I was recently asked what are some of my top business benefits of implementing Enterprise 2.0 tools. Here are three.
1. Personal Information/Knowledge Management
Until recently how did cialis price individuals inside an organization manage their own information and knowledge? Well without having access to an official KM tool (which most don’t) they use email, their C:\drive and in some cases network file shares. Now, with many E2.0 offerings the first way a user gets benefit from a tool is to manage their own information. Think of social bookmarking tools, you first use it to store and retrieve your own bookmarks, then discovering other peoples contributions before finally contributing (with intent) to networks or topics of interest. The same is true for wikis, and as I saw at Pfizer the first use people get value from is creating pages for projects they are working on to organize their own house before contributing to the community. When we started selling the solution I part represent we called this ‘Personally Essential, Collectively Critical’, meaning that a tool should first satisfy the need of an individual (which in turn aids adoption) before leveraging network effects to become crucial to the organization.
2. Expertise Identification
One of the top benefits of leveraging E2.0 solutions I often quote is that of finding the experts inside (or external to) the company. Historically if you worked inside a large organization and wanted to find someone who was an expert in, say, the IT aspect relating to acquisitions, you would first look at the company phone directory or person listing. You’d try and find someone who indicated they worked in acquisitions or a related department and would have to rely on what their job title says. Or you might ask around to see if colleagues knew anyone with this particular expertise. The problem is that a persons job title does not necessarily reflect their real work involvements, expertise or interests. The same is true for LinkedIn in many respects. If I wanted to I could change my job title to Technology Director for E2.0 for ACME INC and start fielding inquiries from around the world. Just because my job title is XYZ it doesn’t necessarily reflect reality. Now enter E2.0 tools for the enterprise and you are quickly able to tie people to content and people to people. After time you are able to identify people related to a topic or function not by job title alone but by their real life interactions. Surely this is a BIG reason to implement E2.0 especially for large, diverse organizations.
3. Collective Intelligence
Often misunderstood and sneered at after being a term overused by KM consultants over the years, collective intelligence is my third capability enabled by E2.0. Collective Intelligence is a product of both personal (but open) information/knowledge management and expertise identification. By opening up an organization’s content, user defined networks and interactions you get to both feel the pulse of the company knowledge but also access it on demand for specific topics and queries. All it takes is the correct implementation and integration of the various competence of E2.0 tools to create this ‘virtual brain’ of the company.
There are more, but these are near the top of my list.
Whatever Company have released a new whitepaper with participation from Sun Microsystems on Enterprise 2.0 titled ‘Using Enterprise 2.0 to prepare for recovery’. My name is even at the end as a UK contact, so for that reason alone I encourage you to download it 🙂 Download the full pdf here.
The current circumstances and challenges are unparalleled in recent times. Changes in business culture are accelerating to satisfy the individual demands of customers, employees and collaborators.
In recent years Web 2.0 technologies have facilitated individual participation in generating web content and reflect a demand from internet users and at the same time acting as a catalyst for further empowerment. Enterprise 2.0 covers the deployment of these technologies for collaboration and knowledge management within the organisation.
Organisations that have already embraced Enterprise 2.0 find it contributes to many if not all areas of their business including; improved employee, customer and supplier relations; enhanced resource management and cost containment; marketing edge and perhaps most importantly innovation.
The increasing value of knowledge amid capital devaluation highlights the need for a culture change embracing the key business drivers of an organisation; their customers, markets and resources.
Enterprise 2.0 can provide solutions to enhance the performance of these key business areas, using tools that can be easily tested and verified for their Return on Investment.
Gregory Culpin has just released this sneak preview of the Knowledge Plaza Lite interface, known internally as KP Lite. This add-on to Knowledge Plaza allows you to diffuse information to a much wider audience, while maintining full Knowledge Plaza access for your information professionals. You might want to watch the full Knowledge Plaza screencast first to put it in perspective.
