Tag Archives: Enterprise

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

Why IBM Connections + “Pink” + AppSpokes are perfect for each other

One of the biggest stories at last week’s IBM Connect is IBM Connections Pink. According to its creator at IBM, Pink is not an IBM Connections’ release, but a vision.

There were several sessions on Pink. I went to one led by CTO and Director of IBM Collaborations Solutions Software Development, Jason Gary, and another by Pink’s lead architect and developer, Andre Hagemeier.

Here is why I think Pink and AppSpokes are made for each other. (AppSpokes in AppFusions’ growing family of deep integration solutions for IBM Connections cloud and on-premise systems – PDF brief here).

First of all both emphasize an exceptional user experience as the #1 objective.

People are at the heart of the digital workplace – past, current and future.

IBM Connections “Pink” promises to provide a customizable UI for IBM Connections using “Muse” (another technology built for IBM Connections) for customer experiences, which allows for tenant-specific javascript code to be injected into IBM Connections. UI customization can be added to the App Registry, a central repository for all types of IBM Connections’ platform extensions (including IBM Verse extensions).

AppSpokes’ extensibility solutions, by AppFusions, also have been created with an end-to-end emphasis of the user experience in mind. Though the AppFusions’ team are firm believers of the API economy, we are also pragmatic.

AppFusions’ CEO, Ellen Feaheny, said it very simply: “APIs are not enough!” in her IBM Connect 2017 session, “Confront the Madness! All Your Tools and Systems of Record Integrated Natively in IBM Connections“. AppSpokes integrations provide a natively integrated user experience – and all the underlying integration “connectivity” technology – so everything “Just works!” in cloud or on-premise IBM Connections environments.

IBMConnectionsIntegrated


Second, both the Pink and AppSpokes teams realize that HOW YOU BUILD software is at least as important as WHAT YOU BUILD.
IBMConnectionsPinkTechnologiesAgain, AppSpokes is aligned with Pink: rapid agile development, open source technology, micro-service based architecture, multi-tenant services, single code base for cloud and on-premise environments, and containerized deployments are just a few examples of our shared vision and practices.

If you listened to the Pink sessions and the AppFusions’ sessions at IBM Connect 2017, you will agree that the people behind the visions and the work efforts too are risk-takers that are leading the tribes (as Seth Godin so poignantly describes!)


Last but not least, both Pink and AppSpokes are ultimately about strategy. That is, the customer platform experience strategy, not just IBM’s or AppFusions’ strategy.

PinkHow
Strategy – people first. Build the HOW with the WHO.

Both believe extensibility is a core part of a lasting strategy for digital collaboration in the enterprises. Both embrace open ecosystems with partners in mind.


IBMConnectionsPinkAtAglance
It’s a foundational strategy with “the people’s experience” at the heart.

With the motto of “Everything is an API”, Pink will allow both “Integrate In” and “Integrate Out” between your external applications and your enterprise social network.

The goal of AppSpokes is to power your IBM Connections environment, enabling powerful enterprise collaboration desktop with ready solutions, packaged yet extensible for easy deployments and enablement,UI-rich integrations, SSO, and capabilities through community and profile apps, activity streams, embedded experiences, menu items, macros and much more in IBM Connections (and soon IBM Verse).

AppSpokes implements “integrate in and out” designs – bringing your external applications inside IBM Connections so you can work from one platform, with unlimited contextual communities. For example, in the JIRA in IBM Connections integration, not only can you create, comment, and transition a JIRA issue in-context within your IBM Connections community, you can also link back to IBM Connections from your JIRA issue or task, among other.


At the closing session of IBM Connect 2017, composer Eric Whitacre showed us how the collaboration of thousands of singers across the globe can create the most beautiful music that lifts our spirit, touches our heart, and changes our view.

Like that! Let’s apply that viral tribe building joyful notion to IBM Connections’ extensibility, growth, and delight!

