Huge people challenges and opportunities

In the last few days and in various meetings I have had, it has clearly reinforced the challenge of getting people on the bus with software and information management initiatives.

Nowhere is this more difficult than in the growing beasts that are international companies. No longer does the mantra apply “think global, act local” explicitly in relation to software and systems, as organisations seek to refine the best of the knowledge they have into common ways of doing things.

So, there are some barriers to break down:

  1. Not invented here. Obvious enough problem… but confounded further with Point 2.
  2. The system we use was invented here, in fact, I invented it…. compounded further with…
  3. I like the way our company did things before the takeover…. compounded further with…
  4. Those guys are in another part of the world, and they think differently to us (these types of cultural differences are very real)

For more reading, see my post on people, process and technology.

People, process and technology – enter Enterprise 2.0

I’ve got to say I have an interesting concern – but a sense of delight at the possibilities – about the speed and capacity of change of Enterprise 2.0. Let me explain…

In the world of application development, there is a serious and mounting argument from the rapid development / iterative prototyping camp versus the waterfall (requirements, design, build, test, deploy, support) purists. When it comes to applications that affect corporations – that is, across the enterprise – I am a firm believer in the latter.

Iterative development is great when there are only a few people involved – or a small point solution that only affects a few people. When you start getting more people involved, the challenges go up.

The challenges include:

  • People – commitment to using a new process and a new underpinning system – and a common way of doing so
  • Process – is the process we are using common to all? Do we all do our own thing?)
  • Technology – solid analysis of the problems and a clear view of how to resolve them with technology

Now with Web 2.0 / Enterprise 2.0, the beauty is that these applications are breaking new ground in making the process neatly tied up in the applications and making it really simple for people to follow the process without having to think too much about it – or having to refer to training manuals or help guides. However, the ease of picking one up, configuring them differently according to different needs – but at the same time missing the opportunity to apply them consistently is the challenge.

The takeaway points to consider:

  • If you are going to go for a Web 2.0 application, do document your processes and make sure people apply it consistently within the organisation
  • Software developers can learn from the myriad of Web 2.0 projects smart ways of developing inviting interfaces and very simple and fast sign up and use approaches
  • The next raft of successful enterprise scale applications from the Web 2.0 environment will make a dent on traditional software only when sold, implemented and supported like enterprise software

All comments welcome!

Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 – Collaborations new frontier and its profound impact on information management in your enterprise.

There is a great deal of hype and mystique surrounding Web 2.0 and myriad of 2.0 terms that now exist as a result, such as Work 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, Office 2.0 and so on.

The hype is as loud and as significant as the last dot com boom where 2.0 has replaced “e”.

However, what is different today is that this revolution is focussed squarely at collaborative technologies and information sharing, as opposed to primarily transaction exchange of the dot com era.

Are you in a capacity to provide a leadership role in the emergence of Web 2.0? For it is as certain as night follows day that your staff are using these technologies without you knowing or seeking your consent – all in the name of getting the job done quicker.

Over the next series of posts I will outline the following:

  • Outline the facets of Web 2.0 and compare and contrast to dot com
  • Explain some of the technologies that underpin Web 2.0
  • Show you some great tools you can take advantage of new technologies
  • Explain a myriad of terms used including RSS, Mashups, Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, blogs, wikis and you show you tools such as 37 Folders and tagging approaches
  • Outline how you can start to incorporate these types of tools and approaches into your Information Management Strategies
  • Outline some of the moves the larger vendors are taking to support these types of collaborative technologies

Could this be EDRM nirvana – an opportunity to tap into content – or is the animal out of the cage threatening everything done before it?

I look forward to your feedback…..

Portal Smortal – Sharepoint, Websphere, Oracle – what are we trying to achieve here?

When someone suggests they want a portal the very first question to ask is, “what does a portal mean to you”.

Portal, like CRM – and many other terms in IT – tend to be all encompassing words designed to solve a complex raft of problems.

“We can’t get to our information easily” “I spent ages trying to find a document that I know is here somewhere and gave up” “We have heaps of copies of the same document” “I want a dashboard or traffic light to let me know when problems have emerged so I can immediate action” “I am sick of signing in to lots of different systems”

There is actually a fair bit of complexity in this – but the answer seems to be Portal (or intranet / new enterprise content management system – take your pick).

Same with CRM:

“I can’t get a single view of our customers” “..no one understands who is doing what with whom” “I was trying to cross sell and they already told us they can’t buy it” “The client told me that they were already dealing with another of our divisions and our company should already have a heap of information on them already”

Again, complex issues – people, process and technology at play again.

So what do we do? Start with the business problems to be solved, then resolve the process issues – and then the technology solution becomes much more simple – and effective.