ITSinsider Annual Gift-Giving Suggestions

All righty fans of e2.0, there are some great books coming out or are already out that I wanted to bring to your attention, in case you’re looking for that perfect gift for your E2.0-loving loved one or friend/colleague.

Not in any particular order, here goes:

Tara Hunt needs no introduction in the ranks of the social media elite, but may be less known in the corporate community of Enterprise 2.0 enthusiasts. I’m particularly looking forward to her book because I admire Tara for her unshakable faith regarding how social networking is bringing out the best in us. Tara’s thesis (and it is proven again and again) is the currency of the 2.0 economy is not $, but rather social capital, which conveniently leads to $. (I’m paraphrasing, but I’m sure Tara will correct me if I’m wrong.) You can pre-order the book today, but it won’t be shipping until Q2. And might I remind everyone, by Q2 in this economic downturn, we all may be very interested in increasing our net worth in social capital. So, do something good today for the world and pre-order Tara’s book, “The Whuffie Factor. ” I did. (I also ordered Paul Gillin’s Secrets of Social Media Marketing. Gillin is one of the very best writers on social media marketing. Another great suggestion, and it’s available now.)

Read this great story on Whuffie in action; be sure to read the comments.

For hard-core e20 fans and wouldbe practitioners, make sure to pick up a copy of Jeremy Thomas and Aaron Newman’s Enterprise 2.0 Implementation. It’s written more-or-less for an IT audience, but there is a trove of great information in here for business unit managers and evangelists too. Sarah Carr from the Deki open source wiki vendor, MindTouch, does a great wrap-up on its contents:

The book highlights the facilitation of collaboration and fosters internal innovation by integrating next-generation Web 2.0 technologies throughout your enterprise IT framework. Packed with real-world examples and timesaving tips, Enterprise 2.0 Implementation shows how to use viral and social networking tools to gain the competitive edge. Get full details on managing corporate blogs, wikis, mashups, RSS feeds, tagging and bookmarking data, and RIAs. You’ll also learn how to maximize ROI, use Semantic Web technologies, and implement security.

Some additional concepts are included, as well:

  • Expand corporate presence to Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Ning
  • Build internal social networks using open source and commercial applications
  • Reduce infrastructure and IT costs through SaaS vendors
  • Consolidate disparate information using Enterprise 2.0 Discovery
  • Manage wikis, blogs, mashups, and RSS/Atom feeds
  • Set up Rich Internet Applications
  • Develop security, risk management, and disaster recovery strategies

(p.s. The publisher asked me for a quote for this book, and there is a comical story surrounding that, if you’re interested. Who knew they’d publish the quote on the FRONT COVER?!! Net result: I’m learning this celebrity endorsement stuff the hard way.)

I just started reading Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom, by Matthew Fraser and Soumitra Dutta. I am thoroughly enjoying it so far. It’s a sweeping trends analysis on how 2.0 is changing society and commerce. Written by two bright guys from the prestigious international business school, INSEAD, it’s high on my list for this year’s recommendations. The publisher describes the book as, “Combining a pop sociology approach with rigorous analysis rich in economic history and organizational behaviour.” Fraser specializes in the intersection of pop culture with industry and Dutta focuses on IT and innovation.

Check out my personal blog for an excellent video from these guys too.

Next, and somewhat out of the ordinary, is a friend’s book, The Cure for Jet Lag. I promised my friend Lynne I’d give the book a plug. As I watch my life-streaming social tickers on Friendfeed, Facebook, Twitter, etc., I’m always hearing someone or other complaining about jet lag. Lynne’s book has sold over a hundred thousand copies and offers an all-natural prescription to tackling jet lag by “tricking your body clock.”

If you’re into publishing or interested in getting published, start feeding Lynne’s blog, The Publishing Contrarian. She is self-described as the “Wicked Witch of Publishing,” but don’t let that scare you. She is alarmingly witty and oftentimes outrageous.

Last on my list are three books I have not read, but are on my shelf for reading this year. Tammy Erickson’s “Plugged In,” Don Tapscott’s “Grown up Digital” and Austin’s own Dave Evans’ “Social Media Marketing in a Day.” Both Tapscott and Erickson are nGenera gurus and these books specialize specifically in the GenY/Digital Native cohort, so I’m eager to dig into them. Dave Evans is really great, smart guy here in town specializing in social media at Digital Voodo. I’m also currently reviewing Andrew McAfee‘s book manuscript which will be published sometime this spring. With all this reading to do, will one of my beloved readers please buy me a Kindle for Christmas??