IBM Connect was a fabulous conference – the beginning of a new era – this year. The AppFusions’ team greatly looks forward to our continued work with the IBM Connections’ team, IBM partners, and of course and NOT least: IBM customers, to bring the richest and best experiences – IBM Connections (Pink) “Integrated” – to you!

EricWhitacre
Eric Whitacre conducting his virtual choir – a bold, unique, and beautiful “tribe” that he and his team created.

 

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.



IBM Brings Integration and Social Business to Messaging

I think that social business is the most significant transformation in business today and application integration is the backbone of this effort.  IBM has been making significant moves in social business for some time and has included application integration as a main part of its initiatives. See for example my post on: IBM Connections 4.0 Offers Expanded Social, Integration, and Analytic Capabilities and my coverage of IBM Connect 2013 on this blog. They were recently named by IDC the worldwide market share leader in social software for fourth consecutive year. Now IBM is extending its social business lead by bringing messaging into the social experience, turning email from a client application used only for messages to a core component of a platform that changes the ways people communicate across the enterprise.

Research from IBM supports this rising importance of social media. According to an IBM study, 82 percent of chief marketing officers (CMO) plan to increase their use of social media over the next three to five years. IBM’s 2012 CEO Study identified the same trend—while today only 16 percent of CEOs are using social business platforms to connect with customers, that number is poised to spike to 57 percent within the next three to five years. See my post on this blog on the 2011 study for similar trends.

I recently spoke with Scott Souder, Program Director, IBM Messaging & Collaboration Strategy , to learn about the news in email. Offered on- premises, in the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business, hybrid or on popular mobile devices, the new offering of IBM Notes and Domino 9.0 Social Edition helps business simplify and accelerate social business adoption in the marketplace, providing employees with a single access point for all of their collaboration tools—social media, email, group activities, blogs and more.

For companies using Microsoft Outlook, IBM also provides a new social connector that brings the capabilities of shared files, communities and other key social capabilities directly into the Outlook client to ensure social email can be a reality for virtually any business.

Scott said that the goal is make email available in multiple tools, Connections and Notes, and multiple devices: laptops, mobile devices, and tablets. There is seamless integration so you can work within whatever tools you want. IBM has also developed a updated interface for Notes mail with improvements to spacing, fonts, and colors to provide a 2013 look. Ease-of-use is second goal with the simplified interface, which provides numerous consumability and productivity enhancements in the release. A third goal is an increased focus on application integration built on Open Social 2.0. This integration can enable embedded experiences and allow content from other apps to be integrated with email.

A sample use case can be seen through an employee who is working on a new marketing project.  Using a single interface this employee can check email, as well as activity streams containing the latest work from each team member, share files with colleagues, view new blogs on topics relevant to the subject and more without ever leaving the context of where the employee chooses to work In addition, since the service includes a broad device platform support, each team member has access to the same content all through their mobile device of choice, whether it’s an iPhone, Android device, Windows Phone or the new BlackBerry 10.

Connections Mail can be used to triage incoming mail more effectively. IBM wants to take email both out of a silo and away from being a fire hose . Future plans include increased filtering and analytics, which should enhance a user’s ability to focus on “What’s important now?” IBM is making significant moves in big data. It plans to take this capability into the email space by using what is known about the email user to make assumptions in filtering email.  IBM is  also going beyond the accommodation of the multiple devices with BYOD – or even “BYOC” (“Bring Your Own Client”) – to  exploit choice and flexibility in multiple backend platforms upon which Domino runs.  These are all moves in the right direction as they reflect the rising need for increased integration on all levels.

Dan Pontefract’s Flat Army: A Review

Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization is an excellent new book by Dan Pontefract  It “arms you with powerful tools for overcoming resistance to change and creating a culture of collaboration, engagement, and employee empowerment.” The book offers an integrated framework integrating collaboration, open leadership, technologies, and connected learning. It provides useful ways to flatten your organizational pyramid and engage with your people in more collaborative and productive ways without undermining management’s authority.