Crossing over from being inside a large company like Pfizer, to being an independent consultant to finally working with Knowledge Plaza and Applied Trends, I’ve often struggled with being seen as a ‘vendor’.
The word vendor often has negative connotations especially when you’re exhibiting at conferences and trade shows. The default people expect is lengthy and bullshitty sales talk, removed from the realities of what people actually want and smooth talking guys just pushing a square peg into a round hole.
As an example a few weeks ago I attended Knowledge and Content UK (KCUK) with Gregory Culpin and manned the Knowledge Plaza stand. We were one of only 4 or 5 ‘vendors’ in attendance who’s sponsorship money helped to make the event a reality. Things started off well, and as usual we stood out with our slightly different stand, stance and general approach. We were there not just to promote the product, but to network, meet people share our experiences (good and bad) as practitioners and to have a good time. To be honest, sales talk comes a definite second to conversations and sharing. If only the other vendors were the same.
We were due to present a case study and general informational presentation on Social Software and Information Professionals in the afternoon. However by the time we got to our designated slot the audience had already endured at least two terrible sales pitches by the other vendors. In fact they were so bad and so blatant that people were seriously avoiding all the vendors. Wild product claims, a lack of useful information and general ignorance of the subject matter pretty much alienated the audience.
Luckily we did manage to pull in half of a large room for our talk and we started as we would normally start by introducing ourselves, covering our personal professional backgrounds in relation to the conference and reassuring the audience this was NOT a sales pitch. Over the next hour we shared our views, experiences and relevant product information with the audience. We initiated dialogue, invited challenges and generally had a good time! The aim was to educate, share and of course raise product awareness but not at the expense of the former. The reaction? Excellent, we immediately had people come up and congratulate us on a ‘superb’ presentation which stood out from the crowd and the other vendors.
So as a summary here are my personal do’s and don’ts for vendor presentations at conferences:
- invent new terms around your product i.e Knowledge Management 3.0 – it’s not credible
- just talk to the audience and not converse – people get bored
- only talk about your product – people are there to learn stuff so offer some insights into the industry at least
- be arrogant – bold arrogant claims are often sneered at whether they are true or not, so if you do make them, back them up with customer references or comments
- teach people stuff – as stated above, people are there to learn
- discuss your wins and failures – transparency is great to get the audience on side
- engage and encourage feedback and discussions
- be flexible with the approach and style – be prepared to adapt
- be seen as individuals and experts in a field – not just sales people from XYZ corp
For our next trade show and conference appearances we’re trying to find a way to present our stand and ourselves as individuals as well as product representatives. We want to engage, educate, discuss and have fun, not just push a message! Maybe we’ll do something like the Geek Squad and present our personalities alongside the product merchandise….I’ll let you know how it goes!
Anyway, here’s our presentation from KCUK.
I hate the fact I just wrote Sales Presentation 2.0, but hey, it got your attention.
This version is based on an imaginary Pharmaceutical company.
I’ve adopted this presentation style when visiting a client’s site after discussing their aims, ecosystem and aspirations. Each slide-deck is customized to include their own tools, terminology and vision.
The feedback has been amazing. Apparently most vendors go in with narcoleptic slide-ware without considering how their solution plays with a broader strategy. I’m not blowing my own trumpet, merely highlighting a successful presentation style and somewhat naive but well received approach.
If you use these slides please credit me/Sid, unlike a few large consultancies I could mention who embedded my slides into their own narco-deck without a mention :-0
- find people to work on new markets/products
- identify gaps in knowledge which should be core to your company
- identify what impact losing an employee in a given area would have – are there others with similar knowledge?
- find all people who have interacted with a certain product/project
- for regulated industries – identify everyone who’s worked on a certain drug/product
- SMEs are identified with every search result in the system (full text, tag browsing or combination of both)
- Users can see the profile of an SME
- Users can see the recent activities on an SME in addition to their user defined network
- Users are able to interact with an SME, including adding them to their network
- The SME can be used as a filter
Over the past 2 months I’ve been working with the Knowledge Plaza team to launch a new Twitter service.
