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It takes a village to run Enterprise 2.0

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We're getting old. Sighhhhhh.

That's probably one of the last things you want to be reminded of, but recently I got to thinking about how our aging workforce can be used to our advantage as we work to deploy Enterprise 2.0.

I was reading this ZDNet article by Oliver Marks, in which he talks about how we can use technology to foster family cohesion and and help keep the elderly productive.

"Given that modern families, like modern business, are increasingly distributed, we can look at the innovation from companies like Apple and Cisco in a new light as enablers to the new (older) generation," he writes.

But rather than continuing to focus on the us vs. them generational divide debate, why not capitalize on our generational strengths, instead of using them against one other?

Gen Y is considered the Internet Generation or Facebook Generation, characterized by its "natural-born" expertise in digital technologies, media, and communication. Gen Yers are known for their inventiveness and propensity to rewrite the rules.

Gen X, truth be told, is a heterogeneous bunch. It's considered the PC Generation, living through the Dot-com bubble's growth and subsequent burst. Some also characterize Gen Xers as a generation that rejects rules, is practical, and multitasks well.

And baby boomers are known for their rejection of the institution and bringing about major social change. They're marked by their independent thinking and worldly views.

So what if we let Gen Y focus on the latest technology, Gen X on networking, and boomers on imparting a lifetime of knowledge and experience?

One group is not better equipped to lead or execute a business plan than the next. But given the opportunity to collaborate, each generation can educate and mentor others, resulting in a cross-pollination of ideas, experience, and knowledge.

It takes a village to run a successful business. A rainbow of skills, expertise, talent, from a range of ages. The same holds true for E2.0. A successful E2.0 strategy can thrive with cross-generational collaboration.

Bill Ives calls Presto "great example" of collaboration and content management integration

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Phil and I recently had the pleasure of demoing Presto 3.5 to KM blogger and thought leader Bill Ives. We took Bill through all of our platform's new features, including the Discussion Forums, Report Generator, extended single sign-on (SSO) capabilities, and overall performance improvements.

It was a great meeting. Getting feedback from someone as entrenched in the KM industry as Bill Ives is valuable to our future development efforts. In fact, Bill shared his impressions of Presto on his blog this week.


"I like the improvements with Presto 3.5, especially the ones that address the social side of content management. With enterprise 2.0 we are seeing an increasing integration of collaboration and content management capabilities. Presto 3.5 is a great example of this trend," wrote Bill.

Click over to see what else Bill Ives has to say about Presto. Bill also tweeted about his Presto review.


Thanks again for taking our demo, Bill, and sharing your feedback with us!

Enterprise 2.0: Who's driving the bus?

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We're seeing organizations increasingly put forth efforts to move from tactical Enterprise 2.0 experiments and pilots to strategic Enterprise 2.0 deployments. But to get there, they're trying to determine who should be driving the bus. The C-suite? Middle management? Senior staff? Or someone else?

Dion Hinchcliffe broke down the possibilities recently in a ZDNet article, examining where E2.0 leadership can be found, and why certain roles are well-suited to be in charge of E2.0.

He came to an interesting conclusion. Successful E2.0 leadership "take a village." Professionals from a range of levels are needed to spread the E2.0 gospel and manifest it throughout the organization.

While I agree, and encourage you to give Dion's article a read, I also have to play devil's advocate. As I wrote in my comment for Dion, who leads the E2.0 charge is less important than how it gets done.

Every organization has unique business objectives. As such, every organization should adapt E2.0 to meet them. And that includes who their E2.0 leader is.

Successful E2.0 develops and grows organically from within an organization. It's started and driven by those who are passionate about collaboration and knowledge sharing. If that's the president, middle manager, or junior associate, well, then you have your answer. Ultimately, it comes down to not leading E2.0, but enabling and fostering it throughout the organization.

Buzz off: a grievance against buzzwords

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In our Inmagic newsletter archive from winter 1990-1991, Inmagic founder Karen Brothers voices her distaste for buzzwords.

We've all been exposed to a litany of this over-used terminology. But let's be honest. At the end of the day, it is what it is. We all want to engage in a synergistic evolution of dialogue, but many of us are probably growing weary at the sight and sound of yet another buzzword.

Consider this. There are close to 70 regularly used business buzzwords, according to data on Wikipedia. That's a lot of jargon for anyone to tolerate.