I have known Dan Pontefract and his excellent work for several years through his blog.  He is the Head of Learning & Collaboration at TELUS. Dan is responsible for the overarching leadership development, learning and collaboration strategy for the company. Here he implemented the strategy set forth in this book to make significant changes in the 40,000 person organization.

The organization writes on its blog. “Thanks to the remarkable efforts of Dan and his team, we’re moving beyond traditional models of learning and leadership at TELUS towards more of social, informal and participatory framework.” This is a goal that all organizations should be aiming for in today’s market conditions and opportunities. The useful ideas in the book will help you achieve these goals.

Dan explains the title as not a reference to war but from a medieval Latin term, armata, used first in 1533 to depict a fleet of things moving together. He further explains that the essence of an army is “a group of people striving, leading together to achieve a common goal.” This is what you want your company to become. For most large organizations that I have seen that would require a complete transformation. Almost every one I have observed is a group of people, each after their own agendas, even if it conflicts with the overall goals of the organization.

I really like historical contexts. Dan also offers the origins of the concept of hierarchy. The term dates back to the 14th century and it combines the Greek terms for “holy” and “ruling” or head priest. By the 17th century the terms was linked to church organizations. Now it has spread to military and business use. The origins thus provide almost all power and intelligence to top of the hierarchy.

Dan also notes that the Industrial Revolution cemented the link to the hierarchical approach to management. Fredrick Taylor called this “scientific management.” It rose to influence in the 1880s and 1890s within the manufacturing industries. Its peak of influence came in the 1910s but it often was badly received by workers. The Wikipedia reports an interesting story from that time.

“Under Taylorism, workers’ work effort increased in intensity. Workers became dissatisfied with the work environment and became angry. During one of Taylor’s own implementations, a strike at the Watertown Arsenal led to an investigation of Taylor’s methods by a U.S. House of Representatives committee, which reported in 1912. The conclusion was that scientific management did provide some useful techniques and offered valuable organizational suggestions but it gave production managers a dangerously high level of uncontrolled power. After an attitude survey of the workers revealed a high level of resentment and hostility towards scientific management, the Senate banned Taylor’s methods at the arsenal.” (image of Taylor from Wikipedia)

Despite this negative reaction many aspects of hierarchical and scientific management remained in place. We have all seen them. Dan provides some interesting examples.

Now new tools open up communication up and down the different levels of the organization. This cross level communication was often consciously blocked by middle managers or just got lost in the chain of command. Now company conversations can be out in the open for anyone to take them in and join. Collaboration tools can turn Taylorism on its head so learning goes up and down the enterprise and the whole structure is flatted. I would certainly agree with Dan’s views here. However, precisely because of this transformative change in communication it takes a cultural change to work. This is much of the content in Dan’s very useful book.

He writes how leaders can reverse traditional heirarchical leadership model and become a connected leader. He defines open leadership as, “the act of engaging others to influence and execute a coordinated and harmonious conclusion.” If you can harness the thinking of the entire company to solve problems, you will be creating a much more effective organization. There is much value to be gained from this connection. For example, McKinsey found quantified benefits from the connected enterprise in both 2010 and 2011. Now they have doubled down on their forecasts for the business value of connectivity. See my post, McKinsey Projects Business Value of Social Business at a Trillion Annually, for a look at the bright side potential of the connected enterprise.

If you want to unlock this value for your organization, Dan’s Flat Army should be on your reading list.

Dion Hitchcliffe on Social Media

Last year was a big one for social business. This year is positioned to be even greater. Major players, such as IBM, who have invested in establishing a large presence in social business have done well. See for example our Complete Listing of IBM Connect 2013 Notes. AppFusions is pleased to be working with IBM and others in this space.  Dion Hitchcliffe covered this past year in his useful post, Sizing up social business for 2012

Dion notes that, “perhaps the most important development of the year was the maturation and accumulation of experience in how to make social business work in large enterprises.” I saw many examples of this at IBM Connect 2013. He goes on to summarize five major trends from 2012.

