Tag Archives: Enterprise

Making Enterprise Collaboration Work

Brad Power recently posted a useful piece on the Harvard Business Review blog, How Collaboration Tools Can Improve Knowledge Work. He began with the statement that “managers are focusing ever more on supporting knowledge workers — which these days is just about everybody.”  The post goes on to offer ways that online collaboration tools can help. They offer faster access to useful content and the ability to generate it in the process of work and share it to the right people, including those who you did know needed it.

As Brad wrote, the tools also 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 (image of Taylor from Wikipedia). I would certainly agree with Brad’s views here. However, precisely because of this transformative change in communication it takes a cultural change to work, as Brad notes.

Brad offers the positive example of Nationwide Insurance where online collaboration became embedded in the workplace, with the resulting increase engagement by workers. In their system, “Anyone can ask online questions, post comments, make announcements, recognize a peer, or search the network to find answers.”

Leaders are now putting communications into the open tool rather than doing massive email distributions. Ironically this gives them more control over their messages as they remain in the open and are not subject to private filtering and positioning through email.

Nationwide is not alone and as we wrote, McKinsey Projects Business Value of Social Business at a Trillion Annually. McKinsey  has already found quantified significant benefits from establishing greater connections within the enterprise. In 2010 they reported, Enterprise 2.0 finds Its Payday. Similar results were found in 2011. In both cases, they found significant quantified benefits from the business use of social media. Now they offer new research, The Social Economy: Unlocking Value and Productivity through Social Technologies. They found, “that social technologies, when used within and across enterprises, have the potential to raise the productivity of the high-skill knowledge workers that are critical to performance and growth in the 21st century by 20 to 25 percent.”

So why have many companies not turned to online collaboration tools in the face of these intuitive benefits and positive returns? This is a question that Brad asks. He offers some success factors from Nationwide: senior leadership engagement, clear policies on compliance and governance, and the message that is was okay to be open and try new ideas.

In addition to addressing the people issues (so they are open to connecting and willing to step out of organizational silos), there are some essential technology ones, it is also necessary to get the applications connected so conversation do not occur in technical silos. As I wrote in Putting Social Media to Work, to be effective these systems that support interactions have to be integrated with the systems of record that support transactions. The social tools also need to be integrated with each other or companies are simply creating more silos of disconnection and benefits are not realized.

Application connectors are a major key realizing the business benefits of online collaboration tools and off-the-shelf plug-ins can allow for a major breakthrough in establishing these connections quickly and efficiently. For example, why not have your issue-tracking tool integrated with your collaboration tool?  This is one of the main focuses of AppFusions and we offer integrations between Atlassian’s issue tracking tool, JIRA, and a number of collaboration tools such as IBM Connections.

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Reinventing the Inbox – Ed Brill

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: Reinventing the Inbox with Ed Brill, Director, Social Business & Collaboration, IBM.

I first meet Ed Brill in person at the 2011 Lotusphere. He remembered our phone interview six year earlier when I was collecting cases for blog book. Here is that interview: Blog Cases from 2005: Ed Brill on IBM, Collaboration, and More.

Before I get into the session I want to mention, Ed’s excellent new book, Opting In: Lessons in Social Business from a Fortune 500 Product Manager. I had a chance to preview the first few chapters. As I wrote in response to this preview:

Opting In is an important book that takes social business beyond external marketing to provide practical guidance on how to drive significant business value through enhancing human interactions within the enterprise.

McKinsey’s research has demonstrated many quantified benefits here and Ed shows you how to realize them. I look forward to reading the rest of the book.

Ed runs product management for messaging, collaboration, and unification products. The two big new things this year are improvements to existing apps through Social Notes 9.0 and IBM docs.  Ed said that email has become dysfunctional and needs to be transformed.

Adding social capabilities will greatly increase its efficiency and I would certainly agree. Some of the content that used to be in broadcast emails has already moved to social apps for good reason. But there needs to be changes to email itself. This is happening in several ways.

There is embedded experience so that email alerts can come into other apps you are working on. You can respond to the email without leaving the other app. Another major change that is coming is to use analytics to prioritize your mail so the most relevant messages come to the top of the email inbox, replacing the simple chronological order that has been standard for some time.

There could be several different types of filters for this prioritization such as skills, team membership, location, or relevance to a project you are working on. Ed said that one challenge will be getting people to trust the prioritization.

Within IBM as an organization, Connections has replaced the portal as the first place people go. Now you can have mail within Connections so you do not have to leave it. There is also a discovery engine that teaches people how to use the new features. One capability I really like, is the ability to act on a message directly. For example, you might get a request from HR in an email that requires using an HR app. You can respond to the request directly in the email without having to go to the app.

