Category Archives: Events

KM World 2012 Notes: Integrating Social Media Tools & Tech

I am pleased to be at the 2012 KM World. Here are my notes for 2011 and 2010. I attended the workshop, Intranet 2.0: Integrating Social Media Tools & Tech led by Carmine Porco – Technology Strategist.

These notes are done near real time so please excuse any typos.

Here is the session description.

The focus of this workshop is how to choose and integrate the latest social media tools and technologies into your intranet to foster better collaboration, engagement, and measurable results. Given the runaway popularity of Twitter, Mashups, Facebook, blogs, and many other web-based forms of communications and networking, perhaps you have been wondering about the possibilities and the risks for your organization? Join this interactive workshop and learn proven ways of identifying the right technologies, or social media platforms, such as Yammer, Google Docs, Jive, Igloo, and Newsgator, to achieve your organization’s strategic objectives. Learn how 1,400-plus organizations from all around the world are using Intranet 2.0 tools as the results of a Social Intranet Study (sponsored by IABC) are shared, providing an exclusive look into how and to what extent organizations of all sizes are using social media on their intranets. The global perspective of the survey allows you to develop a new understanding and appreciation for Intranet 2.0 tools. Review case study examples of blogs, wikis, and other social media tools from IBM, Cisco, Sony, Siemens, and others. Gain knowledge from lessons learned and key recommendations for undertaking an Intranet 2.0 and internal branding initiative. This workshop is jam-packed with insights and ideas for creating your Intranet 2.0.

Carmine mentioned that he has recently joined IBM Interactive and has been with them for a week.  He has a lot of experience in intranets, more on the strategy side. He worked with Toby Ward at Prescient Digital Media for ten years before joining IBM.

He focused on strategy and governance, as that is where the real challenge is found. IBM Interactive is a digital agency with creative people. He works out of Toronto. The office there has a strong mobile capability. IBM has done a number of sites, including the Masters Golf site and Air Canada.

Carmine explained some social media survey data from Prescient Digital Media. It found 61% have social media tools. Of those that have social media tools, 75% have blogs. They are used more as team based that corporate wide. CEO of Pepsi has her own blog and is very active on it. The CEO of IBM has a blog. She is starting quarterly videos on it. Here is another recent study (Social Media Continues to Increase in the 2012 Fortune 500).

Carmine said of those that have social media, 61% use wikis on a team basis. This is where they should be used. Using a wiki for an enterprise intranet is recipe for disaster. Employee networking is used by 43% of this using social media. Employees are demanding it. Of those 19% have enterprise deployment and 22% have no plans. He showed his new profile in IBM Connections with some already filled in data. There are many communities to find and join. It helps new employees find relevant colleagues and network with them.

Asked about importance of social media and networks in the workplace; 41% of millennials, 28% of gen X, 22% of boomers, 10% of veterans said yes. The asked how important are face-to-face meetings.  With millennials, 47% said they are. Each age group wanted this more but there was only a slight increase with age group.

In this survey 34% have a portal solution. 55% use SharePoint, WordPress was second and others included IBM Connections and Jive. He showed a very re-worked SharePoint site that had been customized extensively. In the survey 38% have spent less than $10,000. Carmine said this must be only the software costs and reflects a lot of open source usage. It cannot include the integration work. 26% spent over $100,000.

In the survey 55% felt they have a social intranet.

This could mean a lot of things. Of those in the survey 14% felt their intranet is fully social. In the survey 68% of employees said that they could contribute and 28% said that executives contribute. The regular contributors accounted for 79% of content. Customer service accounted for 57% of this content and they were the highest group. 28% of employees said they were satisfied with the company’s use of social tools and executives felt the same.

Carmine said the killer app in an intranet is still a searchable online directory.  There is a paper on this survey on the Prescient Digital site – here.

Carmine moved on to usability. Forrester evaluated 1500 external Web sites and 3% passed the evaluation criteria. The internal sites are often worse. With an intranet you also need to consider social and mobile. Mobile is critical, especially when wifi does not work for email and this is the case with the conference hotel at the moment. In the survey 55% are planning to replace their social media in the next year. People are still experimenting.

