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 Tuesday Keynote. It consisted of a series of discussions.
First, Google on Google was presented by Ben Fried, CIO, Google. Ben began by asking about how many are in IT and most raised their hands and the rest where likely checking their email. He said two factors are driving technology today: the rise of the global scale of consumer Web services and second, the rise of a tech savvy workforce. He mentioned how he learned about this. A new employee brought in a better computer that Google offered and never interacted with Google’s technology, but went directly to the Web. He became the top rated intern.
He said that transparency and respect for the user is a key goal at Google. For example, you can get any tech stuff, you can just go to a shelf and take it and then scan your badge. He said the employees are empowered to decide what they need. The bins are often more full at the end of the day as people return stuff they do not need.
The social contract between IT and users needs to change. IT has been treating users as the non-knowing and making decisions for them. Now workers are often more knowledgeable than IT. At Google you get to choose your devices and your software from a variety of choices. There is no standard requirement. People are shown the cost of the tools they are using and how your peers are doing in the same regard. You can change your devices and apps. Once they started this they got back over $400,000 of not needed stuff in the first few hours.
Google has learned that providing choices has resulted in a lower support costs. He said that they respect their users and users can take a more active role in supporting themselves. They also hire very smart support people so issues are often resolved right away. This approach has allowed Google to grow quickly. The support staff ratio to workers has shrunk every year as the support staff has increased its efficiency and people also help themselves in this environment of trust.
People can choose their own tools. They found that people were sending more links to Google apps than using attachments. This helps version control among other things. It has also increased their collaboration speed.
An office phone is optional at Google and most people do not have one. However, real time video conferencing is expected and wide spread.
Respect for users matters. Google assumes that people know what technology is best for them. I would certainly agree with this approach and it should be a model for enterprise IT services. Google also builds its own tech systems to support their culture and they are all cloud based. This takes much of the worry out of the picture so IT people can focus on innovation rather than operations. The CIO only pays for usage so there is much cost savings.
Ben concluded with the point that the world is truly changing. There are great opportunities for cost savings and users are very tech smart. IT is not longer the holder of all tech knowledge. It has to change and adapt to the new possibilities and the new reality.
Second, the Next Generation Enterprise Platform was presented by Michael Fauscette, Group VP of Software Business Solutions, IDC. Michael began by saying that we are in the middle of a major transformation in tech and work. Today looks a lot like the transformation from farms to factories in terms of magnitude. With factories, people moved from the country to the city. There was a requirement for physical presence. Now connectivity changes everything. I know this as I have worked from multiple locations, including a Greek island, Samos, over the past year. I recently moved back to my hometown, New Orleans, because I can work from anywhere there is wifi and that is almost everywhere.
In the old school there was hierarchy and knowledge was considered power. Businesses were built on stable processes and did not want to change. Now change is the norm and a requirement for success. New competitors can emerge overnight. Startups can begin with only 5 or 6 people and drive millions in revenue in the first year.
Now knowledge sharing is power. Trust and transparency is key. Employees want a place were they are respected and there is culture of trust. Engagement on a common goal is a requirement.
In the 90s we built transaction systems around rigid processes. Now most problems and issues occur outside the rigid systems. The systems for transaction are still needed but there is more. We now need to have systems for decision. We also need systems for relationships to enable collaboration.
Companies are faced with aging systems of record. But they cannot afford to replace them. To make it new, you can add a social layer on top of the old school stuff. You can have a social layer that becomes the new user interface. You can add new apps but they need to be integrated with the old apps.
The next generation software is being offered in smaller components. Vendors are going away from rip and replace to adding stuff on to the existing. Again, integration is key. There is social and decision support. It is context aware and there is intelligent filtering to counter the information overload issue. The more your system can filter, the more efficient you can become.
Apps need to be simple in the UX with the complexity behind the scenes. The apps need to be ad hoc and work on any device, any time. We will stop talking about social apps as all apps will be social.
Then, Moving from Notification to Participation with Activity Streams was presented by Kevin Cavanaugh, VP of Business and Technical Strategy for IBM Collaboration Services. Kevin started by noting that workforce challenges are changing. The nature of connectivity is changing as well. There are now skill shortages and changing demographics. At the same time technology is changing the way people work, collaborate, and socialize.
This changes the definition of social. It goes beyond notification to engagement. The richer nature of social business requirements goes across the enterprise. They you measure the value of the social tools by changes in the process they are embedded within.
He gave the example of CEMEX. This is company I did some work for it the early 2000s as a consultant in Monterrey. It was technically advanced then and is even more so now. Now they are using social software in all of their processes. This allows them to spread their tech expertise on a global basis.
TD Bank transformed its retail banking culture using social software to have their branches operate as a local bank. They foster open communication and openly recognize their employees. They also get employee engagement in new moves like having Sunday retail bank hours. Pepsi created an open collaboration system for their employees and partners to spread new ideas.
He discussed what is new with IBM Connections 4. I recently did an interview with Suzanne Livingston, Senior Product Manager for Connections, on this topic. Here are my notes – IBM Connections 4.0 Expands Its Social, Integration, and Analytic Capabilities. They use analytics more to filter content for greater efficiency. They also allow for conversations inside and outside the organization. This allows them to share their knowledge with the outside world after it is refined through internal conversations. McKinsey has found that companies than form communities with their partners have higher operating margins. With social embedded into key processes you get engagement and usage.