Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Living the Hybrid Enterprise

I am pleased to attend Enterprise 2.0 Innovate on the West Coast for the first time. It is occurring November 12 – 15 in Santa Clara Convention Center. Here my notes from this year’s Enterprise 2.0 2012 conference in Boston. Here are my notes from the workshop: Living the Hybrid Enterprise: How to Plan for, Implement, and Manage a Mixed On-Demand and On-Premise Enterprise, led by Josh Greenbaum, Principal, Enterprise Applications Consulting. Here is the workshop description.

“The end of software never happened, but the end of the pure on-premise enterprise is upon us. More and more companies are looking to create a hybrid enterprise that combines the best of on-premise and on-demand software and services. This workshop will help companies identify the right mix of people, process, technology, software and services to help them get started with building and living in a hybrid enterprise.

Defining the Hybrid Enterprise: tales from the front line. The first part of the workshop will showcase examples of hybrid enterprises and discuss the benefits and challenges of a hybrid strategy. Included will be real world examples of how companies mix and match their on-demand and on-premise software and services to meet their business objectives.

 The role of new and old technology in the hybrid enterprise.

This second part of the workshop provided guidance on how companies can evaluate the role of existing and new technologies, software, and services in the hybrid enterprise. This included guidance on how to manage the hybrid opportunity for existing suite and best of breed software as well new and emerging technologies in mobility, analytics, and other key areas.

The hybrid enterprise and the human component. Creating a hybrid enterprise isn’t just a technology decision, it also requires new thinking and processes about how to deploy human resources – both internal and external – in new and different ways. This final part of the workshop will help companies understand the challenges and opportunities that are part of the human element of the hybrid enterprise.”

Josh began open the session that will be a three-part event with panels. First, living in the hybrid enterprise, then implementing the hybrid enterprise, and finally the human factors issues in dealing with the hybrid enterprise. The hybrid enterprise has been a continuous evolution. The cloud started over a dozen years ago.  On-premise and on-demand were kept separate.  We have come a long way in our thinking. However, there are still multiple silos of disconnected functionality. There needs to be a hybrid world with connectivity and integration.

The hybridization of IT is also creating a more hybrid workspace.  There is more accessibility to people and content that is location independent. This will be a PowerPoint free session and I like this approach. However, I may have some name spellings wrong with the absence of PowerPoint and did not get everyone’s name.

Charlene Woo from Varian offered her company as a case example first. Charlene’s company started in the 1940s as one of the first companies in the Silicon Valley and it does medical technologies and is growing. They are a big SAP shop so much technology is on-premise. They recently expanded into talent management solutions. The business wanted the cloud solution and picked SucessFactors. Then SuccessFactors was bought by SAP.  So now they need to support a hybrid solution.

They already had some cloud solutions such as their learning management system but the talent management was the biggest so far.  They have recently gone live with several SuccessFactors modules that are cloud based.  The entre company is using both could and hybrid.  The cloud apps are actually more widespread than the on-premise apps because of the reach of their content. The SuccessFactors system and the learning management system are used by all employees, and even some business partners.

Their mission critical apps such as finance and sales are still on-premise. Their cloud-based talent management apps are fed with employee data from the employee data from the on-premise SAP system. Right now this is a one-way data flow.  They want to move to a more two-way flow.  The impact of moving to the cloud solution has more of an impact on IT than on end users. This is a cultural change for IT. The IT people were used to supporting SAP, and now they were giving up some of the support to the cloud vendor.

There is now a change management concern and insecurity on the part of many IT people. What will happen next?  At the same time, if IT does not meet the business needs, the business will not partner with internal IT and get their own solution. IT needs to adopt new skills and play a different role. They cannot dictate the technology any more.  IT cannot insist on on-premise anymore. There is also a need for new skills. They did implement SuccessFactors with internal staff.

Now HR plays a stronger role in supporting the cloud application rather than IT. HR needed to come up with the resources for this.  This requirement needs to be planned for. They have moved from a recipient of services to a provider. HR is enjoying the freedom of choice that this responsibility brings. However, this additional requirement for resources did not sink in until the system went live.  IT needs to play a leadership role in letting the business anticipate these new requirements.

Working with a cloud vendor is different than working with internal IT. The outside vendor may not know the company culture and goals. They also have different agendas. This requires good oversight of the vendor. IT can play a role here. Need to have a three way partnership of internal IT, internal business unit, and external vendor. IT can add value here.

Next, a three-part panel covered more of the details on hybrid solutions. There

was someone from Box (Dan O’Leary). He works with clients on custom solutions. The next person works for e2open (David Hale) that provides software that support large clients with supply chain solutions like IBM and Boeing. The third person works for Cognizant (Gareth Patterson). He focuses on the strategy of cloud.

Josh asked the panel how to get the cloud connected within the enterprise. What are some of the issues for enterprise versus consumer solutions? The Box guy said the product is easy to launch so the technology is not the hard part. It is more issues like governance that take time. Also how does Box fit within the enterprise stack?

