External customers, internal employees and partners are dragging data further and further away from the confines of a given data center or desktop PC and into the realm of mobile apps, social forums and the cloud. In a tip running on SearchCIO.com this week on securing the extended enterprise, Forrester Research Inc. security expert Chenxi Wang explains the extended enterprise as follows:
“Today’s businesses must constantly create new products and services, expand their geographic presence, streamline operations, and deliver topnotch customer services. To do this, your business will increasingly use third-party and cloud services to reduce cost and increase speed to market. Your business will unleash the creativity of your employees and customers with mobile, social and rich media technologies. More and more, devices — meaning cameras, cars, home electronics and even musical instruments — come equipped with microprocessors and will become conduits for businesses to deliver services and engage customers. To stay relevant, your enterprise must extend itself continuously to include new peripherals and meet new business scenarios. Forrester Research defines this vision of business as the extended enterprise, one for which a business function is rarely, if ever, a self-contained workflow within the infrastructure confines of the company.”
The term “extended enterprise” nicely ties together many of the topics we’ve writing about for the past year, the most prominent one being the consumerization of IT or, as our Senior News Writer Linda Tucci likes to call it, the “democratization of IT.” Regardless of what it is called, it is yet another opportunity (some might call it a can of worms) that CIOs are in charge of securing and navigating for the business.]]>
Underpinned by a lightweight Web-oriented architecture, enterprise social media platforms aim to get people to work across the proverbial silos of the modern corporation. Twitter-like “activity streams,” jangling with metadata, will not only advertise what you are doing, but also expose your goings-on to others — and others’ application activity to you. Suddenly, for example, a person in the professional services group will be able to retrieve information from the sales group.
The punch line: “What we see is that as companies deploy social software, people who hoard information are at a disadvantage to those who share,” said Ross Mayfield, president and co-founder of Socialtext Inc., the Palo Alto-based maker of business social software.
As president of one of the leading enterprise social software companies in this young business area, Mayfield has reasons not to be a naysayer, of course. But this way of working comes with legitimate security issues, and perhaps social ones as well.
Breaking down silos is fine as long as all the silos are on the same farm: the company. But what prevents similar sharing between enterprising members of different companies? Especially if this information provides advantages to the sharers, relative to their more cloistered comrades?
As a business reporter for many years before I started covering IT, I’m skeptical that this will work, even within the confines of the “You’re OK, I’m OK” culture we give lip service to now.
Social media platforms in the enterprise rewrite the rules of competition — not to mention the divide-and-conquer mentality typical of many managers. And I am not talking just about the ruthless tactics used to squelch an outside competitor; I’m also talking about the ruthless intramural competition that permeates the all-for-one-and-one-for-all teams that are supposed to pull together for the good of the corporation.
Business is bellicose. The CEO of one of the largest Catholic health systems in the country, a nun, pointed out to me once that one needn’t look any further than the war-like language that permeates business discourse — from bullet points to the blatant crushing the competition rallying cries of annual meetings — to see that muscle — not sharing — is the virtue extolled at the top.
Maybe a new generation will rewrite the language of work. I read just this week about one study that found students who tweeted in class did better than those who didn’t. (Are you tweeting me?) But that’s a story for another post.
Or, as AAA’s social media guru called it, a “suggestion box on steroids.” The automobile-assistance giant has tapped into idea management software to better recognize and reward innovation across the enterprise.
I’ve been awaiting a more formal collation and organization of thoughts shared via social media for quite awhile — probably since I covered a Web 3.0 presentation at MIT a couple of years ago.
Here’s what I reported back then:
“In the next decade, Google searches of the entire Internet might not be the first place Web users look for answers — a fact that enterprise CIOs should keep in mind when developing and exporting their firms’ network strategies. Already, a great deal of information is being shared via Twitter and Facebook status updates in more informal sessions. Information in Twitter, Yahoo Answers and the like ‘is being archived, but it needs to be curated,” said Joseph Smarr, then the chief platform architect at Mountain View, Calif.-based social networking service Plaxo Inc., advocating for better tagging methods. “The reuse of shared knowledge is going to be increased.”
At that time, I was fairly new to both Twitter and Facebook, which didn’t have the permeation they do now. The thought of collecting social media chatter — this whole “ideation management” notion — sounded revolutionary. Now, it sounds commonsense, and companies such as AAA are reaping the innovation benefits.
Has your organization tried to implement idea management software, or do you plan to do so in the future?]]>
The timing of this new wave of Facebook problems dovetails with our recent coverage of social media addicts and security. As SearchCIO.com Senior News Writer Linda Tucci reported, more employees are using social networking technologies either for work purposes or during work hours.
