Tag Archives: cloud

Any Organization, Any Industry – The Vegas Casino Story

Every industry has it’s own unique issues within their collaboration story. And the story doesn’t end when your organization buys an enterprise collaboration platform like IBM Connections.

Why? Because, no doubt, you use many tools in your work day to organize and share data, keep track of clients and leads, manage issues or a git repository, etc. Think about it – all these tools to get things done and collaborate with data, processes, and people in your organization, and all of it in different systems that don’t talk with each other. Collaboration? Hmm – more like two steps forward, one step backward given all those silo’d systems!

Maybe you have a fragmented email culture as well – which creates churn, politics, and other linear work models and inefficiencies. Perhaps all your silo’d tools prevent cross-enterprise engagement and lead to miscommunications and confusions?

IBM Connections “Integrated” by AppFusions – a platform to bring all your systems together in unlimited contextual communities – is the solution to your problems.  It’s time to stop wasting time, bouncing all over the place! It’s time to work smarter and faster, drive attention to key content in context, and reduce data and process duplication efforts. It’s time to streamline your workflow. Finally, a collaboration solution that “just works” – 24/7 for you.

In the spirit of this month’s IBM InterConnect in Las Vegas (see you there!), let’s think about IBM Connections “Integrated” – in a real-life scenario … Meet Vincent, a Las Vegas native.

Photo: www.westgatedestinations.com
Photo: www.westgatedestinations.com

Hello, I am Vincent.

I run a large Vegas casino hotel with high rotating traffic, which results in a very high volume of documentation – from employee data to guest information to incident reporting to housekeeping management records… yeah, it’s A LOT.

For years, given the diversity of our workforce, data was tracked via our central Facilities office that doubled as HR. They use a number of systems to get their job done. Over time, however, Facilities began to balk at the enormous amount of documentation, the many incident and record tracking systems, and the different levels of expertise required for HR.

HR was spun-out as a separate department, but we decided to move all our data records into Dropbox, categorized by different types. We also deployed JIRA ServiceDesk for incident tracking, and records associated with incidents were attached to the logged incidents. This helped a great deal, but still, it’s a never ending chase.

The HR spin-out was a good thing, but it brought to light other issues, of lacking real-time community communications, relationship development, and ongoing collaboration. While the data tracking and records issues were solved partly, we ended up with more systems and no central place for the many types of communities the casino needed (internally and externally)…

Enter IBM Connections integrated with Dropbox and JIRA ServiceDesk. We are thrilled with the new system since now everyone is looking at other ways to improve our work processes via integrations into the IBM Connections system. The good thing is everyone is aligned, in one home – the silo’d system is gone.  

The journey is just beginning – we hope to also build communities within Connections for our external customers that are regulars. By connecting with those customers closer, we can grow our relationships and they will come back more often. We are also excited about the IBM Connections integration with Salesforce – it’s about time we had access to our CRM within our HR and Account Management communities!

Thanks for reading! Vincent’s Vegas casino story is one of hundreds … unsure how your industry or organization would benefit from IBM Connections “Integrated?” Contact us at info@appfusions.com, and we’ll help you connect the dots!

Related links:

Again, if you like what you find here, please join the conversation through our comment fields!

Rock on,

The AppFusions team

Post by Rosalie Plofchan, Marketing Manager of AppFusions

Social Connections 8, AppSpokes, Atlassian Confluence in IBM Connections

Last week, 4 of us from the AppFusions team traveled to Boston to participate in the IBM Connections user group called Social Connections 8.

Here’s a “storify” slideshow that captures some of the essence, as well as this quote by Simon Vaughan:

It was a great conference that I would highly recommend, if interested in getting up front, close, and personal with “who’s who” in the IBM Connections’ ecosystem. This includes the many folks that work daily to make IBM Connections’ customers successful: IBM developers, PMs, and IBM Collaboration Services’ (ICS) management — they were all there!

In addition, the conference was attended by a passionate group of customer end users and administrators, and dozens of expert consulting implementors from across the globe.

With a packed schedule, it was an exciting two days and we are grateful for attending!