I have covered IBM Connections in depth recently on this blog (see IBM Connections 4.0 Expands Its Social, Integration, and Analytic Capabilities). For this post I spoke with Suzanne Livingston, Senior Product Manager for Connections on the 4.0 release. I have covered Connections a number of times before (see for example, Review of IBM Connections 3.0 and IBM Connections: Analytics + Social).

Ed talked a bit about activity streams as they also have this embedded ability to respond to requests from apps. Email and activity streams are now two parallel communication channels. Activity streams are for public information, as many people can see them. Ed said they can be useful for discovering new information. Email remains the channel for private communication. It is still necessary but some of its uses have moved to better tools. Here is a list of features for Notes 9.0 from the IBM product page.

  • Provides an easy-to-use, single point of access to everything you need to get your work done quickly, including business applications, email, calendars, feeds, and more.
  • Lets you tailor your work environment with widgets that bring social communities that are important to your job, both within the enterprise and across the Internet, right into your peripheral view.
  • Enables you to work with people right at the point of context with social tools weaved into the work experience, allowing you to pivot to the tool you need, such as business cards, presence awareness, instant messaging, and more.
  • Helps you quickly locate the people and content you need through integrated access to social tools from IBM Connections and IBM Lotus Quickr® software, including profiles, activities, team places, and content libraries.
  • Offers advanced replication technology to enable you to work with email and applications even when disconnected from the network.

Sometimes changes to becoming more social can have unintended consequences. For example, Ed mentioned a CEO who started a blog to more directly communicate with his workforce and allow for two-way exchanges that email messages did not promote.  Employees were so pleased to have a communication channel with the CEO that many comment threads got pushed into topics unrelated to his post. So he set up a second app, called the Speaker’s Corner, to allow for these comments. This allowed his first blog to stay more on topic.

Ed said that Notes use remains very active. In fact, many clients who let their Notes licenses expire are coming back. The added social features are one driver of this re-engagement.

IBM Docs also has integrated social features. You can open a document and invite others to collaborate on it in real time. In
traditional word processing you designate a file name and place it in a file structure. It is document oriented. IBM Docs is more people oriented. You open a document and place in a location such as a team workspace within Connections, not an abstract file structure.

Then others can be invited into this workspace. I see this people orientation as a great improvement and one of the shortcomings of MS Word and SharePoint. IBM Docs can work in the cloud as IBM SmartCloud Docs is a cloud-based office productivity suite, which allows users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents. Here is a sample screen is on the right.

Notes can also be in the cloud. 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.

There is also extensive mobile support including client and client-less (HTTP, browser based) access options and seamless
network connectivity as you roam. There is optimized network utilization to reduce data transmission and connection costs. Notes Mobile Connect also supports a wide range of device types – mobile, desktop, laptop – for security-rich connection into business infrastructure. It is nice to see that Notes in alive and well and entering the social age. This move should ensure its longevity.

IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Tuesday Opening Session

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. Here are my notes from 2011 and 2012. Bob Piccano, IBM General Manager led the opening session. The theme was the rise of social business – moving from liking to leading. These notes are real time so please forgive any typos.

Bob Piccano opened the session. He mentioned that this was the 20th year at this conference.   He has moved to a new post that includes leading the big data efforts across IBM.  He introduced Adam Klaber, Managing Partner, New Markets, who is working on big data among other things. IBM is moving from systems of transaction to systems of engagement. This has major transformation implications. I have written about this a bit (see for example, Integrating the Interactions with the Transactions and Integrating Transactions and Interactions: A Fable).

Adam said that customers are leading the conversations that define brands. Partners are interacting to accelerate business value. Employees are using social media in all aspects of the their lives, including work. Organizations are crowdsourcing ideas to bring better solutions.

Adam mentioned the four I’s: Interact, Inform, Integrate, and Innovate. Each builds on the other. This shift is enabled by technology supported social interactions. They are releasing a study on how companies are moving forward in social. Over half of the organizations are shifting their investments to social technology. They are also looking at the cultural change. IBM is doing more than technology but also helping with the social change. They have formed a cross-disciplinary group on front office transformation and a center of competence in this space. He moved to client examples in healthcare, retail, and government. He began with healthcare.

All of these cases make use of IBM Connections. I have covered IBM Connections in depth recently (see IBM Connections 4.0 Expands Its Social, Integration, and Analytic Capabilities). For this post I spoke with Suzanne Livingston, Senior Product Manager for Connections on the 4.0 release. I have covered Connections a number of times before (see for example, Review of IBM Connections 3.0 and IBM Connections: Analytics + Social).

