Tag Archives: 20

Forrester: Strategic Management and Globalization 2.0

20The last post on Spinning Mule 2.0 was originally posted last week but I thought it a bit OTT so saved the HTML and deleted it. I’ve now done a repost and made a note to trust my judgement a bit more in future. The reason for that is the arrival of a nice little number from Forrester called: “Innovating Strategic Management Paradigms And Models To Thrive Amid Global Change.”

The report bandies about some dandy terms such as ‘Globalization 2.0? ‘Invisible IT’ and ‘Technology Populism’. By these they refer to the truly global market and the increasing impact, influence and importance of the BRIC economies; the evolution of IT into a ubiquitous business technology; and the fact that rather than the military it’s now the Facebook generation, i.e ordinary tech-savvy punters who are driving change.

To survive in this new world, Forrester recommend something that caught my eye – they recommend that corporations adopt what I’ve always thought as the prime mantra of internal comms, namely align whatever and all you do to the business strategy.

Strategic management paradigms are the über-approaches that: combine several discrete activities under one umbrella; have a direct and complex impact on a company’s strategy setting; and require comprehensive implementation efforts. Examples of strategic management paradigms include the core competency concept or the management by objectives (MBO) approach, which emanated from the academic world.

To back this up and to validate it for good or ill they say a measurement system is needed, such as SWOT, Balanced Scorecard and Six Sigma. What follows however takes an increasingly 2.0 twist – old business paradigms need to take the tectonic social media shift.

dotThe focus then should be on a customer-centricity. These they argue becomes part of a Business Transformation model. This transformation is one not only about organizing and behaving to meet customer needs, it’s also about adopting social media technology and practices to foster innovation and to adapt in agile fashion to meet new and evolving customer needs and desires.

credit-crunchWill this happen? Forrester note the huge challenges present. I think this is the rub. Also there’s not a lot of choice. Global market, increased competition, global skills market, next gen 2.0 employees expect at least the very basics of what they use at home and at leisure. This opens up the market – opportunities as much as threat. The game is being completely re-written. We’re in a Crisis phase at present, but as the Chinese note, this is both Danger and Opportunity

While traditional IT service providers can rejoice in the fact that their contributions will gain in importance, they can’t become complacent, as the new game represents an opportunity for entrants that excel in both strategy and technology. As a result, Forrester foresees active consolidation in the consulting and IT industries over the next five years.

Adapt or Perish: Spinning Mule 2.0

An excellent post from Bertrand Dupperin on the future of E 2.0: Enterprise 2.0 : my predictions for 2009. One item stood out and that was:

The end of “soft value” : Enterprise 2.0 ROI have been a taboo subject for a long time.

Over at Bill Ives’ Blog, there’s a review of an IBM report on Social Media –Even More Research on the Use of Social Software in the Workplace from IBM. Bill says the next step is the hard $ question and we need to:

…see if there are ways we can tie these behaviors [behavioral ones] to level four financial impacts. I feel confident that this can be done.

I don’t think it’s going to be easy. If we go down the route of hard-cost savings then it potentially loses the richer benefits of social media which are much less harder to measure. IBM looks at the engagement factor by looking at societality, the element that interests me though is the degree to which E2.0 is a business enabler and a business transformer. Engagement might be measured in churn or satisfaction,even in increased profitability for the business, but E2 as business transformation provides more.

That more is the Mule effect…It’s an effect that will be measured after the event, by profound competitive advantage. That’s why there’s an edge to E2.0, time is of the essence. 2.0 may well dissolve into the enterprise as Bertrand believes, but those that get there 1st will be the winners. The laggards will be like those handloom weavers who in a generation moved from sporting £5 notes in their hats to, well, utter destitution. This may seem apocalyptic, but then we’re in uncharted times, with seemingly ‘timeless’ brands suddenly realising their mortality. E2.0 will only quicken that process.