Be sure to deal with governance and a stated policy. Make sure you get employee requirements before you go live. Then review the requirements again before you go live to make that is really what they want as they are often not sure what they want. They do not know what they do not know. Show many examples to spark ideas but be careful that you deliver on these possibilities.

After the break, Carmine covered case studies. First, he said that there is a lot of untapped expertise in organizations. For example, 67% of employees feel that there are colleagues who can help them to do their job better but 39% said they have difficulty locating the right person.  Only 25% go outside of their department to find answers. 38% do not get asked for help.

He showed a profile page were employees can pronounce their names for others which is very useful for international organizations.  He showed an IBM survey in 2003 that showed 73% of employees felt that their intranet was their most trusted source of information up from about 25% a few years earlier. There was a lot of discussion as to whether this has grown or shrunk. The rise of social media could take it either way.  At IBM, 80% of employees visit the intranet at least once a day with a productivity savings of $80 million with 68% of employees view the intranet as crucial to their jobs.

It was discussed whether the intranet was where you take a break or is it integrated into your job? Is it the place to find the content about your company and its policies or is it where you do your job? Either way can add value but these are very different use cases. Social can play different roles in these different use cases.

Verizon has an idea generation tool where your community can promote or demote it.  A survey found that people will leave a company that does not recognize them. The Verizon site provides kudos to people and they can receive more feedback, credibility, and feel more connected to the organization.

Kraft Foods was becoming more global and also had more demand for mobile access to their intranet. Their intranet was initially company information like where to get business cards. Kraft reorganized it around tasks and not departments to break down the silos. Profiles now have more information about people’s communities and connections. They also include the people the employee follows on activity streams and blogs.

British Telecom had a site for new ideas that paid out 10% of the savings up to around $50,000. It saved them millions and they paid our hundreds of thousands.

Carmine moved on to best practices and tips using examples. The site should be branded. Use real relevant images instead of clip art. It is easy now with camera phones. Have limited scrolling on the home page. Popup windows should not be used.  Rotating images are useful but this in controversial. Allow for personalization.

Keep news current and updated. Use polling and commenting to promote engagement. Ask people what they want to do. Then use this action concept for a navigation tool. Use of widgets for weather, stock tickers, and other stuff are also controversial. Do not send large files to employees but place on the intranet and send a link.

In their survey the vast majority of organizations do not measure ROI of their social intranet.  It is really a long-term effort. Page views are not relevant. Related sales are too short term and hard to prove. Usability testing is vital for engagement and improvement. Benchmarking can be very helpful and can provide many best practices.

Senior management has to be onboard from the start and benchmarking can be very helpful for this engagement. They will want to keep up with their competitors.

Blog post by Bill Ives of the Merced Group and AppFusions, and who also blogs at Portals and KM.

Summary of 2012 Boston Enterprise 2.0

I was pleased to be back for my sixth Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston. Here is a link to a summary listing of my 2012 Boston Enterprise 2.0 notes and here is a summary of my notes for 2011.

I found several themes with this year’s event. In this post I cover three of the most significant: communities, big data, and the integration of social applications and work.


First, there was a lot of discussion about online communities. As my Merced Group partner, Catherine Shinners noted in her session, “Building an Online Community from Strategy, Planning, and Launch to Effective Engagement and Adoption”, in 2007 there was only one session on communities and now it is a major theme. One reason for the increased interest is the rise in strategic importance of online communities.

In 1982 38% of assets within the S&P 500 companies were intangible. In 1999 84% of assets were intangible and I am sure it is higher now.  Enabling the sharing use of these intangible assets held within people’s minds is a significant driver of both social business, in general, and communities as a specific instance.

This is a major transformation. However, companies still relate to their workforce as though it was 1950 and focus on top down management build on running a company based on tangible assets. Now the value in companies lies in the ability to connect people to optimize their intangible assets but this is largely untapped. Communities are a major way to do this and there were a number of sessions on how to manage communities to this end.

Big Data

Andrew McAfree

Another theme was Big Data. In a conference keynote Andrew McAfee, explained how the rise of “Big Data” is not only changing the face of technology, but, he argues, the nature of human existence. He also noted that the topic has been a bit over hyped. While I would agree with the last statement, I also agree with comments on the impact on technology.  Today there is much more to consume and analyze, both in structured data and unstructured content.

