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Enterprise Collaboration News, Reviews

Support Teamwork in a Mobile and Cloud Environment

2014-30-July-Teamwork.jpgWe work today in a world of unparalleled teamwork. Think back 10 years: most organizational projects were completed by people that worked together in the same location. Now collaboration makes it possible for teams to work together across time zones and locations -- communicating with partners internally and externally. Reaching out has never been so simple.

Technology has made such teamwork possible. But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. The emergence of mobile and cloud computing have muddied the waters somewhat, making it far more difficult for IT departments to keep systems locked down and secure. So how do you take the confusion out of teamwork in our 24/7 connected world and make sure it delivers value for your organization? 

Focus on the Last Mile of SharePoint Automation

2014-30-July-Long-Road.jpgThe rise of social and collaborative networks has changed the nature of the business interaction. The inbox and the Rolodex have become foreign to us. We expect instant access, constant updates and alerts, and data about every aspect of our lives to be readily available. We expect common business activities to be automated, streamlined, easy. Many of our measurements for success in business (certainly from the information worker's standpoint) revolve around the quality of the user experience we receive -- or create for our customers.  

When surrounded by a team of people, it is easy enough get the necessary help from others to work through a complex or confusing business process. However, as an employee in a remote office, most of your daily information worker activities are likely self-driven. Many of the interactions that require involvement from others, who may be located in another time zone, can take time and reduce your productivity while you are waiting. Suddenly it is not just about identifying the right person for an approval or feedback but about balancing their availability against your project and time constraints.

Back to Basics (Again) with Enterprise Collaboration

2014-29-July-Puget-Sound.jpg2014 was the year that we were supposed to get back to basics. We’re now more than halfway done, back-to-school shopping season is upon us and many of us are probably thinking about returning to the work focus after taking advantage of the lazy hot days of summer (on the other hand, who’s up for a sunset sail around the bay?). I’d like to take this time to do a midyear checkup on enterprise collaboration and technology goals.

Facebook Thinks You'll 'Like' Enterprise Collaboration

social business, More Facebook Cloning Coming to Enterprise Collaboration?

Facebook at work. I've never done that. Have you?

But what if Facebooking at work was actually encouraged, maintained by your company itself and used for collaboration?

That could be what's happening in Zuckerberg Land, if you believe the anonymous source who told a reporter last month that the social network's working on a FB@Work platform in its London offices.

Microsoft Tightens the Reins on Office 365

Companies are still signing up for Yammer — despite the fact that user adoption remains a problem. 

In fact, according to Yammer co-founder David Sacks, the British grocery retailing giant Tesco has just inked a 250, 000 seat deal with Yammer. The information was contained in a memo from Sacks to Microsoft employees.

Sacks announced on Twitter late last week that he is leaving Microsoft, but did not specify why.

Take Control of Growing SharePoint Environments

2014-28-July-Conductor.jpgSharePoint is complex. With increased SharePoint adoption comes a number of IT challenges -- more users, more content and increased mission-criticality. Yet managing and maintaining a high-performance environment doesn’t require a costly or complex solution. Staying ahead of a rapidly evolving SharePoint environment requires a commitment to success, backed by proactive and thoughtful goal-setting, testing and measuring.

Startup Offers Free Collaboration Option for Any Web Page

Just as Microsoft blends Yammer into Office365, a startup is offering a free service to add a Facebook-like collaboration tool to any web page.

Lifestreams Technologies, a 2-year-old company based in New Haven, Conn., said the widget can be used on any intranet or public-facing website by adding a snippet of code to the html.

"Most websites today are relatively static," said Peter Prosol, business development director for the 10-person SaaS firm. "You'll find pictures and images and text, but it's more or less as it is. It doesn't change much. But adding a timeline to your site ... it lets you be more dynamic, add new content, refresh and be a little more interactive and engaging to the user."

SAP Jam's Approach to Social: It's All in the Work Patterns

2014-25-July-Loom.jpgThe social adoption and ROI discussions are getting louder as more and more enterprises implement social collaboration solutions and struggle to find success. Adoption and ROI are difficult areas to define, measure and implement. The Altimeter Group released a report on The Evolution of Social Business detailing how organizations that have implemented social have created technology silos and lack clear focus or strategy in how it should be deployed across the enterprise.

As social has become mainstream over the past few years, we have seen major software vendors across vertical markets and solution types integrate social into the fabric of their core products. Dion Hinchcliffe highlighted this trend in 2011 in his blog post “Putting Social to Work,” where he described the integration of social with ERP suites like Oracle, IBM, Salesforce, Microsoft and SAP.

I recently spoke with SAP's Social Software Solutions Senior Vice President and General Manager, Sameer Patel about social adoption and ROI. We discussed how SAP views these issues and how it developed the SAP Jam platform to address them. Its an interesting approach that's worth exploring in more depth.