Boston Science Museum Dragon – Gala Reception 4/16/2015

For our part, on Thursday afternoon, AppFusions’ Patrick Li and Ellen Feaheny presented about our new AppSpokes Framework for faster development and deployment of single code-based integration applications for cloud, on-premise, hosted, or hybrid IBM Connections environments. We’ll be sharing more on that soon enough; just getting going with some initial deployments.

Already from the conference, David Simpson, a full-on dragon slayer AppFusions’ developer, was inspired, and quickly integrated the IBM Connections functional header with Atlassian Confluence, bringing a native IBM Connections Cloud feel to Atlassian Confluence.

Here’s some of his results:

ConfluenceInIBMConnections1


David then took it another level and added the header integration into AppFusions’ Immersive for Atlassian Confluence, in IBM Connections, and with a bit of additional theming, he morphed the Confluence theme to mirror the currently applied IBM Connections look and feel/theme.

For example, this:

ConfluenceInIBMConnections


… which looks a whole lot like the default IBM Connections theme, as shown here:

ConfluenceNativeInIBMConnections

Power10Men
Harvard or MIT Crew doing a “Power10” on Charles River – 4/16/2015

AppFusions’ Technical PM and overall great human Danielle Zhu was also with us, and AppFusions’ “Boston-camp”spin-off wouldn’t have been the same without her!

AppFusions left the conference with more knowledge than we arrived with or brought too, which to me means success. Our plate runneth over on great IBM Connections’ integrations plans and fired-up-ness — going to be a great rest of the year! THANKS to the Social Connections planning team!

The “Next” Social Connections event is planned for October, 2015 in Stuttgart! If interested, email info@socialconnections.info.



McKinsey on Protecting Info in the Cloud

The rise of cloud computing is well documented by many sources. Enterprises can gain both risks and rewards by taking this step. Mc Kinsey recently released a useful report, Protecting information in the cloud, on the topic. They report that the rewards include both decreased IT costs and increased agility. Their research found examples of 60 to 70 percent savings by moving from custom-developed internal applications to SaaS alternatives sourced from the public cloud. They also found that 63% of business leaders felt the cloud makes their organizations more business agile and responsive.

To mitigate risk, large organizations are often building and managing private-cloud environments for basic infrastructure services, development platforms, and whole applications. Smaller businesses are generally using public-cloud services such as Amazon, as they lack the scale to implement their own private clouds.

The risks include concerns over the security of sensitive data and exposure to regulatory infractions. Even those who are building private clouds are concerned with putting sensitive data into a single space.  However, there is also a risk to not taking advantage of the cloud as competitors may gain cost and agility advantages. McKinsey writes that avoiding the cloud is a not a viable business option in today’s environment.

The cloud is now big business. IDC estimates that spending on third-party-managed and public-cloud environments will grow from $28 billion in 2011 to more than $70 billion in 2015. Total spending is much larger as these figures do not include spending by large organizations on their private clouds. McKinsey reports that their research indicates that 80% of North American institutions are planning or implementing cloud environments to host critical application. Most are doing this by building private-cloud environments.

Because of the nature of purchasing cloud services, business units can bypass IT departments and go directly to SaaS vendors. In fact, attempts by IT to block usage may encourage business users to go to less secure options. We have found that attempts to prohibit desired goods and services of all types, including alcohol, have led to bad side effects. Regulation by IT, in this case, is a better answer.

In addition, software developers are using IaaS and PaaS solutions for testing code and sometimes for hosting applications. We have been running a related Wednesday series on the use of git for hosting software in progress. See for example, CVCS vs DVCS and the Pros and Cons of DVCS git.

So how do you benefit from the cloud and reduce your risks? McKinsey offers several service models. They note that “Public cloud” and “private cloud” can be useful simplifications, but there are other models. One option is on-premises managed private-cloud services. Here third-party vendors provide a service, working like an external cloud offering, but located inside the organization’s fire wall and dedicated to its use. Another option includes different flavors of private cloud use.  A third choice is the use of community clouds that are shared by several organizations.