Social Media Managers in demand, well in the USA…

Readwriteweb stats - click to view

The readwriteweb has stats showing web 2.0 managers in hot demand, despite the downturn. They reckon that both marketing and social media firms are hiring and personal recommendations are key to the process.

Top of this they say is that “community managers are hot”. But who are these chods? Here’s the rww definition:

A community manager is someone who communicates with a company’s users/customers, development team and executives and other stake holders in order to clarify and amplify the work of all parties. They probably provide customer service, highlight best use-cases of a product, make first contact in some potential business partnerships and increase the public visibility of the company they work for. (source)
 

That sounds almost like an internal comms manager / business development manager hybrid. But I wonder how it correlates in the UK. Must confess what data I have is slight and what I’ve seen, not encouraging. However a PR Week article sent to me via LinkedIn looks promising:

There is mounting evidence that internal comms is proving resilient to the economic turmoil that is beginning to hit other parts of the PR industry.

Be interested to hear of any more substantial data for the UK.

NY Times Widget

How lucky are the Americans, as Mashable’s Jennifer Van Grove explains that the NY Times now features a DIY widget for pulling their RSS feeds into Netvibes, iGoogle, or blogs such as this. A tad cool methinks so I wandered over to The Thunderer’s site and did a quick Google on what they have to offer in that line. Not a lot is the answer.

I guess I’ll have to see if the NY Times can show the weather for west London for me…

MySpaceID: Google 1, Microsoft 0

A great post from Rick Turoczy on readwriteweb on the ongoing format login scrap between Facebook and MySpace. Rick comes down firmly in favour of MySpace arguing that their way is more Open and favours interoperability. What’s more he says, MySpaceID:

fires a very real shot across Facebook’s bow. And continues to set the stage for the tag-team match between the more proprietary Facebook-Microsoft and the more open MySpace-Google. (source)
 

Over at cnet, Caroline McCarthy explains that MySpace are building on the open standards of ‘OpenSocial’ and ‘OpenID’ and says that MySpace are partnering with the giant European SP Vodafone and souped-up bespoke RSS factory Netvibes. I use both of these and like the service and reckon that this alliance might well be interesting.

Why so? Well Rick likens the MySpaceID move to the days of 1.0 when more adventurous ISPs opened the cracks in the walled gardens of AoL and Compuserve. This he says, led to the more open web we enjoy today. Thus the development from MySpace-Google also opens the way for a more open (and user-friendly) 2.0 web, which has to be a positive development. Add that to Vodafone’s reach and Netvibes’ personalised functional-funkiness and we’re also looking at some nicely synched up apps in future.

Update:

An intriguing quote from Charlene Li on the FT Tech Blog on this topic:

It’s not about one standard winning over the other, it’s not about Betamax versus VHS…At some point everything will connect, because the user will absolutely demand it.

We all will, but if one is closed and proprietary, hasn’t the battle been lost by then? As an alternative Richard Waters wonders if the primary sign-in app (i.e the winner) will define who/what we are online. And if Facebook is the winner, are we looking at 3.0 being a closed garden? I hope not…

Forrester on 2.0 Uptake: why the vendors might be worried

Over in the FASTForward blog Bill Ives posted a neat and useful review of Forrester’s recent report on 2.0 uptake: Forrester TechRadar For Vendor Strategists: Enterprise Web 2.0 – How Product Strategists Should Approach A Maturing Web 2.0 Market, Q4 2008 by by G. Oliver Young et al. The report is aimed, as it says on the box, at vendor strategists and I thought it made interesting reading in light of the current economic climate.

My first thoughts on reading it, were if we’re stuck in the development of 2.0, but the more I think about this, the more I think the opposite. One of the key questions I keep seeing asked is if the Crunch will hinder or help the uptake of 2.0. Bill rightly distinguishes between Enterprise and Web 2.0 – but here for reasons of laziness conciseness I’ll mostly use them interchangeably. However, I am only talking about 2.0 use in the Enterprise and not so much in the domestic or play environment, even if that inevitable leaks into any work space. So back to the question, is 2.0 being Crunched?

