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Archive for June, 2008

Prepare Ye: the We Generation is Upon Us.

Posted by Susan Scrupski on June 19, 2008

mac classicSo, yeah.  I wanted to change the world in my 20s.  In some ways, I thought I could with Unix and my first Mac.  But, mostly, I just ended up talking about it a lot to anyone who cared to listen.  Today’s 20-somethings have the tools to effect change like I never did.  They have instantaneous access to information, strong social networks with which to groupthink and self-organize, and a somewhat unbridled sense of optimism that everything is possible and within their reach.  I grew up in the Me Generation of the Reagan era and although we excelled at the selfish art of Machiavellian achievement, in the end it took my generation down a path that led to, well, the S&L scandal, Enron, one-dot-oh greed, and now, the subprime meltdown.   Our narcissism is our legacy.  

Lately, there’s been some grousing about how the GenYers (Millennials) are overhyped.  I disagree.  I don’t think we’re talking enough about the next generation of “we-wired” digital immigrants.  I know our clients are looking at this demographic set seriously.  The digitally-astute army that’s about to descend on the corridors of power in corporations around the world brings with it a welcome promise of radical change and constructive disruption.  

Larry Dignan, a fellow irregular, wrote recently

“So what really happens when these Millennials run into IT departments at large corporations where they are most likely to work? They will run into a brick wall and realize that it makes sense to centralize some IT functions. They’ll realize Web 2.0 is insecure. They’ll realize you can’t share intellectual property on Twitter. They’ll realize that remote data wiping is pretty cool when you lose your phone. Bottom line: If there’s any touchy feeling collision course between Millennials and business, the latter will win.

Why? Ultimately these people have to get jobs–and often these jobs are at places like Johnson & Johnson and General Electric. Sorry folks you won’t be bringing your own management practices–and latest greatest Web 2.0 apps–to those places.”

As it turns out, we talk to companies like GE and J&J all the time.  We’re conducting a large research project right now on “Redefining Employee Computing” with 24 member corporations, many of them global– half are in the Fortune 100 (of those, 6 are in the top 50 and 3 are in the top 10).  I can assure you that the generational “collide” is a high priority board room and management issue.   It’s so strategic, many corporations are preemptively prepping to accommodate the new workforce and rethink their old school management processes.

Here is CTO, Greg Simpson of GE talking about how GE views the Millennials.

 

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Posted in Enterprise 2.0 | 7 Comments »

A Year’s Summary of Personal Reflection II

Posted by Susan Scrupski on June 16, 2008

It’s that time again when I feel compelled not only to wrap up highlights of the Enterprise 2.0 conference, but to divulge my thinking on where we are in the progression of widespread 2.0 adoption — in our personal lives and at work.

It’s hard to top my impassioned first post on this topic from last year: A Year’s Summary of Personal Reflection. Not only was I drinking the Kool-aid, I was mixing the powder and stirring the pitcher. Where last year I was overwhelmed with the newfound freedom that comes with social networking and collaboration, this year I’m focused more on the practical application of how these tools can drive productivity gains and measurable improvements in business performance.

This year’s Enterprise 2.0 conference highlighted several themes I’ve seen over the past year. 1. frustration, 2. abundance of choice, 3. breaking out of the echo chamber, and 4. dividends. Here we go:

Frustration Canyon

The frustration story comes from two directions ending in the same place. Atop one mountain, we have so-called “evangelists” (like me) who are frustrated with the slow pace of adoption in the ROW (the Rest-of-World who is not gung-ho for e2.0). The adjacent mountain has a crowd of interested observers that can’t see the landscape clearly, are somewhat intimidated by the pace of change, and question the utility behind the hype. In the middle is a canyon of confusion. During the latter half of 2008 and by next year’s conference, we should see this gap closing. As more case studies emerge, and more business cases get approved, the evangelists will no longer seem so freakish, and the potential buyers of e2.0 technologies will have settled into a sensible course of action to web-enable their workforce.

Rejoice in Choice

I caught up with Ismael Ghalimi recently who said he is tracking nearly 800 products in the Office 2.0 database. Agile development methods and low-cost cloud computing alternatives are turbocharging startup activity, breaking down time/cost barriers to product development and release. With the welcome addition of major enterprise vendors introducing 2.0 features and product suites, the choices are ever-abundant to start experimenting with these tools at relatively low and sometimes no cost. I was amazed at number of players I had never heard of at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference… and even more amazed at what they could demo. Standouts for me included Newsgator’s Social Sites, Trampoline Systems, Groupswim, Igloo, and Socialcast. The barriers to adoption may be steep, but the barrier to entry in this category is below sea level. Take some of these products for a spin.

