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Archive for May, 2007

Let Freedom Ring

Posted by Susan Scrupski on May 31, 2007

I was helping my son study this morning for his 5th grade test on the American revolution. (I always feel like I have to apologize to my British friends when I write about our country’s rebellious beginnings.) Nonetheless, one of the questions on his study guide was, “Who was Swamp Fox?” I laughed and immediately thought of Maggie Fox, who is not an American, but a Canadian who has been Twittering from the Mesh conference there– giving us a play-by-play of what the highlights are from the day’s speakers. She’s been doing that for two days. It’s rebels like Maggie who are using social media tools like her weekly podcast and now Twitter to keep us informed and engaged, as we sometimes get battle fatigue out here beating the drum for Enterprise 2.0 revolution and Social media salvation. According to Wikipedia, “Swamp Fox” became famous for “his ability to use decoy and ambush tactics to disrupt enemy communications, capture supplies, and free prisoners.” This movement has its unsung heroes too– like Maggie, tirelessly, thanklessly, Twit-casting away at Mesh. She may just end up with a Wikipedia entry of her own.

Some housekeeping notes: I’ve been getting a barrage of spam for some reason that Akismet is not catching. It’s been really annoying, so I had to adjust the commenting form for the blog. You’ll have to sign in now with your email address. I hope that solves the problem.

Also, on the BSG Next Generation Enterprise Daily blog, I posted today about the long overdue face-off we are putting together with Andrew McAfee and Tom Davenport. Because it’s a BSG-related event, I’ll be writing about it over there.

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Posted in blogs, Enterprise 2.0, RSS, Social Media, Web 2.0, Wikis | 2 Comments »

ThinkFiftyBucks would have worked for me…

Posted by Susan Scrupski on May 30, 2007

thinkfree logoEarlier in the year, ThinkFree offered bloggers a free version of its portable office software. I passed on that offer, but when it came around again last week, I said I’d give it a go. I remembered that Ismael Ghalimi has been a big fan of ThinkFree for a while now and thought I recalled the offer for the free software had something to do with Ismael’s valiant crusade to free us all of our hard drives. For him and for Brian Solis (handles PR for ThinkFree), who wrote a blog post today that was just poetry to my blogger reading eyes, I decided I better start really experimenting with ThinkFree and then let you all know what I think of it.

First of all, ThinkFree basically has cloned Microsoft Office, Excel, and PowerPoint and is offering these common office applications essentially free if you use the online version, or for about $50 if you use the portable version, which I was sent from the PR firm. I believe there is a server and desktop version, as well. ThinkFree’s bizarro version of Microsoft’s products are Write, Calc, and Show. I launched all three applications, and it was uncanny how similar they are. BUT– at a fraction of the cost– if not for free. What’s not to love??? As I trolled around the web, I found more advantages of ThinkFree over Microsoft, such as their variety of choice in viewers, plug-ins, APIs, widgets, and even the ability to download the apps to your ipod. Wow. Very cool.

Now granted. I don’t pass myself off as a product reviewer for a moment. But as a mere mortal user who writes documents, uses spreadsheets casually, and creates simple powerpoint presentations, ThinkFree can satisfy all my basic needs and more. Why would I want to enslave myself to Microsoft Office for these simple apps? I actually bristle when Office makes me do something annoying these days, like I saw in this post on Outlook archiving while trolling the web.

Is ThinkFree the web 2.0 killer app for the Enterprise? Probably not, unfortunately. In an interview with ThinkFree’s Jonathan Crow, Director of Marketing on the Under the Radar Blog, Crow is asked about his target customer:

Who IS your target customer? Who is NOT your target customer?
Of our over 250,000 ThinkFree Online users we estimate that roughly 35% are SMB users, 30% are educational users, 15% are individuals within Enterprise organizations, and the remaining 20% are consumers.

What we’ve been seeing in large enterprises, is painfully slow adoption to web 2.0 alternatives, but as products like ThinkFree are mind-numbingly easy to use, familiar, and either free or so cheap it’s not worth expensing, we may start seeing user-revolt-creep start infiltrating the walled gardens of enterprise command central. I guess it’s just a matter of time. The best imagery I heard recently along these lines was Euan Semple‘s description of unleashing “a thousand Trojan mice” into the enterprise and seeing what happens. ThinkFree is a killer mouse that could roar.

I’m a convert. Give it a try. I’d be very surprised if you’re not as amazed as I am at how perfectly the ThinkFree team has replicated the Microsoft user experience with none of the Microsoft baggage.

