Creating the Business Model – Lean Canvas

The following video on Creating the Business Model was completed in conjunction with Business Foundations.

In this video I describe how to use the questions posed in the Lean Canvas to help you flesh out your business model.

If you would like to find out about how I can help your business with a lean workshop, please contact me via www.emergination.com.au

Enterprise 2 – Collaborations New Frontier and its Profound Impact on the Enterprise

Here is a recent presentation I’ve completed on this topic, hope you enjoy!


Information Management Challenges in Enterprises

Recently I attended the Institute for Information Management session on Fremantle Ports‘ journey  with information management.

As a part of the session there was an extended discussion on why champions of information management struggle so much in getting buy in from people working in the business to apply good information management practice.

One of the biggest blockers is that some of the  traditional champions of these types of systems still talk about  electronic documents and records management systems. With the invention of DVDs and CDs, the term “record” is as old fashioned as is the notion of a company librarian.

The internet has somewhat liberated us  from the drudge of finding relevant information, however so many people could  find that some simple help on search would be far more practical  assistance.

The common enemy for information managers is the shared drive, and the reasons shared drives are attractive to business users are obvious:

  • fast
  • visual
  • easy to understand
  • drag and drop
  • easy to create from other similar structures used at previous employers
  • cheap, no software cost
  • no change management or training required

However there are plenty of downsides, and the problems manifest more greatly the larger the organisation

  • cannot find information  created and saved by other team members
  • ediscovery  legal issues
  • security  as to who can access which documents
  • version  management through many documents called final or versioned simply by date without regard to contents
  • no ability to easily discover relevant information created by others

Whilst many people that are working in the industry consider they are making headway, the reality is that they only make significant change when the two challenges faced here are brought together.

In the former instance the advantage of a shared drive structure is most felt by the individual. In the latter case, the benefit of using an enterprise content management platform primarily benefits the business as a whole. Clearly then, the technology needs to get out of the way and get back to being a really helpful tool for people creating documents and  using information today.

It is also important to recognise that there are different kinds of information management needs. Individuals often make their own choice of when something is valuable enough that it needs to be versioned and kept, or when it is still very much in a creation stage and not ready to be considered final. The challenge exists in circumstances where many projects start as ideas and stop soon after. It often only becomes apparent what should be kept after the project is complete, and in many cases people are under job and time pressure without the time to go back and appropriately document all that was covered.

I’m a big fan of some of the social business tools that exist, particularly around projects. These tools are of most advantage when you have participants in the project are remotely located and aware of ideas and information is shared in the project. Basecamp is a classic example of one of these tools and there are a range of others such as Jive, Socialtext, Confluence, Cubetree and many others.

If you are interested in a series of tools that I use in running my business that are cloud-based please see June edition of Emergination in Action.

Card Sorting your way to Information Architecture

When you are faced with a major intranet or internet site development project, information architecture is a critical starting point. However, getting started with information architecture isn’t necessarily that easy. There is the enormity of information held in an enterprise. Whether you believe in taxonomy  (a defined classification scheme) or folksonomy  (where users tag their own content) or somewhere in between, you can use a card sorting exercise to get you started.

Card sorting involves:

  1. Creating a list of up to 110 topic areas written on 3×5 cards
  2. Assembling a minimum of 2 groups of people from the organization in question who will be your “information customers”. 6 to 8 is a good number of people in the group to get plenty of interaction and not have one person dominate discussions. Participants in each group must be from a variety of business units within the organization and a range of levels from junior to senior. Aim to not have more than a one person from a single business unit.
  3. Getting going on the sorting exercise – developing main headings and then adding cards to each heading

The aim of the exercise is to understand different perspectives on how to classify the information. so you need two card sorting team rules:

  1. Every person’s point of view is valid
  2. Anyone can shift any card
  3. Every card placed or shifted should contribute to a wider understanding
  4. The team decides collectively as they finish the task
  5. Participants can create new cards for additional topics they deem important
  6. When a group of cards that go together is formed, a yellow post it note and group title is added

Allow 30-40 minutes for this exercise, then break for coffee. Each group then checks out how other groups have assembled their cards. This leads to further insight which allows you to complete the process.

I do like the tactile nature of card sorting. Every participant can grab a card, write their own cards, and physically move them around – they are physically involved.

However once complete, the content topics need to be typed up and information hierarchy map created.

Online Tools For Card Sorting Exercises.

Optimal Sort

Cardsorting tool Optimalsort screencapture

Websort

Websort Screenshot

If you are interested in knowing more about card sorting see Donna Spencer’s Card Sorting: A Definitive Guide

Microsoft Azure and Cloud Computing

Information is now hitting the web about Microsoft Azure and how this benefits Cloud Computing.

Microsoft Services platform

Reactions so far seem mainly positive from the Cloud Computing newsgroups that I subscribe to.

Microsoft’s market position is to leverage the environment they have and increase availability to the Cloud. Their advantage has always been around architecture, and for many organisations “Architecture = Microsoft” has simplified a very complex debate – and cut short many a 12 month engagement for budding enterprise architects. The key message coming through is “these are very familiar environments for developers and your support engineers”.

Will be interesting to see the feedback over the next short while and please feel free to post your feedback comments here. In the meantime you can find out more at Azure.

Mofuse traffic greater than direct to a blog?

In the same way that the television screen has been overtaken by the computer screen, I am beginning to wonder if Mofuse (the mobile version of my site) might overtake direct traffic.

Just checking my stats for yesterday – quiet day on the blog, 26 page views according to Google. Feedburner has 33 people subscribed via RSS – but up to 175 views, mofuse shows 31 page views.

Interesting, but what does it mean? Like all bloggers, I’d like getting the numbers upwards. With these three different services we are seeing different definitions of hits, and perhaps here there is also some overlap in users that either click on a rss feed and then decide to go to the blog. No doubt this will become clearer, but the early tip is an obvious one – cover all the formats that you can.

There is also the second question of clarifying who is looking at what traffic. Those that are coming directly to the blog are reading more of the articles on directorship matters. Those coming to RSS are reading what’s more recent (more the Web 2.0 posts), and those to the mobile version are reading a similar mix but mainly iphone related.

So, what is your preferred means of checking out content? I’d love to know….

Is the iphone driving mobile content?

The Smell of Good Business on iphoneFeedburner post from The Smell of Good Business on iphone

The ipod has really changed the way we use music – we’ve got 3 in our household (4 if you count my original 40 gig hard drive version that died). But the potential for the iphone to change the way we get and consume web based information is vast.

So, you’ve gotta get mobile. Thankfully, it is easier than you might think thanks to MoFuse.com

As I blog on WordPress, less than 2 minutes later I have m.justindavies.com.au as well as http://justindavies.mofuse.mobi and an iphone specific URL at http://justindavies.mofuse.mobi/iphone

As a tip, if you create your own address off your domain as I have done (m.justindavies.com.au), remember to add the cname record at your domain so it will work.

Importantly with any web presence, you have got to track it – and this is where mofuse excels providing great stats tracking. I suspect we will see lots of growth in iphone related traffic. For more on the topics of tracking users, please see my Feedburner post.

So, comments please. Where do you think the growth in online traffic for the iphone will come from? And how will it drive the way we use mobile phones in the future?

Techramp and Transaction 2.0 – Final day at CeBIT roundup

Thursday 22 May 2008 was the big day of Transaction 2.0 and Techramp. What a hoot….. up at 5.45 having worked on my content until 1am, quick run in the gym to get the blood moving and off to CeBIT by 7.30 to ensure everything was honkey dorey and to meet Ivan Kaye from Business Strategies International at 8am.

It started with me introducing Jackie Taranto, MD of Hannover Fairs Australia to officially open Transaction 2.0. She was telling me prior to the introduction about some of the things that she was involved with to try to grow the industry and the work that Hannover has done in this regard. A down to earth dynamo is a good description.

Then I introduced Paul Slakely of Google to talk about cloud computing, interesting topics that ran for an hour with all the questions from the people that attended. Great speaker who was very candid about where this is going. Make no doubt about it, Google is going after providing a huge range of services for businesses. Nice to be able to tell him that Gilad Greenbaum and I collaborated on a Google Spreadsheet to set up the conference.

Then Transaction 2.0 split into 2 rooms with me chairing Techramp. First up was Jason Calacanis who promised to convince everyone that they should fire everyone that is average and good in the business, and how he had mathematically proven it. Got people thinking (intentionally controversial) and he has spent a lot of time thinking about this topic. Whilst it may sound brutal and a tad unkind, his analogy was sports. We all know that we expect coaches to fire – quickly – average performers and transition your good performers to excellent performers. Watch mahalo – let’s see how he goes. Was fun trying to explain his presentation in 4 minutes at the airport to Richard Giles of scouta

About this point my brother who was in the audience came up to say hello. With a “know this bloke?” I turned to find my father who had surprised me by coming over from Australind in Western Australia to check out the day. Paid full fair to get to Sydney and full freight for the CeBIT ticket. What a huge and wonderful surprise, nice one Dad…

Mick from Polenizer then got up to talk about focus (good book on that, see Focus from the book link above) as it relates to startup companies. Great talk and right on the money for mine.

I felt like I was trying to steer the speedboat from the ski’s with trying to keep the thing to time. The audience strapped themselves in and hung on, and I think enjoyed themselves immensely.

Quick caffeine break and back into it. Txt messages to Gilad back and forth to keep ourselves running during the day (damned if I know where he gets his energy from).

Great panel on user centric design, thanks Ruby, Oliver, Peter and Russ – particularly Russ for seizing the initiative in getting the session off to a good start by flying some questions around to the panel members to get us thinking.

Justin Davies presenting \"The Pitch\"

Then we got stuck into Hells Kitchen with Phil from Pollenizer.

Vishal Sharma chaired a panel discussion on Web 2.0 trends, great job and a great panel – Duncan Riley, Gilad Greenbaum, contributions from Mike Cannon-Brookes from Atlassian.

Finally it was time to get onto the final 5 best Aussie startups. 6 minutes plus 3 minutes of questions. Interesting technical startups.

All of the presentations were interesting and showed companies at really different stages of their thinking. I think each one will have gone away with lots of really good feedback and ways of moving forward. All to be commended on having a red hot go and having the courage to put themselves out there. I’m afraid I just couldn’t stretch out the winner announcement ala Australian idol but was pleased to announce Good Barry unanimously