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Social Knowledge Networks: "Transforming the Way Information-Driven Enterprises Work," a white paper

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Two of the most commonly asked questions we get at Inmagic are, what are Social Knowledge Networks, and, can you tell me more about how I can use them at my organization?

It's fair to say we've not only discussed these topics a lot, but also have garnered considerable experience helping organizations develop and implement Social Knowledge Networks in their businesses with Presto.

It was time to record those conversations and experiences in a white paper for all of the Inmagic community to learn from. Our President and CEO, Ron Matros, put pen to paper to develop a piece about the information access challenges currently facing the enterprise, dubbed "Social Knowledge Networks: Transforming the Way Information-Driven Enterprises Work."

He discusses the ways in which Social Knowledge Networks can help organizations overcome barriers to knowledge transfer, knowledge retention, and collaboration to speed decision-making.

It's a good read to get an introduction to Social Knowledge Networks, or to follow up on something you might have already talked to us about. You can download it from our website and share with colleagues. Any questions, you know how to reach us or leave a comment! :)

How pharma and biotech are cutting costs with Social Knowledge Networks

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We're picking up with our Vertical Views series today by profiling the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Specifically, we're looking at pharmaceutical and biotech professionals' knowledge management needs, and how they can use Social Knowledge Networks to address them.

Our profile of the pharma/biotech industry is built on our own market research and experience working with companies in these industries. Inmagic pharmaceutical and biotechnology customers include AstraZeneca, Cephalon, Pfizer, and Solvay Pharmaceuticals.

Here's a page from our notes from working with these organizations. We've distilled the key points and lessons learned to help other professionals in these industries understand how Social Knowledge Networks can apply to their business, and see how their peers are using them to reach their objectives surrounding product innovation and development, cost reduction, and regulatory compliance.

Metrics for measuring Enterprise 2.0 adoption and ROI

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What do Enterprise 2.0 and weight loss fads have in common?

First off, I'll admit the concept might be a stretch, but work with me here. Two of the hottest topics currently in debate regarding E2.0 are ROI and adoption. We agree, we disagree, we agree to disagree, and round and round we go.

And that's fine. It's healthy actually. But I think we often talk in high-level terms when it comes to E2.0, and in order to make E2.0 a business success, we need to get down to the nitty-gritty.

For starters, let's talk ROI. You simply cannot achieve ROI without clear metrics and objectives. This must go beyond things like, "we need to collaborate," "we need better access to information," and "we need to leverage social capabilities."

That's like going on a diet and saying, "I want to lose weight." First, you have to know how much you weigh now in order to know how much you've lost later. Do you want to be able to run a mile? Fit into a pair of pants from high school? Hit a certain number? These are all tangible changes and results from your starting point. You either accomplish them or you don't. Same goes for E2.0 ROI.

For example, here are just a few metrics by which to measure the R in your ROI:
  • Number of contributors to your community
  • Number of comments
  • Number of ratings
  • Number of documents circulated/shared
  • Number of days a new employee is up and running
  • Number of days a new project is completed
  • Number of days/minutes a customer support issue is identified and solved
And for E2.0 adoption? The metrics listed above are also indicators of the rate and success of E2.0 adoption. But additionally, it's important to note that E2.0 is not just about technology success. Quick E2.0 success that is solely technology-driven can leave you feeling like you're on the Atkins diet. It may be a great way to reach your goal quickly, but it's not sustainable.

You also need the culture (or lifestyle) adjustments that are going to support your objectives long term. Metrics by which to measure E2.0 adoption in terms of culture can be:
  • Number of C-level executives and subject-matter experts who are sharing their knowledge with the organization
  • Number of research pieces and other data that is accessible to the organization
  • Number of ways the organization shares knowledge
  • Percentage of employees' days spent working in a team and collaborating on a project
  • Percentage of cross-functional groups accessing/sharing data that was otherwise siloed
  • Percentage decrease in e-mail, in favor of collaborative social tools as a means of communication
Just as there is no real mystery to weight loss, generally speaking (hint: eat right and exercise), successful E2.0 also requires a recipe that mixes culture and technology and maps to tangible results.

What metrics are you using to measure E2.0 ROI and adoption? Anything different from those listed here? We'd love to hear about them in the comments.

Making the business case for Enterprise 2.0

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BULL'S EYE: E2.0 solutions must focus on the business goal
Dion Hinchcliffe had a great line in his post on ZDNet last week: "When you have tool myopia, it sometimes seems like every business problem looks like a nail for your particular software hammer."

Isn't that the truth? When it comes to Enterprise 2.0, there has been much discussion around tools and processes. "We still focus too much on the tools themselves (which are exciting), the potential for radical organizational change and/or transformation of traditional hierarchies (also very interesting, yet it unnerves those trying to run a business even though such transformation takes a time), and a focus on new collaborative approaches instead of looking for the best way to solve business problems," writes Dion.

