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Enterprise 2.0 News & Analysis

Tools, Schmools: It's Really About Community Management

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“What we really need is our own private company Instagram, or maybe a chat-app just for employees” said no reasonable manager ever. So why is it that we’re seeing those very tools pop up in the enterprise market?

Modern enterprise collaboration leaders are on the hunt for mobile technology solutions that empower employees on the go. As knowledge workers spend less time at their desks, companies are scrambling to stay ahead in a BYOD, socially-fueled, cloud-based environment.

But as the enterprise seeks out the newest technology, we should take a step back and realize that the right tools are already here -- enterprise social networks.

Want Innovation? Create a Culture of 'Yes'

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Where have all the optimists gone?

Realists and pragmatists dominate today's business world -- the grounded individuals that set attainable goals, check their emotions at the door and embrace a healthy amount of skepticism. Their skills sets are invaluable and they allow your business to carry on at a steady rate.

But skepticism leaves many businesses without an appetite for adventure and in the rut of status quo. Innovation rarely happens when companies stick to the status quo and skeptics find themselves uneasy around risky gambles.

This is where optimists can help balance the scales.

Is VMware Out to Disrupt the Likes of Box & Huddle?

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger probably doesn’t lie awake at night worrying how Box CEO Aaron Levie plans to win the Enterprise Content Collaboration market.

Chances are good that he’s not all that concerned about Jeetu Patel at EMC Syncplicity, Morten Brøgger at Huddle or Vineet Jain at Egnyte either.

And that’s not because the aforementioned vendors and others like them lack good enterprise file sync and share and/or enterprise content collaboration products. In fact, VMware even partners with some of them.

But Gelsinger’s team is aiming for something bigger and broader — owning end user computing in the enterprise.

And that means social, mobile, video, content, collaboration, cloud and desktop virtualization.

What's Wrong with Social Collaboration Tools? Everything

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Several forces are at work in the "social collaboration" tool marketplace that are creating great turbulence. 

It’s fairly well-known that businesses face a systemic issue with adoption of social collaboration tools. These tools (also called enterprise social networks, or social business) share some common design motifs, like activity streams, project or group workspaces, file sharing, user profiles, and various communication mechanisms such as direct messages, @mentions and so on.

But what isn’t generally acknowledged is that business productivity was much higher in the years preceding the emergence of Web 2.0 social collaboration tools. This means that Web 1.0 era tools -- like instant messenger and the much maligned email -- may have offered more oomph, at least when compared with pre-Web techniques like fax, phone calls and inter-office mail.

A 3 Point Plan to Preserve Institutional Expertise

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Social learning ranks high today among the priorities of learning and development professionals in businesses large and small. It’s easy to see why -- studies have found that informal knowledge sharing among colleagues is responsible for 70 to 80 percent of the information employees learn on the job.

But how does the increasingly popular trend of social learning differ from the more established practice of knowledge management?

At their core, these activities are two sides of the same coin: both are concerned with information sharing among employees to drive greater productivity, collaboration and the preservation of institutional knowledge. It’s the way in which these two practices accomplish their goals that sets them apart.

Not in Silicon Valley? You Can Still Hire Great Coders

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Who says you have to have a Silicon Valley-based company to hire the best coding talent?

Certainly not Erik Trautman, CEO of the new online-only coding bootcamp, Viking School. In fact, he started the school not only to make learning how to code more accessible to students nationwide — but also to help its graduates connect with companies with outside of major tech hubs.

There are plenty of opportunities for software engineer talent beyond those traditional borders, he said.

“We founded Viking School to help create a base of students capable of and willing to fill jobs in parts of the country that wouldn’t normally have that kind of access,” Trautman told CMSWire. “We’re interested in working with companies who wouldn’t necessarily have access to this level of talent otherwise.”

Yammer Co-Founder Wants to Change Your Work - Again

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Adam Pisoni likes to change lives — or at least the way people work.

Pisoni and former PayPal COO David Sacks founded Yammer in 2008.

The enterprise social network arguably changed the way millions of people work. Microsoft bought Yammer for $1.2 billion in 2012.

Three years later, Pisoni is still trying to create change.