Posted in Enterprise 2.0, Irregulars, Office 2.0, SaaS, Web 2.0 | Comments Off on ThinkFiftyBucks would have worked for me…

The CEO Whisperers

Posted by Susan Scrupski on May 22, 2007

ritzcarltonnaples During the 90s, when I was tracking the IT services market, there was a continuous blurring of roles and activity between Management Consulting firms, Strategy firms, and good ole’ IT services firms. IBM had IBM Consulting, CSC had CSC Index, EDS bought A.T. Kearney— throw in a few strong boutiques, and they all competed against McKinsey, Booz Allen and Bain. It got really wild during the dotcom run-up toward the late 90s, as web 1.0 approached because a lot of these guys left the security of these large firms to run start-ups. Looking back, there was one reason these guys made good candidates to run web startups– they spoke the CEO’s language. They could persuade and convince a board room to make a “bet your business” proposition. Now luckily, not a lot of F500 CEOs made decisions they couldn’t undo based on dotcom disasters, and most of the well-healed consultants went back to their high billable rate profession after the bubble had burst.

I’m writing about this today because I’ve participated recently in two events on adoption on Enterprise 2.0. One was a live event in NY which drew mostly a financial services audience and one was a webinar with approximately 50 callers participating. Today, I’m writing from my room at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Naples, Florida (pictured left) where I’m about to attend a few social events with CEOs who are looking for answers about this new wave of Internet disruption or opportunity– as the case may be. I promised not to flack here about BSG, but we did make a terrific acquisition this week which gives us the privilege of bringing this story to the executive suite of some of the most well known brands in the world. You can read about goings on at BSG on a blog I’ve started here. I have to admit, frankly, the chance to evangelize on the next generation web to customers like American Airlines, British Telecom, Deutsche Bank, DaimlerChrysler, DuPont, ING Bank, Johnson & Johnson, Marriott, Merck, Pfizer, Rolls Royce, Royal Bank, and Shell gives me goosebumps– even in the hot Florida sun.

Even though we speak a lot in the blogosphere about the user-generated, collaborative, self-service benefits of social media and enterprise 2.0 technologies– the radical, cultural, enterprise-wide transformation we’re looking for is going to have to come from the top of what are still hierarchical organizations. And for that discussion to begin, the best tool we have today, may be the same tool that has worked for decades– the golf ball.

Posted in AJAX, blogs, Consultants, Enterprise 2.0, Enterprise Mashups, General IT Services, Irregulars, Next Net, Office 2.0, RSS, SaaS, SOA, Social Media, Systems Integration | Comments Off on The CEO Whisperers

THIS changes everything— Now it gets interesting.

Posted by Susan Scrupski on May 18, 2007

5/18 OKAY. Just got a WSJ alert that Microsoft is buying aQuantive which owns Avenue A|Razorfish. More on this later.

5/20 Update:

I was going to write a new post, but I didn’t want the headline I feel I must attribute to this acquisition to show up on feeds… which is this:

It’s the People, Stupid. (!)

I haven’t studied the coverage, blogs or commentary on this, but I’m giving you my off the cuff reaction to this acquisition and why I was so excited about it when I first saw it. It’s not how much Microsoft paid for Aquantive, the fact that now Microsoft will get into the advertising game, a revenue play, a beat Google strategy, a grease the skids for Yahoo strategy– none of that analysis is meaningful to me from my perspective. Microsoft IS enterprise 1.0; it still is the evil empire, I suppose. (Just humor me here, please? Here I go mashing up Star Wars with Trekkie zealotry, but like I’ve said before, we’re trying to save the galaxy for geeks of all nations, eh?) To introduce Aquantive to the Microsoft family which owns the #1 worldwide interactive agency in the world– whose median age worker is probably 27? Just a guess, but I’ll confirm… is real progress. With this acquisition comes fresh thinking– new ways of applying web technology to consumers and business. Doesn’t anybody even remember Andrew McAfee’s “Now THAT’s what I’m Talking About!” ?

Shake. Rattle. And Roll.

The evangelist in me sees a potential cometojesus awakening at Microsoft through the eyes of these nextgeners… yet, the old analyst in me fears my friends at AA|RF will sit in endless meetings much like canaries in a coal mine. But, I’m a glass is half full person– I gotta believe. Time. It’s on our side.