Dan Pelino came out to discuss healthcare and the other cases. There is now a huge increase of people getting healthcare benefits in the US.  Thirty million new people are coming into the system. It is the largest single change for any industry. It will change everything including the use of technology.

Dan began with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. I was a subscriber of this Blue Cross for years when I lived in Cambridge until I recently moved back to New Orleans. Bill Fandrich, the CIO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts spoke. They have been dealing with universal coverage since 2006 when Massachusetts passed the first laws in this area. When they started today’s smart phones were not in the market, yet these devices are now the primary ways members access their benefits.

There is now a new paradigm, out pacing Moore’s law on change with growth of over 45% per year. The real question is whether they are getting insights from the massive amounts of data or is this just an expense. There is now coverage for 411,000 uninsured residents and only 1.9% remain uninsured. Blue Cross is the glue that connects members and providers. They look at all the touch points in the process.  They keep a 360 view of their members to provide better care at less cost. They want to provide more personalized health care. I have received calls on some of the issues he raised.

Next, Maree Foti, HR manager at David Jones, a department store in Australia, spoke. They have 36 stores with 8,000 employees. They are the oldest department store still on their original name.  They started a working group to have more two-way communication with employees. They needed a platform with two-communication, anywhere, anytime while complimenting existing infrastructure. They started a pilot of IBM Connections with 1,000 employees. They have 65% take up in three months. There are also behavioral changes.

Usage is strong with 64% accessing the system several times a week. More than 55% believe it will enhance two-way communication. The top three benefits: increased knowledge of the firm, more direct link to leadership team, and a greater sense of community and collaboration. Her three top tips: bring the platform to life for users, focus on content, content, content; and engage champions at all levels of the business.  Moving forward their focus is changing to find ways to obtain business benefits. They want to create a platform for social business.

Dan next introduced the government example. Municipalities affect how we live so better participation in good for everyone. Jeff Rhoda, General Manager, IBM spoke. We are all touched by government. The issues that have been discussed all apply to government: big data, collaboration, analytics, cloud, and mobile. For example, police can use analytics to predict where crimes will occur to prevent them before they happen. I have seen the TV commercial about this.

Dan introduced Mike Van Milligen from the city of Dubuque to discuss how they engaged citizens to help with local challenges. They have come back from population loss and economic downturn to create a growing community that is sustainable. They use smarter technologies to give new information to citizens and business to save money. If you give people the right information, they will make smarter decisions. Water was the first example. Thee hundred volunteer households were given a portal looking at water use. It resulted in a 7% reduction in water use and 800% increase in water leak detection. The also did a smarter electricity study with over 1,000 participants. They received a 4 – 7% cost savings in electricity. Over 70% took actions to converse electricity. The state officials in Iowa are looking at these projects for state-wide use. Next, they are wrapping up a smarter travel study. They are developing better bus routes.

Mike said the lessons include:

  • Incremental change is best
  • Synthesize and analyze large amounts of data from unrelated and unstructured sources
  • Reach people on through multiple channels

They are focused in creating a sustainable model for cites under 200,000 people where 40% of the US population lives. They revamped their riverfront. They have a population of 60,000 but 3 million live within a 100 miles.

Dan concluded the three part case examples and Bob came back to wrap up the morning session. He began an architectural discussion with systems of record. There are now machine-to-machine interactions. At the top end of the stack you have systems of engagement.  A big data platform links the two. Content is curated and made useful for analytics and subsequent decisions. They are releasing a new version of IBM Social Analytics, formerly known as Cognos. It will be available on a SaaS model. The platform allows big data to be used at the point of impact.  There is interaction data, attitudinal data, behavioral data, and more.  An airline manufacturer saved 36 million in shorter service calls, another client process 17 billion bits of data on a daily basis. They have now 300 business partners in this space and have released their Stored IQ product.


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

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. Here is a summary of my notes for 2012 and 2011. These notes cover the Monday Session: Four Major Trends Shaping Social Business in 2013 and Beyond with Beverly Macy, CEO of Gravity Summit LLC & Huffington Post Columnist; Mark Fidelman, CEO of Evolve! & Forbes.com Columnist; and Sandy Carter, VP, Social Business Sales.  Here is my review of Mark’s new book, Socialized.

Mark said that being precise is hard these days but trends can be seen. Mark reviewed the four trends they will discuss. He then asked Sandy how marketing in the social age is different. She said that IBM sees social moving beyond marketing. For example, one firm is using social to capture ideas from a retiring employees. IBM is leveraging influencers on Twitter and other social media to help with their messages.