This week we launched the beta of MicroPlaza. The service looks at Twitter and extracts all the shared URLs and presents them as thumbnails with associated tweets. It does this for your personal timeline as well as the public timelime and will allow you to sort items by popularity or date. You can read a more concise overview of what we’ve built on SitePoint or ReadWriteWeb.
The idea first came about just before Christmas 08 when a few of the guys realised that Twitter was becoming a kind of discovery engine for finding websites, photos or other web based resources. We wanted a way to extract these is a visually pleasing way based on your network or the network of a chosen user. Hence MicroPlaza was built.
I’ve been using the full service for a few weeks now and something interesting is happening. I find myself heading for MicroPlaza in place of Digg for my dose of news/discovery. I’m not saying MicroPlaza is going to relace Digg or become as popular (we can hope), but finding new stuff from the people you follow is definately addictive!
Soon I’ll post about the some of the challenges and insights from developing the app.
Oliver Marks provides a good overview of Knowledge Plaza on ZDNet.
From the post:
Knowledge Plaza is a relatively new offering in the enterprise collaboration space and offers a very sophisticated set of tools aimed primarily at knowledge workers, and whose development has been influenced by a very large international consulting company. This product is essentially a seriously powerful and secure hub around which you can aggregate both internally created and stored content, as well as material from the entire internet, which can be tagged and contextually stored…. More here
For free access to a special E2.0/KM community instance of Knowledge Plaza please see the end of this post.
As some of you know I spent a large part of the summer working with the guys at Whatever on their product Knowledge Plaza. I managed the GUI redesign and helped roll in some new features and views to bring the product up to release. Well I’m proud to say I think we did a great job. In my biased opinion, we’ve delivered the most exciting Enterprise 2.0 social productivity platform on the market. And with new development coming to fruition in the next month it’s just going to get better.
Here’s the Scoop:
Knowledge Plaza has been developed as a Web-based platform for enterprise search, social bookmarking, knowledge management, information brokerage and expert identification.
The platform allows you to add websites, emails, documents, contacts, references and discussions. Multimedia is on the way. You can tag, annotate and share anything you add. Using workspaces, your network and company facets sharing and finding information is at the core of Knowledge Plaza.
Some broad claims there so here’s how it breaks down: (thumbnails go to larger screen shots)
Any item in Knowledge Plaza (websites, emails, documents, contacts, references and discussions) is called a Tile. You can tag, edit, comment on, rate, relate and send tiles from within the application. You can also group Tiles into a Mosaic. Apart from that everything else is as you’d expect.
The dashboard aggregates activity and content from people in your network and your workspaces. In addition there is a visual tab showing clickable images of recent websites and documents.
The plaza tab is where you find and browse content. Quick actions let you tag, rate and bookmark
Clicking on any title takes you to the tile view where you can edit, tag, send, comment or perform other actions.
Advanced Search and Browse
Within the plaza you can click to combine tags, facets and people into a search string, which is always displayed.
You can also use the advanced search box (powered by Lucene) with auto complete.
At any point in the application you can save your search or take an RSS feed. In fact, every aspect, tag and activity gets an RSS feed as standard. Saving results allows you to save your search strategies.
Finding people, be it Knowledge Plaza members or external contacts is easy. You just restrict your search to people. This will return those tagged with, have content containing, or have been identified as experts relating to your search.
Every member has a profile page where you can see their network, their activity or leave a comment.
Using People as Search Engines
This is one of the most exciting features for me. On every profile, workspace dashboard and saved search, you have to option to use the resource as a search engine. In the case of a member when you use this feature and select ‘web’ you will perform a live Google search across all the websites the member has bookmarked, rated or commented. Selecting ‘plaza’ will perform a search inside of knowledge plaza for their matching content.