Actiance Wants to Help Companies Curb Social Media Mistakes

New York politician Anthony Weiner's sexting scandal. Actor Ashton Kutcher's defense of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Former corporate communication director Justine Sacco's racist comment.

If mistakes like these have taught us nothing else, it's that social media can create viral reactions that linger on and on. It also proves that, contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as bad publicity.

What are the consequences?  In an office environment, not only is a job on the line for the offending employee, but companies can easily find themselves at the wrong end of a lawsuit filed by the offended worker.

What's worse, many companies have yet to establish social media polices — and even some that do adopt policies find they may violate federal labor laws.

The Mobile Enterprise Exists, But Successes Are Few and Far Between

Mobile Enterprise, 2014-24-July-Marbles.jpgThe mobile enterprise has some roadblocks standing in the way from moving from an ideal to a reality. I recently wrote about how a lack of enterprise mobile apps will prolong the realization of the anytime, anywhere workplace. But the dearth of apps is only one reason for the delay. Another reason is a lack of clearly defined business use cases for mobile devices. Organizations are sailing in uncharted mobile enterprise waters today, with few proven successes to emulate.

The bulk of use cases that have surfaced emphasize generic mobile device capabilities, but do not demonstrate clear return on investment (ROI). Some examples include enabling executives to access documents or videoconference with colleagues when away from their desks, and enabling mobile employees to "connect" from coffee shops or from home.

Want Engaged Employees? Show Them the Big Picture

2014-23-July-Big-Picture.jpgWhether they're building rockets, smartphones, microprocessors or cars, large organizations are under extreme pressure in today’s competitive environment. They are struggling to get the most from their people, generate more innovative ideas than their competitors, become more efficient and effective and -- of course -- bring their products to market faster than anyone else.

Within this landscape, the recent social business technologies have been recognized for their ability to drive productivity. McKinsey estimates employee productivity can be increased 25 percent through adoption of social technologies and establishing a "networked enterprise."

But little has been said about the unintended, long-term benefit of adopting an innovative social platform -- the ability to connect employee's work to the bigger business strategy. 

The Problem With Yammer? People Don't Use It

2014-23-July-see-no-evil-monkeys.jpg

Yammer is being promoted as the new social layer of SharePoint. But Microsoft is also tying it tightly into Office 365. In the past two weeks, this has resulted in the packaging of Yammer with Office 365 small business plans, while the price of Office 365 is also about to be slashed.

There are problems with Yammer. But the problem lies not the product itself.

According to David Lavenda, vice president of product strategy at Harmon.ie, the real problem is that many people who have access to it just won’t use it — or any other social network for that matter.

Dusting Off Intranet Metadata and Search

2014-22-July-Antiques.jpgSome people assume that if a concept is old, it's no longer relevant. Since we looked at the continued relevancy of the quaint old fashioned concept of information publishing on intranets in last month's post, I thought we'd take on a few more of those dusty relics of days gone by today: metadata and intranet search. The concepts are interrelated in that the success of communicating content on a one to many basis -- or an n to m basis, as you may have a small body of publishers or content creators putting out information to the company -- relies on findability.

Apple's IBM Play Isn't Only About Selling More iDevices

Apple wants a seat at the enterprise table and IBM will soon be rolling out the red carpet that leads to the boardroom. Sure, Big Blue’s CEO Ginni Rommety might have to help Apple Chief Tim Cook tie his tie and polish his shoes first, but it’s a fair trade.  He might have to tell her the difference between an application and an app. Other than a few small hurdles like those, the earliest days of the IBM and Apple relationship should run smooth.

After all, without needing to sacrifice turf, Rommety’s 103-year-old monolith could be perceived to be cool and forward thinking again. Not only to the old guard that holds IBM Research, with its track record of pushing the boundaries of science, technology and business to make the world work better place, in high regard, but also to the fast tracked execs of the digital generation who have tremendous respect for old guys who get it.

Yes, for IBM the Apple partnership has the potential of doing what Watson hasn’t been able to do —namely making it relevant to Gen Y and the millennials.

Not only that, but Rommety’s slowly sinking ship will be buoyed by consulting fees earned through helping enterprises roll out Mobile in a safe and compliant way.

Discussion Point: Where Does HR Go From Here?

Thumbnail image for discussion-pointAnother day, another disruption. 

Or at least that's how it must feel for most every department in organizations today. The repercussions of the combined digital, social, mobile trifecta radiate throughout the organization. But if you mix in economic factors, shifting skill requirements, distributed workforces and new expectations of those entering the workplace, then I think you know which department specifically we're talking about: Human Resources.

Deloitte's Global Human Capital Trends 2014 (pdf) report identified the most urgent trends that HR professionals face today. Number one? Leadership development. Number two? Seventy-nine percent answered retention and engagement. Yet only 16 percent felt ready to tackle these and the challenges they face. 

A fundamental rethinking of the HR department is required to meet these demands.

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