However, I would not go so far are to say, as Andy does, that machines will be our new masters. Before we bow down too low to our new masters I would say “it depends.” As Don Norman argues in “Things That Make Us Smart” it is time for us to adopt a more human-centered perspective and to insist that informational technologies enhance and complement human cognitive capacities rather than undermine them.

One of the keys here is creating connections between systems so data can move easily from one application to another for better analysis and visualization. For example, as Jeff Schick notes, IBM looks at relevant content on Facebook and LinkedIn and brings it inside the enterprise to analyze it and develop responses. They also look to leverage social content with their business partners.

So the issue is not whether computers will outpace people but how the two can work together. Computers are very good at doing boring tedious, repetitive tasks that drive people crazy at a rate and scale far beyond what people can do. This frees people up to do the more complex and interesting tasks. Application connectors are one of the keys to enable humans to master Big Data.

Integration of Social Applications and Work

To provide business value social tools need to be embedded into workflow and they need to be able to communicate with each other around workflow issues.  Application integration is a major key to enterprise 2.0 success and there were a number of sessions that addressed this issue. Kashyap Kompella stated in his session, “Social as a Layer, Not a Place: Are We There Yet?”, that enterprises are making progress in connecting the social layer with enterprise applications but more needs to be done. He noted that the problem is that social software is often treated as another box in the enterprise tech stack.

How do we make social become a service or a layer and not a siloed box?  You can use APIs and custom connectors. Kashyap showed several examples, including JIRA linked to Socialcast and tibbr linked to Oracle Expense.

Another related session on designing social applications noted that enterprises face the challenge of adapting these tools to their environment and integrating applications that predate the social software era.

Mark Weitzel of Jive and President, OpenSocial Foundation called for the use of standards to help with this integration.

Mark said they wanted to invoke apps within Jive in an easy way wherever you are and put it into the flow within the activity stream and OpenSocial allows for this. I agree and think workflow integration is a major key to getting value form social tools.

A complementary approach is to build connectors between applications which is one of the significant themes of this blog. AppFusions’ CEO, Ellen Feaheny, said that what makes an app social is the notifications and things that capture your attention to create and pull engagement. The AppFusions team is working with Atlassian, IBM, Jive, and others on social business integrations.  Through first defining common pain points/use cases, they have been building integrations to cover these cases.

Mark stated that a good social app connects people and supports collaboration. You can understand the details within workflow so disconnected people can connect around common issues. It brings a new level of agility. You get dynamic realignments based on the transparency within the social apps.

Ellen added that the old world contained file servers and documents that were passed around. This is still the case for many organizations. To have the documents embedded in the workflow and activity stream puts them in your face. Things are done much faster and no one can hide and documents do not get hidden.

This transparency is one of the opportunities of social business (aka enterprise 2.0) that is still underutilized. Connectors are one way to enable this promise. All three of these themes have a common goal, getting people and content connected in a way that provides business value and realizes the promise of enterprise 2.0.

Review by Bill Ives of the Merced Group, and who also blogs at Portals and KM.

Crowdsourcing into the future – a report on Crowdopolis LA

Our friend, Catherine Shinners of the Merced Group recently posted a comprehensive review of the conference, Crowdopolis, that we want to share here given the context: crowdsourcing.  

Before that though – an AppFusions comment:

While bringing enterprise collaboration systems together via integrations is Appfusions’ “thing” – we obviously can only do that well by also possessing a solid belief and passion in the notion of crowdsourcing to bring together the people.

The platforms do this, the integrations do this, we do this (internally), and of course we also do this with our partners and customers in our business approaches.

Crowdsourcing collaboration is no longer just a good idea – it is a mandatory idea in today’s competitive market to deliver innovation – whatever kind, with fast, smart, and solid agile iterative ways.

That said, following is a great and thorough recap from Catherine on this theme:

The Daily Crowdsource hosted a conference at USC’s Davidson Center on Thursday, July 19. Crowdopolis, a fast-paced, day-long event, showcased crowdsourcing as a growing force in changing the structure of work. new business model development, high impact relationship building with customers, widening and accelerating innovation opportunities, and streamlining business processes (middle managers, start re-thinking your careers).