The Significance of People as Search Engines
Example: You are in a Pharmaceutical company and need to research the web for Gene Therapy data. Who’s eyes are better to search through than Ian who’s an expert on Gene Therapy in your company!? You can instantly use his list of trusted and rated websites to conduct your search.
Each workspace has a dashboard providing quick links to the activity, members and search engine.
Also, by using a workspace as a search engine you can combine the websites and content of an entire department….so like the example above, that’s the entire Gene Therapy project team.
Using Saved Searches as Search Engines
As already mentioned, saved searches can also be used as search engines.
The next really exciting feature for me is the Mosaics. After creating a Mosaic (as a wrapper) you can add tiles to the Mosaic, either individually or collaboratively. So essentially this allows you to create containers of tiles (information resources) on core topics.
In addition you are able to add pages to the Mosaic adding context and annotating the content.
Finally you are able to export the Mosaic at anytime for sharing outside of Knowledge Plaza. The export creates a PDF of all the pages, indexes the tiles and saves copies of all websites (in PDF), contacts (vcard) and documents in an accompanying zip file. This is knowledge mobility.
Mosaic Wiki Pages
Example Mosaic Export
The Significance of Mosaics
I’m going to save most of this for another post but let’s say you compile some research for one of your internal customers. You can do this within a Mosaic, perhaps with the help of others, then export it for sending to the customer. Whether or not an internal charge is put in place for this is open to discussion, but effectively the Mosaic puts a value and mobility on your knowledge.
Access Knowledge Plaza for Free
As mentioned earlier, the guys at Knowledge Plaza have released an invite only community instance to be used by (YOU!) knowledge professionals, evangelists, industry consultants and basically anyone else who’s interesting. This is called Knowledge Heroes.
The platform is currently only available within company firewalls, so this is the only way you will get a look until the public version is released.
You can use the platform to collate your knowledge, bookmarks, sources etc with the rest of the community. The team at Knowledge Plaza will post some of this content to the public blog, Knowledge Heroes so everyone else can benefit form a cross section of the content.
If you want access or a demo just let me know.
These are my links for August 9th:
- OmCollab – MIKE2.0, the open source methodology for Information Development – omCollab is a powerful, Enterprise 2.0 collaboration product completely built on open source software. It provides a web portal environment to create, share and search Microsoft Office content, files, shared bookmarks, blog posts and wiki articles across the enterprise.omCollab integrates some of the most powerful open source software applications into a single collaborative environment. It enables organisations to drive innovation, collaboration and community building.
omCollab is a composite of a number of different products that provide a solution for collaboration. omCollab is used to provide the collaborative environment for MIKE2.0. – from Andreas
So what’s been keeping me from blogging lately?
It’s been a funny, yet exciting couple of months. On the good side things, I have been really busy working on some very exciting projects. One such project is managing the redevelopment of an Enterprise 2.0 start-up’s product interface. They have a great product and great team, yet the existing interface just wasn’t cutting it in this 2.0 world. The project has been challenging but great fun. We are in week 7 of 10, after which I’ll do a post and screen cast on the entire project. It will make a great case study and I’ll be proud to show off the new interface. The company is http://www.whatever-company.com/
Another thing keeping me busy is the Web 2.0 University launch in the UK. On the 30th September, Dion Hinchcliffe will bring the first ever Web 2.0 Executive Bootcamp to London. I’m working with Dion on the logistics and promotion. Full details are here: http://www.web2uni.co.uk/
What about the not so good things? Well, as I took a short break in conference attendance and speaking, I increased my consumption of online information. As a result I think I overdosed on Enterprise 2.0 topics, opinions and write ups. I started to get just a bit tired of all the SharePoint BS (which it really is), over inflated egos and brash opinions from those on the sidelines. I guess I suffered overexposure to the echo chamber. As a result I decided to bury myself in implementation and business development.
I’m now emerging from the other side and will resume normal service. I’m more passionate about Enterprise 2.0 and Web 2.0 than ever.
Technorati Tags: enterprise 2.0
The following is a recent article I submitted to a marketing publication. Guess I may as well blog it!
