Mashup Fantasies con’t.

Relocation is a bear. My lastest mashup desire comes in the way of a simple consumer interest to buy a nice house in a good school district. So, the mashup becomes “Available real estate” + “Good schools.”

What do these two images below have in common?

Austin Schools

Austin listings

Yep, Google Maps. Now, I’m no programmer and API means “Associated Press International” to me, so the likelihood of me figuring out how to get at the data and display it easily approaches zero. Nonetheless, it can be done, yes?

My simple mashup fantasy is similar to what Dion Hinchcliffe is writing about lately. Clearly, I am living proof of his call for ease of use as a “key issue for successful mashup creation tools.”

Ease of use: Being usable by virtually anyone with any skill level using any browser in any language without any training will be essential for mashup tools to succeed with the general public.

So what’s a simple-minded home-buyer to do? Call a local realtor?

Maybe, but not yet. I emailed contacts at IBM (QEDwiki) and Teqlo over the weekend and asked if they could figure it out. The good news is they both said yes, but not just yet. It occurred to me what a tremendous market opportunity these mashups would be for the data sources of this information. Take GreatSchools.net, for instance, a site I refer to often. There is an enormous amount of public and user-generated information on that site for anyone interested in researching schools and school districts. This simple mashup would drive a tremendous amount of traffic to their site. You can see how the network effects from this simple application would create value for the site’s users; thereby increasing its value in the market.

In addition to the market expansion benefits for the content sources, the benefits to users are limitless. It’s a simple matter of knowing what you want.

It’s like Dion is saying here:

But what is clear is the vision, ingenuity, and widespread interest and potential benefit that really good DIY Web tools could bring to literally hundreds of millions of users around the world.

User Adoption Chronicles

Thank you Dennis Howlett for alerting the Irregulars to this story coming out of the U.K. The sentiment jibes with what I’ve been seeing lately about hurdles in user adoption. I know Jevon McDonald does not like the term “adoption,” and I’m happy to use a replacement, but mass adoption of web 2.0 in the enterprise is what separates us from widespread revolutionary change and where we are today.

First a few thoughts on this UK piece. When I first read the headline, “Fears of brand damage scaring banks away from Web 2.0” I read it as, “Fears of brain damage scaring banks away from Web 2.0” which might make more sense. 🙂 I found myself wondering who they polled– marketing execs? IT execs? officers? If they polled marketing execs, I’d be really interested in their reasoning, which unfortunately this piece does not provide. If they polled IT execs or officers, my suspicion is this answer is camouflaging a larger issue which has to do more with a loss of control.

Along these lines, here are some lone wolves crying out in the wilderness of user adoption:

I found this post a last week from a European blog. Three guys from France, Germany, and Italy trying to push the e2.0 agenda. The sentiments are similar to a note I received last week from a blogging bud who has been valiantly trying to kickstart his investment bank’s foray into enterprise 2.0 adoption.

First the euro-istas:

I said in my previous post about strategy 2.0 beta, that one of the main problem in technology adoption is user habits and managers education – it is still true of course, but today I would like to add a key problem that was implicit in my post : IT development.

Here we are.

I am currently investigating the needs of the users within my company in order to suggest a brand new Intranet. I will propose of course a web 2.0 strategy with a long term approach.
But what’s going to happen even if I the users and my managers give me their goes?
IT department will say “Impossible with software we have, too dangerous to plug different applications in our environment” and so on.

Why?

Because large companies are not famous for rapid adoption of new tools.
Most of companies are using SAP, Microsoft or IBM. IT managers don’t take the risk to connect applications that could be incompatible. These software firms are only starting to propose some kind of web 2.0 related features. By experience, it is often tricky to integrate the 1.0 versions of software.

In brief, if big software firms launch some web 2.0 features this year, IT dprt will think about it the year after, and integration will be finished after one year more. In the best scenario (that implies that everyone already agreed that we should have collaborative and web2.0 features), it means that my company could have an Intranet 2.0 in…2009.

Now, the Investment Bank:

1) E2.0 in practice in a diversified financial services firm is a completely different beast than E2.0 in theory…the information sharing barriers inherent in the business mean that security and permissioning needs to be built into EVERYTHING…which immediately complicates what is supposed to be simple. Legal departments want ‘nothing’ shared, because then they don’t have to be worried about inappropriate things being shared…even if you have proper user-based security sharing rules in place, they still are uncomfortable with the fact that IT might be implementing a system that encourages security breaches.

 

2) E2.0 in large organizations with large IT departments and large bureaucracy MUST have management buy-in at some level…it is impossible for workers to install and start using IT that is not sanctioned by the IT department (the restrictions on what users can and cannot do are enormous).

 

3) I am trying to combine the best of ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ by developing Enterprise-wide E2.0 solutions that can be adopted (or not) by various business units. Generic E2.0 toolkits (like tagging, RSS, social bookmarking, blogging, wiki, etc.) need to be on a common system so that they can all connect and talk to each other…this is essential to a successful E2.0 ‘system’

 

4) Even though some parts of E2.0 will be emergent and freeform… I think that some of it might be structured as well. For instance, when talking about document management and tagging… in order to maintain critical metadata on a document, we NEED users to tag the document with a specific code… if tagging was completely freeform, then users would not be prompted for this code… and therefore they would never enter it… so you can see how some structure might be necessary for E2.0 to be successful.

