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Posts Tagged ‘Enterprise2.0’

In the Cloud, whose data is it?

November 17, 2009 1 comment

I just attended a promotional event by NetSuite in Sydney.

When I got back to the office and started speaking with a colleague about how interesting the NetSuite proposition is, he conveyed to me a horror story he had recently heard about a Cloud or SaaS Customer.  It was a small business who had all there business records / erp / gl in the SaaS application and for some reason decided it was time to move on to another solution.  Trouble came when they requested their data and the supplier said, “it’s not your data, it’s mine.”

Shock horror I thought.  This is supposed to simplify the world for SME’s but now they’re going to need a crack legal team to protect them from the evil cloud. I was a bit shocked at this prospect, so decided to do a little research – kind of a snopes or myth busters act on this loss of ownership of one’s vital business data in the Cloud.  Here’s what I found.

You cannot delegate responsibility

Read more…

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SaaS Collaboration and Project Management

October 2, 2009 Leave a comment

Recently I’ve had a number of reasons to look for solutions to collaboration, resource management and project management, including:

  • SME Consulting – I’ve been working closely with a local consulting firm that specialises in Financial Markets.  They are continuously looking for ways to facilitate collaboration on work products and management of their team at client sites;
  • Big Bank whose Strategic PPM isn’t live yet – an unnamed big bank has a strategic plan to roll out a PPM solution.  But like many big rollout projects, this may be a while.  So life goes on and teams need something now;
  • X Big Four Needs Platform – a local branch of what was once a big four (or was it Big Eight?) firm is now without the platform of the defunct global parent.  Therefore, they suddenly find themselves needing a solution for collaboration and PSA.

As you can see there is a fair bit of demand in this space.

The Big Incumbents

I am very familiar with the big incumbents.  Names like CA Clarity, Compuware Changepoint and IBM Rational, Microsoft Sharepoint… And they all have very mature features.  But it seems they also have some other common characteristics: like takes too long; costs too much; doesn’t really do what I want…  I don’t want to go into great detail about why this is true.

So these aren’t really viable solutions to the needs of the needy described above.

SaaS Options for Enterprise2.0 and PSA

Clearly SaaS is becoming a viable reality now.

What’s out there?

I have not done an exhaustive search to see everything that’s out there.  But here are a couple of very interesting choices to start with.

One category is the more structured team and project management or Professional Services Automation (PSA) style platforms.  Of these I’ve found two so far:

  • OpenAir – is part of the NetSuite, a leading SaaS provider of CRM and ERP.  OpenAir probably hits the mark for those looking for a global player like NetSuite.
  • TeamConnect – from TeamFrame is a quick way to get your project management collaboration environment off the ground quickly.  This is more the Aussie local outfit.  As such, it is probably very short on marketing and flash and strong on critical functionality fitting with the culture here.

The second category is less structured, more Web2.0 style intended to facilitate collaboration and social networking within the team.   Here are a couple of choices:

  • Jive SBS – is Social Business Software.  That seems pretty buz word compliant.  Actually though it touches on key categories of collaboration.  Also has Jive Express available for you to get up and running quickly for your small company, or team pilot.
  • CentralDesktop – is certainly a contender.  At least they know enough to make their listing appear in google when you search for Jive 🙂  Guess that shows their competitor is pretty respectable.

What to think about in Collaboration

Although there are many feautures and functions to evaluate, the most fundamental question for me is: structured vs unstructured.  Traditional tools are structure focused.  They including things like workflow, task list, forms based functions.   Content is found largely by navigation through the taxonomy.  In the unstructured world, each content elemnt or page lives alone with tags, keywords and meta data and a powerful search engine to help you find stuff.

Clearly we are moving more towards the unstructured world of blogs and wikis where individuals don’t have to stop and consider where in the world does my content fit in.  I just create a new page and start building and linking together with others I found by searching.

What to look out for in SaaS

I think there are two key points that concern people about SaaS that you need to explore before you jump in completely.

  • Security – before putting your precious data and delegating a critical business function to a third party you need to be sure the Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability (CIA)’s of security are covered.  One quick way to do this is see that they are certain certification such as SAS 70 compliance.
  • Lock-in – a second concern is whether you will be locked into the SaaS model for ever.   This concern exists for any software system.  How do you get your data and documents out of the thing should you decide to migrate to another platform, or bring the thing in house?  Be sure the platform has a facility to export all your data into a usable form.

Final Word

In conclusion, I think if I were faced with the challenge of making my team or firm more effective, and I didn’t already have internal infrastructure in place, I would definitely give one of the above SaaS platforms a try.

Think big, start small, move fast.

Personal Branding and E2.0

September 2, 2009 1 comment

While I was reading through the FindFriend Feed on Enterprise2.0, I came across this really interesting blog on Personal Branding.  This ties in interestingly with my post on resource managment e2.0 style.

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Resource Management e2.0 Style

August 31, 2009 1 comment

Where I work, we are currently launching an initiative to create central pools of resources such as Business Analist, Testers, Architects, etc…   One of the key motivations is to preserve the skills and knowledge developed working on a project in our firm after the project is finished.

Prior to centralisation, people who were recruited for a given project would leave the company upon completion, taking their learnings with them.  The goal of the central team is to return these people to the pool from which they can be assigned to new projects rather than just leave.

E2.0 it instead of Centralise it

Thinking a bit differently, I ask, why don’t we E2.0 resource management  rather than centralise it?

What do you mean by Enterprise 2.0?

Enterprise 2.0 is basically applying Web 2.0 technology, primarily social networking, to the enterprise.   One way to learn more about E2.0 is to read a few blogs like this one.   Or look at this interesting application of e2.0 that aggregates content into a subject based feed on Enterprise 2.0.

How do I e2.0 resource management

Here is a site with 8 Tips for Successful Social Intranet Pilot to give some ideas on how to startup social networks on your intranet.

But perhaps it’s best to look at each of the aspects of resource management and review how we did it the old way and then recommend how you would do it the new way.

Social Software way

Here’s an interesting post on locating expertise in your enterprise which advocates using social media.  Pretty well supports my premise.