Finally, if you’re really interested in worthwhile gift-giving, consider gifting a donation in someone’s name to Wikipedia, WordPress, or your favorite shareware product. And finally, finally (Charlie tells me I can make money on this) if you know a mac person who loves their google calendar– give them a life-changing gift: Spanninc Sync. It syncs your google calendar with ALL your mac products (notebooks, desktops, iphone, etc.). It will be the most appreciated $25 you ever spent, much better than a few lattes at Starbucks. Oh, you need to use this code: XK4HHR if you order so I can get my vig. 🙂

Happy Holidays everyone, and I will be back in the New Year with big news…

Boston in June… Enterprise 2.0 on the Waterfront

e2.0 signIt’s that time again, the hallowed Enterprise 2.0 conference is revving up for early June. I was pleased to work on the agenda this year with Steve Wylie, the conference organizer, along with other members of the advisory board. The conference is in its second year and promises to reflect the maturation that occurred in the space over the past 12 months. Although many first-time attendees to the conference will be new to Enterprise 2.0, the concepts and themes have evolved and been refined over the past 12 months. Three out of the four largest enterprise vendors are big sponsors this year (IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle.) I’m personally hoping we see relevant, interesting developments from these large vendors this year.

We are introducing two new ideas to the conference this year which I’m particularly excited about. The first is Stowe Boyd’s Launch Pad where four (whittled down from a larger number by votes) audience-chosen startups will have an opportunity to demo their products and compete for a winning spot for the best launch pad product/service. As there is such a torrent of new products coming onto the scene, this is a great attempt to filter out the most useful based on collective crowd selection. We are considering doing something very similar regarding sessions for September’s Office 2.0 conference based on the SXSW’s panel-picker software.

The second event, or maybe unevent I should say, is called Enterprise2Open. Modeled after “barcamps and unconferences,” this will be a half-day’s worth of unstructured Q&A and sharing hosted by Ross Mayfield. The unstructured, open-type of event has been popular for some time in the development community, but we thought we’d attempt to try it out this year with a non-technical audience. The format provides a no-hassle, informative forum to ask any and all of your burning questions related to Enterprise 2.0 and get answers from peers and folks in the community who may have experienced the same issues. You may want to consider getting your questions and topics suggested in advance by posting them to the Enterprise2Open wiki. You can actually be a presenter yourself, if you bring your own soap box. Just get yourself on the self-organized agenda. The entire session will run in the afternoon on Tuesday, June 11 from 1-4pm. nGenera is sponsoring the event, so I’ll be there with a few of my colleagues and customers.

Speaking of customers, Rob Carter, CIO of Federal Express is giving the opening keynote. A group of us were in Memphis at Fedex’s central distribution facility in March where we heard Rob talk on 2.0 adoption. Rob sees himself as an evangelist himself for 2.0 in the enterprise. I’m really pleased he accepted the offer to keynote on Tuesday morning. One of the conference themes this year is accelerating user adoption. Having notable icons from the F500 executive board room will go far to lower the barriers of trial and experimentation with 2.0 alternatives.

e2.0 demo pavillionI’ll be at the conference from Sunday to Wednesday. I hope to see many of you there. Please drop me a note or a comment here to let me know if you’re attending. Many thanks to all the folks on the panels I helped arrange.

Photo credits: Jeckman on flickr and Alex Dunne on flickr.

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.

The CEO Whisperers

ritzcarltonnaples During the 90s, when I was tracking the IT services market, there was a continuous blurring of roles and activity between Management Consulting firms, Strategy firms, and good ole’ IT services firms. IBM had IBM Consulting, CSC had CSC Index, EDS bought A.T. Kearney— throw in a few strong boutiques, and they all competed against McKinsey, Booz Allen and Bain. It got really wild during the dotcom run-up toward the late 90s, as web 1.0 approached because a lot of these guys left the security of these large firms to run start-ups. Looking back, there was one reason these guys made good candidates to run web startups– they spoke the CEO’s language. They could persuade and convince a board room to make a “bet your business” proposition. Now luckily, not a lot of F500 CEOs made decisions they couldn’t undo based on dotcom disasters, and most of the well-healed consultants went back to their high billable rate profession after the bubble had burst.

I’m writing about this today because I’ve participated recently in two events on adoption on Enterprise 2.0. One was a live event in NY which drew mostly a financial services audience and one was a webinar with approximately 50 callers participating. Today, I’m writing from my room at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Naples, Florida (pictured left) where I’m about to attend a few social events with CEOs who are looking for answers about this new wave of Internet disruption or opportunity– as the case may be. I promised not to flack here about BSG, but we did make a terrific acquisition this week which gives us the privilege of bringing this story to the executive suite of some of the most well known brands in the world. You can read about goings on at BSG on a blog I’ve started here. I have to admit, frankly, the chance to evangelize on the next generation web to customers like American Airlines, British Telecom, Deutsche Bank, DaimlerChrysler, DuPont, ING Bank, Johnson & Johnson, Marriott, Merck, Pfizer, Rolls Royce, Royal Bank, and Shell gives me goosebumps– even in the hot Florida sun.

Even though we speak a lot in the blogosphere about the user-generated, collaborative, self-service benefits of social media and enterprise 2.0 technologies– the radical, cultural, enterprise-wide transformation we’re looking for is going to have to come from the top of what are still hierarchical organizations. And for that discussion to begin, the best tool we have today, may be the same tool that has worked for decades– the golf ball.