Embracing Web 2.0 and social networks is becoming a key component to the success of many firms, especially those in the marketing industry.
Participation in social networks, blogging and online collaboration is no longer limited to the under 25’s, nor should it be limited to an outside of work activity. Firms need to embrace the desire and ability of their staff to use Web 2.0 tools and services and know how to facilitate and extract real business benefit from the activity.
From a marketing perspective, it’s about being where your market is, being part of your market and having visibility of conversations relating to your brand or products.
Yet where social networks such as Facebook are concerned, many employers block access and warn their staff against using such sites. An alternative would be to create a culture where using these Web 2.0 tools is permitted and encouraged in line with a Social Media strategy. Such a strategy would identify the benefits of using sites such as Facebook, Twitter and FriendFeed, and put in place a framework for responding to the opportunities presented. An example would be to implement an internal blog for employees to discuss the trends, contacts, conversations and opportunities they are seeing when participating in such sites. Managers can then act on any opportunities or threats.
The way brands interact with consumers is also changing. On sites such as Facebook and Twitter, we are seeing brands interact with consumers in a bid to improve loyalty and drive brand equity.
For a company looking to engage marketing professionals this kind of familiarisation of Web 2.0 is fast becoming part of the selection criteria. Marketing firms should be able to demonstrate their staff are keyed in to the most popular sites and services on the web and have a process for leveraging this involvement.
Any business wishing to learn more about Web 2.0 and the opportunities it presents can attend the Web 2.0 University on the 30th September in central London.
Technorati Tags: enterprise 2.0
Coverage of the SharePoint session at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference on Twitter:
MS guy: “Sharepoint is between major versions, so we can’t do all we want to out of the box”
WTF squared. that Microsoft guy just said its strategy for master data management was to integrate an acquisition into Sharepoint????
MS failing dismally at showing off Sharepoint collab tools. IBM totally ate their lunch.
Watching MS demonstrate SharePoint in an ‘out of the box’ manner…seems very slow and not as intuitive as Lotus Connections
Watching Sharepoint suck … LIVE! … Enterprise 1.1 FTW!
Sharepoint showing old fashioned activity feed: “Send me a portal link when the official HR info about a direct colleague is updated”
This Sharepoint walkthrough makes we want to weep for people in companies where IT are walking zombie-like towards the product. Really.
Ouch! I think the problem is that Microsoft’s aggressive marketing at the Enterprise 2.0 / online collaboration market is up against some pretty slick solutions from other vendors. It’s not that SharePoint is bad all round, but they’ve have been pitching it too high and wide.
Ben Gardner and team have been raising eyebrows at the global Pharmaceutical giant by combing two Microsoft products to create a neat collaboration tool. They are rolling out OneNote to their customers in conjunction with SharePoint to create…..OnePoint ! Yes, they thought of the name all by themselves.
We have combined OneNote 2007 with SharePoint 2007 to create an excellent team knowledge management tool, which we refer to as ‘OnePoint’. This implementation provides an intuitive user-friendly interface onto a SharePoint document library with automatically managed online/offline capability. In addition to this the ability to add hyperlinks, text and pictures alongside these document files adds significant value to a team – users doesn’t always have to open a document to find information.
Teams with OneNote installed are jointly accessing and working on notebooks and libraries stored in SharePoint, thus using SharePoint as a mini Amazon S3. Their data is in safe hands.
I hear from reliable sources that it’s going very well, with users requesting it across the company.
OnePoint is not only revolutionising team collaboration, but also reducing email traffic, eliminating information silos and being demanded by users of all technical ability!
Ben’s slides are on his post which detail the positioning of the product in the ‘heirachy of information’.
Technorati Tags: enterprise 2.0
It’s something I’ve seen a few times now. If you’re the or one of the first people in your organisation to start an internal blog, you can leverage much more influence than if you’re late to the party.
