Showing posts from September, 2007

Employee blogging

Lilia Efimova has been doing some interesting research on blogging practices. She's working on her PhD on this topic at the moment. She recently posted on a workshop she gave at the ECSW conference on "Employee blogging - personal or work-related?". Find her interesting slides here.

I liked the citation (sheet 2) of Joshua Allen:
As long as your company views your blogging as "you chatting with your neighbors on your personal time", you pose little risk. But the more that co-workers, CEOs, and so on are on-record as being cool with blogs, the more that blogs take on the timbre of being "official". The more "official" that blogs are, the more perceived risk the company takes on by allowing you to blog. And neither you nor your CEO is really keen to make things more complicated than they need to be. And this is why, IMO, you see most companies and employees today still dancing around the issue of employee blogs and seemingly settling on a &…

Using Timebridge with Outlook

I was wrong... Some time ago I posted about Timebridge. I love the application, but I was disappointed about the Outlook integration.

John from Timebridge wrote a comment on my post and said that what I was looking for can already be done using Timebridge. And indeed, after some emailing with John we got it to work. The Outlook data is not imported in Timebridge (and I thinks that's wonderful). But when you organize a meeting using the Timbridge Outlook plugin you can see what's already filled in in your Outlook Calendar. Really cool. I'm definitely going to use Timebridge more now.
Thanks for the help John!

Dilbert on Web 2.0

Hmm, should try this in a meeting at my company...

Storytelling in organisations

For some time I've been following the interesting Anecdote blog. Storytelling is an intriguing topic. I posted about it on my blog before. It is very clear to me that stories are a really important way of getting things across. Even in companies, it seems that corporate culture and the way people work is based on stories. Stories that get told over and over again, changing slowly in time.
I've heard of companies that use it to capture stories of employees leaving the company. Nasa seems to do this.

The Anecdote blog posts about storytelling and their consulting work in this area. Today they posted about Storytelling in organisations (and organizations). This triggered me to ask them to write about how companies actually use storytelling. What do they use to capture the stories? How do they store the stories and distribute/share them? How can employees search through those stories? Please give us some practical example, beside the - just as interesting! - posts and articles about…

Google Shared Stuff

Cool, Google is also making bookmarks social! Google Operating System has the post.
It tried it right away and was wondering what this adds to my bookmarks. Not much, although I do find that Google Operating System missed an important feature. Because after you've shared a bookmark, you can also share that bookmark in, Facebook, etc. in a couple of extra clicks. Refer to the picture. This is my Google Shared Stuff.

UPDATE 9-21-07: Multiple social bookmarking can also be done in this way. And ReadWriteWeb has an interesting post on Google Shared Stuff.

Creating context

Two new webtools are being launched. The concepts are exciting.

The first is Lunarr. A document-centric collaboration tool. ReadWriteWeb has a post on this tool and explains what it does. They do have some problems with the concept too.
What I like about the concept is that it that Lunarr seems to do is to keep communication about the document (could also be a wiki-page) close together. And that's wonderful. The conversations about the document gives context to the document and gives information about the history of the document and the choices that were made. And this is done in one place. When using wiki's the versions are saved but the communication about the page is saved in the email client. You have to flip back and forth between the wiki and the emails to retrieve the context of the wiki-page.

Another "email-context-giver" is xobni. Xobni tries to do smart stuff with your email right in Outlook. It gives all kinds of views on your email, contacts, etc. It reminde…

Attaching notes to an email (2)

In my previous post on this topic I asked: When is this going to be integrated in Outlook and Gmail?
A good friend of mine (thanks Ruud!) emailed (no he's not blogging yet... ;-)) me an answer. In some way you can add notes to Outlook emails. This is the way. He wrote:
A tip. Did you know you can edit emails, even emails that you've already sent or received? This is how it works:
Open the email in a separate window (else it doesn't work) by dubble clicking itSelect "Edit" in the menu bar, then "Edit Message"Now you can change the text of the email using all the email editing features, such as colors and fontsYou can even remove attachment (right click, then select "remove")The subject line can be changedSelect, in the menu bar "File", then "Save" to keep the changesAnd with respect to my comment on 'compliance' to GTD. Attaching notes to email does fit with GTD in the sense that I turn the email into an action by addi…

Attaching notes to an email

I'm not a Mozilla Thunderbird user, but I'd like to attach notes to emails without having to print the email.
This can be done by using the Thunderbird Add-on XNote. Lifehacker pointed me too it. It's probably not in line with the 'Getting things done' principles, but it does give you a way to add an action to an email right away. When is this going to be integrated in Outlook and Gmail?

