Holiday Rap

Slogging through the holiday season, I’m finally feeling the peace and joy of it all. I was moved by Time Magazine’s Person of the Year Award being, well, us. I know my bit part in the greater Web 2.0 experiment is just that. I’m so often humbled by what I read in the blogosphere and other outlets on the web, but it’s uplifting to know I’m a part of a greater contributing human voice.

A lot of isolated incidents have happened in the past few days that have brought this message home to me. Take Rod’s Boothby’s blog where he writes recently about his unplanned trek to celebrity and a next-gen career through his brilliant blog insights, or the invite I received this morning in my email to blog on Darfur. I was even moved by Loic LeMeur’s detailed response to all the negativity he received for leweb3 where he called for greater participation for societal change.

The bottom line is: it’s happening. The digital age is upon us. It’s the spirit of collaboration and giving that is opening minds and hearts, bringing new opportunities to individuals who heretofore wondered if what they thought mattered in the grand scheme of it all. I’m an optimist, and I believe only more good can come from sharing our lives and insights around the planet.

Happy Holidays whereever and whoever you are. Thanks for reading this year.

Susan

Quick LeWeb3 report from o’er there.

Despite how the world is flat and increasingly digital, the fact remains it’s not trivial to physically get around the globe. For this reason, I’ve teamed up with my old pal, Fred Alden, to be ITSA’s man on the street. Fred and I worked together for a large division of Dutch Philips Electronics, then called Origin B.V. now Atos-Origin. Fred is a Brit by birth, educated in the U.S. (Stanford), lives in Paris, and works in Belgium. It’s a buy one get four+ proposition. I love that about my European friends. In any event, Fred’s a smart guy and has been around the enterprise space for years. Fred will be filling us in on his travels around the UK-European enterprise 2.0 sector.

Here is Fred’s quick report from leweb3:

LeWEB3 and Enterprise 2.0

Despite the LeWeb3 crash there were interesting trends and companies which I will cover in detail in a future post. For now some quick impressions:

The vast majority of companies at LeWeb3 and the start-ups presenting to GuideWire/VCs (see good overview in French by Olivier Ezratty with links to the presenters here ) were in the web 2.0 “consumer” space. A few exceptions fused enterprise/consumer sectors but there were some interesting Enterprise 2.0 plays both in the main event and the start-up section. Unfortunately the main session on the Enterprise 2.0 degenerated…both Ross Mayfield and Lee Bryant on the panel expressing frustration with the meandering which went way off topic (see Mayfield’s post here.)

On the BtoC side you have to wonder if this is not déjà vu all over again; lots of variations on a theme, chasing a finite number of dollars/mindshare, tweaking existing business models with marginal differentiation.

On the Enterprise 2.0 side it is still early days and quite a lot of what I heard is in stealth mode some being funded by people who cashed out of Enterprise 1.0 or others who cashed out of Web 1.0. These are fusing models, think for example p2p (peer to peer) meets business intelligence. There is a small but active Enterprise 2.0 services community across Europe that have done deals with Fortune 100. Larger consulting companies are trying to get into the act from the strategy side but have little depth while digital agencies are pitching their skill set to try and sell into the Enterprise. Pre-configured solutions and applications are few and far between but not totally absent.

So the Enterprise 2.0 landscape from LeWeb3 looks like this:

(a) Internal Collective intelligence plays; in the enterprise, focus on knowledge workers (think lawyers, pharma researchers etc) using blogs, wikis and other tools. How you drive value using tools to extract and visualize data from places, topics and persons…..Others are fusing current office tools with the web, for example look at wrike.com

Bridge plays are a variation of the theme using the same tools to bridge between the internal and external audiences. Think customer-driven product and marketing development.

(b) Customer “sand box” plays using web 2.0 tools for user generated content, increasing loyalty, providing a platform. Think sponsored sports events that can be used to stretch the brand without taking too much risk…it all closes down after the event. Traditional media and communications companies are looking to user-generated content tools and platforms to anchor their current customer base that has begun to migrate because these tools and services are available elsewhere.

A variation on this play is turnkey solutions for specific segments: a “professional” MySpace for doctors in a specific country, for example. Another example is catering to a very unusual sub-segment of the market which is not associated with main brand but is key to their market. Think car-tuning fans around the world for a major oil multinational as an example here

(c) Finally there was some talk of open source SaaS meets online services, think compiere meets fedex, meets citibankonline meets…. well you get the picture. There was a wikierp.com presentation from Italy but there was no there there.

More details in a future post. Stay tuned.

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it… except IBM

Move over Farmer’s Almanac, mashups are coming to the rescue. Today, IBM’s Emerging Technology Group and AccuWeather (the leading weather authority) announced an agreement to use IBM’s QEDWiki platform to create situational mashups for its enterprise customers.

I spoke today with Paul Raymond, AccuWeather’s senior product manager for AccuWeather’s commercial client business and Dan Gisolfi from IBM’s QEDWiki team. Raymond is looking to use the mashup technology to bring just-in-time data needed to his commercial clients when and how its needed. “We get requests daily from businesses to create applications or provide data that has an impact on their business.” He sees the new QEDWiki platform as a surefire way to rapidly develop new prototype applications for his clients.

What kind of applications are we talking about?