As we've covered before on the blog, and as I reiterated in my comment on Dion's post, companies have to start with the business objective at hand. What's the end game? This is true for any enterprise initiative, including business performance improvement.

Do you need to use E2.0 to improve proposal development? Competitive intelligence? Consumer insight? In our experience, our most successful customers are those that use Social Knowledge Networks to address specific problems, achieve certain results, and serve target audiences.

Otherwise it's just like throwing a bunch of spaghetti at the wall and hoping it sticks. And while the Italian in me will always have a soft spot for homemade spaghetti, I'd rather enjoy eating it than cleaning it up off the floor.

So if I didn't make you hungry just now ;), I'd encourage you to hop over to ZDNet and read the rest of Dion's post. He explored a few other facets of E2.0 and business performance, which are thought-provoking and worth a read. Better yet, grab a fork and read it at the same time!

New resources on updated Inmagic website

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If you've hit the Inmagic website in the past few days and noticed something different, don't worry. You're not going crazy, and there's no need to adjust your computer screen. We've just made some updates. OK, actually a lot of updates. We pretty much took a hack saw to it.

Inmagic's new home page

But the result is something that (we think) will make it easier for you to navigate our products, learn about Social Knowledge Networks, and see how other companies are using them in their KM and broader business strategies. More details on the changes we made are in the press release we issued this morning.

Feel free to click around, poke through the resources we've posted, and as always, leave your feedback in the comments. Surf's up!

CIL 2010 notes: SOPAC and OPAC take aways

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Paula Hane's coverage of Phil's presentation
We had a great turnout for our CIL 2010 presentation the other week, From OPAC to SOPAC: Steps to a Social Library. Our CTO Phil Green was joined on stage by one of our customers, Mark Patrick, Managing Librarian for the Revs Institute for Automotive Research, to talk about how to socialize your library and move from an OPAC to a SOPAC (social online access public catalog).

Phil defined SOPACs, and explained how they can accelerate information discovery and transfer. Mark followed up by talking about how he's using Presto for Social Libraries as the public interface to his organization's collection of historical automobile photos.

Matt Phillips's notes from Phil's presentation
Some bloggers who attended the presentation have posted their notes online. So if you weren't able to make it, all is not lost!! Editor Paula Hane summed up the salient points from our presentation on the Information Today blog, LIBCONF.com. She also captured a quote from Mark: "'Our experience with Presto has been fantastic ... Information discovery is synaptic (non-linear), digital, and social.'"

And librarian Matt Phillips provided his feedback on his blog, saying, "There is a new model for library catalogs. Users want to contribute. We can benefit from their contributions but we will need to moderate. A SOPAC allows us to do just that."

Hit their posts to read their thoughts in full.

Computers in Libraries 2010 conference, in pictures

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As you probably know, we were exhibiting at the CIL 2010 (Computers in Libraries) conference this week. The show went well for us, and we came back with some great insight into the information discovery and management needs facing info pros today. We're working on putting together more detailed feedback and takeaways, and hope to have that for you on the blog soon.

We also snapped some pics while we were there, and thought we'd share with you.

Using Social Knowledge Networks to Bridge the Information Access Gap in SharePoint Environments: the white paper

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It's well-known that millions of professionals are using Microsoft SharePoint. An IDG Research study found that 53 percent of surveyed CIOs are using SharePoint within their enterprises.

No secret there. SharePoint is one of the most widely used enterprise platforms, and projections indicate that adoption will continue. But that's not why I'm writing this post.

What's more interesting about that IDG study is that 55 percent of respondents reported that SharePoint challenges are impacting their business.

Even though so many businesses rely on SharePoint for their enterprise knowledge management needs, they continue to struggle to find, organize, and distribute knowledge to the right people at right time. What's wrong this picture???

We think we can tell you. Based on our relationships with customers and interactions in the marketplace, we're finding that many SharePoint companies are hitting a wall when it comes to users' information access needs.

Bob Warren, our VP of Products, wrote a white paper about just this. He details what the information access gap is, and how companies can fill it using Social Knowledge Networks. Bob's white paper covers the bases regarding how to extract more value from your SharePoint investment to help accelerate collaborative decision-making and increase productivity enterprise-wide.

It's worth a read, and you can download the white paper from our Web site. While you're reading it, I hope you'll be saying (or thinking. I guess not everyone talks to themselves ...!), "yes, that's me!!" If not, we'd love to hear what challenges you are encountering with SharePoint. In fact, we'd love to hear any and all feedback. You know how -- just leave a note in the comments!

Inmagic Presto for Social Libraries updated

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We've released a new version of Presto for Social Libraries today. It has seven main updates to the serials functionality, SharePoint integration, security, and more. In addition to traditional library workflow capabilities, Presto for Social Libraries integrates social knowledge network capabilities to provide a framework for managing and enhancing library collections.