Mark asked Beverly if we still need a CIO? She said yes. In fact, the cloud will be bringing more work back into IT. Many companies are having trouble dealing with the idea that social will effect all areas. There is a lot to manage. How will different departments engage with each other? How does a tweet that needs answering get routed to the right people within the enterprise? What are the legal aspects? Are you allowed to tweet about your work on the weekend?

Mark asked Sandy about influence marketing. She said that 20% of your customers influence your other customers and 15% of your employees influence what everyone else thinks about the company. Word of mouth is more trusted than traditional marketing. Over 90% of people trust their friends. She gave the example of Mark as influencer. If she can get him excited about an IBM idea or product, he might tweet to thousands of people.

Mark asked Beverly if firms should get rid of traditional marketing. She said no. Traditional marketing still works. Influencer marketing is an amplifier. Traditional marketing should not be abandoned but still need the influencer marketing.

Sandy said they worked with an investment bank and identified their influencers. They built a relationship with an influencer and got him to recommend their offerings. Beverly said that social has come into traditional marketing like Twitter hashtags on TV ads. Sandy said there are three groups to reach; digital natives, digital immigrants, and those who use traditional means. Now you need to reach all three but over time everyone will be digital natives.

Mark asked Beverly about how big data can help sales. She said that big data have been around a while but what is new is the social data. It provides context to traditional big data. She said that predictive analytics will become much better at focusing sales.

Mark wondered why more people are not on Twitter. Beverly said you still have a lot of non-digital people in sales.  Sandy said that sales analytics can be very useful on Twitter. Sentiment analysis is useful. Are findings a trend or a fad? One European energy drink company saw their image shrink. Michelle Obama had said that energy drinks are a source of childhood obesity. This will be a trend that may last since she has great influence.

The Obama campaign used predictive analytics. They interviewed likely voters and profiled them. The tested messages at the door and on the phone and fine tuned them. They also used influencers. There is much more. Sandy said the Obama campaign used mobile very well and 68% of social is done on mobile.

Beverly said that people do not take smoke breaks any more but they take Facebook breaks on their own smart phone.  She gave the example of a person getting a coupon for a store as they walk pass it. Some people may find this spooky but they can opt out. Others will find it useful.

Sandy said that on a clothes store has an automated tracker on the cloths hanger that says how many people liked the item. In Asia they have pictures of the product on the subways. You can take your phone and take a picture of the product and order it and/or recommend it.

Beverly said there was dating service that would cause your phone to go off when you walked by someone else on the service with a similar profile. They had to turn it off because it caught too many married people who were secretly on the dating service.

Mark told the story about a father who discovered his daughter was pregnant because she was getting baby ads from Target based on their analytics. Sandy said that younger people see less separation between work and their personal life so there will be less issues about privacy. Beverly said security will also get better even as the concerns might decrease.

Sandy said 57% of social business efforts fail because of adoption issues. So they worked with clients to create ten steps to succeed in adoption. Changing culture is one. Another is how to get buy-in. Then how do you sustain engagement? Gamification can help. One company used gamification to bring back customers who had gone to a competitor.

Beverly said the hard part is changing entrenched old school culture to accept social. This is as big as Six Sigma as a transformation.

Mark asked Beverly if most CEOs will need to be social within five years? Beverly said boards will be looking at the digital footprint of candidates to evaluate them. To succeed CEOs will have to become social. They will need help. Beverly said that this can be a role for the CIO and enable them to become more strategic.

Sandy talked about the IBM Social Business Agenda. It includes:

Align organizational goals and culture

Gain social trust

Engage through experiences

Network your business processes

Design for reputation and risk management

Analyze your data

Mark asked what can companies to do with the skill gaps in social? Beverly said it starts with education. They need to become strategic. Companies have to make a commitment. She is concerned that there will be a major skills gap and not enough people with the right skills. Companies are going to start hiring but they may not find enough skilled people. Also, companies will look more at individual’s Klout score to rate them and determine how much service they get.

Mark about what to do with people who say they will not go social. Sandy said that some companies have used gamification to move the resisters. Mark asked about the difference in cultures between IBM and Apple. Beverly compared that Coke has never had a spokesperson and Pepsi is very personality driven. Either strategy can work. Apple is now suffering from being icon driven and the lost of their icon. Sandy said the employees are the best marketers. You need employee engagement to get client engagement. IBM has been very open to letting their employees speak for the firm. I wrote about this issue last year (see Why Apple Needs to be More Like IBM), as did Mark (see Why Every Company Needs To Be More Like IBM And Less Like Apple).