Straight from the press release:

The types of AccuWeather information to be delivered via a subscription–based service using QEDWiki technology include:

  • Weather forecasts, current conditions and historical data, including temperature and precipitation, for over 2.7 million locations worldwide, for use by energy analysts, traders as well as retail and other business analysts
  • Real–time Local Storm Reports, providing critical, localized and dynamic data to emergency managers and risk managers
  • Doppler Radar with StormTimer™ forecasts for anticipating arrival times and conditions of severe weather
  • Severe weather watches and warnings for tornadoes, hail, heavy rain and lightning, enabling businesses to protect their personnel and property.
  • Tropical and marine forecasts, such as sea surface temperature, wind speed and direction, and ocean wave heights, guiding off–shore interests in transporting and servicing mobile and stationery assets.

Raymond described a real-life scenario that recently cropped up. An energy trader and commercial client who already subscribes to AccuWeather for daily temperatures related to its natural gas and heating fuel inputs asked him if he could make him an application where he could simply “grab” this information, rather than doing manual data entry and using spreadsheets. He wanted real-time live access to temperatures for the last month in 12 cities and then a forecast for the next three days’ high temperatures. This application is made-to-order for a mashup.

What I find really interesting about this announcement is not necessarily the fact that the two companies intend to try and get the mashup market going for weather, it’s that the market is user-driven. Raymond says, “The people who are coming to AccuWeather with the business need are the business managers.” Gisolfi notes that it’s possible to go direct to the user in this case because of the skill set of the end-user. AccuWeather’s commercial clients who already pay for subscription data are scientists and engineers. They already have a baseline high tech skill base. Although Gisolfi says IBM is happy to mentor AccuWeather’s IT staff if the situation warrants it.

Because the QEDWiki team is now rolling out the platform to select clients, Gisolfi says he’s creating a “sandbox” where widgets can be incubated and shared. “You need an eco-system of content providers like Dun & Bradstreet, AccuWeather and others as well as people willing to consume and create mashups like the Environmental Protection Agency and American Express.” In the true spirit of web 2.0 collaboration, Gisolfi is optimistic IBM will get the feedback it needs from the community so they can get the business model right.

Like Gisolfi said, “A content provider like AccuWeather who already has a commercial business is trying to embrace the long tail around weather and provide a vibrant, new channel for their existing assets.”

IBM, with its ginormous client base, wins the Enterprise 2.0 evangelizer of the year award for 2006.

What do Enterprise 2.0 and Mrs. Robinson have in common?

I’m going for seduction, but the real answer is a good post by Mike Gotta an analyst at the Burton Group. Mike brought up some good advice for e2.0 evangelists: the next time you’re touting your wares, add a footnote on “security, identity, records management, integration, interoperability and other concerns.” I’ve been somewhat in denial on the security issues related to e2.0 solutions, but perhaps it’s time to face the music. Each vendor addresses these issues in different ways, but it’s worth a mention on how you’re going to address these issues if, God forbid, the solution takes off virally through popular adoption within the enterprise.

Something else I realized while reading this post is how young this market is. Andrew McAfee named the baby “Enterprise 2.0” in the spring of this year– we’re about 9 months into the sector–therefore, extending the metaphor… the baby isn’t even born yet.

At Office 2.0, there were 54 product vendors that showed up clamoring for attention. And considering how the threshold for building and launching enterprise 2.0 companies is so low, we could be looking at hundreds of vendors in this category before the baby starts to crawl. This week, I noticed that CMP changed its “Collaborative Technologies Conference” to “Enterprise 2.0” further validating the sector.

So, get ready to pass out the cigars… the baby is healthy and growing. But as we start to consider care and feeding, let’s make sure he’s safe at home.

Mike Gotta:

While it is important to enable users themselves to construct their own communication, information sharing and collaborative environments, they need to do so within policies and structures that do not put the enterprise at risk. And that’s a key message I want to get across with this post.

Early market test data coming in…

Over on the Itensil blog, I posted a note about early user adoption. To summarize, we’ve begun our Early Access Program for interested users. We’ve employed a useful web lead generation tool called Salesbuilder to categorize and qualify the interested parties in the product. For me, as a researcher, the early data coming in is interesting.

I was particularly alarmed by the answers to this question: User Adoption

Over 50% of the qualified leads were not able to get a product evaluated by the team that would benefit by using it. A mere 19% were. And there’s no guarantee, the product was adopted post-evaluation.

Although the data is not yet statistically significant, it’s an early warning sign to all Enterprise 2.0 vendors that user adoption is going to be a challenge for many enterprises. For this reason, I’m starting to think it’s in the best interests of the community to start educating and enlightening its target communities on the benefits of ALL enterprise 2.0 solutions.

I think Jeff Nolan was onto an idea like this… I will contact him and report what I find. In the meantime, I’m recommending all e2.0 vendors start accumulating data about their customer’s trials and tribulations while adopting or trying to adopt e2.0 products. If web 2.0 is truly about content, collaboration, and community– we will all benefit from eachother’s experiences, yes?

Fun with Outsourcing…

Saw this on an outsourcing discussion group and had to share…  They’re talking about outsourcing architectural drawings to India.

Re: Paris??
so which projects you do can you send me a detail list in email so that we can mutually understand and exchange some projects..
 
 
Reply From: CB
Date: Nov/17/06 – 20:05 (GMT)
Reply
Re: Paris??
Here is our project list.
1.)Paris
2.)Paris surrounding areas

We would love to mutually understand and exchange but we have outsourced the
projects that were outsourced to us to an outsourcer who outsourced them to
another outsourcer who uses an exporter. It may take weeks to figure out
where Paris is.

We also may have difficulties in exchanging checks as we have sent our
checks to a Nigerian bank. We are trying to unlock the funds of the dearly
departed Mr. Smith. We have been assured that we will be rewarded kindly
for our help in the process by freeing 10 million dollars in funds from the
Smith estate.

Sorry we can not be of help now.

It’s Friday!!!!!