Tag Archives: Gartner

The quiet arrival of the SharePoint killer

It was with some interest that I read The Forrester Wave™: Collaboration Platforms, Q3 2009 after a link was Tweeted out yesterday. I was reading in reverse order from Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, see my Gartner Magic Quadrant; a dark horse closing up the outside fence… My main interest in Forrester’s was to see where Jive were placed. Of late I’ve been doing a lot of hands-on work with Jive and getting to know the platform in a great amount of detail.

forrester

On reading the wave report, I was struck by one small arrival – a horse of even darker hue,  that of Cisco WebEx Connect as a collaboration platform. Most people are aware of WebEx as a webinar tool and have not used Connect.  I was at Cisco when WebEx was acquired and in San Jose too and remember all the WebEx signs in the carpark. It all looked a bit puzzling, for me at least, until I found out about Connect. Connect is a superb tool and worth acquiring for that alone. It’s a SharePoint killer.

Here’s why. Connect is 2.0 in a way that SharePoint never will be. It’s modular, making it infinitely extendable and uses accessible open APIs:

  • URL commands
  • XML Request / Response interfaces with well-defined schemas
  • Web Services interfaces that support Web Services Definition Language (WSDL) with access through Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP).
  • Representational State Transfer (REST).

What this means is a rapidly deployable, file-store and  silo-busting collaboration app with the ability to slot in any number of friendly mash-ups. Twitter for Connect/ no problemo, just load it up and slot it in. Facebook, ditto, iPhone easy. What’s more it’s robustly secure, no worries about the firewall with this baby. And of course it’s backed up by a tech behemoth. This is no start-up.

Potentially, this is the Enterprise 2.0 application.

I say potentially as to be frank I was surprised to see it in the Forrester Wave (and it’s not present in Gartner’s). The product is superb but I’ve never seen it pushed out and really marketed for what it is. Go to the WebEx site (and it’s still on the WebEx domain) and Connect is listed but not featured much. It doesn’t scream out what it does. What’s more, I couldn’t find the link where I might connect up with Connect. Puzzling.

Now if you go onto the Jive site you’ll see a lot of publicity about SharePoint connectivity. All good stuff as SharePoint is almost a defacto standard in many corporations. This could change almost overnight. Here’s how and why.

Cisco, Miscrosoft and Google are in a cage fight. That fight I dubbed The Battle of the Cloud a while back. Cisco own the Network, Miscrosoft the Software and Google own the Experience. All of these 3 areas get completely mashed up in the metaphor we currently know as the cloud. And I believe, the stakes are high enough to see severe casualties amongst the 3 big players. (See also Dion Hinchcliffe’s Cloud computing and the return of the platform wars…estimate is for $42 Billion by 2012, I’m taking the argument even further).

Against this backdrop, singular products like Connect, that many don’t even realise exists, provides some wonderfully disruptive possibilities as a disruptive Enterprise 2.0 collaboration tool. Given this, what I’d do if I was sitting in the board at San Jose would be to ramp up the marketing for Connect. And if I really wanted to shake up the whole apple cart, I’d also make it free.

Gartner Magic Quadrant; a dark horse closing up the outside fence…

Gartner Magic Quadrant: Social Software

Just been reading the Gartner Magic Quadrant: Social Software. Jive  come out as the clear leaders, closely followed by IBM and Microsoft (the latter featuring better on ability to execute). Other notables – Drupal, Telligent, SocialText and blueKiwi jostle with Google for the Visionary space. Gartner wonder if Google’s move into the enterprise is opportunistic. I think it’s strategic. Open Text and Atlassian feature as Challengers.

I think the horse racing up the outside fence as they close into the paddock will be Thought Farmer. Their biggest weakness is the fact they don’t have any big customers, a fact that their alliance with the Dachis group is bound to change! I enjoyed their latest blog too The Problem of the Intranet – so much so I actually read it on my iPod Touch! Touche to the Canadians!

n.b…Hmm, I wonder where WordPress will feature in future Magic Quadrants?

Some thoughts on Enterprise 2.0 ROI

Some interesting posts over what for us in the UK was an Easter Bank Holiday weekend, on E2.0, its progress and and its ROI. The discussions all centred the long roasted meme of when, when and what for Enterprise 2.0 will truly come kicking and screaming into the business world.

Trough of 2.0?

For example, Hutch Carpenter reckons we’re quite likely in the Gartnerian Trough of Disillusionment where the purported gains of 2.0 seem a far off promised land and any real gains, mere milk and honey of the mind.  Nonetheless:

What gives me comfort is that the Hype Cycle provides a fairly well-known model for how technology ultimately becomes core to the way businesses do work. So let the analysis show that Enterprise 2.0 cannot, in fact, solve every problem that companies have.

ROI of 2.0?

Dion Hinchcliffe asks the question of how do we determine the Enterprise 2.0 ROI and starts of by citing Andrew McAfee’s piece from a couple of years or so back, The Case Against the Business Case. Here Andrew points to the intangible nature of the gains and points to a “costs required to acquire capabilities” model as being far more preferable.