Building a Connected Enterprise Strategy: Forrester on Mastering The Business Tablet Landscape

Forrester has released a new report. Mastering The Business Tablet Landscape by Ted Schadler and Simon Yates. I was pleased to receive a review copy. It notes that by 2016, 375 million tablets will be sold globally and 760 million will be in use.

In comparison it took PCs 20 years to reach that install base. Now 81 percent of firms expect to support tablets for employees.

The trend toward consumerization of IT has changed the way devices are getting into the business. At the same tine, the multitude of business scenarios and the tech sophistication of business users mean that IT cannot completely control tablet deployments.

According to this new report, if IT applies the same acquisition and deployment process with tablets that it does with computers, it runs the risk of not meeting business and employee requirements. Instead, Forrester recommends that IT should advocate for business-driven tablet programs.

They argue that tablets are the best tools for workflow and information process improvement since the PC and I would agree. Some tablets implementations can transform how work gets done and who does which tasks. This is why business-driven tablet projects need a tight collaboration between IT and business decision-makers and employees.

Currently, Forrester notes that the business side is left out of too many implementation steps. CIOs need to ensure business involvement all along the way as the transformative use cases will be business driven. At the same time some useful bottoms-up use case will emerge as employees experiment with tablet use. CIOs need to allow for both business driven and employee empowering use cases.

The rise of tablets will drive up the number of “anytime, anywhere” information workers. More than two-thirds of employees who use a tablet for work point to the portability compared to a laptop and being able to get things done whenever it’s convenient as the key reasons why they use a tablet. It is interesting to note that 65% told Forrester that they use the tablet at home to do work. This compares with 52% who use the tablet at their work desk and 46% who use it in a different room in the office.

These numbers are also not far off from a similar survey performed by Neilson back in May, 2011 (Connected Devices: How we Use Tablets in the U.S.), indicating that the trend is here to stay. 

Employees will use multiple devices, work from multiple locations and use at least seven applications in their work.

Employees utilize a broader array of applications on tablets than they do on smartphones.   For example, productivity apps like word processors (60%), spreadsheets (53%), note-taking apps (50%), and presentation tools (49%) are more useful on a touchscreen tablet than a smart phone. These are the type of apps that are best served when they are connected.

Forrester concludes that IT needs to embrace a multi-platform, multi-ecosystem – and a multi-device – world.

Until IT can get all the apps an employee will ever need running well on a tablet, it should act as though tablets are just one of three devices it will have to support. Firms also need to understand that it’s a multi-ecosystem world and that they will have to deploy the apps and infrastructure and services to support multi-platform, multi-ecosystem tablets.

Again, this raises the need for extensive application integration for the connected enterprise to remain connected and competitive.

There is much more in the report – certainly recommend it for anyone involved in tablet implementations and building out a connected enterprise strategy.

Git Gains Again with Git Related Jobs on the Rise

We have written about git, DVCS, and Stash in prior posts. See DVCS git is trending fast in software development futures and Atlassian Stash Powers Enterprise Application Developers with DVCS Git.

In the former posts, we noted how git usage has increased significantly over the past two years. As reported by Red Monk, git’s share in the version control system (VCS) industry almost tripled in two years, while the centralized version control (CVCS) share has declined by better than 50%.

Recent job openings/expertise reflect this same trend as reported on the “More @watterjames” blog. In the report, we find that there are 5,165 listings seeking people with git expertise. Traditional VCS’s,  like Subversion/SVN expertise, shows 9,114 job listings. This generally balances with git’s 25% plus share of VCS repositories and Subversions 50% plus share (per RedMonk’s article).

It is interesting that in the @watterjames blog that other types of VCS flavors are not called out as a skill at all, in comparison. (I would have thought that CVSPerforce or TFS at least would have made the list.) Also, I would have guessed that the percentage increase in job listings is actually a bit larger for git expertise, just as the git usage numbers achieved much greater percentage increases as reported through Red Monk.

Not doubting Mr. James’ reporting — just found the report to indeed be interesting when analyzing from this perspective. Git is a high focus.


git “job expertise” generally gets applied in two flavors of software development environments.

There is SaaS git, or hosted software-as-a-service git repositories, by GitHub and BitBucket by Atlassian. Both of these options offer limited free source code hosting.

Then there is behind-the-firewall git hosting, for more secure enterprise repositories. This market is served by GitHub Enterprise and Atlassian Stash, which are git repository managers for corporations.