Enterprise 2.0: what’s in and what’s out?

I found myself surprised that Euan Semple is a Facebook user. I asked him about it, and he says it’s not just for kids, “There are loads of my friends in Facebook and it is good at helping us be social.” he replied. And like a select few of the bloggers I follow, I have not succumbed to the Twitter addiction, but find myself a little jealous that Stowe Boyd is now a friend of John Edwards and Barack Obama if only for a few random minutes at a time.

Social media knocked me over again last week reading the reports from my fellow Enterprise Irregulars who were blogging at Sapphire– SAP’s flagship conference for its friends and fans. This screen shot of SAP’s Harmony, an internal MySpace/Linked-in of sorts, got forwarded immediately to our head of HR. We’ve been using Ning for our internal communications– which we are really having a lot of fun with, but seeing this, I realized how much more fun we could have if we customized Ning for our company– and then for our customers.

SAP's Harmony

Harmony screen courtesy Craig Cmehil

What really caught my eye last week was Stephen Danelutti’s initial attempt at drawing up a framework for enterprise 2.0. I comb the web daily for enterprise 2.0 posts and news, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone take a stab at defining what is including specifically in the definition. For instance, we probably all agree that McAfee’s SLATES is included (Search, Links, Authoring, Tags, Extentions, and Signals). This would include all blog, wiki, and search technology. McAfee talks a lot about predictive markets too, though. I would add mash-ups, most SaaS apps, and anything AJAX-built, no? I don’t have Dion Hinchcliffe’s gift for drawing diagrams, but I’d love to hear some input on this.

What will the new spring crop yield?

I’ve been taking a lot of satisfaction these past few weeks in how our little enterprise 2.0 garden is growing. In the past few weeks I’ve been asked to podcast, to appear on a video segment, and to participate in an enterprise 2.0 “rave.” All good stuff. The analyst and media coverage of enterprise 2.0 has really started to pick up too. I’m particularly encouraged by the management findings and recommendations we’ve seen coming out of MIT’s Sloan Management Report and McKinsey. I guess they legitimize our inner-circle zealot ramblings.

A few items of interest: I attended Ajax World a couple weeks ago. I listened to a few of the speakers, but spent more time trolling the vendors in the exhibit hall for real examples of how Ajax solutions were generating real business advantages for their customers. Nexaweb had some interesting case studies. They quickly rattled off projects at Bank of Toyko, Mitsubishi, Seimans, AFLAC and EMC where companies had built rich Internet applications that were making a difference in their markets. Another interesting observation was a casual chat I had with Chris Warner at JackBe. He basically told me the audience makeup is different this year. That it was not so much developers in jeans and ponytails asking technical questions, but guys in Polo shirts and khakis asking how to solve a business problem. He said, “When suits start walking around, we’ll know the market has matured.”

I ran into Dion Hinchcliffe in the lounge. Dion and Jeremy Geelan had kindly asked me to participate in their ground-breaking Enterprise 2.0 premier web TV segment. Unfortunately, I had to decline, but look forward to future episodes. Don’t miss the first episode, airing Monday, April 9.

Here is Dion’s description of the show:

The Enterprise 2.0 TV Show Airs Web-Wide This April from the Reuters TV Studio in Times Square

We’ve teamed up with former BBC producer Jeremy Geelan — and IT industry maven extraordinaire — to create a new world-class Web-based TV show with broadcast quality production values that obsessively covers the rapidly emerging topic of current industry fascination: Enterprise 2.0. Taped in leading venues throughout the country, the Enterprise 2.0 TV Show is designed as an open, freely-distributable communication stream created to tap the exploding popularity and delivery models of the online video medium. The show is carefully crafted to help non-technical business leaders explore the power and potential of the very latest industry developments on the Internet. Each show delves into the most important new trends that are helping reshape the face of the enterprise today and have the potential to unleash significant productivity gains and competitive advantage. Episode #1, a deep dive into the moving parts of Enterprise 2.0, has already been taped with industry leaders such as SocialText, Kapow, Jubii, and Near-Time and will be ‘airing’ in April on the show site as well as everywhere else on the Web. Also, if you are interested in appearing on the show or want to advertise or sponsor, please contact Jeremy directly.

I first started writing about what we now call “Enterprise 2.0” the end of June, last year. I believe it was about this time last year that McAfee published his seminal, “Enterprise 2.0: the Dawn of Emergent Collaboration.” Now, barely a year later, we’ve got our own T.V. show and we’re hosting Rave parties (more to come on that). I’m looking forward to harvesting the rewards of this year’s crop. It’s fun blogging history in the making.


Update: the Enterprise 2.0 Rave has a web site now… Lots of buzz on this already.   They tell me they’re creating a button for blogger discounts, but if you want save $250 now, sign up here.  I think they are capping the number of attendees, so it’s first-come, first-served.