Thursday, April 14, 2011

Social tools in the workplace
I presented at the marcusevans CIO Summit on Tuesday, April 12 in Dallas. After briefly covering how knowledge workers are craving social features in consumer technologies within the workplace, I talked about the Why?, What? and How? of our Enterprise 2.0 initiative:
  • Why? In my view the enormous increase in pace of product cycles is primarily driving the need for Fast and Efficient solutions to support Knowledge Work. IT has traditionally focused on Process Automation and Transaction Processing. ERP systems and other enterprise technologies are very ill-suited for knowledge work. Given that fact that companies must innovate faster, Enterprise 2.0 tools that help knowledge workers be more productive are in great demand and are being deployed at a very fast pace. Our main requirements for a solution are: need to create an online workplace for our dispersed workforce, an efficient communication platform and an easy to use interface. Cost is also a big driver for us.

  • What? In my mind, each company has specific needs that must be analyzed before a system is deployed. Standing-up a SharePoint instance and letting customers design applications of their choice is not sufficient to turbo-charge collaboration and innovation. We hired the Dachis Group for a short project to help analyze our requirements and prioritize our needs from within the best-practice features for such a platform. They also helped us ramp-up our teams' knowledge in the domain.

  • How? Our guiding principles for designing a solution are:
    - Optimal User / Enterprise balance
    - High-quality user experience
    - It is a program, not a technology
    - Low cost to operate
    - Low customization
    - One platform, many communities, many teams
    - Easy access management (auto provisioning, SSO)
    - Measure ... Iterate ... Measure ... Iterate

    We are building the solution on a leading-edge Open Source platform.
We then discussed how companies are making these platforms successful. Unfortunately, I did not get much input from the CIOs in the room. We have yet to deploy our platform, so, I did not have any real experiences to share. I did discuss some information I have gathered from analysts. Will try and write another post on the topic after 6 months.

Pic: Spring was recently in our back yard!

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