I’ve seen people get the ear of the board, senior Vice Presidents, influence company policy, gain exciting projects and become promoted to official ‘2.0’ ambassador both within and outside of IT lines. How and why? They have been quick to leverage one of the most powerful communication channels emerging inside the firewall. They’ve also realised that getting in early, before it gets ‘noisy’ is key to success.
First a word of caution. If you really are the very first person to set-up an internal blog you are going to be subject to scrutiny, risk being shut down and might be disappointed if your efforts go nowhere. This is especially true in large bureaucratic organisations.
Now the good news. Being the very first (or one of just a few) puts you in an influential position. People will sit up and take notice. Here are some reasons you’ll attract attention:
- Senior management will want to know who you are and what you are saying. Are you a threat or an innovative individual who’s willing to share his thoughts in a public forum?
- The first blog is like a when a new kid starts school. People want to know who you are, what you are like and what you have to say. Whether they take to you after this is another matter and is up to you.
- It can feel like a new era has dawned on your company. This is especially true if the blog originates outside of a technical IT line. Such a simple thing as a blog can make people feel like the company is moving with the times both culturally and technically.
- You are doing something new that others wish they had the courage to do, so they’ll take notice and champion your efforts.
- You’ll be seen as a risk talker and innovator. In many companies this is a good thing.
So now you have this attention, what are you going to do with it? Well, I’d steer clear from being too hard-line about anything or controversial to begin with. Remember that by becoming the first blogger you have the unofficial job of setting a precedent, theme and image of blogging in general. If you start off ranting and raving about why the company is in a bad way, then you’ll just give blogs a bad name and represent yourself in a negative light.
Here are some way’s to get started:
- Speak on behalf of a interest group or project. This gives you a hook, subject matter and identity.
- Brand You. Brand yourself, give the blog and by association yourself an identifiable image. I mean logos, tag lines and aesthetics as well as your writing style.
- Be consistent. Get a post out on a regular basis.
- If supported, allow people to subscribe to your blog.
- Promote the blog in your email signature.
I’d suggest you start off by posting material with broad appeal. Whether it’s something like reporting on developments in a certain area/interest, or discussing an important project, this is your hook to gain readership.
So now you you’re up and running and have an audience how do you up your game and get some of that influence?
- Challenge the status quo. If there’s some stupid stuff going on or out of date practices in your company why not question them? Don’t come across as negative; instead offer to be part of the solution. Solicit ideas for how improvements might be made.
- Establish an unofficial interest group via the blog. This should be on something important to the company goals, industry or playing on trends on the outside, such as online collaboration.
- Be true to yourself. If you’re just playing the game and doing this just for a promotion then people will see through it and you’ll lose respect.
- Been seen to facilitate discussions and keep comments and content appropriate. By this I mean keep the language clean and be grown up with what you are saying and allowing others to say. If someone starts an inappropriate rant on your blog, then politely bring them back in line or filter the content. This will establish you and blogging in general as a mature communication medium.
I’m not saying any old Joe can achieve great things just by blogging. However if you really are great, and have great ideas and interesting things to say, then step up and get noticed.
These are just some of my ideas and observations over the last few years. Many factors are at play when it comes to elevating yourself to an influential position. Being first to set up a blog could be one way to gain advantage.
Technorati Tags: enterprise 2.0
The kind people organising the Enterprise 2.0 conference have released one FULL PLATINUM PASS (worth $2,195.00) and one $100 OFF DISCOUNT (or a free Demo Pavilion pass- unlimited) code for me to give away.
I’m not attending the conference this year (boo hoo) as I just can’t free up the time at the moment. However, Simon Revell will be there speaking about the work we did at Pfizer and of course the Meet Charlie franchise. It looks like it will be even better than last year with more case studies and more analysis around exactly what is happening in the E2.0 world. Air fares and accommodation in
If you’d like either of the tickets (for you or a friend) please leave a comment answering the following question:
Q: What event am I organising with Dion Hinchcliffe on the 30th September in
The first person to answer correctly gets the