Posted in blogs, Enterprise 2.0, Enterprise Mashups, Interactive Agencies, Irregulars, Next Net, Office 2.0, RSS, SaaS, Social Media, Web 2.0, Web Integrators, Wikis | Comments Off on THIS changes everything— Now it gets interesting.

Big Animal Pictures

Posted by Susan Scrupski on May 18, 2007

Back in the stone ages, I had the good fortune to work on Madison Avenue before the digital age had arrived. One campaign I was working on was IBM’s launch of its long-awaited mid-range series, the AS400. We grappled with the positioning of the product and did focus group testing across the country. When it was time to launch the product, the creative team pitched using the team from M*A*S*H, including Alan Alda to promote basic positioning of the product which was simple: the AS400 will help your small business grow. Why am I risking humiliation revealing my age by telling you this? The account team was headed by a guy that often used the turn of phrase, “big animal pictures” to describe how we had to have a very simple visual impression to tell our story. I can’t reveal to you what IBM spent on their launch of the AS400 with our Madison Avenue agency, but even after 20 years– it’s a lot. Similarly, during web 1.0, we saw hundreds of millions dollars spent on advertising to create awareness, induce trial for Internet companies. Add to that the giddy Wall Street headlines and until it all went south, there was a baseline understanding of what it was all about and what the benefits of doing business on the Internet were.

We are lacking Big Animal Pictures to bring the message home for Enterprise 2.0 today. In web 2.0– we have the blogosphere and maybe YouTube. The problem with the blogosphere is, well, we get it. The budgets and the markets aren’t the same as they were in 1.0 and in the enterprise space, until the large enterprise vendors get serious about enterprise 2.0, we’re not going to see widespread education and awareness building for the masses. In the meantime, we will get to appreciate the terrific work done by what I’m starting to dub “Pirates of the Collaborian” like this guy, Scott Gavin, with his truly awesome “Big Animal Picture” slide show: Meet Charlie. (Please send Charlie to everyone you know in the hopes it will be picked up on a major media outlet.)

It is interesting, however, because just as enterprise 2.0 must grow virally throughout the enterprise as an emergent, collaborative alternative, it is following the same pattern of adoption in the broader context. Exposure and education is still the gateway.

Posted in blogs, Enterprise 2.0, Interactive Agencies, Irregulars, RSS, Social Media, Web 2.0, Wikis | 2 Comments »

Wiki Witch of the East– C’est moi.

Posted by Susan Scrupski on May 15, 2007

I fear a house will soon fall on me. I am finding myself increasingly frustrated when I can’t persuade non-e2.0 evangelists to use wikis. DEATH to group email is my new motto. Jeff Nolan wrote recently about how Workday had mimicked Apple’s fabulous spots for the Mac comparing the dweebish PC guy to the cool Mac guy. Obviously I don’t agree with Jeff, but don’t have time for that right now. More on that for another post. Anyway, I want someone to do a similar series for wikis vs. group email.

wikiwitchI have taken to putting this photo on my company IM as a subtle reminder for all those who might be adding me to their group email list…

Tomorrow, if anyone happens to be in the NY metro area, Adam Carson is hosting his first Enterprise 2.0 Meet-up. A good time should be had by all. It will be at the Penthouse at the Hudson Hotel ( 356 W58th between 8th and 9th) starting at 5:30pm. There is also a great afternoon seminar if you can fit it in on such short notice. All details are on the Meet-up site.

Hope to see you there. Come say hello– I’ll be the one with the pointy hat.

—————-

UPDATE: 6/28/07   I just got around to checking out Wikipatterns, which I’ve been meaning to for a long time.  It turns out– I have the profile of a wiki bully!  The shame!

Posted in Enterprise 2.0, Social Media, Web 2.0, Wikis | Comments Off on Wiki Witch of the East– C’est moi.

Brilliant!

Posted by Susan Scrupski on May 10, 2007

tebbo mashup slide

The Brits throw that word around a lot. But, David Tebbutt proves his authentic brilliance in this slide presentation on new technologies. The more I coach new users on adopting enterprise 2.0 tools, I realize it all begins with education. Fantastic visual presentations like this in our body of knowledge makes it so much easier. (Plus, I generally learn something from these presentations!) There are comments on David’s blog to turn this presentation into a YouTube video which could be more easily distributed around the web. I’m all for that. I hope he chooses to do it– for the good of the glorious cause, of course.