Incidentally though, with git management applications (both SaaS and behind-the-firewall versions), “git expertise” is even less required – since thy whole point of these applications is to make source control management significantly easier and faster. Developers can spend time coding, with streamlined coding workflow mechanisms (like pull requests and easier merges, for example) – NOT fighting with their source control management (SCM) system.

git as a DVCS flavor overall gained its traction during the recent years’ open source community surge on hosted GitHub. That said, given that most open source contributions are by individuals, university projects, or small group teams vs. mid to large corporations,  it can easily be argued that git in the corporation is still fertile ground in terms of market potential.

Despite the impressive git trends and momentum, thousands upon thousands of corporations or development organizations — small, medium, or large — are still on legacy VCS tools, such as SVN, CVS, or Perforce. As git continues it’s high-growth pace, so too will the proliferation of secure git Enterprise solutions grow.

Both Atlassian Stash and Enterprise GitHub are really at a nacsent stage in the enterprise world still, compared with the overall potential of the market. While nearly a third of all projects are now employing DVCS, versus 14% two years ago, almost 70% of projects remain in CVCS (per Redmonk).

The coming few years will be interesting times in the VCS industry, as mainstream corporations jump into the fast-spreading git wildfire.


Atlassian released a press release back in October, 2012, with the title  “Atlassian Ships Major Updates to Distributed Version Control Products, Readies the Enterprise for Massive Git Adoption”.

Lets think about that: Readies the Enterprise for Massive Git Adoption.

Hmm — a strong statement, but I think the @walterjames’ job trends report on top of the Redmonk report (among much other trend factuals out there) are indeed supporting the growing git rage!

Afterall, Software IS eating the world!  😯

AppFusions recently released a Source Code Importer for Atlassian Stash that is available now. The importer significantly decreases the challenges of migrating from a CVCS code repository system to git with automation, for use with Stash. Other flavor import support is on the near-term radar (which flavor do you want most? Tell us). Please “watch” the listing and do let us know if you have questions.

Note: AppFusions provides full-service sales support for all Atlassian products. We are happy to answer any questions or provide you with quotes. We also have strong expertise to help you through any flavor of migration — simple to complicated.

We’re here to help you in your every Atlassian service need!

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

The Business of Social Business Report: What Works and How It’s Done

IBM has released a new report, “The Business of Social Business: What Works and How It’s Done” based on their survey of 1,160 business and IT professionals.  In it, it concludes that companies at the forefront of the new connected enterprise movement are:

… doing more than developing a presence on major social platforms.

A social business embeds social technologies into core business processes, and then applies the technologies to drive customer-facing activities such as lead generation, sales and post-sales service.

I could not agree more (see for example, Integrating the Interactions with the Transactions). For social business to truly be an enterprise operation, it needs to take in the old with the new. In today’s world, “rip and replace” is not always the right solution for many reasons, especially since it may not be cost-effective or practical given the current state of the business.

Instead, companies need to think beyond the “buy new” solution only – and complement it so that transactions and the interactions around them are simply “connected”. Application integration is a key to achieving this goal (on a related note: The Business Value of Application Connectors).

The integration of social capabilities in applications has been a key component of IBM’s business strategy and I, and of course AppFusions, are very supportive of this effort (see for example, Talking About Social Business with IBM at SXSW).

What’s key is that you’ve got to get the systems of engagement (the social business) talking to the systems of record (the enterprise applications). With social technologies you have to be aligned with a business problem. I never saw a knowledge management system that was not business process aligned succeed.

You’ve got to be able to align the enterprise social business tools with a business process and business process tools. They must all work together. They must have value, they must be able to solve a business problem, and this is tactic that IBM has taken.

IBM found that while 46% of the surveyed organizations increased their investments in social technologies in 2012, only 22% believed that managers are prepared to incorporate social tools and approaches into their daily practices. In addition, over 60% of respondents were not sure they sufficiently understood the impact that social technologies would have on their organizations over the next three years.

Kevin Curtis, Vice President and Global Leader Social Business and Mobility Services, IBM Global Business Services is quoted:

Businesses are struggling to make sense of the vast amount of data generated from social networks. To transform a vision into a reality, executive leadership must guide middle management on the value of being a social business, and build company-wide support for the use of social practices across organizational functions.

IBM offers a plan to overcome the concerns about engagement and return on investment they found.

First, there must be an infrastructure for engagement including activity streams, forums, team-rooms and collaborative spaces. Once these capabilities are in place, social practices should be integrated into day-to-day work activities. This is key.

Next, the organization must also create the capability to understand where and how data generation could benefit the enterprise.