The e2open guy said there service is on-demand and it serves mission critical tasks. So if it goes down, they hear about it quickly.  Single sign on is one key for them, as well as security. Also, how does their service integrate with other enterprise apps?

The Cognizant guy mentioned that many cloud apps have up to 80 integration points. This is a complex task. These integration points can be a major challenge. Do not underestimate this task. Also, you need oversight so large hosting bills do not get run up without an awareness.

The Box guy said their goal is to be the enterprise content layer. That drives their cloud strategy. Each organization needs to keep their main strategy in mind when dealing with the cloud.

The e2open guy tried to explain the cloud to his son and his wife mentioned time-sharing from 40 years ago. This stuff is not new. Users should not have to care where a service is located. The panel agreed that there are hybrid aspects to most situations.  This reminds me of how Fats Domino said that rock and roll was just a new marketing strategy for rhythm and blues. This is the case for many technology “changes” and yet, at the same time, there are some new aspects, new audiences, and some new contexts just as there was with rock and roll.

The Box guy said one important issue is how to classify data and content as what needs to be secure. This is especially an issue with the type of unstructured data that Box supports.  Their clients need to do this. When new employees come to Box, the first thing they get is a two-hour security briefing.  They also let their clients know about the risks within the cloud.  The e2open guy that they specify that certain types of data should not be sent to then to put in the cloud. The Box guy said that one of their main use cases is to replace Drop Box when there has been a security leak.

The Box guy said there is a Cloud Security Alliance that has certification criteria. It’s mission statement is to “To promote the use of best practices for providing security assurance within Cloud Computing, and provide education on the uses of Cloud Computing to help secure all other forms of computing.”

The Cognizant guy said that in his company no one monitors his Drop Box and his Box usage is monitored.  Josh said there is only so much you can do for security and people can go around safe guards if they want to do this.  The Box guy talked the balance of ease of use and security. First, he said do not compare to perfect but to alternatives. Box allows clients to control access. Personally, he has access to forty systems with single sign on but he also has three-factor security.

After the break, the Paul Brody, CTO of Social Communication Company (Sococo), demoed a team collaboration space that provides for ongoing virtual connection.  Sococo Teamspace. We can see all of his colleagues on the right and their status. You can see a map of their company in a virtual space and see where everyone is located.  There are individual offices and conference rooms.

Everyone has an avatar and it tells you about the state of the person. For example, if you put on your headset that means you are available for audio.  You can see when he is talking and how far the voice goes. He can close his door to let everyone knows they have to knock on his door to hear what he is saying. He brought someone into his office for a conversation just by tapping on his avatar.

With the virtual office you can see what everyone is doing all day long. If the door is open you can drop in on conversations. If the door is closed you have to knock.  The virtual office does not have to map to the actual physical office so you have freedom to design the virtual environment anyway you want. There can be private spaces that others cannot see.  It also works on the iPhone and they are working on other mobile devices.

You can share things on a screen in a virtual conference room. They can also integrate apps like Salesforce and Box.  Everyone in the room can see the screen and the content it portrays. This sharing can occur in an office or a conference room. The virtual space can be designed to reflect work flow with different rooms have names for steps in the workflow. Video can be portrayed, including the other people in the conversation.

Next, Tony Bryne from the Real Story Group and Gareth Patterson joined the Sococo guy to form a panel. Tony said the key issue is less the visualization of the environment but rather embedding the right communication services in the app.  United communications needs to be aligned to tasks. Tony liked the simplicity of the visualization in the Sococo app as that degree of realism might distract in the enterprise environment.

The Sococo guy said that communication services needs to be a layer that underlies all apps. I would agree. All communication tools are derivative of the telephone. They are transactional and you do not see context. We need new metaphors that is why they created their visualization.

Gareth said that there has been a shift in building a company toward pulling together services and starting quickly.  There is trend toward to good enough sooner rather than perfect that takes along time. Traditional IT wanted perfect which got in the way of possible.

The Sococo guy said that every new customer wants a pilot for 30 – 60 days. They can set up a pilot in a few minutes and they can quickly modify it.  So you can fail fast and refine what you need.

Josh said that the word culture keeps coming up. Tony said that we need to humanize the digital workplace. As software tools were developed it was often assumed that people were robots. This is why people go offline often. We need to make people more effective in their jobs rather than try to change their behavior.

Gareth said we need to redo corporate IT. People there are often bored because there are too many obstacles. Josh wondered if IT will shrink or shift. People do not say they do not need IT any more. Josh gave the example of the replacement of Wang word processors with PCs. Some people thought there would be no more secretaries. Actually some roles and skills simply shifted but headcount did not go down.

I was involved in a study of the office of the future for a pharma company that was moving its home office around the time this shift occurred. They were planning their resource requirements for the new location. The company did change and went from a one to one manager to secretary model to a dramatic reduction in the number of secretaries as they moved to a one secretary to many managers model. I am not sure this applies to IT but I do want to offer a counter to the analogy. I wonder how much the cloud and the rise of business self-service will affect corporate IT headcount. Maybe they will get jobs in the business units supporting self-service.

It was a useful panel that raised a lot of issues to consider.