First there was the re-unification of social business.  He notes that 2011 the realization emerged that social media must be connected to daily work to have real impact. I agree and wrote about it at the time (see for example, Putting Social Media to Work). However, 2012 revealed that enterprises had created numerous social silos that fragmented their efforts and employees. Dion went on to add that a growing body of evidence clearly shows that when social business environments had most connection between them, the measurable business outcomes were substantially higher. We cannot agree more. As we have written many times on this blog, application integration is a major foundation of social business success (see for example, The Business Value of Application Connectors).

A second trend is the addition of other major players into the space. While IBM has long made major bets here, Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft have joined the field. As these vendors move into the space, integrating their various applications and those of their partners will become even more necessary. Third, the rise of interest in big data has found a natural home in social business. One of the benefits and challenges of the transparency offered by social business is the massive amounts of data automatically generated by its use. Those organizations that can turn the massive global conversations in social media into relevant insights will be the winners. Numerous software firms added social analytics and business intelligence features to their existing products, while a great many new startups received funding in this space.

A fourth trend in 2012 is the continued rise of mobile. Dion feels mobile hampered social business projects more than it helped them. He writes that accommodating mobile requirements was a distraction to social business efforts in progress and that enterprise mobile apps did not compare well to their consumer side counterparts. However, he projects that the situation will improve. Mobile is a natural for social business. Companies and vendors now have to get it right.

The fifth and last trend he discussed was merger of social business with customer experience. He writes that a “new view has arisen to merge and combine the traditional and social customer experiences into something more holistic, natural, and expected by today’s consumer.” Application integration is critical here to connect the various customer-facing apps with the back office systems of record to create a seamless experience for both the customer service agent and the customer.

A theme running through many of these trends is the need for integration to realize the benefits of social business. A significant foundation for these benefits is found through establishing connectivity between the rising number of new tools and the established ones. Our goal at AppFusions is to build ready-to-deploy, reasonably priced connectors to solve the most common Enterprise system-to-system data and process integration problems. In other words we ant to provide tools to make social business work.

Key Steps for Migrating to Stash and git

This is another post in our discussion on DVCS and git (see our git category in the right column for more). Distributed version control (DVCS) makes it easy to share changes as every change has a guid or unique id. With DVCS git, you can get the best of both worlds: simple merging and centralized releases. We will continue a Wednesday post on aspects of git and git resources into May.  Atlassian provides a git tool with their Stash offering. In this post I want to go over the key steps in migrating to Stash. 

Before You Begin:

Make sure the following steps have been completed.

Staging Environment – Set up a staging Stash environment to perform a test run of your import first, for review and validation before doing the production run. Note, this is best practice for ANY major service efforts with Atlassian systems. You can use an evaluation license for this test.

Atlassian Stash, git, SVN installedInstall Atlassian Stash on staging server, as well as git and SVN. (SVN install is required for the import processing.)

Mail serverConfigure SMTP mail server settings on Stash server before you begin the import process. At the completion of the import, you will receive an email notification of success or failure (which can take a while depending on the size of your import).

SVN Permissions – You will need permissions authorization to your SVN repositories that will be imported, or the ability to import the SVN repositories “anonymously”. The importer supports both scenarios.

About Stash Logging – Stash process logging is logged to logback.xml in stash-home. Importer logging is logged to stash-home/logs.

Stash Documentation – More questions about Stash? Go here or ask us – happy to help!

Getting Started:

  1. Review the above checklist.
  2. Install AppFusions’ Source Code Importer for Atlassian Stash plugin from Atlassian Marketplace
  3. Once installed, SCM Importer will be listed among the available Stash plugins.
  4. Apply for a license for the plugin.