The Echo (Prison) Chamber

Whether it’s Twitter, Friendfeed, Plaxo Pulse, blog posts, or the ever-languishing Facebook… the 1% continues to talk to itself and hone the global agenda for Enterprise 2.0. The goal this year is to do the hardcore missionary work and break out of the echo chamber. If you fancy yourself an e2.0 expert, start investigating industry trade shows (like retail, entertainment, banking, hospitality) where you can illuminate the non-converted. The blogosphere has spawned web celebs in various circles and enterprise 2.0 is no different. It’s important to remember that everyone tracking this space or participating in it is dwarfed by the number of people who don’t even know it exists.

And finally,

Lifetime Dividends

I may be taking a more sober, Realpolitik approach to 2.0 evangelism, but I’m still a die-hard believer. Through the pages of this blog, you can see how my life has irrevocably changed since I started tracking this sector. The reason my life changed so dramatically is due entirely to the rich, personal relationships I’ve formed over the course of a few years. I challenge everyone reading this blog to calculate the economic value of their own social network. Contacts and rolladex’s have been driving business for decades, but the deep, penetrating personal understanding we have for each other is unparalleled in modern history. In other words, relationships scale. With each new Twitter follower, with each new blog reader, I compound the likelihood I will achieve some personal or business benefit from simply connecting to a stranger. The 2.0 web begins and ends with people. Imagine the possibilities when everyone in the world is socially connected. That day is coming. I can only imagine it will yield a greater humanity.

Photo credits: (canyon) John Donahue, (night shot) Nosterdamus on Flickr.

Posted in blogs, conferences, Enterprise 2.0, Personal Commentary, Social Media, social networking | 2 Comments »

First Day Surprise at Enterprise 2.0 Boston

Posted by Susan Scrupski on June 10, 2008

There were workshops yesterday at the Enterprise 2.0 conference.  The first one, Social Computing Platforms: IBM and Microsoft revealed an unlikely sturdy competitor in the sea of terrific startups that are competing in this new arena.  IBM, yes, IBM demonstrated a competitive product.  I had never seen such a thorough demo of Lotus Connections.  It had a terrific UI, more 2.0 features than I could even keep up with, and the woman who was taking us through the demo, clearly “got it.”  Who wouldda thunk?  

By comparison, the SharePoint presentation was, well, uninspired.  There was a healthy back channel chat conversation on the comparison between the two products.  We were particularly damning of the SharePoint product demonstration in the back channel (which is found on the conference’s Clearspace community viaMeebo.)  If you’re coming to the conference, be sure to check out the back channel chat, as I found that the back channel conversation from real customers was much more interesting than the material being presented.

Many of our clients are turning to SharePoint to deliver 2.0 functionality.  From this day forward, I will be urging them to consider Lotus Connections, if they must choose an enterprise vendor for their global operation.  The dark horse here is Oracle.  Over the next few days, including a private dinner with Oracle with the Enterprise Irregulars, we’ll be seeing a lot of what Oracle is bringing to the table.  It would be terrific if there were two good legacy enterprise choices for large enterprises.

Of course, the wide range of excellent startups offer a clear alternative to the enterprise players.  I also attended Dion Hinchcliffe’s Implementing Enterprise 2.0 workshop.  It was a solid roundup of data and commentary on where we are today with Enterprise 2.0.  Dion had a new vendor on the scene, Aegeon, give a short demo of its offering, Spaceo.us.  This product holds particular promise because of its emphasis on bringing existing enterprise IT assets, including SAP, Oracle, JD Edwards, into the social collaboration platform.  Spaceo.us also placed first in Stowe Boyd’s Launch Pad finals.  You can see demos of the producthere.

Finally, thanks to @stevemann, we had a great dinner with friends at the Enterprise 2.0 Mayhem dinner. Here is a short video clip from blogger-extraordinaire, Luis Suarez, whom I finally met in carbon for the first time.

Update:  Luis is saying, “”Knowledge is Commoditised. Connections not!”

Posted in Enterprise 2.0 | 2 Comments »