Finally, employees need to be taught how to collaborate effectively with individuals outside of the organization’s boundaries, using social business methods and tools. As McKinsey noted, higher operating margins than competitors correlated with a willingness to allow the formation of working teams comprising both in-house employees and individuals outside the organization.

IBM concludes that a properly executed social business plan can lead to significant benefits. Organizations will be able to integrate and analyze massive amounts of data generated from people, devices and sensors. Then they can more easily align these insights to business processes to make faster, more accurate business decisions. Finally, by:

gaining deeper insights in customer and market trends and employees’ sentiment, businesses can uncover critical patterns to not only react swiftly to market shifts, but predict the effect of future actions.

There is a big pay off here.

This year McKinsey projected that effective use of social technologies in the coming years could potentially contribute $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in annual value just across the four sectors of consumer packaged goods, retail financial services, advanced manufacturing, and professional service. (Download report.)

More value lies elsewhere. It is an exciting time to involved in social technologies. Making this potential happen is the challenge and the IBM study offers some very useful guidance. For more information on IBM’s Study, or to review the related webinar on demand, go here.

AppFusions is exhibiting/demoing our new Atlassian to IBM integrations with IBM Connections and IBM Sametime at IBM Connect 2013 (Jan. 27 – Jan. 31, 2013). We will also be covering the event daily on this blog beginning Jan. 28. Hope to see you there!

Success with Social in Business: Review of Socialized! by Mark Fidelman

Happy New Year! Thought we’d start out the New Year with a power hitter on demystifying the wild world of social media – that is, for business.

What’s the tricks,  the secrets, the behind the scene aspects, and a whole slew of other obvious and not so obvious nuances that we think are good and godly advice in this  social marketing entrenched world that we all live in. Whether you like it, agree with it, do it, or not – one thing is sure: it’s here to stay, so we’d suggest, get on the train, or the train will leave the depot (or has already) without you!

To do this, AppFusions (and in particular me – Bill) was fortunateto receive a review copy of Mark Fidelman’s new book Socialized!  How the World’s Most Successful Businesses Are Harnessing the Power of Social. Mark is a a Forbes blogger and seasoned executive with many years and experience in the industry of social business. (More information on the book is also here.)

Mark Fidelman

In this very useful book, Mark presents the strategies and tactics of the world’s best social business organizations, including IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce.com, Google, JetBlue, and several small businesses.

Mark also offers a playbook that businesses can use today to make effective use of social business practices. In fact, McKinsey has predicted that there is over a trillion dollars in benefits waiting for those organizations who properly use social business practices so this is a worthwhile goal to pursue.

The book includes how to create and nurture a high performing “digital village” or internal social network. It also offers ways to connect with your “digital network” and build a community of brand advocates. It then includes how to manage a sales and marketing funnel with a social wrapper.

I asked Mark what motivated Mark to write the book?  He replied:

The majority of senior executives I meet are feeling a stinging sense of urgency that their businesses must adopt a true social business model if they are to remain relevant, sustainable and profitable.  However, most simply don’t know how to go about it.

I wrote Socialized! to give businesses a roadmap for capturing the power of social inside the organization and out.

Mark makes the very important point that successful social business starts inside your organization.

With the initial emphasis on social media marketing, this has often been overlooked as a crucial step toward social business success.

  • First, there are many internal efficiencies that can be realized by socializing business processes and these are part of the trillion that McKinsey counts.  Putting social media to work inside the organization is a topic I have often discussed (see, for example, Giving Social Media a Good Job).
  • Second, a focus on external social business alone, without an internal social business component, will not make the necessary transformation of the business culture to realize both the external and internal benefits. This crucial link is often coined/termed: “social business”.

There’s much debate out there on what’s the difference between ‘social business’ and ‘enterprise 2.0’, in terms of terms (for example, here on Quora) – and we won’t go into that debate here, but in short, both are about collaboration, bringing it together: people, systems, and processes, whether internal  external, or both.

Mark provides ten rules that are essential to build a culture achieve a closely connected business culture, or, as he refers to it, a “digital village.”  Developing this digital village mentality allows for the creation and sharing of critical content across the enterprise. Aspects include: employees, management, operations, processes, workflow, technology, strategy, standards, and governance. It requires the updating of structures, processes, and workflow and making the investments to ensure these efforts succeed.

I am glad that Mark includes technology. Too often, people say, “well, it is not about the technology, but the people.”

Actually it is about both. For the connected enterprise or digital village to work, you certainly have to have the right culture in place. AND you also have to have the applications integrated so there are actually connections within the digital workflow. This second fact is often overlooked and then you end up with a bunch of frustrating silos.