PikiWiki: Drag and drop wiki

There are lots of wiki tools our there. At work we use Mediawiki. Mediawiki works fine, although it takes a while to get used to it. One thing Mediawiki doesn't have is a good WYSIWYG editor. And it would be nice to be able to drag and drop your text, files, pictures, etc. onto the wiki, without having to think about how you would do that.
Just like, just released, PikiWiki can do. I signed up and played around with it for some time. It's great. What PikiWiki can do is, as of today, the standard.

The IT Flower continued

Cool, Rod responded to my post on the IT Flower. Thanks for your comment on my blog post and for this post, Rod!

I gave the IT Flower some more thought.
I was wondering if Rod was going to elaborate on "structured process + knowledge work" (page 26 of the IT Flower whitepaper)? Are there tools that fit this cluster? Or is there a combination of tools that fit it? The closest that comes to my mind would be something like MOSS 2007 (with workflow tooling). But that's not a too exciting answer, is it?

And I was wondering if "IT" Flower is the correct name for Rod's framework. Isn't it more a work(place) framework on which you can map IT tools/markets?

In this sense, this framework really reminds me of work colleagues of mine did in the past on how knowledge workers handle documents. It was written by Ruud Janssen and Olha Bondarenko and is titled "Documents at Hand: Learning from paper to improve digital technologies". Rod, I think this paper is int…

The IT Flower

When people talk about work places, this is mostly done in a simplistic way. Very structured workplaces are described, such as factories or administration offices. Or we talk about knowledge worker offices, highly unstructured workplaces. With "unstructured" and "structured", I'm talking about the work processes. Are they rigid, well-defined, and repetitive? That's what I call "structured". Are they flexible, ad hoc, differing from day-to-day? "Unstructured" work processes is what you see there.
What I find interesting that there is hardly a worker that doesn't have to switch between structured and unstructured work processes daily. However, most tool vendors focus on one or the other, but talk like you can do both with their tools. There is hardly any tool that I know that truly supports structured and unstructured work processes in a seamless way. Furthermore, most models on work don't describe these mixed work processes and env…

Scrybe beta testing

Cool, I was asked to beta test Scrybe. You don’t know what Scrybe is? Take a look at their video. When I saw their video I signed up for the beta test right away. What I was most enthusiastic about was the Papersync. This tool tries to integrate the digital and paper world! Don’t see that too much…

Scrybe is basically an alternative for Outlook. It has Calendaring, Task lists, Sharing options, and a Notepad.

I had some time to play with Scrybe. Not all features are there yet. But this first version is pretty complete.

My first impressions are:
- the user experience is wonderful. The Scrybe people have look deeply into how people organize their personal work and can productively do that.
- Scrybe offers all the standard (Outlook) functionality, but it integrates Calendars, Notes and Tasks more tightly. What I liked was the international approach to ‘meeting requests’. With Scrybe you can easily, without thinking, request for a meeting with people in different time zones. Scrybe takes care o…

First Experience in live blogging at PCC Summit 2007

I promised to get back to you on my first ‘live blogging’ experience. As readers know I live blogged Gartner’s Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit 2007.

I was very curious if I was going to get it done. Would I be able to post a summary of each talk just after the talk ended? Would I be able to write a readable summary of each talk, not just for myself but also for others? What’s the best way to do it? Type directly in Blogger or in Word and copy it to Blogger? Will there be more bloggers at the Summit? How do you blog about figures, diagrams, flowcharts, etc.?

Let’s answer these questions.
For one, I’m pretty satisfied with my live blogging experience. It worked out really well. I could listen to the talks and type along with them. Even though I was typing I was able to ask questions (which you have to right down at this Summit… - wouldn’t it be an better idea to email them to a central panel visible for everybody?). Based on the comments I conclude my summaries were pretty unde…

Gartner PCC Summit 2007 (part 16)

“Keynote High Volumes, High Pressure, High Stakes: Managing the Documentation for the Milosovic Trial” (by Catherine Gerth, Head Archives and Information Management at NATO HQ) at PCC 2007 Summit.
The information exceeded the organization’s ability to manage it with existing processes and technologies. The accused decision to defend himself further complicated things - the boxes just did not fit in his cell. This presentation describes the creation of an eDisclosure portal and how the ICTY worked with vendors to transform its technology and business processes to support eDisclosure.Another problem is translation problems.

How to disclose load of documents? In boxes? Doesn't fit in the court room and in the prison cell... On CD? How do you handle 53 CD's if you're looking for something? Put every single CD in your computer, search, etc? No. Ok, then DVD's. Doesn't help much either.