McKinsey recommends implementing a mixed cloud strategy. For example, a public cloud is useful for developing and testing software, since these efforts often do not involve sensitive data. In contrast, any application content that contains personally identifiable customer information requires careful consideration before it is be hosted in a public-cloud environment.

Risk management needs to become more sophisticated and nuanced. There needs to me more analytics and monitoring. Controls can be implemented by the cloud platform itself. For example, sensitive data can be blocked from exposure until regulatory concerns have passed. The cloud will not go away. It is now a matter of getting control over its use and matching an organization’s multiple requirements to its multiple options.

 

Complete Listing of IBM Connect 2013 Notes

Here is the complete listing of my notes on IBM Connect 2013. I was very pleased to be back again after the last two years thanks to IBM’s support. Here are my notes from 2011 and 2012 and Ellen’s preview post, AppFusions is Fired Up for IBM Connect 2013 – Bring.It.On.AGAIN.

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Opening Session

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Monday Morning Press Q&A

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Four Major Trends Shaping Social Business in 2013

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Creating a Smarter Workforce – Panel

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Tuesday Opening Session

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Reinventing the Inbox – Ed Brill

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Wednesday Opening Session

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Getting Social in the Cloud – Rebecca Bulsan

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Social Business Goes to School

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Innovation Lab

Here also are several recent posts on IBM that have appeared on this blog.

Social Business – What Works and How: Highlights of IBM 2012 Social Technologies Study

IBM Connections 4.0 Expands Its Social, Integration, and Analytic Capabilities

 

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Getting Social in the Cloud – Rebecca Bulsan

This is another in a series of my notes on IBM Connect 2013. I am very pleased to be back again after the last two years thanks to IBM’s support. Here is a summary of my notes for 2012 and 2011. These notes cover the Monday Press Session: Getting Social in the Cloud with Rebecca Buisan, Director of Product Management, IBM.

Rebecca began by saying that IBM’s large cloud presence is a well-kept secret. Forrester recently named IBM as number 1 in cloud collaboration, messaging, social, and file sharing. In the past year IBM’s cloud solutions grew by 80%. They have Saas, PaaS, and IaaS offerings. Kenexa is a cloud platform. All of this makes IBM one of the top ten cloud providers in terms of number of solutions (60) and customers. They are continuing to develop a portfolio of products and services.

There are many considerations to the cloud, including cost savings. It is as much a new business model as a technology that enables this business model. The main difference between a private cloud and on-premise apps is the business model of rent vs. own. It is very flexible as you can rent or own the hardware as well as the software.

IBM is developing many apps in a multi-tenant model. IBM Docs was developed a cloud app first. I discussed it in my notes on Ed Brill’s session. Eventually everything will be in some form of the cloud and this is why IBM has invested so heavily in it.

IBM can provide pre-built cloud based environments so deployments can happen almost instantly. It is committed to standards like OpenSocial. I have covered Open Social before on this blog (see OpenSocial Provides Standards to Help Put Social Software to Work). Wikipedia defines the OpenSocial Platform as a “public specification that defines a component hosting environment (container) and a set of common application programming interfaces (APIs) for web-based applications.” This effort is designed to give social tools the ability to work together, a wise move.

I also spoke earlier with IBM’s Suzanne Livingston, Senior Product Manager for Connections. She said that the common underlying theme in the recent moves for Connections is the movement from providing a suite of applications to having Connections becoming a comprehensive social business platform with tighter integration. One of the enablers of this tighter integration is the use of Connections with OpenSocial.

IBM recently did a study on the cloud and found that organizations – both big and small, across geographies and in virtually every industry – are embracing cloud as a way to reduce the complexity and costs associated with traditional IT approaches. Almost three-fourths of the leaders in their survey indicated their companies had piloted, adopted or substantially implemented cloud in their organizations – and 90 percent expect to have done so in three years. And the number of respondents whose companies have substantially implemented cloud is expected to grow from 13 percent today to 41 percent in three years.

IBM is also tying the cloud to mobile. The cloud and mobile can be very co-dependent.  This connection has an impact on user experience design. High expectations are set for mobile apps by those on the consumer web.