If we look at the report it tells us that they looked at 11 2.0 technologies and found the following (I’ll paste from Bill here):

Significant success: social networks and wikis

Moderate success: blogs, forums, mashups, prediction markets, RSS, widgets

Minimal success: microblogs, podcasts, social bookmarks

Now what’s interesting here is that they’re looking at each technology one by one. Bill would move a couple of categories and I think we could all tweak it here or there. The real issue he says, is this:

“… my major concern is looking at these tools in isolation.”

Bill is absolutely right here and I think this highlights the Achilles’s Heel of the report and why some of the vendor strategists should listen to the alarm bells.

To succeed in an Enterprise environment 2.0 needs to be part of what Forrester dub the “2.0 ecosystem”. It’s no good simply adding a blog and a wiki to an existing corporate environment and expecting it to work. This is like trying to create another type of ecosystem and believing it will work, simply by introducing 2 new applications/organisms into it and expecting them not only to flourish, but to sustain and potentially transform the system too. (At the risk of ending up in Pseuds Corner I reckon that the metaphor of ecosystem in any Enterprise or non biological space is always a poor one and one ripe for Deconstruction.)

OK then, so unlike Web 2.0 tools, Enterprise 2.0 applications work best as an aggregation, as a social network of communication tools within the Enterprise being used by a base of employees, rather than as a set of standalone tools that may or may not be used. This can be best summed up by looking at what happens when say a Wiki is introduced and most people look at it as either so cool, or a complete waste of space, and both primarily for the same reason – it sits as an oddity within the flat plane of a developed 1.0 terrain. Make it seamless so that it doesn’t look like a Wiki but presents an environment that provides a range of wiki-type functions such as easy self-editing, blogs, self posting of desktop filmed video and all backed up by RSS then we’re looking at what becomes ubiquitous rather than an aberration. The transformational and productivity enhancing aspect of this can be seen if we look at say 2 departments, one using this sort of environment and one not and where one can post content immediately and one has to use slow and expensive channels to post content. One has definite and visible productivity advantages and the other only too real costs and delays.

The question for me here, is how do we achieve this and transform working patterns, how does the dragging Achilles Heel sprint into 2.0 business acceleration and transformation? For the record, I think that not only can this can be done, but that we’re seeing this being done in some organisations. The potential productivity gains here are enormous. And the rub is the word potential – currently no one can point to an existing transformation and provide the hard data. What public data we have is often piecemeal, anecdotal and fragmentary. Until this situation changes, rolling out 2.0 in an Enterprise will be incredibly difficult. Sure there will be plenty of instances of companies rolling out this or that 2.0 application, but with few exceptions most business leaders and their operational and technology teams will be very reluctant to take the risks involved. We’re not quite at the stage where one can say: “No one has ever lost their job by buying 2.0.”

So let’s recap, I’ve said that the vendors might be worried and that cracking the 2.0 nut is not going to be done with a ‘tap here’ and a ‘tap there’ from a selection of standalone hammers. For a long while the outlook was a lot rosier than at present and plenty of studies recommended (and could point to case studies of)  the bit by bit approach to rollouts of 2.0. In the current economic climate this is not going to work – it’s either a luxury or both the risks and the costs are too high, thus – ‘IT won’t support it and the Business won’t pay for it…’

But, and it’s a big but, if we look at the bigger picture and more longer-term view, then these arguments start go increasingly out of focus.  And this is where Forrester to my mind misses the point too. Forrester states that:

None of the technologies we examined are likely to be replaced in a wholesale manner in the next five to 10 years.

