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Boston in June… Enterprise 2.0 on the Waterfront

Posted by Susan Scrupski on May 16, 2008

e2.0 signIt’s that time again, the hallowed Enterprise 2.0 conference is revving up for early June. I was pleased to work on the agenda this year with Steve Wylie, the conference organizer, along with other members of the advisory board. The conference is in its second year and promises to reflect the maturation that occurred in the space over the past 12 months. Although many first-time attendees to the conference will be new to Enterprise 2.0, the concepts and themes have evolved and been refined over the past 12 months. Three out of the four largest enterprise vendors are big sponsors this year (IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle.) I’m personally hoping we see relevant, interesting developments from these large vendors this year.

We are introducing two new ideas to the conference this year which I’m particularly excited about. The first is Stowe Boyd’s Launch Pad where four (whittled down from a larger number by votes) audience-chosen startups will have an opportunity to demo their products and compete for a winning spot for the best launch pad product/service. As there is such a torrent of new products coming onto the scene, this is a great attempt to filter out the most useful based on collective crowd selection. We are considering doing something very similar regarding sessions for September’s Office 2.0 conference based on the SXSW’s panel-picker software.

The second event, or maybe unevent I should say, is called Enterprise2Open. Modeled after “barcamps and unconferences,” this will be a half-day’s worth of unstructured Q&A and sharing hosted by Ross Mayfield. The unstructured, open-type of event has been popular for some time in the development community, but we thought we’d attempt to try it out this year with a non-technical audience. The format provides a no-hassle, informative forum to ask any and all of your burning questions related to Enterprise 2.0 and get answers from peers and folks in the community who may have experienced the same issues. You may want to consider getting your questions and topics suggested in advance by posting them to the Enterprise2Open wiki. You can actually be a presenter yourself, if you bring your own soap box. Just get yourself on the self-organized agenda. The entire session will run in the afternoon on Tuesday, June 11 from 1-4pm. nGenera is sponsoring the event, so I’ll be there with a few of my colleagues and customers.

Speaking of customers, Rob Carter, CIO of Federal Express is giving the opening keynote. A group of us were in Memphis at Fedex’s central distribution facility in March where we heard Rob talk on 2.0 adoption. Rob sees himself as an evangelist himself for 2.0 in the enterprise. I’m really pleased he accepted the offer to keynote on Tuesday morning. One of the conference themes this year is accelerating user adoption. Having notable icons from the F500 executive board room will go far to lower the barriers of trial and experimentation with 2.0 alternatives.

e2.0 demo pavillionI’ll be at the conference from Sunday to Wednesday. I hope to see many of you there. Please drop me a note or a comment here to let me know if you’re attending. Many thanks to all the folks on the panels I helped arrange.

Photo credits: Jeckman on flickr and Alex Dunne on flickr.

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Posted in AJAX, blogs, conferences, Enterprise 2.0, mashups, PHP, RSS, Ruby on Rails, SOA, Social Media, social networking | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Vertical e2.0: Travel Industry has an e2.0 platform of its own.

Posted by Susan Scrupski on February 23, 2008

cubeless logo

cubeless communityI interviewed John Samuel, head of Sabre Travel Studios at Sabre Holdings, and Denise Fernandez, the Studios’ head of Marketing this week.  The Travel Studios functions as an incubator within Sabre, experimenting and releasing innovative new products that don’t fit in neatly within other business units. The first product the group is bringing to market is cubeless, derived from an enterprise 2.0 social computing platform they have been using internally about a year at Sabre called, “Sabre Town.”

Custom-built from scratch on open source tools, Apache and Linux, the software is a Rails application, according to Samuel. Sabre is announcing cubeless as the “industry’s first enterprise 2.0 community platform for the travel industry.” The app was built by less than a half dozen developers and launched within a few months, although Samuel notes parts of the application were built prior to putting it all together for the launch.

Hosted behind the company’s firewall, cubeless enables community members to inquire, in a traditional Q&A format, about ordinary travel questions (hotels, restaurants, etc.) as well as a host of other community topics such as Sabre Town’s private group on Rails development or a lifestyle group on Yoga. The platform fulfills all of the SLATES criteria for a standard enterprise 2.0 platform and excels at sharing advice and recommendations.