Side note: David also did a fairly entertaining podcast with Maggie Fox on her Social Media Today podcasting series. I’ve been catching up on her weekly podcasts on my trips to the gym. David’s interview had me cracking up on the treadmill. I highly recommend downloading all the Social Media Today podcasts. Maggie chooses at least one member of the Social Media Collective to interview every week. The podcasts come out on Wednesdays.

Posted in Enterprise 2.0, SusanScrupski | 7 Comments »

2007WebTrend Map

Posted by Susan Scrupski on May 8, 2007

I swiped this from Nick Morris who didn’t quite get it either, but, hey– it’s pretty cool… You can find it at Architecture and Governance Magazine.

2007WebTrend map

Posted in Enterprise 2.0, SusanScrupski | Comments Off on 2007WebTrend Map

Wow– Software2007 is shaping up to be some gig

Posted by Susan Scrupski on May 7, 2007

A few of our CIO customers (along with Steve P) are going to be on a few panels at the Software2007 conference in Santa Clara this week– May 8-9. Out of curiosity, I asked MR this morning for the media registration list. He sent me a list of over 100 reporters, editors, bloggers, and analysts including A-lists from every genre. I was really impressed. they’re expecting over 2,000 attendees. I had no idea the conference was so well known and widely attended. I was under the impression it was more of an insidery Valley software VC get-together. I don’t know why I thought that. Maybe because of its affiliation with sandhill.com. Now I regret not going!

Oh well, I’ll look forward to the reports, as always.

On other gig news, I got a disappointing call from Francois Gossieaux that the Enterprise 2.0 Rave was canceled. That elicited a big c’est dommage from me and much empathy for poor M. Gossieaux who was in the unfortunate position of having to call a host of influential bloggers and tell them the party failed to draw a guest list. I know they’re still working on some backup plans, so we’ll see if something can be salvaged. In the end, it shouldn’t surprise too many people. It’s a testament to the power of time-tested market research. Take your standard bell curve– Enterprise 2.0 is somewhere in the beginnings of early adoption and Francois had an unusual, innovative approach to enlighten these early adopters– therefore, statistically, about 2 people should have probably registered, which sounds about right judging from Francois’ tone. Aww, I’m just having a little fun with research, but it is true that there weren’t enough people signed up to justify the expense of holding the event, and after all, it was backed by VCs not conference organizers, so they had no problem pulling the plug.

Speaking of VCs, we announced our first round financing today. A nice $20M validation from Silicon Valley (including Foundation Capital and Hummer Winblad) that we’re onto something. I guess I can file my expense report now. 😉

Posted in Enterprise 2.0 | Comments Off on Wow– Software2007 is shaping up to be some gig

Enterprise 2.0: what’s in and what’s out?

Posted by Susan Scrupski on May 1, 2007

I found myself surprised that Euan Semple is a Facebook user. I asked him about it, and he says it’s not just for kids, “There are loads of my friends in Facebook and it is good at helping us be social.” he replied. And like a select few of the bloggers I follow, I have not succumbed to the Twitter addiction, but find myself a little jealous that Stowe Boyd is now a friend of John Edwards and Barack Obama if only for a few random minutes at a time.

Social media knocked me over again last week reading the reports from my fellow Enterprise Irregulars who were blogging at Sapphire– SAP’s flagship conference for its friends and fans. This screen shot of SAP’s Harmony, an internal MySpace/Linked-in of sorts, got forwarded immediately to our head of HR. We’ve been using Ning for our internal communications– which we are really having a lot of fun with, but seeing this, I realized how much more fun we could have if we customized Ning for our company– and then for our customers.

SAP's Harmony

Harmony screen courtesy Craig Cmehil

What really caught my eye last week was Stephen Danelutti’s initial attempt at drawing up a framework for enterprise 2.0. I comb the web daily for enterprise 2.0 posts and news, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone take a stab at defining what is including specifically in the definition. For instance, we probably all agree that McAfee’s SLATES is included (Search, Links, Authoring, Tags, Extentions, and Signals). This would include all blog, wiki, and search technology. McAfee talks a lot about predictive markets too, though. I would add mash-ups, most SaaS apps, and anything AJAX-built, no? I don’t have Dion Hinchcliffe’s gift for drawing diagrams, but I’d love to hear some input on this.

Posted in AJAX, blogs, Enterprise 2.0, Enterprise Mashups, Irregulars, Office 2.0, RSS, SaaS, SOA, Social Media, Web 2.0, Wikis | 3 Comments »