Dion is keen to stress that he does see actual gains, but asks if Enterprise 2.0 truly strategic in the unique way that information technology can so often be? Pointing out that  a third of companies (globally?) are already using 2.0 tools in one shape or another, Dion argues that they will see gains, but that:

Innovation often comes from where you least expect it and harnessing collective intelligence, the core principle of Web 2.0 as well as Enterprise 2.0, is the very art of eliciting value from emergent systems such as the Web and our intranets.

Why?

One aspect I think is interesting in all of this (amongst so many interesting ones), is this question of ROI itself – the why are we doing it? It’s similar in some ways to the discussion sparked off by my LinkedIn poll on ‘what’s the single most important aim of internal communications?‘. One could phrase this as are we there to just do some good, or to prevent a bad from happening, or can internal communications all be seen in the sense of the bottom line, the drive for profit?

Kicking butts

Indeed, for companies  Motorola are all too clear on why they’re using social media:

“I don’t beat Nokia or Cisco or Siemens by having better buildings or shinier cafeterias. Companies are human beings solving problems or responding to crises by working with each other. If you can make your company less of a top-down company at a higher speed than your competition, you have just kicked their butts.”

Motorola VP Toby Redshaw.

Thinking inside a box

Profit is (for once literally) the bottom line yet for a business in contemporary capital it cannot be a single strive for it.  It has to be  a combination of elements.   I tried to combine how these might function together for internal comms as so:

I wonder if it’s worthwhile to start to frame E 2.0 into the wider cultural frame. If we’re talking of Enterprise 2.0 ROI then the pattern might shift and the business element play a more pivotal role – perhaps Engagement comes Innovation – I’m not sure and need to mull on this more. What I don’t think we can avoid is the question of the Enterprise 2.0 ROI.

Post script on Red Herrings

I hope you like my Photoshop of some red herrings – I was going to call this post “2.0: ROI, the red herring that has yet to be caught!”  Maybe I’ll return to that, as I originally tried to cover far too much for a bear of little brains to write in one post.  There’s some snippets on the cutting room floor I will return to, esp about the’ Q of impossibility of cultural change’.

Harnessing 'Enterprise Social Networking'

Facebook for the Fortune 500

Following on from my post on what we should call social media inside the firewall “What should we call ‘Intranet Social Media’?” My peers (and Twitter pals) from various enterprises in Europe and the Americas have suggested the following: Collaborative Media, Business Networking Media, IntraSocial Media, Collaboration 2.0 and Social Computing. Now Deloitte have waded in with an article dubbing it ‘Enterprise Social Networking‘ (ESN), or more catchily ‘Facebook for the Fortune 500’.

dancefloor-gagliasReady steady….go?

2009 Deloitte predict, may well be a breakaway year for ESN but they hedge their bets with the proviso of if… This ‘if’ haunts the analysis of both Gartner and Forrester too and now with Deloitte joining the throe, they too proclaim a simultaneous red/green scenario:

the exact extent of adoption may still be unclear. Some commentators claim enterprises are generally not yet deploying social networks; various Fortune500 CEOs believe the opposite.

Primed and ready

What’s going to determine this is when (not if) a big breakthrough is made by one competitor that outstrips their rivals that is a clear demonstration of the productive power of ESN. To gain a clear footing in this market, Deloitte urge that early readiness for a primed market:

Telecommunications operators and IT solutions providers need to invest in ESN so they have the expertise and credibility to deploy these solutions if or when they become more broadly adopted, and start becoming a more significant source of revenues.

ESN Consultancy

Whatever we call it, if anyone is reading this and thinks progressing collaboration, communication and social media inside the firewall is a good idea, but are not quite sure how to do it, then please feel free to get in touch. After deploying these technologies for almost a decade for one of the big 5 IT companies, I’m now starting to actively look for enterprise social networking consultancy work.

Gartner: the CIO and Web 2.0

The beleaguered CIO is being proffered heavy weight advice by the analysts at Gartner. First they weighed in with a Gartner Presents CIO Resolutions for 2009 and now Gartner’s top pundit Mark McDonald has offered his advice to the CIO in an interview with the Wisconsin Technology Network saying that “CIOs may have only four months to show results”:

Now is the time for CIOs to pick one thing that they have to get done fast and get done well and put all of their resources against it.

What’s interesting is where he sees that worth being demonstrated. Budgets in IT he notes will be flat. Large scale type projects therefore, while they can generate revenue or create savings, are currently too costly a risk for the cash-strapped IT dept:

Investments in BI and CRM and ERP were viewed as investments, and fairly significant capital expenditures.

And what this means is that they won’t happen in the foreseeable and certainly not in the next couple of quarters. Asked what will be “left out in the cold” McDonald’s reply was:

Basically, anything new,- but Web 2.0 tools are not among them.

What we are seeing therefore McDonald argues is Web 2.0 achieving mainstream adoption despite the downturn. This will be both as an external marketing tool and as an internal collaboration tool. Neither he says should be put on the back-burner. Notably, it’s the internal collaborational aspect that is now generating the most heat:

Every company, regardless of who they are, is probably going to be looking at using Web 2.0 to improve internal collaboration, but I think there is a significant difference between companies that are effective and have a history of being effective, which is achieving their goals.