Mark offers eight requirements for the digital village. These include developing a code of conduct and realigning the village to make it a social environment. Then you need to deploy social platforms to support the infrastructure of the digital village.

This is where application integration comes into play. Now you can leverage the collective intelligence of the village. To make it real you also need training and a more human focus to HR.

Finally, analytics need to be put into place to gauge the health of the digital village and make adjustments. Benefits need to be spread across the organization.

Once the internal digital village is in place you can turn toward to market with a unified force. The term “markets as conversations” introduced ten years ago though the Cluetrain Maninfesto remains highly relevant. Communities become one of the main platforms for these conversations. Mark contrasts old model behavior that was centered around onward communication and the new model of actual exchanges.

I asked Mark, “What are the most critical things for organizations do to become socialized in an effective way?”

He replied with the following three points.

  • Connect and empower thought leaders.  ” I can’t emphasize enough that traditional marketing is dead.  Your customers don’t trust your advertising as much as they do the individuals they have been following for years, so make it a priority to build reciprocal relationships with influencers.   Once you’ve connected with them, you can work together to talk about the pains your customer community is experiencing, which your product can solve.”
  • Build or join an external community.  “Building an external community around your brand is one of the most powerful things you can do to positively impact sales, create goodwill, and generate ideas. It’s also an effective feedback vehicle. Imagine thousands of people discussing topics related (and sometime unrelated) to your products every day.Your community is answering support questions, helping other members with career aspirations, or just networking.  If your brand or product does not yet have enough authority to build a community around it, and if there is already a robust and thriving community where your customers are hanging out, then by all means join it. If your competitor is running it, you’ll need to create a community around another subject related to your product.”
  • Build internal online communities. “To support an adaptive organization, employees need to connect, share, and expand on ideas. This is a critical part of becoming a more social, adaptive organization. Employees must have the ability to share insight with each other easily and visibly. Imagine a professional sports team that doesn’t practice or share information about the opposing team. Indeed, imagine a sports team that doesn’t review its game tape. How effective would they be long term?”

There is much more including the rise of the social employee and a playbook to support and engage this employee.

The book is rich in practical examples and guidelines. I certainly recommend it to anyone embarking on a social business program.

Check it out for yourself on Amazon here!


DVCS git is trending fast in software development futures


RedMonkRedMonk recently posted on Centralized vs Decentralized Version Control: 2010 vs 2012. They mentioned that the inquiries regarding decentralized or distributed version control (DVCS) technologies, such as git, has spiked. RedMonk went on to add that some organizations are considering migrations to such technologies, while others have committed to the move in general, but require data to justify their decisions internally.

gitWe recently covered a tool in this space for the Atlassian community (see Atlassian Stash Powers Enterprise Application Developers with DVCS Git). Stash incorporates the latest and greatest technologies in DVCS source code management and git, allowing you to create and manage repositories, set up fine-grained permissions, and collaborate on code in a secure, fast and enterprise-grade manner. It was released in the Spring of 2012.

In the RedMonk post, they looked at the question of DVCS usage via Ohloh over the past two years. The two most obvious changes from 2010 to 2012 are the decline in CVCS traction (centralized) and the growth of git (decentralized). git’s share, in particular, almost tripled in two years, while CVCS declined by better than 50%.

CVCS vs. DVCS, 2010-2012
CVCS vs. DVCS, 2010-2012

They also presented at chart of the leading repositories. Each decentralized repository, including git, demonstrated growth while the two centralized systems, CVS and Subversion, declined. Second, git substantially outperformed both Bazaar and Mercurial from a growth perspective.

It seems that developers are voting for decentralized git repositories with their feet, or perhaps their keyboard/mouse.

RedMonk showed further data that indicates there is still room for more growth for git. If you look at the absolute numbers, rather than growth, centralized repositories are still in the lead. Their data show that while nearly a third of all projects are now employing DVCS, versus 14% two years ago, almost 70% of projects remain in centralized version control (CVCS).

RedMonk concludes the git is the clear winner over the past few years.

Stash - git repository managementIn line with this trend, Atlassian Stash – Atlassian’s behind the firewall git repository manager – is gaining good traction in the market, as can be expected. BitBucket, their SaaS DVCS offering (supporting both git and Mercurial) is also growing fast – both being yet more alignment to this growing trend.

Source Code Importer for Atlassian StashAppFusions, in further support of this trend, has recently released a Source Code Importer for Atlassian Stash, that is available at the Atlassian Marketplace now. This importer significantly decreases the challenge of migrating SVN to git for use with Stash.

Check it out!

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