Running the Import in 9 easy steps!

To run the import, follow these steps (screenshots):

1. Review the “Before you begin” checklist and “Getting Started” steps.

2. Access the importer user interface, as follows:

  • Select the Source Code Import option in the Repositories menu, or,
  • Click Import… button from the Projects screen

3. In the UI, define your SCM, and URL for the SCM Repository Source.

SVN authentications:

  • If you require SVN authentication, select “Use Authentication”. You will be prompted for SVN username and password.
  • If no authentication is required, do not select this option. The import will access SVN anonymously.

SSL Certificates:

  • If the SVN server URL is https, no problem. The certificate will be detected, and this is supported.

4. Define your Stash target, as follows:

  • Select “Existing” or “Create New”.
  • Select/define project (depending on existing or new).
  • Define repository name

5. Click [Fetch SVN authors…] button to continue.

6. In the Source Code Import Details screen, your set import configurations are shown. Stash users are mapped to SVN authors, but you can override these mappings here. Check/adjust all of your SVN authors as desired, then click [Import into Stash] button to continue.

7. The Source Code Import Commenced screen is displayed. When import process has completed, an email with results will be sent to the logged in Stash user.

  • If an error occurs during the process, the import is halted and you will be emailed the results.
  • At anytime during the import, you may check progress in the Importer logs, located here: stash-home/logs.
  • Depending on the size of your import, the full process can take some time, so please be patient.

8. Repeat this process on your production server

9. Congratulations! and we’d love it if you let us know about your success!

If you have any questions on DVCS and how best to work with git and Stash contact us at: info@appfusions.com. At AppFusions we have also developed a Source Code Importer for Stash, Atlassian’s git offering. This importer significantly decreases the challenge of migrating SVN to git.

Study of Top 20 Social CMOs in the Fortune 100

BusinessNext Social recently released the results of a study showing that only one in five CMOs on the Fortune 100 list are active participants in public social networks. I spoke with Mark Fidelman about the study, as well as his new book, Socialized!  How the World’s Most Successful Businesses Harness the Power of Social.

The members of the list have demonstrated they “understand what it takes to grow and influence their own networks by using new strategies, cutting-edge social media and mobile technologies and compelling content marketing to build highly adaptive, high performance social businesses.”

Here is the list of the top ten:

  1. General Electric Company’s Beth Comstock (@bethcomstock) CMO and Senior Vice President
  2. Google, Inc.’s Nikesh Arora (@nikesharora), Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer
  3. Apple, Inc.’s Philip Schiller (@pschiller), Senior Vice President, Worldwide Product Marketing
  4. IBM’s Jon C. Iwata (@coastw), Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications
  5. SAP’s Jonathan Becker (@jbecher), CMO
  6. Dell’s Karen Quintos (@KarenDellCMO), CMO
  7. Exxon Mobil Corporation’s Ken Cohen (@ken_cohen) Vice President of Public and Government Affairs
  8. Microsoft’s Chris Capossela (@chriscapossela), CMO
  9. Cisco Systems’ Blair Christie (@BlairChristie), Senior Vice President and CMO, Government Affairs,
  10. 10. Raytheon’s Pam Wickham ( @PamWickham1) Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications

The entire list of the top 20 can be found on the BusinessNext Social Blog.  Despite these leaders, the study also found strong CMO resistance to becoming more social.  While the top three have a combined Twitter following of nearly 94,000, 76% of CMOs have no Twitter following.  Only 15 executives have at least 100 subscribers on Facebook, and just 12 have Klout scores greater than 30.

Compared to a 2011 CMO study, the more social CMOs have extended their social reach, while the majority remain on the sidelines. These on the sidelines may be sent back to locker room as Mark notes that Gartner Research predicts the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO by 2017.  This investment will contain a large social media component.

I asked Mark about this hesitancy of CMOs to get involved. He said the following.

