvious to me is customer experience/customer satisfaction. There is simply no better way to treat your customers well and demonstrate the value of democratic leadership and innovation than engaging them in a meaningful, responsive community that is open to ideas and criticism.

UPDATE 3/6:  CRM guru Paul Greenberg validated my opinion on HelpStream.  Excellent analysis of CRM 2.0 on Paul’s blog.

Already there: 100% SaaS

I try carefully not to post too much about nGenera on this blog, as its focus is centered more generically on trends in Enterprise 2.0. It occurred to me as we’re pulling together the Office 2.0 agenda, that the nGenera story is one which hopeful SaaS enthusiasts can look to for guidance and real world benchmarking.

nGenera is 100% SaaS. The company was designed to deliver on the promise of “on demand” computing. With well over 300 employees now on three continents, we manage all our operations on a SaaS basis. The image to the left sits on our internal collaboration hub where all employees have one-click access to all the SaaS applications that run our company. Intacct, in fact, just issued a press release featuring our use of its Intacct Plus offering. We also use SaaS apps for collaboration, all our talent management (hiring, compensation, payroll, learning) and research projects.

We’ve done a good job integrating Salesforce.com, Intacct, and Open Air so our execs can make “on demand” decisions will real data. After only a year or so, with a run-rate close to $100M and profitability on the horizon*, we’re probably one of the better case studies out there for SaaS-as-a-Successstory.

So while some may declare the SaaS model bankrupt, as Lawson’s CEO recently did in this interview, we’ll continue to run our business on demand, and offer SaaS-based solutions to our customers. Our CEO is somewhat passionate on this topic and spoke recently at the AlwaysOn Summit at Stanford. You can watch the video here.

*“But nGenera has made a great deal of progress in a short period of time, has a great customer base to leverage and grow, and top notch senior management and investors to guide it. We believe that the company’s journey thus far has netted it a revenue run-rate approaching $100 million and could be cash flow positive by year end as the Talisma integration is completed.” (source: JMK Securities, July 2008.)

A Round-up of Enterprise 2.0-related tidbits


Jive Clearspace has begun an open community where e2.0 fans, friends, and enemies (that means you Tom Davenport :-)) can have an opportunity to share war stories, successes, and get questions answered. The community site is called ClearStep. Of course, you can always share your opinions on our nGenera site, as well. Oliver Marks tipped me off to this site too by Imaginatik which appears to be powered by Ning, but there are some great wikinomics-style case studies and discussion threads there you might want to participate in.

Second, I’ve been meaning to blog about this for awhile. Nick Barker has created a one-stop shop for aggregating all current goings-on and content related to Enterprise 2.0 at his Enterprise 2.0 Portal site. The site is free and should be on everyone’s feed reader. Make sure you check it out.

And, in case you missed it, the venerable consulting institution, McKinsey & Co. published its global survey results for “Building the Web 2.0 Enterprise.” It’s also free, but you have to give them your contact info.

Finally, Niall Cook who founded one of my favorite products, Cogenz, (in his spare time) released his new book, “Enterprise 2.0: How Social Software will change the future of work.” I have not read it yet, but I’m certain it’s another must-have for your e2.0 bookshelf– IF you have a liberal expense account. It’s a little pricey at $89.95. I asked Niall about the price, he said it’s because the publisher sells mainly to an institutional and academic market. I’m hoping for a review copy, or will have to wait for the eBook or paperback version. Or maybe I can get a discount because Don Tapscott wrote the forward? (Humm… just realized we need to update Don’s profile on Wikipedia to reflect nGenera. Damn these Internets, always need to be current!). Actually, Niall may have taken a page out of the Wikinomics playbook, because it appears you can co-create with the community to add more content on each of the book’s chapters with this wiki hosted by Socialtext. He’s also blogging on the major themes of the book here.

The Original Unconference: Mashup Camp

What is not to love about Mashup Camp? This is my first unconference event, and I am an easy convert. It defines the free-form, emergent foundation of enterprise 2.0 in that it is completely user (developer) driven. No formal speakers, no imposed structure. What’s interesting is that developers mix easily with vendors and sponsors because from what I’ve seen they’re all intellectually curious and are asking a lot of the same questions. I don’t see a lot of marketing and selling going on here.

The day starts by mapping out a series of sessions the camp wants to discuss with peers. Developers get to pick time slots first, then sponsors, then other vendors.

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Next, each session is posted on a large, paper schedule that is transfered by David Berlind onto a wiki that everyone can access and annotate with session notes all day long.

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Then, everyone self-assembles and visits sessions that interests them. There was a lunch a break (day one), and the favorite part of the day for me was “speed-geeking” which consisted of 5-minute demos of about maybe 2 dozen mashups located at tables in the grand hall at the computer museum. Each participant had five minutes to explain his or her mashup, show its main features, and answer questions.

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All the mashups were impressive, but I know I and Jeff Nolan were particularly impressed with the Plaxo mashup demo. Straight from the press release, the 3.0 version:

“has a content sharing feeds system, which several networks are leveraging, especially after the combined success of Facebook apps with its newsfeeds feature. Individual feeds for Plaxo users will initially include those for Flickr photos, blogposts, Amazon wish lists and Plaxo contact info modifications.”

I videotaped the demo here for you to see for yourself. I apologize, but the “night vision” option was accidentally selected on the camera I shot it with. Grrr… Still viewable, though. This is Joseph Smarr, Architect for Plaxo, demoing Plaxo’s new 3.0 version.

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=QlCp4IHMj4Y">http://youtube.com/watch?v=QlCp4IHMj4Y</a>

 

Office 2.0 The Sequel: Adds Enterprise 2.0 Track

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Well, planning has begun for the 2nd annual Office 2.0 Conference. Yay! I’m pleased to announce that Ismael Ghalimi has nominated me (for BSG Alliance), Jevon McDonald, and Catherine Shinners to be the lucky volunteer team who will put together the Enterprise 2.0 track for the conference.

If you can only make one conference for enterprise 2.0 next fall, make this one. The conference will again be held at the St. Regis in San Francisco. Ismael has booked a lot more space in the hotel this time, so there will plenty of room for networking and visiting panels and demos. The conference web site should go up tomorrow at this link as early as tomorrow. Keep checking for it. Oh, you might want to sign up early too. The conference was a huge success last year, and Ismael is intent on keeping it small, so it may sell out. There is also a Facebook event and group for Office 2.0.

The format for the conference will change somewhat this year. There will still be killer demos, jaw-dropping celebs, and investors from the 2.0 insider crowd, but the focus this year will be on customers and real adoption of Office 2.0 tools and technologies.

Regarding enterprise 2.0 specifically, we are interested in showcasing user case studies. If you have a particular user case study you’d like to share with us, please let us know as soon as possible. Frame your pitches in terms of business benefits, or possibly, social benefits that led or will lead to increased business benefits. We’re also interested in security, privacy, governance issues– typical IT issues and how they’re impacting enterprise 2.0 adoption. The stories don’t all have to be positive; if something didn’t work, and we can learn from it, we want to hear that too.

Send any questions or interest in participating on the enterprise 2.0 track to me, Jevon, or Catherine directly. My email address is susan at bsgalliance dot com.

Photo courtesy of Brian Solis.