I don’t see why the FTC would get involved. Nobody is forcing anyone to have a Facebook page, and although frustrating, it doesn’t seem like Facebook is breaking any laws. If enough people stopped using Facebook’s service, or brought their social networking elsewhere and it affected the company’s bottom line, I bet Facebook would be more likely to notice and reconsider its approach.
But these Facebook privacy issues — specifically, the breaking down of privacy barriers between individuals and their employers — are disturbing on both sides. What if employees using Facebook in the workplace discussed sensitive work matters via the social networking platform, and their conversations were exposed?
Moreover, as an employee, if you want your employer listed on your profile, you now will have no choice but to connect to your employer’s page. And as an employer, do you want employees past and present directly linked to your company’s Facebook page? Thoughts to ponder as Facebook’s privacy issues become more and more pronounced.]]>
You’re probably well aware of the benefits of social media in the workplace. They can function as excellent recruiting tools for HR, serve as user-friendly collaboration platforms for staff and boost a company’s customer outreach (McDonald’s, for instance, hired its first social-media chief this week.).
But CIOs must also consider social media’s pitfalls, especially if they haven’t drafted social media policies to guide their staff. According to Senior News Writer, Linda Tucci, IT consulting firm Burton Group Inc. pointed to these risks associated with compromised social media accounts in the workplace:
Meanwhile, over on our sister site, News Writer Jessica Scarpati zeroed in on compliance concerns. According to the survey “Usage Trends, End User Attitudes and IT Impact“ from FaceTime Communications Inc., a unified communications security and compliance vendor, when asked if they could reproduce social network communications if required by an attorney, 65% of IT managers said they could not.
And although 77% of enterprises said they archive emails, only a fraction (19%) logs communications via social networks; 13% reported archiving tweets, the survey found.
The story also cites several good examples of social media gone wild in the workplace, as well as the fallout. Perhaps most shocking? Two nurses were fired from a Wisconsin hospital last year following allegations they had taken pictures of a patient’s X-ray — which showed an object lodged in his rectum — with their cell phone cameras. One nurse was accused of posting the photo to her personal Facebook page (she later deleted it).
Now, tell me whether you’ve seen the phrase “lodged in his rectum” in any other IT story you’ve read this week. (Actually, please don’t tell me, as I’m not sure I’d want to know the details.)
Do you have your own social media horror story to share? Or has your company established social media policies to clamp down on security and compliance concerns?]]>
OK, now somebody please explain this to me, because I am so unimpressed. I’ve been able to chat through Gmail through years, so how is this much different? I guess the fact that you can hold a multi-person chat is cool, as is the ability to embed videos and photos directly into the chat stream (when it works). But I don’t see anything revolutionary in here. Moreover, I find it cluttered and confusing to navigate, whereas Google is usually so intuitive. (Also, a friend and I each experienced an unwanted person from our past popping up on our contact list – come on, Google, you’re supposed to be smarter than that!)
My experience has made me question Google’s long-term strategy with regard to enterprise collaboration and Google Wave. Google likes to be the standard by which other Software as a Service applications judge themselves. More and more, Google is trying to market its services, like Gmail, to enterprise organizations. From all of the hype surrounding it, I had the impression that Google Wave would make me feel like my colleague in the Midwest is sitting at the next desk over. Alas, it hasn’t, and I can’t see Google Wave, in its present iteration anyway, taking on any kind of foothold in the enterprise.
Moreover, would enterprise audiences want so much pertinent communication taking place on a platform that they do not oversee? In a new and somewhat untested Web 2.0 environment, security and privacy issues are likely to emerge, and I would anticipate compliance headaches aplenty for CIOs who have employees communicating on this platform about work-related matters.
Despite the rocky start to our relationship, I’m trying to give Google Wave a second shot, and envision ways it could carry an enterprise forward. Have you tried using Google Wave in the workplace yet? What’s your experience been? Can you see a CIO sanctioning its use as an enterprise collaboration platform in the distributed workforce?]]>
I went to Consumer Reports and Edmunds to compare safety ratings, highway miles per gallon, handling and longevity, but my list of choices was narrowed down much further by comments made at the end of the reviews by current and former drivers.
I was sure I was going to buy one particular SUV but found repeated complaints about its small back window that caused huge blind spots. Another one on my list had a souped-up engine [based on customer feedback] but left the gas tank the same size, leading to another customer complaint that still hasn’t been addressed: frequent fill-ups.
I was overloaded by all the different complaints and accolades made by drivers, but when I asked the salespeople about the customer feedback I read on blogs and reviews I heard “I haven’t heard that” or “No one’s told me that.”
I don’t lay the blame on the salespeople — they might not even be encouraged to look at what people are saying on public forums like blogs, Twitter, Facebook, emails or YouTube.
But who is responsible for customer feedback management? The feet on the street, or management? How do you centralize all this information, and distribute it so front-line employees are on top of what customers are saying and equipped to respond?
