Featured Articles Intranet

Canon’s superb 3D info architecture

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Timur Civan’s adventures with a 102 year old lens and a modern Canon 5 mkII in Wired this week. Civan has popped a lens from a ollensak 35mm F5.0 Cine-Velostigmat added it to the DSLR with spectacular results – we get a superb time-warp vision of contemporary New York, sent back a century. Very PK Dick.

The piece stood out for me as I’ve just bought a rather more modest camera in the Canon range the 550D. This is not my first foray into digital photography but it is my first in digital SLR and I’m transfixed. I’ve a steep learning curve ahead and busy reading through the manuel and getting my bonce around how it all work.

What I’ve been struck by is how well thought out and how well laid out are the controls and display. Canon have created a 3D information architecture and it’s nothing less than superb. I really like the ergonomics and they way that my brain, eyes and fingers can access the information and settings needed with rapidity and flexibility.

And what a pity most intranets don’t take a few leafs out of Canon’s book and make theirs as usable. But then, anyone know what Canon’s intranet itself is actually like…?

102 Year-Old Lens on Canon 5D MkII

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

The top 12 characteristics of the ‘Facebook Generation’

An intriguing article on Management Exchange looking at what the author Gary Hemel sees as the 12 characteristics of the “Facebook Generation“. I’m personally reluctant to adopt a generational breakdown of online activity, not least because the data is patchy and what there is points to corporate culture being more important than the age of users. Nonetheless, I think the following has some salient points:

The experience of growing up online will profoundly shape the workplace expectations of “Generation F” – the Facebook Generation. At a minimum, they’ll expect the social environment of work to reflect the social context of the Web, rather than as is currently the case, a mid-20th-century Weberian bureaucracy.

Hemel’s dozen needs to be read in full to do it justice, not least the last one on hackers, but here it is in truncated as headers:

1. All ideas compete on an equal footing.

2. Contribution counts for more than credentials.

3. Hierarchies are natural, not prescribed.

4. Leaders serve rather than preside.

5. Tasks are chosen, not assigned.

6. Groups are self-defining and self-organizing.

7. Resources get attracted, not allocated.

8. Power comes from sharing information, not hoarding it.

9. Opinions compound and decisions are peer-reviewed.

10. Users can veto most policy decisions.

11. Intrinsic rewards matter most.

12. Hackers are heroes.

If we look at this from a distance, the presiding shift is one of organisational power from the hierarchy to the individual and the team. The traditional structure of the Weberian or Fordist enterprise does not follow that pattern. Indeed, the most successful businesses still of course largely follow that pattern. Is there therefore a tectonic clash emerging between old and new? I personally doubt that, at least in any short terms view of economic structures. There is however a need seen here for organisations to take heed of these trends and to look at ways of adoption that adapt. To some extent this entails a change in culture that really is just that: a change in the very culture of how they operate. And it’s for that reason that introducing Enterprise 2.0 into a corporation is never straightforward or easy….


The Facebook Generation vs. the Fortune 500

Featured Articles General

Dilbert & the Miliband Bros

Funny, I didn’t realise Scott Adams took such a keen interest in British politics – an uncanny resemblance to Ed Miliband, or is it his brother, wotshisname Miliband?

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

IBM & Social Media – simplicity & business use

Why IBM Could Be Bigger Than Facebook in Social Media

I like the fact that IBM stress simplicity and usability tied into a solid business need. The Fast Company comment is salient:

Regardless of your business size, IBM’s big move into social software should be a clear indication that every business needs a broad-reaching social strategy not just a Facebook fan page! This strategy needs to address the needs of your customers and your employees, ensuring optimal collaboration between them anytime and anywhere.

If anyone can introduce me to Jeffrey Schick, let me know as I’d like to send him my CV 😉

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Dilbert on the new Social Media Manager

Dilbert sums it up for the new Social Media Manager!

I’m told an uncannily accurate description of many workplaces 😉 Reminds me of Goldman Sachs – they’ve bought a chunk of Facebook and ban it at work.

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Andrew McAfee on Enterprise 2.0: “What is it about Social Media that works?…”

Andrew McAfee & O’Reilly talk about Social Media and Enterprise 2.0. Not very often that I’ll post a video simply as that (unless it’s animation) but this is so succinct and on the nail…I especially liked the bit about process, yes. Road to Damascus. Enough – click forth and prosper: “We’re off to the races…”

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles Intranet

The SharePoint factor – the need to plan & integrate

I’ve recently downloaded AIIM’s report “SharePoint – strategies and experiences” and it makes for a stimulating if number heavy read. AIIM is an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) body and the report reflects this. My background and focus is on social software in the Enterprise. And as I’ve been arguing, the whole area of ECM, internal comms, intranets and content management systems is in a state of flux, not least because of the drivers created by social software.

Reports such as this provide one with a window into this world from one perspective and provide a rich source of information. It was created from inputs from over 600 companies, the majority being US based and followed by Europe and the rest of the world. Of these, almost 2 thirds have SharePoint in one form or another and with this likely to increase, especially with the release of SharePoint 2010.

SharePoint 2010 is of interest of course, in that it provides enhanced social capabilities -the blogs, wiki and discussion capabilities are much better than in previous releases. But what the report shows is that the greatest use is in core data collaboration and document sharing functions and that Microsoft:

…successfully targeted a latent demand for browser-based collaboration with the original SharePoint concept, and this has subsequently resonated with the increase in globalized teamwork and increased mobility.

Of note Company portals and staff-facing intranets are high but not top of the list and are followed by the social aspects:

Enterprise 2.0 functions, such as forums, blogs and wikis. Users are obviously looking to SharePoint to provide their Enterprise 2.0 functionality, as the graph shows that there are very few alternative solutions in already in place [10%].

So, we have near on market dominance and with SharePoint set to become the defacto platform for many social endeavours in the enterprise, but. And it’s a big but. Reading the report more closely shows quite a potentally alarming picture.

For over a third of companies (36%) it is their first implementation of ECM and a quarter it is their CMS and 15% use it as their portal and intranet. And of these, nearly 25% have teams site proliferation. Less than a half had any business plan and of those that did, less than half of these but any hard cost figures on it.

When it came to governance, IT owned the governance in over 60% of companies, around 25% did it on a departmental or records management basis. Some 9% had soft governance at a local level and 5% admitted that there was not only no governance but that SharePoint was totally out of control. Where there was governance, this was in the majority of cases on who could set up a site, roles and access.

In no instance was there a clear governance of what we might call the enterprise 2.0 aspect and of driving, guiding and evangelising social software adoption. In no instance was there an indication of internal communications input and guidance. SharePoint is it would seem, a technology and not a collaborational practice that is embedded into the business and aligned to its strategy.

This to me at least rings alarm bells. Perhaps for others too – take for example these comments from the report’s appendix:

  • SharePoint is rather easy to roll out and is attractive to end-users, so the risk is that everybody becomes an administrator and governance is neglected.
  • Need a governance plan FIRST. It is an absolute must and the step CANNOT be skipped under any circumstances
  • Focus on business requirements – don’t let IT drive the implementation.
  • Sort out governance. Sort out training. Sort out an Information Architecture. Sort out a basic taxonomy.
  • Plan, plan, plan. Really work through governance and content type issues.
  • SharePoint can become a black hole unless managed carefully.
  • Plan for governance first, implement governance from the outset.

SharePoint – strategies and experiences (requires free registration)
SharePoint Surge Continues but Strategies are Lacking
Previous posts on SharePoint