Using the Crowd to Innovate with Efficiency

Crowdsourcing is often associated with widely-cast ideation used as a way to innovate or solve problems, and as kick-off keynote speaker, innovation consultant and author Stephen Shapiro noted, simply asking for ideas can be a bad idea.

Many crowdsourcing initiatives become ‘glorified suggestions boxes,’ according to Shapiro, and he cautioned, especially for enterprise efforts, to ask a crowd for a solution also means having executive ownership, and organizational home for evaluators, transparent evaluation criteria and the resources to implement winning solutions.

Crowdsourcing in this context is about innovating efficiently, not just about casting a wide net, and so it’s vitally important to be thoughtful about posing the question or the problem to solve.  A key value of crowdsourcing can be to tap into varied sources of expertise and knowledge outside of a domain — Sharpiro used the example of a decades-long issue posed by submerged oil from the Exxon Valdez spill.

The problem of how to safely extract oil from icy Alaskan waters without the oil freezing had vexed hundreds of oil experts, but a chemist from the construction industry with expertise in cement had the answer.

Crowdsourcing – Building on Expert Community Strength

Crowdsourcing within a domain also has its value, and several companies utilize the approach within an expert community as a key enabler to their service delivery models.

Topcoder is a software product development company that brings the expertise of over 400,000 developers from around the world to deliver services along the spectrum of the software development lifecyle.  Indeed, Topcoder has atomized the work processes in that cycle such that it enables them to draw out hyperspecialists from their community.

New projects are sourced out to their community via contests – Topcoder has developed more than 30 specialist contest types and their developers compete by delivering a completed project.   Using this model, Topcoder then chooses the highest quality product and the coder is renumerated.   The second ranking coder does receive some renumeration, and the third receives points towards a monthly ranking and recognition program.

According to Mike Moore, SVP at Topcoder, the best quality product is obtained for the project, while the contests drives skills improvement of others in the community and reduces the ‘single-points-of-failure’ issue in projects – when three people do each task, there’s a better chance of rapid completion of product.   Topcoder’s clients include Google, Comcast (for whom they built the set-top box technology for iPad and Android devices) and the U.S. Government, including DARPA and Medicaire (this project was for real-time fraud detection).

uTest, according to CMO Matt Johnston, is the largest marketplace for software testing services with over 60,000 testers in their community from 190 countries.   These testers provide testing for functional, load, security, usability and other tests and have worked with startups, enterprises and NGOs.  uTest uses their crowd to deliver work product to projects requiring specialized skill sets and lets them scale their capacity to meet variable demand.

Both Moore of Topcoder and Johnston of uTest spoke of the importance of community to their businesses.  Each company manages an extensive community of expert members and provide them access to community resources, validates and affirms their skills and contributions through well-structured recognition programs, and draws in the community to contribute skilled training and learning programs.   The communities seems to function as guilds of experts, with work made available to the community through crowdsourcing.

It’s not all about software development and testing.   GeniusRocket provides video advertising services from its community of 600+ professionals who have been vetted for experience and quality work.  GuideRocket moved away from a contest model, according to CEO, Peter LaMotte, and now uses a process of curated crowdsourcing that protects clients strategies and messages.   Smartling provides crowdsourced language translation services for websites and mobile apps.

Crowdsourcing for Innovation

Several companies used crowdsourcing in ways that supports co-creation of business and innovation, enhances brand standing, and leads to new business investment and business models.

Stephen Pajieg, Senior Director of Corporate Growth and Innovation for Kimberly-Clark discussed a new initiative that was targeted as a complementary source of innovaton for the Huggies brand.  Looking at a target market of six millions entrepreneurial moms in the U.S., Kimberly-Clark created an online innovation program, Huggies MomInspired,  that makes cash grants of $15,000. to innovators to use as they see fit to advance their businesses or new business ideas.

Now in its third year in the U.S. market, the program also provides aspiring entrepreneurs with basic business information for the small business owner.   Winning grantees are also able to be mentored by Kimberly-Clark employees and can join a community to share experiences and get support from other entrepreneurs.  The company’s profile with their customers is enhanced as less than 3% of financial investments are made to the more than 10 million women own businesses in the U.S., according to Pajieg.