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Monday Morning Press Q&A

This is another in a series of my notes on IBM Connect 2013. I am very pleased to be back again after the last two years thanks to IBM’s support. Here is a summary of my notes for 2012 and 2011. These notes are real time so please forgive any typos.

These notes cover the Monday morning press Q&A with Mike Rhodin, IBM Senior Vice President, Software Solutions Group; Alistair Rennie, IBM General Manager, Social Business; Craig Hayman, General Manager Industry Solutions, and Rudy Karsen, CEO, Kenexa – an IBM company.

Mike began by talking about big data. Traditional data processing had a set order. Now we need to be more flexible and adaptive based on what we learn from analytics looking at big data. This capability has to be woven into everything that is done in the workplace. Supporting employee engagement is key as it leads to better customer experiences and increased revenue. Computers need to be taught rather than programmed so they can continue to learn, like Watson.

Alistair continued with more social business opportunities. IBM found that 82% of CMOs plan to increase spending on social media. IDC has ranked IBM as number 1 in the social business market for the past three years. They now have an employee experience suite to go along with their customer experience suite. The next release of Connections will have greater integration with enterprise content, as well as content outside the enterprise at sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Rudy and Craig joined the group as it was open to questions:

The first one was on roles within IBM.

Senior VP ranks above General Manager.  Mike has four General managers reporting to him including Alistair and Craig.

It was next asked about learning, OutStart, and Kenexa which also led to their acquisition strategy.  

I like that a Boston based firm worked with OutStart on their blog before the Kenexa acquisition. IBM sees great capability here to integrate into their efforts. They had already started work in this area even before the acquisition. Connections will connect with the Kenexa 2x platform.

Rudy explained how their survey capability can be used for talent management. First they survey to find key managers. Then they use these characteristics to develop an assessment model for all potential managers. He      said the survey business is evolving.  On one hand it is getting less complex and on the other big data makes things complicated.

Mike said that social and analytics are interconnected. This is part of the excitement of the Kenexa acquisition. Mike said there will be more acquisitions in his Solutions Group. They are looking a lot at front office digitalization. Here are more of Mike’s ideas on acquisitions and convergence.

Craig gave an example of how the capabilities of different firms they are acquired are interwoven. Mike said they are looking to provide a single integrated solution. Customers often have to go to many different vendors to solve their business problems. IBM wants to provide total solutions. They also want these solutions to be flexible and draw on many options, including those from other vendors or open source.

It was asked about how stricter privacy laws in Europe affect the analytics.

Rudy said they use different capabilities to adapt to country laws. They also centralize the data to keep individual data private. Craig said that all of their acquisitions are in the leadership quadrants in their space. Mike said they have been very careful in their acquisitions. They do not want to give up best of breed to have integrations.

It was asked about the competitive landscape in the social space.

There are start-ups such as Jive, Yammer, Box that have gained mind-share. Mike said many of these companies offer a “freemium” model to gain market share. IBM has ranked number one in revenue for the past several years. Many of these tools are standalone tools. IBM is building an integrated platform and they are unique in this goal. Craig added that many IBM partners are building Connections integrations.   AppFusions is one of these with integrations with Atlassin JIRA with Connections and SameTime.

It was asked about the fit of IBM products and Connections for smaller organizations.

Craig gave an example, the marketing center that was shown this morning. The marketing center runs in the cloud. There is no software and hardware to install. This makes it easier for small businesses. IBM is making money in this business. Mike said this is the key metric of success.

Complete Listing of My Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes

I was pleased to attend Enterprise 2.0 Innovate on the West Coast for the first time. It occurred November 12 – 15 in the Santa Clara Convention Center. Here my notes from this year’s Enterprise 2.0 2012 conference in Boston. Here is a complete listing of my notes from the event.

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: The Right Way to Select Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise – Part One

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: The Right Way to Select Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise – Part Two

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Living the Hybrid Enterprise

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Tuesday Keynote

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: From Project Portfolio to Innovation Funnel

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Wednesday Keynote

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate Notes: 2012 Preventing IT Sprawl

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Tools and Techniques for Visualizing Big Data

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Beyond Adoption

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate Notes: Big Data: Everyone’s Challenge

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate Notes: Open Innovation

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate Notes: Bringing SaaS Innovation to the Enterprise

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate Notes: Beyond Team Member Engagement

Here are the E 2 Innovate Notes from my Merced Group Partner, Catherine Shinners, who covered additional sessions.