Their vendors came up with a solution: a portal. They rescanned 2.5 million documents an…

Gartner PCC Summit 2007 (part 15)

Gartner PCC Summit 2007 (part 14)

“Knowledge Management in a Connected World” (by Regina Casonato from Gartner) at PCC 2007 Summit.

- how is the role of KM in workplace initiatives evolving?
- what are the best practices for KM success?
- how can you incorporate new PCC technologies in KM projects?

Regina stresses that she will not talk about technologies with respect to KM. KM is about people.

Knowledge Management is not in their Hype Cycle anymore because it has reached the “plateau of productivity”.

Knowledge Management can now really be about Managing Knowledge (not products)
- workplace products such as portals, content management and collaboration are good enough to get out of the way
- emerging technology will help people manage knowledge in new ways
- people, business and operational issues remain the most difficult

Key issues of this presentation:What must we consider when starting a KM initiative, and when improving KM projects in their second or third iteration?how can KM help specific vertical and horizontal pr…

Gartner PCC Summit 2007 (part 13)

"Transforming Business and Workplace Performance - Technology as Great Enabler” (by Tom Austin from Gartner) at PCC 2007 Summit.

The transformation in the workplace is all about externalization.
Tom gave a couple of examples (that can also be found (mostly) in the book Wikinomics):
1. Proctor and Gamble: "connect and develop" instead of internal research and develop, want 50% of innovations from outside the company, 200 times as many researchers outside than inside the company.
Lots of this doesn't require technology!
What they did was sign up to open networks, such as: NineSigma, InnoCentive, YourEncore and They posted questions on difficult issues they had here.
They set up internal idea changes, web-community-based market.
IT was the great enabler here.
2. US Patent and Trademark organisation wiki experiment. Started with posting the software patent requests.
3. Threadless: design T-shirts together. Post your design, people vote on them and based on voting the d…

Gartner PCC Summit 2007 (part 12)

“Web 2.0, Ajax-based High-End Publishing Tools Transforming the Enterprise Market” (by Eric Duchemin, General Manager of HAFIBA on behalf of Quasar Technologies) at PCC 2007 Summit.

Never heard of Quasar so I thought I’d visit this talk instead of the IBM one.

Quasar comes from the high-end publishing market. Enabling newspapers to publish by themselves. They supplied tools to produce printed documents.
They saw a gap between Document Management and Content Management. A lack of tools for high-end publishing support, such as workflows and process support.
They combined ECM with high-end commercial publishing tools (called ECP).

HAFIBA is a French pre-press company. HAFIBA thinks that traditional pre-pres will disappear. More will be done by users and done dispersed. So, they wanted to develop a service for their customers. They started to build some technology, but needed more. Then they found Quasar.

Security of data is important in the magazine world. They were also looking for a cheap so…

Gartner PCC Summit 2007 (part 11)

“Clash of Titans (IBM vs. Microsoft vs. Google vs. Others)” (by Tom Austin and Nikos Drakos from Gartner) at PCC 2007 Summit.

Choosing your strategic suppliers is more improvement than ever. So, you need to know where these vendors are taking you.

Your workplace investments increasingly go to fewer enterprise vendors.

What disruptive trends will impact the workplace titans?
What are the workplace products and technologies that IBM and MS offer and how do they differ?
What inadequacies do the titans have?

5 major mutually reinforcing discontinuities
open sourcesoftware as a serviceglobal class (meaning: a new class of systems, more than the grid, exceeding performance at lower costs)web 2.0consumerizationTom and Nikos will look into each of these to see if this is a threat or opportunity.

Microsoft and IBM are mentioned most by companies when they are asked which vendor they would like to get away from.

What are they doing well?
- portal: number one share
- content management: number one share…

Gartner PCC Summit 2007 (part 10)

"So not done: Search Technology’s Strategic Future will surprise you” (by Whit Andrews from Gartner) at PCC 2007 Summit.

- what is driving the pervasiveness of information access technology?
- how will enterprises deploy the power of information access technology in unexpected ways?
- how are vendors responding to increased popularity of information access technology?

The search box bridges users and data of all kinds is built up by users, relevancy and data indices/interfaces.

In YE12, search logic in more than 75% of new installations will contain some internal user identity.

Search comprises everything on the continuum, structured to unstructured data/information.

Users have no idea that something is not searchable.

Support for extending the searched: the spider and the ant.
Spidered data is collected and the index remains iterated but static invoked addressed return current pages. (Pro: stable/known - Con: Can go stale, link rot, enormous storage need)
A query-driven ant knows the prop…

Which feedreader is winning?