GE’s Healthymagination challenge crowdsourced ideas for innovation in breast cancer treatment, and awarded $100,000 to each of five breakthrough ideas.  Lisa Kennedy, CMO of the program spoke of the impact crowdsourcing can have on disease solutions, citing the protein structuring game    Gamers were able, in ten days, to decipher the structure of a protein called retroviral protease, an enzyme that is key to the way HIV multiplies.  Kennedy pointed out that new crowdfunding models and approaches to health and science innovations are emerging such as Medstartr and Petridish.

Kristin Kuehl is the head of community innovation for Nokia’s IdeasProject – an idea crowdsourcing effort that was initially internal to Nokia, but has moved to include consumers as well.  Not surprisingly their consumers like mobile applications, Keuhl said, with the project also helping Nokia developers get closer to the consumer — staff help refine ideas and bring consumers together at hackathons.   The IdeasProject, launched at SXSW in 2011, provides a platform for ideas and also organizes challenge areas.

Crowdsourcing and Microwork

Both Amazon Mechanical Turk and the Finnish start-up Microtask use a process of parsing out mini-pieces of work to a distributed work force.   Mechanical Turk (MTurk) functions as marketplace/broker between entities that need the service and individuals who sign up as workers to complete what Amazon calls Human Intelligence Tasks (HITS).

With over 500 million products in their catalogue, Amazon also employes Mechanical Turk themselves to rationalize and cleanse their product database, according to Sharon Chiarella, Vice President, Amazon.  Human micro tasks or HITS could include simple tasks like verifying content, identifying objects in photos or decoding catpchas.

Finland-based Microtask focus is on human powered document processing.  CEO Ville Miettinen described their company as bringing human level intelligence to the cloud.  Microtask conducted a joint project with the National Library of Finland to index the library’s archives in order to better enable web search of those resources.  Old newspapers, for instance, were originally printed in an old-fashioned typefont that makes it hard to determine a word’s precise spelling, even when scanned by OCRs.  To help decipher and validate the library’s archives, Microtask created an online game, Digitalkoot and with a voluntary workforce that engaged in the game, completed 5.2 million microtasks in the first 9 months of the project.

In microwork environments, accuracy is verified by task replication — the same task is sent to more than one individual: if there is a difference in the results, the task is then sent to more people to process.

Crowdsourcing, AI and Middle Management

Where is crowdsourcing going?  Crowdcomputing Systems brings AI and crowdsourcing into a business process platform.  In thinking about where this could lead, CEO Max Yankelevich invited his audience to consider the nature of cloud computing in 2006 — largely then a repository for photos, websites — hosting content — but by 2010 the industry was delivering very complex workloads in the cloud.

Crowdsourcing today is often in the realm of simple microtasks, he said, tagging photos, categorizing items.  Yankelevich sees business processes and operations like finance, accounting and marketing as targets.   Crowdcomputing Systems grew out of AI and crowdsourcing projects done at MIT labs, and he left the audience with a provocative thought —

You can never take advantage of cognititive surplus if you have humans in the middle management layer !

Crowdsourcing – Refactoring Work

David Alan Grier, Associate Professor of International Science and Technology Policy and International Affairs at George Washington University, and author of When Computers Were Human, brought the conference crowd some historical perspective on crowdsourcing and technological change.   Crowdsourcing is a means of combining expertise, experience and skill judgement — qualities that produce valued results.

The sessions at the conference highlighted various crowdsourcing forms – innovation, contests and microtasking.   Crowdsourcing extends traditional information processing, stated Grier, by adding judgment to the mix.

Grier suggested some historical examples of types of means of production or coordination of work that earlier had harkened to crowdsourcing.  He noted the case of Reine LaPaute, a French astronomer, who collaborated with two other colleagues to divide the computational workload to determine the next passing of Halley’s Comet in 1757.   William Henry Leffingwell, an early proponent of scientific methods in business practice, wrote about “suggestion systems” in the early part of the 20th century.

As Charles Handy noted in 1989, the expensive part of work processes is in the knowledge of management, and work processes in this highly networked, digital age is undergoing what Grier calls “refactoring.”  Crowdsourcing refactors controls in work, organizational and business processes making them more efficient and flexible.


David Bratvold and the DailyCrowdsource team  put on an interesting and dynamic conference and a great party at the top of the London Hotel in West Hollywood, complete with magnificent sunset.