E2Innovate: Innovation Inside and Out

E2Innovate: A Collaborative Enterprise: Thoughtworks Leads the Way

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate: Beyond Adoption to Social Process Transformation

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Tools and Techniques for Visualizing Big Data

I was pleased to attend Enterprise 2.0 Innovate on the West Coast for the first time. It is occurring November 12 – 15 in the Santa Clara Convention Center. Here my notes from this year’s Enterprise 2.0 2012 conference in Boston. Here are my notes from the session: Can You See Me Now? Tools and Techniques for Visualizing Big Data led by Puneet Piplani, Geography Head, Mu Sigma. Here is the workshop description.

Big Data is creating big headaches, forcing enterprises to find new ways to harness data to make decisions. Big Data is producing a positive wave of disruption in social data analysis and having a major impact on businesses. Third-parties are developing analytical methods and visualization techniques to help companies manage and interpret all data types.  Some may be surprised to learn that there’s a shortage of data scientists and the importance of recruiting analytical talent specifically in the Big Data space is critical.”

Puneet said that Mu Sigma is a decision science and analytics company that was started in 2004. They have over 2,000 scientists working across 10 verticals. He said that data science is simply a means to the end of making better decisions. Data is growing rapidly. Google processes 24 terabytes of data per day. In 1993 the total internet traffic was about 100 terabytes.

The challenge is not just the volume, but also the variety: people to people, people to machines, and machines to machines.  There is also the velocity. There are 2.9 million emails sent every second and 20 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute. There are also 50 million tweets per day.

To deal with this exploding data volume you need new applications. The new technology results in more data and all this data is getting stored. Is big data just a hype?

Data is an asset. It can be structured and unstructured. It can be inside and outside the firewall. How do you combine all this data to get useful information?  For example, a sports clothing company wanted to forecast how many team jerseys to create and what players. So they looked at social media to make projections.

A competitive differentiator is how you use the data to make decisions. The consumption of analytics is the differentiator, but the creation. Big data technologies are becoming commoditized bring down the cost of these tools. It is the organizations that learn from the data that will win.

Visualization plays a key role. A Danish scientist looked at how we use our senses. You process in this sense data in the following order of increasing speed: taste, smell, touch, sight. However, the brain process this data slower that it gets all this data. So the brain makes assumptions. The unconscious part of the brain depends more on senses that language. Sight is the fastest sense so visualization is key. He compared a list of figures to a graph. You can see much more from the graph much faster and make assumptions much quicker. The graph frees the brain up from processing numbers to seeing trends.

I was a cognitive psychologist in a former life and saw this power of visualization. Although, there are also times when language trumps visuals. You need to match the characteristics of the media with the cognitive processes that people use to solve problems. Some tasks are best solved through the precision and dichotomies that language offers. Other tasks are best solved with the big picture that visualization offers.

Tools can now provide dynamic visualizations when the data changes and when you ask questions. There can also be personal or role based visualizations that adjust depending on who you are. You can get visual alerts and notifications base don changing data. You need to see the outliers and exceptions. That is where the key data occurs for decision making.

He showed some interesting examples. First, there was a hierarchical tree map that is useful for topic visualizations. One example was foodmood.com.in that showed what people are eating in different places and how they like it and make comparisons (see below).

He then showed thematic rivers to see data trends over time. He went to a site that showed the tweets over time about this conference. Another example is the History of Everything – ChronoZoom (see below).

A third is CNN Ecosphere #RIO20 about a conference in Rio. It is big set of networked dots that you zoom in and explore (see below).  These are public examples and I checked out each Web site. They are fun.

Puneet also mentioned an example his firm created for an airline to minimize the effects of flight delays on over flights. There are many vendors in this space. He showed a 2006 Gartner hype cycle and the visualization of big data was going into the trough of disillusionment. Now it is reaching the slope of enlightenment. It is starting to take hold and be accepted as real and valuable.