In our Inmagic newsletter, Karen takes a philosophical approach to explain why buzzwords exist and the purpose they serve. She believes we use buzzwords to frame new concepts and give context to emerging ideas.

She uses artificial intelligence as an example, writing, "This buzzword has been around for a while. But what does it mean to the average computer user?....Until [this] technology is in common use, we may continue to argue about what it is. Truth is, most people don't care what it is. And we probably won't care until we see a product which greatly improves our lives, and which waves this buzzword as a banner."

I agree, and I think we see the same scenario playing out with Enterprise 2.0 and the surrounding great debate about what it is, what isn't, and to whom. And love them or hate them, the influx of social-related buzzwords (Web 2.0, social media, the cloud, etc.) is helping drive the emerging E2.0 construct.

In addition, as the article states, it's not the buzzwords themselves that are exciting, but what they can mean for the industry. And when the industry sorts itself out, the buzzwords will become transparent, technology will be a silent partner, and we'll have to worry a whole lot less about how work gets done. And transparency of how we work is, well, buzz worthy.

Give our newsletter a once-over to see what else we were talking about in 1991. And feel free to post a comment. We'd love to hear your thoughts.

No standardization for E2.0 is its blessing and curse

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We've talked a lot on our blog about how there is no right or wrong way to implement Enterprise 2.0. But that can be both a blessing and curse.

On the plus side, E2.0's flexibility gives organizations the ability to adapt it to their business objectives -- which is crucial to gaining positive results. Organizations can use the technologies, develop the processes, and deploy the resources needed to meet their goals.

However, E2.0 can be nebulous. Its subjective definition and lack of guidelines and requirements can make it difficult to understand, let alone introduce into an organization.
 
But, as Ethan Yarbrough recently wrote in a post on AIIM's Enterprise 2.0 blog, "That’s OK; you make up your own mind."

What works for one company doesn't necessarily work for another. You define and measure your own success against your own business objectives. And those can be very different from the next company.

I agree with a lot of the points Ethan makes in his post. He goes on to explain the subjectivity surrounding E2.0 well, so if you're looking for some clarification on the topic, I'd encourage you to give it a read. And to help crystallize the notion, I wrote an analogy in a comment below Ethan's post.

What are your thoughts? How much can an Enterprise 2.0 manual foster adoption, and how much can it stifle it?

One day left to register for free webinar on associations' social knowledge management strategies

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Reminder folks! Our free webinar on Association 2.0 is tomorrow from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT. Few seats remain, so if you haven't registered yet, make sure you sign up ASAP!

You'll have the opportunity to hear from:

Peter Hutchins, Vice President of Knowledge Initiatives, American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). He'll be discussing industry trends, the impact of the social movement on associations, and how they can use these technologies to meet business objectives surrounding member support and patronage.

Chris Larsen, Director of Marketing and Membership, Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA).

Corrina Mason, MISt, Information Specialist, HRPA. She and Chris will provide a guided tour of their association’s recently launched Resource Centre, a robust, searchable online HR knowledgebase that's powered by a Social Knowledge Network.

You can register for our Association 2.0 webinar online. For more details on what the webinar will cover, flip back to our blog post about it. See you there!

Inmagic training programs tailored to your schedule

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One of the services we offer here at Inmagic is training tailored to your schedule and role in your organization. We've found that customers like to learn how to use our software in a variety of ways, so we've created several training courses that we provide either online, or in person at your location. They include:
  • Presto Content Administrator
  • Presto Technical Administrator
  • DB/Text Library Suite
  • DB/Text Web Publisher Pro
  • DB/Text Works
Our Inmagic partners are certified trainers in our software too. So wherever you're located around the globe, we have trainers nearby to get you up and running quickly.

We have a couple of brochures on our website with more information about our training programs, which I encourage you hit if you're looking for some more general info. For customized training or our schedule of upcoming sessions, feel free to call us at 800-229-8398 (for international, 1-781-938-4444), or send us an e-mail to Training@Inmagic.com.

Free webinar: Decide for yourself if Association 2.0 is future or fad

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Reminder folks! Our free Association 2.0 webinar is filling up quickly, so be sure to register as soon as possible to claim your spot.
 
Social technology is re-writing the rules of knowledge management for associations. More effective information management and collaboration is a reality -- indeed, an imperative -- for the success of these information-centric organizations.