“The majority of today’s CMOs joined the C-suite long before the ‘Social Age’ by following the traditional marketing playbook.  In this scenario, the CMO assumes the “voice of the customer” within the company, based on privileged access to industry analysts and expensive focus groups.   Most fail to recognize the massive paradigm shift taking place from brands and traditional media to customers and social communities.  They have yet to tap into the  ubiquity of useful information from industry thought leaders, analysts, bloggers, etc. on social networks, which makes it possible for any employee to be as knowledgeable as the smartest marketing executive. “

I then asked, what will be the consequences of this inactivity?

“I believe that ignoring the move to social puts your career at risk.  I’ll even take this assertion a step further and predict that within 5 years, CMOs will become unemployable (as executives) if they don’t have a social presence. There will simply be too many other executive contenders with larger, more influential communities. For those in positions where communication and influence are key ingredients to success, having a large network will be a significant advantage and eventually an executive requirement.”

Next I asked, What can be done about it?

“Roll up your sleeves and get social.  Only by taking the time to participate in internal and external social networks will you learn how to build and influence communities and develop reciprocal relationships with influencers.”

 

 

CVCS vs DVCS and the Pros and Cons of DVCS git

This is another in our discussion on DVCS and git (see our git category in the right column for more). Software developers are always looking for ways to make their efforts easier. Making version control more streamlined and accessible is one area where transformative improvements are happening with git. We have been covering git and related technologies (for example, see DVCS git is trending fast in software development futures, and Atlassian Stash Powers Enterprise Application Developers with DVCS Git).  We will continue a Wednesday post on aspects of git and git resources into May.

In this post I want to go over the basic differences between version control (CVCS) and the newer distributed version control (DVCS) and then discuss the pros and cons of DVCS.  Traditional version control (CVCS) helps you backup, track and synchronize files. Distributed version control (DVCS) makes it easy to share changes as every change has a guid or unique id. With DVCS git, you can get the best of both worlds: simple merging and centralized releases.

First let’s look at CVCS as shown in the chart below. The central repository serves as the hub and developers act as separate spokes. All work goes through the central repository. This makes version control easy and sharing difficult.

With DVCS git there is more interaction directly between developers as shown below. Atlassian’s Stash is their offering in the DVCS git space. For more information see this Atlassian Stash overview.

This brings in a number of advantages.

Everyone has their own local sandbox.

  • You can make changes and roll back, all on your local machine.
  • No more giant checkins; your incremental history is in your repo.

DVCS git works offline.

  • You only need to be online to share changes.
  • Otherwise, you can happily stay on your local machine, checking in and undoing, no matter if the “server” is down or you’re on an airplane.

DVCS git is fast.

  • Diffs, commits and reverts are all done locally.
  • There’s no sketchy network or server to ask for old revisions from a year ago 

DVCS handles changes very well.

  • Distributed version control systems were built around sharing changes.
  • Every change has a guid that makes it easy to track.

Branching and merging is easy.

  • Because every developer “has their own branch”, every shared change is like reverse integration.
  • The guids make it easy to automatically combine changes and avoid duplicates.

With DVCS, there is less management.

  • DVCS systems are easy to get running since there is no “always-running” server software to install.

DVCS systems may not require you to “add” new users since you can just pick what URLs to pull from. There are also some disadvantages of the current versions of DVCS that you need to be aware of.

You still need a backup.

  • Some claim your “backup” is the other machines that have your changes, but what if they didn’t accept them all? ** What if they’re offline and you have new changes?

You still want a machine to push changes to “just in case”.

  • In Subversion, you usually dedicate a machine to store the main repo; do the same for a DVCS.

There’s not really a “latest version”.

  • If there’s no central location, you don’t immediately know whether to see others for the latest version.
  • A central location helps clarify what the latest “stable” release is. 

There aren’t really revision numbers.

  • Every repo has its own revision numbers depending on the changes.
  • Instead, people refer to change numbers that are not intuitive. But, you can tag releases with meaningful names.