Was my experience atypical, or are companies ignoring a channel that may decide what people actually buy? Are they paralyzed by some of the critiques, and choosing to ignore them instead?
This is just the experience I had when looking for an SUV. I won’t even go into how the dealer dropped the ball when it came to rating my buying experience.
Share your thoughts on customer feedback management, or the lack of it — but particularly if you work for a company that does it well. Email me at email@example.com.]]>
Bipin Patel, CIO of ProQuest, spoke to the audience about the ways that Web 2.0 is changing business and usage patterns at his company. As he observed, “the inflection point [for Web 2.0] has been met and passed. The old model of publishing is gone.” So, what has replaced it? “The users themselves – the researchers – are creating information and reacting with each other,” he said. “They are the publishers now.” They’re working collaboratively with their community to identify and feature useful information. As part of his company’s Web 2.0 efforts, Patel’s team has created an online community for graduate students, where they can publish their dissertations for public view. The online community, called GradShare, has been rolled out in about 30 schools.
Premal Shah, formerly of PayPal and now the president of Kiva, offered another example of how to leverage Web 2.0. He described how the “eBay for microfinance,” as he put it, has leveraged Web 2.0 to both sustain innovation and build out features that Kiva’s resources could not provide. Kiva has grown rapidly since its founding and now has made more than $100 million in loans from more than 600,000 people, with 103 microfinance partners globally. Shah said the microcredit model is working, citing a 98% repayment rate for Kiva loans, and that transparency in results is crucial to success. “Imperfect credit is OK, but imperfect data is not OK,” he said. “The donors of the world want transparency.”
”Radical transparency,” in fact, was one of three Web 2.0 principles that Shah listed, along with providing an addictive user experience and crowdsourcing against constraints. Since engineering resources were scarce for IT innovation, Kiva opened up its API to crowdsource development. As a result, Kivadata.org is online. Shah said that Kiva now also has about 500 volunteers that work as “virtual translators,” helping to translate profiles so that their projects can get funded.
Shah also offered advice on growing Web 2.0 communities: identity the influencers and power users. “Cater to your addicts,” said Shah. “Keep short feedback loops.”
Douglas Abel, CIO of Anne Arundel Health System, focused his remarks on how to manage growing demand for health care at a new health care campus in downtown Annapolis. He’s seen success using targeted IT innovation, like bar-coding medicine at the bedside to “check to see if it’s the right patient, right dose.” Now, as electronic healthcare records (EHRs) enter the system, he says the effectiveness of sharing data depends on standards, identifying bad data and avoiding duplicate records. Should his efforts succeed, Bell said that Anne Arundel Health System will be in the top 10% of automated hospitals. “It’s about building an infrastructure that’s patient-centric,” he said, “not venue-centric.”
Web platforms for health care information exchange are growing outside of major hospital systems. David Horrocks, former CIO and president of CRISP, discussed the ways that he’s building out Maryland’s statewide health information exchange and maintaining privacy. CRISP is Maryland’s statewide health information exchange, which moves clinical information electronically among disparate health information systems.
New models for IT innovation in telemedicine also are also emerging. Dr. Sean Khozin presented on Hello Health, a pilot practice in New York that uses a Web-based platform for primary health care. Hello Health requires an in-person initial checkup, after which virtual follow-ups use telemedicine, unified communications and EHRs.
This is what I’m talking about:
Now if only I could find a way to get my LinkedIn updates, Gmail and other sundry faves from across the Web together in a similar fashion, I’d be even more efficient, informed and responsive than I am now. Yes, really using Twitter “right” (for networking, relationship building and so on) requires more than I’m giving it, but for now this approach fits my reality and my needs. I highly recommend it.]]>
These were just some of the results from Forrester’s Workforce Technographics Survey, released yesterday at their Business Technology Forum in Chicago.
The survey showed that although 59% of the Gen Y (18- to 29-year-old) professionals use social technologies at home, only 14% use them in the workplace. Social media is not as much a generational thing as most people think, according to Ted Schadler, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester.
“Generation X is just better at problem solving and using their experience and authority,” said Schadler, the lead author of the report. “And using social technology to solve a business problem should be the first priority.”
The report surveyed 2,000 information workers — any type of employee who uses a computer or connected device to do his or her job — from companies with 100 or more employees.
One other point that came through was that users were not as advanced in terms of social technologies as we think. Only one in four workers uses instant messaging or Web conferencing, and one in 10 has and uses a smartphone.
So, what does all this information mean to the CIO? This type of quantitative assessment gives CIOs and IT professionals the tools to make better investment decisions. CIOs should apply these findings to benchmark their own technology adoption and satisfaction and develop a measurable strategy for adopting new technology that users want and use, and that will add the most value to the business.]]>