 

I think that the combination of a tipping point with Web 2.0 in the outside world (coming soon, if it hasn’t already)…plus the fact that Enterprise software vendors seemed to have grasped E2.0 pretty heavily (Microsoft, ibm, Cisco, sap, Intel, start-ups, etc.) and will be pushing E2.0 solutions to their clients will combine to change the intranet as we know it today in 5 years. I’m not saying that everything will be emergent and freeform though…but I do think that E2.0 tools such as social networking, blogging, social bookmarking, RSS, wikis, search, and collaboration sites (SharePoint) will be prevalent on the Intranet of 2012!!

You too, can mash-up. Here’s your chance.

I’ve been having mash-up fantasies lately (it’s a middle age thing). I went to Barnes & Noble last night and wished there was a simple mash-up that would match ISBN numbers of the books I was interested in to a map of the store. That way, I would not have had to spend a half hour trying to find a human to lead me around to find what I came there for. Phil Wainewright is apparently having mash-up middle-aged fantasies too, but thanks to Yahoo Pipes, he was able to realize some of his. Phil did an excellent job of explaining how to roll your own RSS mash-up here check it out.

Along those lines, the Jeff and Rod show have opened up free trials of Teqlo for everyone. I signed up yesterday. It seems easy enough, but like I told Rod, now we’ll know if it’s truly idiot proof.

Here’s a screen shot for Teqlo. Sign up for the trial. It’s free.

Teqlo screen

Disruptive Technology makes smooth market for SaaS Integrator

Had an excellent chat this week with Narinder Singh, founder of Appirio based in San Francisco. Singh and his colleagues started up Appirio to take advantage of the next wave in enterprise adoption of SaaS applications such as Salesforce.com and SuccessFactors. With backgrounds from SAP, Webmethods, Borland, and Accenture, Singh and his colleagues know the enterprise market cold.

His predictions for the disruption of the enterprise app ecosystem were particularly interesting to me. Singh feels today’s enterprise vendors are falling into the classic trap of the innovator’s dilemma— how do you serve two masters– move to embrace disruptive technology while preserving your existing base? Further, he feels traditional, large SIs are also hooked on the enterprise drug with revenues pushing toward $10B for Accenture and IBM alone in enterprise app implementation and support services. On-demand also affects ISVs in that changes Oracle or SAP make in their core products won’t affect an ISV until maybe a year or so because of the complexity of the cycle in upgrades, etc. “In the on-demand model, if Salesforce innovates in an area where you [the ISV] have previously created some value add, over night their entire customer base has access to that innovation,” says Singh. The model of on-demand forces everyone to stay on their toes, and Singh believes this is good for customers.

He also sees his firm and firms like his as playing a unique role in helping enterprises with the SaaS (r)evolution. He sees a wide open opportunity to “bring the customer back to the center of innovation.” For instance, he’s working with a client to mesh their HR data (SuccessFactors) with their sales data (Salesforce) to deliver a strategic view on how to manage sales performance by increasing quality and reducing ramp-up time. The opportunity to observe, assemble and rapidly deliver new solutions is unique to this era of systems integration. The role of the SaaS-savvy services provider is more of an emissary than vendor, too. The business units are rapidly adopting SaaS under the radar of the CIO. Singh feels his firm is a natural to rationalize the SaaS silos within an enterprise and to help the CIO embrace the new technology, rather than resist it. By the same token, he feels the more successful and comfortable CIOs become with leveraging SaaS and web 2.0 solutions in the enterprise, the greater the disruption will become for the enterprise eco-system.

The following is a chart from a paper from Appirio entitled Services 2.0. It’s a good read for IT Services fans and enterprise app stalwarts alike.

before and after IT Serviceds

Another interesting paper in the IT Services sector was recently published by the Outsourcing Institute. If you want to know more about Outsourcing 2.0, you can download the paper here.

All the news that’s fit to feed…

I had a bit of traveling to do last week, so I ambled into an airport news stand. It occurred to me that the only time I read glossy magazines these days is when I’m traveling. Sometimes I’ll pick up the Journal or the Times, scan the headlines, then put it back down. Not worth the purchase.

The truth is, I do all my information-gathering in the blogosphere. If I happen to land on a mainstream media page, it’s because a blogger pointed out something I am interested in. My blog network is my daily read, in addition to alerts I have set for certain keywords I’m interested in that widen my network. But, this isn’t new to anyone who has transitioned to the new form of media consumption.

What is new is how the blogosphere is becoming less and less of an amateur hour and more and more relevant to an individual’s life. I read recently that at Davos, the bloggers had greater access than the major media:

Still, all of this meant that the World Economic Forum gave some bloggers – Jeff Jarvis, Loic Le Meur, for example – greater access rights than the regular media. Bloggers with HD camcorders could wander anywhere in the building, while professional crews were restricted to the hallways and 30-minute bursts.

Ironically, even though they’re viewed as amateurs by the major media, bloggers have replaced traditional media for me. And speaking of Davos, I read (online, of course) that the Publisher of the New York Times, Arthur Sultzberger, Jr. said at the Economic Forum, “I really don’t know whether we’ll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don’t care, either.” Well, I don’t care either. Unless, of course, they start feeding me content that is specifically relevant to my work and life.