Read/WriteWeb has an interesting post on which feedreader has the most subscribers, Bloglines (“owned by owned by Ask”) or Google Reader. And an update.

I’m a Google Reader user and am happy with Reader. I wouldn’t easily switch between reader unless there is some substantial added value.However, integrating easy comment reading and posting seems to be a distinctive feature. As does feed search. Oh, Google just added search to Reader! Techcrunch and Google Operating System have the story.

Gartner PCC Summit 2007 (part 9)

“Say Goodbye to Enterprise Content Management” (by Karen Shegda from Gartner) at PCC 2007 Summit.

It’s clearly getting towards the end of the day…

This talk was titled “Goodbye to content management”… meaning “as we know it today”.

Karen gives a good overview of the trends in content management (web 2.0, service-oriented architecture, less focus on document itself, XML, consumer-driven technologies, etc). Lots of overlap with this talk.

And that’s all for Wednesday! I’m having a drink! See you tomorrow.

Gartner PCC Summit 2007 (part 8)

“End-user case study: Portals, Content and Colllaboration - Communication Comes in full circle at Dow Jones” (by Mary McCall, Director, Employee Communication Dow Jones) at PCC 2007 Summit.

Just a couple of notes on this talk.

Dow Jones owns Factiva, which started in 1999.

Mary tells about how they step-by-step, year-by-year implemented collaboration tooling.

She stresses the three C’s:
- Collaboration
- Common Communications platform
- Global Corporate Culture

It all starts with the needs of the employee: all of the relevant content, only the relevant content, in the right form, at the right time, fastest. That is the Factiva marketing slogan!

But what do users need?
- conduct an information audit. Have users write done their information needs during their work. An employee is looking for information. Ask him/here: where did you find it, how did you find it, could you find it, etc. This give you items for your case.

They are (also) moving to Sharepoint 2007 (MOSS 2007).
They use Coveo search ins…

Gartner PCC Summit 2007 (part 7)

"Sharepoint: making collaboration happen!” (by David Bennett, ISS Global Development Director, Linklaters on behalf of Microsoft) at PCC 2007 Summit.

Linklaters uses Sharepoint. Linklater is a law firm that focuses on mergers and acquisitions. It’s a global firm, 6000 people world wide, most offices around London.

2 prevailing business drivers that have enabled them to develop:
- deregulation
- technology

Basically they are a document house. 1.6 million new documents in 2006. In 2007 there will be more. 165 million emails stored in their KVS (email archiving tool).

They have centralized systems and a centralized architecture based on:
- Citrix
- Documentum
- Office
- Sharepoint

They used to use Nextstep. Now moved fully towards Microsoft.

Why collaborative work?
- one of the main reason was that now 75% of their work involves more than one office

They decided to set up a ‘Legal Desktop’ and set this up in Sharepoint (which is also their Intranet), so everybody has all the information at t…

Gartner PCC Summit 2007 (part 6)

“Wikis and social software: why your Intranet should be more like the Internet” (by Nikos Drakosfrom Gartner) at PCC 2007 Summit.

The workplace needs to work like a machine but also adapt like the marketplace.

Where what needs to be done cannot be predescribed, modeled, or even understood… make room for the old to adapt and the new to emerge. Email is the biggest evidence for this. It supports informal interactions and fills in the gaps the collaboration tools don’t fill.

Key issues:what can we learn from the use of social software on the public internet?how are blogs, wikis, social tagging, expertise location, and other social software being used to create business value?What products and vendors are most suitable for enterprise social software deployments?What are the best practices in avoiding risks and extracting value from enterprise social networks?Web 101: from computer networks to social networks. Started with the Internet, then went to the Web, Content publishing and People…

Gartner PCC Summit 2007 (part 5)

“Collaboration and enterprise content and process management need each other” (by Tom Deutsch from IBM) at PCC 2007 Summit.

Learn from past IT shifts. IBM is learning too, there vision is being developed as we talk.

Tom puts up the Content Management Maturity Model. 5 levels. Most companies have a CM strategy and nobody is in Level 5. The tools for Level 5 aren’t there yet. What IBM sees is a “pull back towards the silos (level 1)” using collaboration technology.

Collaboration Solution history isn’t encouraging:
- what happened when Notes was first released?
- what happened when users got their hands on the “F” drive?
- how disciplined have users been using email?

What can we learn from structured information management?
- massively centralized - mainframe
Can be too restrictive and inflexible
- massively decentralized - databases
Can be too disconnected and too easy to loose control over
- “Intelligently rationalized”
OK to have decentralized deployments when the info is truly local
Most need to b…