Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Enterprise 2.0: A State of the Industry Address

Dan Keldsen, director of market intelligence at AIIM and Carl Frappaolo, book author and vice president, market of market intelligence at AIIM are presenting the result of an extensive study they just completed on what's going on with Enterprise 2.0. The survey had 441 respondents and was recently released as a 90 pages report available at

AIIM also assembled a panel to assess the findings of the survey. The panel included Patti Anklam, Stowe Boyd, Andrew McAffee, Eric Tsui and David Weinberger

Among the top findings from the survey:
  • Age does not matter (as much as you think)
  • Culture matters (more than you think). This is the single most important thing to embrace Enterprise 2.0
    • KM inclined organizations are 2X as likely to significantly increase rate of networking and increase formation of communities
    • KM inclined organizations are 31% as likely to pursue Enterprise 2.0 strategically
    • The key drivers for adoption are: Increase collaboration (69%), Awareness of what we know (56%), Increase agility and responsiveness (56%), Faster communication (55%)
    • The biggest obstacles are: Lack of understanding, Lack of best practice
  • It is a slow market which frustrates early adopters - market is not moving as fast as led to believe
  • Strategy (is hard to find) and Enterprise 2.0 is often undertaken in a non-strategic way

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Working in the Cloud: How Cloud Computing is Reshaping Enterprise Technology

At the Enterprise 2.0 conference, Rishi Chandra, product manager for Google Enterprise delivered a thoughtful and interesting talk on how cloud computing is reshaping enterprise technology. Rishi makes the point that the next 10 years of innovation will be in the cloud.

From Rishi's presentation, I took the following takeaways:
  • The cloud will drive towards unmatched scalability which in return will marginalize the cost per unit of the infrastructure whether it be storage or processing power
  • The uptime requirements of the cloud will provide unmatched reliability
  • Cloud computing providers need to build trust in their infrastructure. Security being often the primary concern.
  • This is a highly disruptive trend which could transform the economic dynamics of the software industry for on-premise software
During his presentation, Rishi outlined 4 areas of innovation that will further increase the appeal of cloud based solutions:
  • Consumer driven innovation will set the pace. Why? Because the consumer world is Darwinian in nature. Within the Enterprise, there is a lack of direct connection to the end user as purchase decision connect vendors with IT or purchasing departments. In the consumer space, consumers have direct choice and access to the technology.
    One key lesson learned at Google is that simplicity wins. Google has been able to accomplish this by having an explicit focus on end user. This results in better solutions for the end user and drives towards increased innovation.
  • The rise of the power collaborator. The world is about team and group productivity where individuals needs to become increasingly connected to be more productive. Rishi makes the point that tools in the enterprise are still built for power users. The cloud is focused on collaboration and allows users to contribute information anywhere, all the time. Rishi envisions users being able to collaboration on content online and leverage "cloud services" such as automated translation to break communication barriers between contributors, or publishing services to publish information. The cloud is the right platform to provide those services and will offer one repository of information with open APIs.
  • The economics of IT are changing. The larger question for the enterprise is: how does the enterprise deal with scalability? Google as tremendous scalability challenges it needs to deal with. For instance, on the Google Picassa web service, 7 million new photos are uploaded a day. As Google scales its infrastructure, Google predicts that scale will drive unit costs towards zero. This is an interesting trend and aligned with what Amazon S3 services illustrate with storage at $0.15/GB. This provides some clear challenges for more traditional storage companies. Google positions its App Engine as a scalable hosting platform. This trend towards unlimited scalability provides huge opportunities and have great implications for the enterprise.
  • Barriers to adoption are falling away. Connectivity is becoming less of an issue. In addition, the user experience of web applications is getting richer all the time. Also, reliability expectations have changed. For instance, Gmail is multi homed, providing unmatched reliability. Rishi predicts that this will provide a level of reliability that on-premise deployment will be challenged to meet. One key barrier to adoption is security. But how secure is your organization today? 1 in 10 laptops are stolen within 12 months after purchase. Rishi makes the argument that data in the clould is more secure. However Google recognizes that in order to address the security issue, it will need to build trust with its customer. Google already does this, Postini is leveraging its cloud infrastructure for security and compliance solutions.
As closing remarks, Google does not believe that on-premise software is going away but predicts that innovation will happen in the cloud and open APIs will foster competition. Rishi predicts that all Google applications will become more social and leverage a common platform.

From the Bottom-Up: Building the 21st Century Intelligence Community

At the Enterprise 2.0 conference, Sean Dennehy and Don Burke, both Intellipedia evangelists at the CIA covered some interesting aspects of Intellipedia. Intellipedia encompasses:
  • Wiki, the core of Intellipedia
  • Blog
  • Tagging and social bookmarking (ala branded as Intelink
  • Document management branded as Inteldoc
  • A gallery of images similar to flickr
  • Video services
Intellipedia differs in many ways from Wikipedia. With Intellipedia, all edits are attributable to the author as users are required to login. It is not limited to an encyclopedia use case. Intellipedia also introduces a team dimension as well where many contributors from different agencies are contributing attributable point of views. Adoption is still ramping up and Intellipedia is not at a point where everyone is contributing knowledge. One of the challenge for adoption has been cultural. Sean and Don created a framework with 3 core principles to deal with distribution of knowledge issue:
  • Work at broadest audience possible
  • Think topically not organizationally
  • Replace existing business processes and move processes out of channel but into a platform. For instance, if a user is about to send an email sent to 50 people, it would be more effective as a blog post.
At Intellipedia, the #1 contributor is 69 years old with 40 years of experience. Adoption is not an age issue, organizations need to address the cultural challenges, and start small.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Visual Search: A Better Way to Find Information?

Visual search is an area that's definitely gaining traction. A couple interesting startups have emerged that put a new twist on searching for information:
  • SearchMe, located in Mountain View, CA, a well founded startup, launched its private beta in March 2008
  • Viewzi, based in Dallas, TX, is offering early access to its visual views
SearchMe takes the Cover Flow approach to visually represent search results. Their model is very similar to Finder in Apple's Mac OS X.

Though very attractive, the SearchMe model is limited when searching for songs, videos, or shopping items. SearchMe always return a web page which may not always be the most appropriate context.

Here comes Viewzi, which created a platform with an API to allow domain experts to build specialized views. As it matures Viewzi is planning to open up its platform to allow the community to contribute views and expertise. Viewzi already provides multiple ways for users to search for information and users can switch between different views based on the type of search that they perform. Some interesting samples from the various view Viewzi provides:
  • Video x3 View
  • 4 Sources View
  • Web Screenshot View
  • Gadget View
  • Everyday Shopping View
  • MP3 Search View
  • Album View

Viewzi also does a pretty good job at associating the relevant views to the search term.
Such focused visual searches are very effective to help locate information more quickly as they clearly set the context for the user. The application of such technologies within the enterprise would be tremendous. It will be interesting to follow Viewzi's evolution as they open up their platform to a broader community and how many business related views emerge.