We issued a press release today with details on the new functionality, and you can give it read below to learn what you can now expect from Presto for Social Libraries. For more information on the app, hit our Web site. We have some other informational materials, including a white paper on social libraries, for your reference.

Paul Gillin on communities, the transcript

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In case you're at a spot where you can't pipe sound from your speakers, or if you're just more of a visual learner, we've transcribed our recent podcast with Paul Gillin, tech journalist and social media adviser. We talked about online B2B communities, and how you can use them to solve business problems and develop your professional credentials. Read on!

Bill Ives reviews Presto 3.3 on The AppGap

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REVIEWED: Bill Ives evaluates Presto 3.3
We launched our latest Presto release, version 3.3 a couple weeks ago. Around that time, Phil and I had a conversation with AppGap blogger and KM thought leader, Bill Ives. We updated Bill on what's changed since the last version of Presto, which he covered last May.

He wrote an article on The AppGap yesterday with his feedback on Presto 3.3. He gave a nod to our SharePoint integration, saying, "I like their enhancements, as Presto 3.3 should bring the transparency benefits of Enterprise 2.0 to more people at a greater speed."

But don't just take my word for it. Flip over to his review for his complete commentary, and to see the screen shots he captured from our demonstration. And thanks to Bill for the review.

Learn how to socialize your library: Phil Green and Mark Patrick present at CIL 2010

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ROAD WARRIOR: Revs Institute has 1 million auto archives
The Computers in Libraries (CIL) conference starts Monday in Arlington, Va. Our own Phil Green will be presenting on social libraries with one of our customers, Mark Patrick, Managing Librarian for the Revs Institute for Automotive Research.

Their presentation, From OPAC to SOPAC: Steps to a Social Library, will cover the basics of socializing your library, including best practices and potential drawbacks. Phil and Mark will also cover how Social Knowledge Networks can provide a unique framework for managing and enhancing library collections, resulting in an information exchange that transforms the library into a true collaboration center.

The Revs Institute is an educational organization focusing on the history of the automobile. The organization houses over 1 million historic items, including highly specialized research books, documents and images. It uses Presto for Social Libraries to help support this initiative.

If you are attending CIL, and interested in learning how to socialize your library, mark your schedule for Phil and Mark's presentation on Tuesday, April 13 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Also, we'd love to have you stop by our booth, #220. Meet our team, talk shop, ask questions. We'll be there with resources and answers o'plenty!

There are a lot of interesting sessions on the show agenda this year, including several from Marshall Breeding, Director for Innovative Technologies and Research at Vanderbilt University. He'll be presenting on Sunday, April 11 at the pre-conference workshops, and twice on the 13th.

If you haven't registered yet for CIL, you can still sign up online. If you're unable to attend, you can follow all the show news at #CIL2010. We'll also bring back our feedback from the show here on the blog.

What's fueling the energy industry's embracement of collaboration and Enterprise 2.0?

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FUEL FOR THOUGHT: What's driving energy to collaborate?
Jacob Morgan posted an article on his blog on Monday about how the oil and gas industry is embracing collaboration enterprise-wide. He cites Shell's efforts as a recent example, which you can read more about in case study from Microsoft.

In his post, Jacob writes, "Companies with a global reach and presence need a way to get everyone on the same page; to effectively operate as a single entity instead of as a fragmented organization. You can’t manage 150,000 employees with multiple managers and email as a source of communication."

As I wrote in the comments, there’s no doubt the oil and gas industry's initiatives to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions are dependent upon collective innovation. It's encouraging to see Shell adopting a more unified approach to collaboration.

I also thought Jacob's perceptions reflect similar needs we see from our customers in this space. We’re seeing a couple drivers fueling the need for more effective collaboration and knowledge management solutions.

One, employees need to be able to collaborate more closely and rapidly on internal energy research and development. And two, the growing number of partnerships between governments and industry, and between knowledge producers and knowledge consumers, are bringing disparate organizations and teams together that must now collaborate on enterprise content.

This is naturally engendering what we call “knowledge communities” focused on critical issues. And like most business objectives and processes, technology will play a key supporting role. Enterprises need a tight integration between business and IT to achieve their business goals of collaboration.

More importantly, they also need a collaborative organizational culture. Collaboration is not just a business process, nor is it just a set of technologies. It’s also a cultural mindset created by management and pushed out through the organization.

I think instilling a culture of collaboration enterprise-wide is really what will reduce the “lag time” that Jacob cites from Hutch Carpenter in his post. That’s what will help companies “cross the chasm,” to use Geoffrey Moore’s words, and move into mainstream adoption of collaboration and Enterprise 2.0.

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