This time, he's trying to instigate an entire ideological shift in the way enterprises approach work. In February, he left Microsoft to devote more attention to a number of things, including a project called Responsive.org.

Should You Enable 'Big' Social Business or Team Collaboration?

There are few business decisions more critical than determining how to provide an enabling environment for a workforce to operate efficiently and effectively. Yet the key levers of the modern digital workplace are still relatively unfamiliar to most executives.

Just as challenging is the technology space, which is complex enough -- and certainly fragmented enough -- that most corporate leaders are forced to assume they either have enough enabling collaboration technology already, or that someone, most likely in IT, is already working on an improvement plan.

Unfortunately, having worked with top corporate leaders around the world on collaboration improvement for most of this century, I find that these assumptions aren't usually true. 

Worse, by defaulting the decisions to those who almost certainly don't have as clear a sense of business objectives, this stance ensures collaboration becomes a mostly tactical, and not a strategic activity in the organization.

The Spartan Browser for #Win10: What's the Big Deal?

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Microsoft recently released a replacement browser for Internet Explorer to Windows 10 testers. Tentatively dubbed Project Spartan, it's intended as a game-changer for the web.

Come this summer, Windows users on PCs, tablets and smartphones will be interacting with web sites and web apps,the company said, in a “fast, more secure, and more reliable” way.

But is it really such a big deal? Perhaps more importantly, if Microsoft makes significant changes to its Windows browser, will those changes impact the way people work? Or would enterprise web apps users simply avoid that impact the way they avoided Windows 8?

Forget ESNs, Give Me a Digital Workplace

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Experiencing dèjá vu?

If the title of this article sounds vaguely familiar, you would be right.

Laurence Hart's recent post, “Forget Intranets, Give Me an ESN,” deserved a rebuttal. And here it is.

Brace Yourselves for More Enterprise Social Network Attacks

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Enterprise Social Network (ESN) providers should be on alert in light of Slack's reported security breach last week.

ESNs are particularly vulnerable to database system hacks because their information is gold to corporate hackers, industry analysts told CMSWire.

“Social networking footprints are valuable to identity thieves because they come with all that biographical data like birth dates, localities and relatives, and all the additional descriptive stuff like your friendships that help to identify you,” said Steve Wilson, vice president, principal analyst and lead on digital privacy and safety for Silicon Valley-based Constellation Research.

“Skilled thieves,” Wilson added, “use this data to impersonate you at call centers and in online registration channels, to perpetrate fraud in your name. With workplace social networking, the game is much the same but the stakes are much higher.”

Mobile Is Changing Your Social Collaboration Apps

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Social collaboration applications have been in a race since their inception to see which could be the most feature laden. It was an arms race of sorts, with each side adding more ways to communicate and collaborate and -- in the process -- becoming more monolithic.

Applications that started as simple activity feeds and corporate microblogging platforms blossomed into much bigger software systems. Modern enterprise social networks, for example, allow end-users to share all manner of content including files and audio. Some allow sharing of business objects which encapsulate data and actions associated with a business process.

Even basic lightweight task management -- a specialty feature just a few years ago -- has morphed into sophisticated workflows with metadata driven program logic and is available in the majority of social collaboration tools.  

Collaboration in the New Age of Intranets

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Intranets held such promise in the early days of the Internet. Then they became the butt of many a joke in the enterprise.

Q: Where does useful information go to die?
A: Our intranet.

But in the past two years we’ve seen an intranet resurgence, driven by the technology and the traction user experience has gained in the enterprise.

Reading the Patterns in the Collaboration Tool Landscape

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Have you ever been asked, "Why can't you just tell me what's the best tool to collaborate with?”

If you are feeling challenged by the number of collaboration solutions and options available, you're not alone. Working as both a consultant and practitioner over the last 15 years, I can testify that the collaboration software landscape's complexity has grown exponentially over that time.

Why Choose? Mix and Match Tools to Fit Your Digital Workplace Needs

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Traditional intranets, dominated by top-down corporate communications, are seen as outdated, no longer fit for modern, networked organizations. ESNs, so their champions say, are the way of the future -- enabling conversation in a way that’s flexible and responsive, aligned with modern ways of doing business. 

But what the debate should really boil down to is what does it take to create a productive digital workplace?

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