The productivity gains offered by 2.0 are such that they’ll all be replaced in the next 5 years. This sounds like a contradiction and it probably is- for sure the tools such as blogs for e.g, will still exist and many instances of current usages will remain, but we won’t see these technologies as isolated instances. Polishing my crystal ball and looking through a scanner darkly, I think we’ll see at first more and more instance of the Pownces of this world being eaten up by their larger competitors. This will leave a clearer battleground with fewer competing vendors. It’s then I think, that we’re going to see the real fun begin as the competition shifts from the technologies and the vendors; to the networks, the wares and the platforms. This is going to completely transform the game (and the vendors), mashing up the mashups and reallocating collaboration into areas we can only begin to imagine. The big frenemies who currently own the networks the softwares and the socialities; will have to simultaneously deal not only with competition and collaboration (as some do now), but that the fact to have survived in this brave new world will have meant inventing completely new social technologies that will further transform the way these businesses do business. It’s these ‘known unknowns‘ that intrigue me, all we can say with any certainty is that they’ll transform 2.0 in unforeseen ways, much like SMS did. The difference here will be scale, development and innovation- it’s 2.0 Jim, but not as we know it…

So, if I was a vendor what would I do? I’d hope to survive, hope to get through (or be bought-up at a retirement buyout) and I’d continue to innovate. More than anything I’d ‘widgetise’ as much as I could and make sure that what I supply could be both moved, slotted into and transformed by the next waves of change. One thing for sure… is it’s going to be different.

n.b This Blog expresses entirely my own personal opinions and has no affiliation with any other bodies or organisations that I am a member of.

Pownce pounced

News is that Six Apart have bought up Pownce in order to close it down. Chris Nuttall in the FT cites a Friendfeed commentator stating that Pownce CEO Kevin Rose was spending more time on Twitter than his own product:

“That’s like the CEO of Pepsi being seen drinking Coke, if you can’t stand behind your product, how do you expect us to?”

What’s going to be interesting is how many of these small 2.0 companies get Crunched up by their bigger rivals never to see the light of day again…

Post Warholism 1

I like the concept of Warholism. The term draws on Andy’s dictum that “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”and I guess we’re now living in the future.  One area that intrigues me is the extent and the way that Creatives such as Warhol and PK Dick, plus Theorists such as Baudrillard, Debord and Lyotard foresaw Today, the contemporary world of Postmodern Capitalism. What gets me, is when I experience something, and I think the tendency for this to happen is increased by working in Tech, and realising that this is something I’ve read about previously, that this has been predicted.andy warhol marilyn

A lot of this is synthesised in the concept of the Celebrity. In the world of our nows, everyone is indeed a 15 minute famer. This concept has repercussions – what happens afterwards? Take for example this quote from Trendhunter:

“I believe that our youth are a generation who believe that they will indeed have their 15 minutes of fame. Reality TV, print ad campaigns, and even Myspace have all played their part in making this possible.”

What will happen when this generation of Mimis (spelt Mimi, pronounced Me-Me!) grow up? (or will they ever grow up?). We can perhaps glimpse what this is all about by looking at ‘those what have made it’ and the spectacles they haunt. In the UK, a man who cannot dance becomes more famous for this than his legitimate and somewhat more skilled ‘real job’. And then of course we have the other endless parades of TV-reality, where A-List slebs mix with has-beans and seemingly random members of the public to create an endless PK-Dickean panto of the absurd.

dancing1For instances such as Sargeant’s there’s a good deal of over-salted postmodern irony at play. What then, when it comes to more premeditated valence? Take Paris Hilton.

According to Trendhunter again, Paris engineered her celebrity status. She did this however in a very 2.0 way:

“She never really talked about herself. She talked about other people. She would mention the designers of her clothes, the club she was going to, who made the sweater for her dog, all without any guarantee of any return. She just threw out links.”

& thus they flocked. This is of course now a largely historical narrative. I think there’s an unsaid that it is unsustainable. Paris as performance can only endorse so many shows.

So what next, do we face endless Devolution? In the next post on this topic I’ll muse on the possibilities. What I’m wondering around is the possiblities and identities of a knowing social media, one which has re-established itself, so that we’re no longer on a journey without blogs, but one where, as Lilia Efimova notes, at least some of the directions have already been recorded.