This is giving rise to a new trend that's taking on the name Association 2.0. But the jury is still out on whether this is just a fad, or the future of associations. So we put together this webinar to help you decide for yourself.

We wanted to provide a factual account of what's going on right now with associations and how they are socializing their knowledgebases. So we brought in three guests who are making some of the industry's first inroads into Association 2.0.

Peter Hutchins, Vice President of Knowledge Initiatives at the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), will discuss industry trends and the impact of the social movement on associations.

And presenting from the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) will be Chris Larsen, Director of Marketing and Membership, and Corrina Mason, MISt, Information Specialist. They will demonstrate their association’s recently launched Resource Centre, which is built in a Social Knowledge Network.

Register now to claim your spot, and mark your calendar for Oct. 19 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT. Feel free to share the invitation with anyone who you think would be interested too. Hope to see you there!

Long live the listserv or let it die?

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Online communities vs. listservs. For associations, it's a question of sticking with the traditional approach to member communications and networking, or transitioning to a modern, more feature-rich platform. When do you know to give your listserv the boot??

A great discussion about this has been percolating on the associationTECH blog this week. I'd encourage you to flip over to Maggie McGary's post which sparked the discussion, and scroll through the comments. Lots of really interesting insight to read. I also shared my own thoughts on the matter. I take the stance that the key to keep in mind is to map specific features from Web 2.0 to specific, tried-and-trusted tools from Web 1.0. But I'll let my comment, and the rest, do the talking from here. Feel free to add your own too.

Intranets: Why they're here to stay

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This was the title of the Inmagic company newsletter from May 1997. And 13 years later, I think it's safe to say that was an accurate prediction. Intranets have stuck around and have myriad purposes for any given company. For instance, it's used as a platform for communicating corporate strategy, distributing HR materials, deploying new technology applications, storing and making documents available for updates, communicating to end users, etc.

Intranets started simply enough, with a client/server network and a need to share information behind the firewall. Then the standard Web browser became the interface for many types of information systems that hosted corporate data. This was your Web 1.0 world.

But as the need to merge inside-the-firewall activities with outside-the-firewall activities developed, the need arose to aggregate this information and make it accessible in a logical format -- both inside and outside the firewall. And, like icing on the cake, there is now a social layer on top of all of it. Welcome to the Web 2.0 world. And yes, it too, is here to stay. (I'm putting a stake in the ground!)

There is a distinct parallel between the idea of Intranets (Web 1.0) and now the social trend (Web 2.0, which is slightly different for organizations and also known as Enterprise 2.0). But at the heart of both Web 1.0 and E2.0 are collecting, organizing, and making accessible all types of information so employees can collaborate company-wide.

So while the medium might be changing, the business objectives remain the same. Increase productivity and revenue, bring down costs, and make a more efficient organization. And E2.0 is proving it has the means to do just that.

Take a look-see at our May 1997 newsletter to see what else has stayed the same, and what has changed.

The bridge to connect knowledge and workers

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If your company is like most, you have multiple systems and tools to capture, store, find, and share enterprise knowledge. Just to name a few ...
  • E-mail
  • Shared network drives
  • Cloud-based document repositories (e.g., Google Docs, Zoho Docs, etc.)
  • Websites
  • Blogs and microblogs (e.g., Wordpress, Yammer, etc.)
  • Wikis
  • Content management systems (CMS)
  • Document management systems (DMS)
  • Digital asset management systems (DAMS)
  • Corporate library management systems (LMS)
  • Knowledge management systems (KM)
  • Enterprise message boards
  • Enterprise search engines
  • Enterprise portals
  • Enterprise content management (ECM) systems (e.g., Microsoft SharePoint)
  • Enterprise social networking (ESN)
How many of these technologies do you use? But you're probably still struggling to find, organize, and distribute knowledge to the right people at right time. Each system is resulting in an information silo that makes it difficult to manage and share intellectual property with your team and organization. What you have is a disconnect, or gap, between knowledge and your organization's workers.

I contributed a guest article to eWeek recently about this challenge. It's what we at Inmagic call the "information access gap," which you can see illustrated below.


In my article I explain the business realities behind this diagram, and discuss the latest knowledge management thinking to bridge the information access gap and break down the information silos that reduce productivity and efficiency. Flip over to eWeek to give it a read, and let me know what you think. Does this problem sound familiar? How are you trying to bridge the divide between knowledge and your organization's workers?

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