Sabre is working with American Express Business Travel on the initial launch of cubeless, scheduled for mid-2008. The focus is on business travelers, offering cubeless as a new module from Sabre’s GetThere which is the world’s leading corporate booking solution and a long-time partner of American Express Business Travel. Examples of how it will be used are explained in a statement by Tom Klein, executive vice president for Sabre Holdings, “It can be anything from finding out about services to support [an employee’s] business trip in a location others have been to, to what nearby restaurants are opened all night for a quick bite to verifying that a hotel they want t stay in has dependable, fast wireless Internet access and a gym that is open early in the morning.” Samuel and Fernandez believe users will make heavy use of the software, acknowledging people tend to trust people in their own organization to provide such personal insight into their travel plans. Fernandez says with Sabre Town, the ratio of questions to answers is running nearly 9:1. They’ve found people are eager to share their experiences and help other travelers.

Through GetThere and its affiliates (agencies and corporate travel departments), cubeless will have access to hundreds of thousands of members. GetThere already serves over 3,000 businesses in 40 countries worldwide and more than half of America’s 100 highest spending business travel accounts. More than half of the F200 that have an online booking tool use GetThere including Cisco, Oracle, GE, EDS, and Wal-Mart. Sabre has already proven its prowess with online collaboration and community via its IgoUgo with its 350,000 members sharing travel experiences, advice, photos and tips and stories on a multitude of worldwide destinations.

What’s interesting about cubeless is it has an easy, low-risk threshold for engagement for community members with a healthy incentive: self-interest. Everyone who is introduced to the product will “get it.” The benefits to using the social platform are obvious and immediate. In addition, the software scores high on the “fun” factor that facilitates rapid adoption. Sabre reports that over 10,000 profiles have been submitted since the internal launch of cubeless. And in a single month, more than 900 referrals had been sent to others whose profiles indicated knowledge or expertise they could address.

Launching an enterprise 2.0 community platform to suit a vertical market’s needs is innovative and should inspire others to follow suit.

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Posted in Enterprise 2.0, Ruby on Rails, social networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vertical e2.0: Travel Industry has an e2.0 platform of its own.

Rails Rules for the Enterprise

Posted by Susan Scrupski on January 29, 2008

me and Tim BrayI spent Friday afternoon with an impressive technology crowd that gathered here in Austin from Avenue A | Razorfish. I’ve blogged many times over the past few years about how these Interactive Agencies hold the keys to the kingdom on bringing “sexyback” to the Enterprise. It’s been nearly a few months since the blog/firestorm kicked up starting with Mr. Bill (Gates) fueled by Scobleizer.

What I saw with mine own eyes at the AARF gig was red hot enterprise-worthy sexy stuff– borderline enterprise porn. 🙂 The integration was downright obscene!

One of the highlights of the event for me was meeting Tim Bray, pictured to the right here with me. Tim keynoted the event and was described to me by Shiv Singh as one of the original authors of the XML standard. Readers of this blog know what a geek fangirl I am, so I rushed poor Tim at the evening before’s cocktail party and talked his ear off for about a half-hour with mostly nonsense. He kindly took this photo, so I could post it on the blog.

The next day, Tim showed a slide on PHP referencing integration challenges with WordPress and Drupal. My video interviewing skills are (UM) lacking, but I managed to ask him about it, just in case any Enterprise 2.0 hopefuls were considering PHP as their platform choice… You’ll see Tim is very much the Ruby on Rails fan here.

Incidentally, it’s worth mentioning that BSG’s web site and our e.laborate platform is all Rails, baby. It’s times like these that I wish I were more technical, but to hear a guy like Bray gush over the simplicity and ease of agile development with Rails, makes me feel proud of our apps team. I’ve been on many calls with Scott Brittain, our with customers and with industry insiders.  I always learn something from Scott and enjoy talking to the “apps guys” whenever I can. We talk a lot about how this so-called revolution is not about technology, but hey, the technology is one heck of an enabler, ain’t it?  It’s like trying to imagine the 60s social revolution without electric guitars.

Rawk on for freedom you awesome geek gods.

Posted in conferences, Consultants, Interactive Agencies, Irregulars, PHP, Ruby on Rails, Web Integrators | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »