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Enterprise social networking market diversifying

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Forrester Research conducted survey of 170 ECM (enterprise content management) decision makers to understand where the market might be headed in 2010. The survey found 72 percent of organizations are planning on investing in ECM in the new year.

Barb Mosher covered the study in an article on CMSWire. I thought it was an interesting article, not so much for the insights into the ECM industry, but for the insights into ESN (enterprise social networking) and related social technologies.

As I said in the comments, the ECM industry has been around since around 2001, and has been hailed and cursed many times over. We can see this happening with ESN too. With all of the hype and expectations, there will be inevitably be a post-New-Year's-Eve-like hangover as we realize that no solution is a poultice to our collaboration headaches.

The S word by any other name is still just as sweet

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The S word.
 
Andrew McAfee examined whether "social" is "a helpful or harmful word when talking to enterprises and their managers about the new digital tools and the business practices that make use of them?" in a recent blog post. And in my opinion (which I left in the comments), it’s not about what we call it, but how we use it that counts.

Skills of successful social librarians

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We've talked before about how librarians are crucial to the success of a social knowledge network or social library initiative. Librarians carry out key duties including feeding and weeding, organizing, and cultivating information. Indeed, when libraries go social, the role of the librarian is more important than ever.

To perform these duties effectively, there are several skills librarians should have. Jonathan G. Geiger covered them in an article in Information Management, which our customer and friend Melanie Browne (from Maple Leaf Foods) had forwarded to us. I thought I'd share the link. Jonathan talks about technical, interpersonal, and positional skills required to carry out the role of what he calls the "data steward."

Crossing the Chasm of using social in the enterprise: Inmagic Year in Review 2009

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Something we've learned this past year through our conversations with industry analysts, customers, and partners, is that social in the enterprise is not on the radar of many companies. It's also been a recurrent theme in many of our recent podcasts.

As consultant Gil Yehuda touched upon in a blog post, companies that use "10-year-old technologies and 20-year-old management styles" to address today's problems are not only going to miss the social bus, but will see the same fate as DEC, Compaq, and Xerox.

Today's collaboration imperative: a podcast with Patti Anklam

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Collaboration and teaming are nothing new to the enterprise. But according to many knowledge management professionals, including Patti Anklam, today's information overload has made collaboration and teaming more crucial to organizational effectiveness and competitiveness than ever before.


Patti is an independent consultant focusing on collaboration practices, social network analysis, value network analysis, and knowledge management systems strategy and architecture. She's also the author of "Net Work: A Practical Guide to Creating and Sustaining Networks at Work and in the World." We talked to her recently to unfold why there's such an imperative for organizations to adopt a more collaborative approach to business.

Prove E2.0's benefits by first focusing on a small use case

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Last week, the SOCIALtality blog published a series on social media and enterprise 2.0 adoption. It featured an interview with Jacob Morgan, Principal of Chess Media Group; and Wendy Troupe, the blog's founder. I thought it nicely framed issues surrounding adoption.

In part 3 of the conversation, Morgan says, "You need to focus on use cases before deploying platform ... You need to speak in terms of 'supporting' rather than 'changing."

This brought to mind a key approach we've taken with our customers when implementing social knowledge networks: Demonstrate the benefits of E2.0 in a specific situation (use case) first. Then demonstrate additional uses of the platform. The good news is that for the second project, the investment is very low, so the ROI can be high. I unfolded this more in my comment.

Vote in the KMWorld Reader Choice Awards poll

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KMWorld is holding its Reader Choice Awards poll, and we thought we'd share the link if it hasn't crossed your desk yet. They are polling readers to learn more about their current deployment activity and vendor awareness.

Calling all feedback on our Enterprise 2.0 Conference proposals!

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The folks from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference (Boston, June 2010) are doing a Call for Papers, where speakers submit proposals for sessions. All proposals are viewable by the public and open to feedback on the conference Web site. We've submitted three proposals and would love to know what you think! We'll be using your feedback to refine our proposals to make sure we talk about what you want to hear about.

Here are our proposals:
Thanks to everyone for contributing! We have some interesting conversation going on in the feedback sections, and I encourage you to give it a read and share your thoughts. You'll be able to vote on all proposals Jan. 6-20.

Have a "social" holiday!

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This year, in lieu of sending traditional holiday cards, we have created an electronic greeting for our friends in the Inmagic community. We've also made a donation to the Greater Boston Food Bank on behalf of our employees, customers, partners, and community. From everyone here at Inmagic, I wish you all a joyful holiday season and prosperous New Year!

The socialization of KM: Inmagic Year in Review 2009

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One thing 2009 will be remembered most for is the socialization of KM, the next topic we wanted to revisit as part of our Year in Review.

Social media has significantly changed KM due to the culture of sharing that has pervaded our lives, professionally and personally. People of increasingly diverse ages are trained, willing, and able to use social media. That makes it easier to get employees on board with social media in the enterprise, and understand how and why to use it.

However, a big question raised this year is, Has social media finally enabled KM? Andy Moore, Publisher of KMWorld, wrote in an article, "For decades, it’s [KM] been a promise. But knowledge management is finally possible. That’s because social networking MAKES it possible. By allowing fast, easy and lightweight collaboration between individuals and workgroups, tools such as user forums, blogs, wikis and their ilk have finally made good on the promise of KM."

That quote received a lot of attention from people in the industry, including Carl Frappaolo, who asked, Just what have we been doing until now? Carl's counter argument is that KM is not just about technology. It is "a business practice and ecosystem, that evolves over time."

From this debate, we conclude KM is about more than one technology and it's also about more than just technology. It's about capturing and using enterprise knowledge to achieve the business objectives at hand. It requires, among other factors, the right technology, the right strategy, cultural embracement, and senior management support.

Finding value in SharePoint and Google Wave: More feedback from Gilbane Boston 2009

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I've compiled more thoughts on Gilbane Boston from our team here. Some big topics of conversation at the show were SharePoint, Google Wave, and collaboration, which were explored and parsed in various ways throughout the panel sessions. Here's our take on some of the sessions we attended.

The global workforce continues to emerge: Inmagic Year in Review 2009

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Another trend worth noting for our Year in Review is that organizational structures continue to take on many new forms. Workforces are becoming increasing globalized, teams are becoming dispersed, and hours are irregular. Remote working has also become increasingly prevalent. As much as 10 percent of today’s workforce telecommutes, over triple the level of 2000, according to a Northeastern University and IBM study.

A major implication of this is that team collaboration will become increasingly crucial to business operations. Organizations need new ways to efficiently communicate and share knowledge across departments, offices, and borders.

Solutions also need to be cost-effective. With budgets tight and resources reduced, decisions will lean towards cost-effective, out-of-the-box, easy-to-deploy and maintain solutions that leverage existing content management and enterprise search technology, such as SharePoint.

What's more, with analysts predicting high employee turnover in 2010, some workforces will become permanently dispersed. Organizations need to have knowledge retention plans in place to capture employees' collective knowledge before they leave.

As content management consultant Chris Brown told us in a podcast in October, new social knowledge management technologies can provide organizations the ability to retain this knowledge, and use knowledge assets in ways that help employees collaborate and be more productive.

SharePoint 2010 threatening ECM vendors, ESN to wane, and other thoughts from Gilbane Boston 2009

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Overall, I thought the Gilbane Boston conference was a great learning experience. One of my biggest takeaways is that the industry has clearly moved past where it was one short year ago when most of the talk was about early adoption of social media technologies. The industry is now taking E2.0 seriously.

As these technologies "cross the chasm," it will become increasingly important to tightly integrate social media into real and practical applications. Otherwise, the industry will only create more information silos.

In fact, one analyst panel predicted a shakeout in the enterprise social networking (ESN) market as the "hype cycle" wanes in favor of producing real value to the enterprise. Social media isn't a market; it's a descriptor for technology. Vendors that succeed will be the ones that leverage these new technologies to help enterprises add value to their content and applications, and deliver real and tangible business benefits to end users and the business.

Basically, I think it comes down to this: Social networking tools are capturing a lot of buzz. But to what end? Are they tools in search of a market and business value? Will their value be limited, given their almost singular focus on connecting people to people, and not people to the crucial content buried in silos?

I also sat through the SharePoint 2010 workshops. I think the platform will become an increasing threat to enterprise content management (ECM) vendors. However, companies that focus on ease-of-use for end-users, bringing together disparate content into a single knowledge management portal, and leveraging and complementing SharePoint are in a great position, because our world is all about supporting the content user and knowledge worker.

I consider myself a classic "end user," and I would never use a product like SP 2010 out of the box. It's simply not designed or intended for me. I suppose I could wait for IT to build me a SharePoint app, but I'd rather use a product that is sit-down simple for me to use. Many of our customers share the same sentiment. That's why we've built Presto to leverage SharePoint, while delivering real end-user value through an application designed for their needs.

So from my vantage point at the show -- and maybe this is the marketer in me -- but I think our approach of using social media to create content-based communities (social knowledge networks) is spot-on industry trends. We had great feedback from attendees in the panels where Presto users were featured.

It's not a question of content management systems (CMS) vs. ESN, or proprietary ECM vs. open source CMS, which is the debate that most of the vendors seemed to want to make. It's really about solving business problems and delivering real benefit and ROI by making diverse content accessible to end-users.

It's also about using social media constructs to inform and enhance that content to make it more relevant. And it's about creating communities of knowledge around that content. We address the needs of content consumers, who have largely been on the outside looking in, whereas as ECM tools have been focused on content producers, and not accessibility by end-users.

Google Books case still unsettled? Inmagic Year in Review 2009

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Google's efforts to digitize millions of copyrighted books has been a four-year battle between the Internet behemoth and authors and publishers. But 2009 marked a turning point in the case, which we're revisiting at part of our Year in Review.

The Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers, and several authors and publishers filed a class action lawsuit against Google Books in 2005. Their argument was that Google would violate their copyrights by scanning their works and creating short excerpts without their permission. They claimed it would also monopolize access to information and intellectual properties. Many librarians thought Google would, in effect, take over their role.

But on Nov. 19 of this year, the court granted preliminary approval of an amended settlement, which covers a much smaller group of scanned books. It includes those published in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia, and those registered in the U.S. copyright office. However, questions remain on exactly how Google Books will play out, such as issues surrounding privacy and risk of censorship.

Despite this, Google has made clear that its goals are virtuous. "Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," according to a quote on Google's Web site from Sergey Brin, the company's co-founder and President of Technology. And for now, it appears that's just what's happening. You can now search through the full text of 7 million books using Google Books.

What are your thoughts on the case? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

Warm welcome to our new VP of Products, Bob Warren

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Wanted to extend a warm welcome to Bob Warren, who has joined Inmagic as our new Vice President of Products. He comes to us from MetaCarta, and will be driving our global product development strategy. We put out a press release with more details on Bob and what he'll be doing for us.

Biggest challenge of enterprise social technology integration: takeaways from Gilbane Boston 2009

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A common takeaway we drew from the Gilbane Boston Conference was that social features, such as tagging and commenting, are becoming increasing prevalent in various enterprise data and content management systems. Inmagic Solutions Engineer Kevin Rourke, however, sums up the biggest challenge he's seeing surrounding this initiative:

How culture influences enterprise social media adoption -- Inmagic Year in Review 2009

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Organizational culture is a major factor impacting adoption of social media in the enterprise. As we look back on 2009 for our Year in Review series, we found culture, as well as technology, are crucial components to a successful enterprise 2.0 strategy.

Chris Jones, Consulting Principal of SourcePOV, often sees culture as a barrier to entry preventing many organizations from implementing enterprise 2.0 strategies. He talked about it detail during our podcast with him in November, and in his presentation at one of our user groups in October. He emphasizes that a key to creating a successful E2.0 strategy is to have a culture that values collaboration.

E2.0 thought leader Andrew McAfee supported this notion in a KMWorld interview in September. He said, "I always look to the senior leadership to see if they are sincerely interested in helping people collaborate, capturing what the organization knows. Do they really realize that it is a serious challenge? If they do, then chances are much, much higher that they are going to be interested in these [social media] tools."

The importance of culture was also brought to light this year by an article from Dion Hinchcliffe of ZDNet. Dion wrote how it's surprisingly common to encounter a resistance to social technology in "organizations that have fewer competitive pressures, are highly specialized, or are unusually late adopters of technology."

This also speaks to the idea that E2.0 is not a one-size-fits-all initiative. It should be able to be adjusted, and fit within a given organization's structure, processes, and culture, so that it achieves that company's specific business objectives.

Photos from Gilbane Boston Conference 2009

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The Inmagic team was out for the Gilbane Boston Conference last week, and we've returned with pics and feedback from the event. Below you can check out the photos we snapped. Next week we'll be sharing our thoughts on the show, so check back!

How to capitalize on in-house experts -- Inmagic Year in Review 2009

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Last week we kicked off our Inmagic Year in Review 2009 series by recollecting the "Is enterprise 2.0 a crock?" idea. Today I want to revisit another hot topic of 09: In-house experts, and how organizations can best benefit from them.

Finding an expert is an informal process, as this Wall Street Journal article explored in October. That's because in-house experts aren't just the usual suspects, such as lead scientists, executive technologists, and head researchers. They're many employees -- amateurs, even, as Ross Dawson highlighted in August.

In-house experts are a crucial form of knowledge within an organization. Just as we need to find and extract information from books, articles, documents, etc., we need to find and extract information that lives within employees' minds.

For instance, a sales associate might know that slides 3, 5, 11 of a new PowerPoint presentation resonated well with a certain prospect. This is important information for the sales team moving forward. When other salespeople use the presentation, they'll know to be sure to go over those slides, and expand on the information contained in them.

This PowerPoint presentation, as well as books, documents, etc., are forms of explicit information, and can be searched in a fairly structured way. But information that resides within employees is tacit, fluid, and constantly changing.

Continuing with our example, say several salespeople use the PowerPoint and discover that slides 3, 5, and 11 only resonate well with prospects within a particular industry. The tacit knowledge surrounding the PowerPoint presentation has been refined.

The challenge for organizations, then, is to find, collect, and share this knowledge that exists within in-house experts -- whether those "experts" are senior executives or junior associates. This was a common theme we found among organizations in 2009. Our take on it, as you'd expect, is that this is an opportunity for social media in the enterprise.

Social technology is fluid in nature, and can make the expert seekers and the experts themselves self-sufficient in finding and providing information. For instance, when employees have the ability to add their knowledge directly to implicit information, such as with comments and ratings, they can share their knowledge with others. This is the nutshell of social knowledge management.

Social knowledge management acts as a connector of people -- with all of their thoughts, ideas, and opinions -- to relevant content. Putting context around content is what will enable organizations to quantify, analyze, and experience collaboration improvements around their knowledge strategies.

One major improvement is knowledge retention, which is a natural by-product of social knowledge management. Capturing implicit knowledge that is tied to relevant content relieves companies of the aging workforce and turnover rates that challenge knowledge retention.

More hot trends and topics of 2009 to come ...

Collaboration inside the firewall needs context and purpose

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David Armano put forth his 2010 social media predictions in a post on Harvard Business. And while I think David is spot-on with his outlook regarding social media in the consumer space, I think he misses an opportunity to discuss social media trends inside the enterprise.

David predicts 2010 will be the year many more businesses will get serious about using social media behind the firewall. I'm with you, David. But I disagree with David's idea that businesses will need to resort to gimmicks within their social media applications to drive usage. Usage will be driven and driven alone through productivity gains and tangible business benefits.

This is the key to understanding the difference between social media trends inside and outside the firewall. Think of it like this: When used in the consumer space, social media is a communications platform. You chat on IM, share pictures on Facebook, and discuss news on Twitter. Enterprises don't need another communications vehicle. Phone, e-mail, and face-to-face interaction accomplish that very effectively.

What organizations are seeking, however, are ways to enable faster, more cost-effective collaboration among employees for business benefit. And that's how social media adds value inside the enterprise. It is a collaboration tool.

But not just any collaboration tool. It must be driven by results. For instance, when we work with media companies, they want the editorial staff to be able to create better stories faster. They want to speed the research phase, which involves gaining better access to internal and external documents, news, and facts. They also want to improve collaboration among editors, and make better and more efficient use of the research. Both content and collaboration are key in this situation.

We see this pattern over and over again in our experience with our customers. Organizations are seeking collaboration with context and purpose. Another example is with entertainment firms. We find they want to make new shows faster. They are looking to foster a more creative environment by using social media, and they want access to past projects to learn from their mistakes and build on their successes -- not to merely communicate with colleagues.

I expanded on this thought more in the comment I left on David's article, and you can click over to read the rest!

Is enterprise 2.0 a crock? Inmagic Year in Review 2009

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It might be the end of the week, but there's no better time than the present to kick off our Inmagic Year in Review series.

The first story I want to revisit is the firestorm Dennis Howlett ignited when he posted his "Enterprise 2.0: what a crock" story on ZDNet in August. It seems there were just as many people agreeing with Dennis as disagreeing, but we thought Gil Yehuda summed it up nicely when he wrote this on his blog:

" ... I don't believe 'Enterprise 2.0' is a solution, I believe it is a description ... Enterprise 2.0 describes a transformed organization. If your organization uses social computing technology and that has transformed your organization's nature -- then describe that as a new kind of organization -- one that has been inspired by the analogous change that we see in the Web."

Enterprise 2.0 isn't going to suddenly be here overnight. It will be a steady, progressive adoption. But the dialogue will keep us thinking about the possibilities and limitations of E2.0, and how it can benefit our organizations.

Inmagic Year in Review 2009 and Predictions 2010: What defined this year and what will shape the next

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This year's headlines, comment threads, Twitter chats, online searches, and offline discussions tell us a lot about what's dominated our attention and defined our work as information professionals for the past 365 days. They reveal our passions, goals, trials, tribulations, and successes of 2009. And with the year coming to a close, we're going to look back on it all.

We'll reflect on the major trends, technologies, debates, controversies, and events of the year in our Inmagic Year in Review 2009 series. We'll revisit topics we found garnered a lot of engagement, including:
That's just a few of things that have made our list. We'll start revisiting each topic in turn throughout the month. We also want to open the floor to your input. What do you think topped 2009? What deserves another mention, a grand finale? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments.

And no year in review is complete without a look at the year ahead. So we'll also be putting our best thoughts forward in our Inmagic Predictions 2010 series. Based on our customer interactions and deployments, discussions with industry peers, and observations of 2009's techs and trends, we'll forecast the knowledge management market for 2010. Our aim is to shed light on the budding trends that promise to grow, early technologies due to take off, and innovative ideas expected to become viable solutions.

Our first recap post will hit the blog later this week.

Metro Vancouver hosts Andornot user group Thursday -- RSVP deadline today

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Our partner, Andornot, is holding its next user group meeting this Thursday for Inmagic users in the Vancouver area. Today is the last day to RSVP, so be sure to sign up if you're interested!

Metro Vancouver will be the special host for this user group. The organization provides water, sewerage, parks, housing, and planning services to 22 member municipalities in the Greater Vancouver region of British Columbia. It recently replaced its ILS with DB/Text Library Suite, comprising DB/TextWorks, Web Publisher Pro, and Genie, with implementation and consulting services from Andornot. At the meeting, Metro Vancouver library staff and Andornot will discuss the implementation, and the new publicly searchable catalog created using Inmagic's platform and Andornot's Starter Kit.

As always, the floor will be open to your questions, and there will time to bounce ideas off your fellow Inmagic users. If there's anything you'd like the meeting to cover, just e-mail Andornot in advance.

Here are the nitty-gritty details:

WHAT: Andornot user group meeting

WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 3 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE: Metro Vancouver
4330 Kingsway
Burnaby, B.C., Canada
Map

RSVP: Today, Dec. 1 to Thora Gislason

MORE INFO: Check out Andornot's blog.

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