This is an area that I am interested in as I am involved with a firm that does data visualization, Darwin Ecosystems. It produces the Darwin Awareness Engine(TM) that looks at what is happening in social media using Chaos Theory based algorithms to let the content self-organize and produces visualizations of the findings. There is also Tweather that focuses specifically on Twitter and shows topic trends over time.

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Preventing IT Sprawl

I am pleased to attend Enterprise 2.0 Innovate on the West Coast for the first time. It is occurring November 12 – 15 in the Santa Clara Convention Center. Here my notes from this year’s Enterprise 2.0 2012 conference in Boston. Here are my notes from the session: Preventing IT Sprawl, led by Bernard Golden, Vice President, Enterprise Solutions, enStratus. Here is the session description.

“IT can no longer provide all your technology needs like in the past- nor should they- the new enterprise IT is built from components, some on-premise and some Cloud, glued together by IT. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this approach? How do you navigate successfully the challenge of glueing disparate systems together so you end up in best of breed heaven not best of breed hell. How do you prevent more IT sprawl?”

Bernard said that the cloud sprawl can be an opportunity or a challenge. He talked about the disconnect between users and IT. These tow groups have different images of IT. IT sees itself as dedicated and hard working. Business users see IT as the department of “NO.”  There are too many permissions and too much red tape. Systems are hard to use. They do not scale very well. It takes to long to change things. I get too many bills for stuff I do not understand.

So how does cloud computing play into this disconnect? There are a lot of misunderstandings of cloud computing.  However, it does have a lot of benefits. First, the cloud can provide on-demand self-service that solves the manual process, just like buying a book from Amazon. There is broad network access that gets rid of chunky interfaces. There is resource pooling that solves the scalability problem. There is rapid elasticity that solves the change problem. There is measured service that solves opaque costs. You only pay for what you use.  With all these changes, the IT revolution has arrived.  IT democracy has arrived.

IT now must be a service provider. If it does not move this way IT can be bypassed. With all these advantages what can prevent sprawl? This is a challenge for those who provide services. However, is this a straw man for those who do not like IT democratization?  The problem is that if you put in difficult rules to prevent sprawl people will just walk around the rules to get services elsewhere.

So the question for IT is how to enable the freedom while maintaining some control?  There are five things that can be done: enable agility, provide tools, be a best practices resource, implement company-wide cloud governance, and provide transparent economics.  He then discussed each of these five in more detail.

First, enable agility.  You have to provide self-service. People will not put up with any heavy-handed approval process.  They will go elsewhere. You also need to integrate key application requirements. You need to capture policy within automations (legal, procurement, HR, etc.) so users do not have to deal with them. Only exceptions should trigger manual processes.

Second, provide tools. There needs to be a services catalog. It should reflect tested environments and guide develop behavior. There also needs to be configuration management with pre-configured recipes and commonly used software stacks. There also needs to be cloud management with access controls, scaling, and elasticity. This management needs to apply to any cloud environment.

Third, be a best practice resource. Provide guidance to establish value. You can also get alignment with the directions you want with these practices. Avoid having business users going in the wrong direction out of frustration. Provide education to users. Offer online resources, as well as internal expertise. Attach resources to project teams. Build an internal knowledgebase and make it accessible. All of these things promote consistency.

Fourth, implement company-wide governance. Communicate the rules and then make sure they are enforced. Implement rules within automated tools. Have policy within workflow to avoid having to say “no.” Make sure everyone uses the same tools. Reduce exception handling by defining processes and time boxing them. Know who to blame and recognize alternatives to speed responses.

Fifth, offer transparent economics. Move to charge-backs. It provides signals to guide behavior and aligns cost to value.  Develop true activity based costing (ABC) on a granular basis. You will be benchmarked against direct cloud use. People will look at what Amazon charges for the same service. Be sure to understand your true cost of service or you will get hosed. Provide objective feedback. Give deployment options and their cots. Support user choices and be prepared to support additional costs.

This is all useful advice.

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.