This I think is the rub of the interview – social media as collaboration technology is going to take off, not least because it’s relatively cheap to introduce and can quickly achieve demonstrable results. The key aspect I believe though, is whether the company can capitalise on the potential gains here in Europe. McDonald is focusing on the USA and it will be telling to see how the potential adoption takes place in the UK and in Europe. Now, McDonald says is the chance to sieze the opportunity in the USA, let’s hope our European CIOs achieve this too.

Other postings
The interview has had keen reactions most notably Fast Forward Gartner: Web 2.0 Tools Exempt from Economic Cutbacks and at The Content Economy Cutting costs by improving internal collaboration

Gartner: From the tie to 2.0, CIOs & 2009

Sailing against the cold winds of doom, a refreshingly upbeat set of recommendations from Gartner for the embattled CIO. The synopsis is straightforward – the current crisis presents opportunities to be seized:

In time of a recession, organisations have more time for introspection that identifies what the deep needs are and also creates demand on what IT can do. It brings the opportunity for businesses to exploit the technology they currently have to create something new. John Mahoney Gartner.

To achieve this Gartner recommends 10 resolutions for the CIO. What the CIO needs to do is walk the walk, talk the talk re new technologies and social media, using it to connect with the talent base old and new.

Social Media can create new communities of knowledge among past and current employees plus there will be bargains to be had in 2009 as the crunch continues:

This will create something of a buyers market for some high-calibre IT talent in 2009. However, company recruitment lockdowns will stop CIOs taking advantage if they don’t take specific actions. Mark Raskino, Gartner.

The lead is by example, from the tie to 2.0. The CIO needs to be seen using the bright new promise of 2.0, making YouTube the default search engine for the day, being seen to use social media. What’s more, the need to start taking the cloud more seriously than previously – take somecalculated risks and to learn from the experience.

Are we going to see this happen? The emphasis here has to be on the seeing aspect. If any CIO takes Gartner up they’re going to be visible. And that visibility might be more transparent than say the comfort of a company blog nestled in the safety of the firewall. Will we therefore see CIOs on Twitter actively engaging with the everyday bustle of conversation? Are there examples now we can examine and even gently prod converse with on public social media platforms? Such data would be interesting and might provide a useful barometer on just how socially active and prepared for the opportunities, the 2.0 savvy CIO is in 2009.

The CD is dead, long live the…

Those creators of the future Gartner have posted a valediction for bidding mourning for the CD. The precogs say that this should be the last christmas for the format: 2008 Should Be the Last Christmas for Retail CDs. Having spent a most pleasant time with the people at Dada Records in Chiswick just before said Xmas I do hope not. Whilst Dada specialise in CDs, there is still a certain pleasure from actually going shopping for music and one amplified by the vinyl shopping trip. But say Gartner, the profits of physical media spell the end of industry practices:

As a percentage of total revenue in the U.S. market, physical media (CDs, LPs, DVD-A and so on) have gone from 91 percent of revenue in 2005 to 77 percent in 2007 and there is also evidence that physical retailers are even reducing the physical floor space dedicated to CDs.

Instead Gartner say, the makers of CDs should abandon the traditional launch, release digitally first and then burn content to order. But what then of the LP? I wish too, but does Gartner’s bell toll the final end of vinyl and the arrival of digital lossless formats such as FLAC? Nano technology aside, LPs are of course still beng released and are getting heavier – 200g plus Japanese imports. Manwhile lossy MP3s still dominate in the overall market.

So what’s going on? Maybe the best barometer is a site such as Linn Records. Linn are offering music in 3 formats – CD, Vinyl and Download. As a hifi manufacturer Linn produce the whole top-end gamut from record players to digital streamers. My Well Tempered turntable already hosts a Linn Archive cartridge (now the Arkiva) and if I ever had to replace the Tempered deck then the Sondek LP12 would be top of my list. Top of my wish of wish lists would be the Klimax DS.But, a big but, at $20,000 a pop, it’s not likely to be in next year’s Xmas goody bag. For this year, I’ve still got some £5 blues CDs to listen to, courtesy of Dada.

Are Gartner right? This is my precog moment…All said, vinyl aint about to disappear, it’s far too high fidelity. Digital will prevail. But the CD? The death knell for the compact disk is when network distribution takes its next leap into uber-broadband and the home becomes a network. People will want HD quality video as downloads and easy streaming across their living spaces. Given the currently immense bandwidth that this takes it will still need a choice jump in bandwidth to become fully effective and accepted. This will/is happening. For musical formats this is fab as it heralds FLAC etc as transportable. All we need then is storage tech to continue its unstoppable trajectory and the 1st fully lossless iPod will be out. A few thousand albums stored in FLAC on a portable player will be fun. That then will see the final end of the MP3. What will be of note at that point, will be the reaction of all those who realise that their entire music collection is in a legacy format. Possibly, maybe, they won’t believe their ears.

Dada Records phone number: 020 8747 9790