If you have any questions on DVCS and how best to work with git and Stash contact us at: info@appfusions.com. At AppFusions we have also developed a Source Code Importer for Stash, Atlassian’s git offering. This importer significantly decreases the challenge of migrating SVN to git for use with Stash and is currently available at the Atlassian Marketplace.

McKinsey on Preparing for a New Era of Knowledge Work

McKinsey continues to offer useful reports on the value of the connected enterprise (aka social business, enterprise 2.0). See for example our post – McKinsey Projects Business Value of Social Business at a Trillion Annually. One of their latest reports is: Preparing for a new era of knowledge work. They conclude that “Global competition, emerging skill shortages, and changing demographics will soon force companies to use their most highly paid talent more effectively.”

McKinsey notes that the trend for technology investments went from production floors to offices, where a wide range of transaction-based jobs could be standardized or scripted. Then these jobs could be either automated or shifted to workers in low-wage countries, or both. However, as they noted in 2006, much of the value in organizations lies in these transactions but in the interactions of knowledge workers, the “skilled professionals who together serve as the engine of the knowledge economy.”

This interaction work is the fastest-growing job category in developed countries, where it already accounts for a large proportion of jobs. For example, in the US interaction jobs account from 41%, transaction jobs account for 44% and production jobs account for 15%. In Germany it is: 37% interactions, 38% transactions and 25% production. While in China is: 25% interactions, 31% transactions, and 44% production.

The rapid growth in interaction-based jobs will soon lead to a global shortage of skilled workers for these slots. The US is predicted to be 1.5 million short by 2020 and China over 20 million short. These shortfalls will require companies to use their highly skilled interaction workers more effectively. This necessitates better technology support and increased technology investments, as ell as new management moves.

However, McKinsey notes that technology has tended to complement, not replace, labor in interaction work. So until recently, many of these jobs have been performed in the same way for decades. This cannot continue. To address this need there is an increasing array of tools to support these interactions under the category of social business. However, I would add that for these interactions to be incorporated into workflow and provide real value, there needs to be application integration between the technology that supports the transactions with the new tools that support interactions (for more on this see – The Business Value of Application Connectors and Integrating the Interactions with the Transactions).

McKinsey offers a number of suggestions to deal with this changing market and job requirements. First, they say to break down the job tasks of interaction workers and to find those that can be passed off to lower level people. The rise of nurse practioners to support overworked doctors is a good example that I have seen in action. McKinsey also noted paralegals, a similar move. They believe the trend to disaggregate jobs in all fields will pick up speed as skill shortages take hold and this makes sense.

Next, they suggest to “go viral” and, at the same time, make jobs more flexible. This is where technology can play a stronger role. They note that “thanks to broadband, cloud computing, and a burgeoning market for online collaboration tools, many more jobs that once required in-person interactions can be performed anywhere.”  McKinsey adds as many as 25% of all US jobs could be performed remotely. In their 2011 survey of 2,000 US businesses, one-quarter of them said they had future plans to use more remote workers.

They mention that many younger workers like the flexibility this type of work brings. I would add that this preference is not limited to the young. I have been working remotely for some time now and would not want to go back to an office. To emphasize what I wrote before, this arrangement will not work unless the “connected” enterprise is actually connected. This requires significant application integration.  This is why we at AppFusions are dedicated to making these integrations easier to achieve.

McKinsey concludes with some good advice for senior execs. You need to communicate and over communicate to make sure your wide spread workforce is on the same page. You need increased coordination of the many multiple project efforts that workers engage in. Senior execs also need to become better listeners to better understand the needs of workers, as well as harvest and share their ideas. Technology can help with these last two tasks. Finally, execs need to give up control and let their highly skilled workers use their skills effectively. Two-way trust is essential here. It can also pay off (see for example: Doing Well by Doing Good: Humanizing the Enterprise).