Envisioning and shaping the future of work and business.

Friday, January 9, 2009

This week in links - week 2, 2009

Think for a minute about how you used to book your holidays, buy your music, find an address or select insurance - 10 or even 5 years ago?  Do you even bother to search for things these days or do you just rely on the recommendations from your network via Facebook, Twitter, Zemanta or even Amazon?

These prolific and radical changes are not limited to social and consumer interactions on the internet.  They also impact the nature, shape and conduct of business both internally and externally.

Companies are increasingly working in networks, whether they be loosely coupled or tightly integrated, because of technology and the globalisation that technology has brought with it.  Those networks are essentially virtual entities, and this trend will accelerate over the coming years.  To be in or join a network, people need insight and connections, as well as appropriate processes capable of supporting various business needs across the virtual entity.  That signals fundamental shifts in the way people do business and the underlying business models.

A new Forrester report reveals how much cheaper Web-based e-mail such as Google's Gmail is in comparison to traditional e-mail installed on-premise for businesses with up to 15,000 users. But analysts warn that most enterprises won't be making a wholesale switch to Web-based messaging for years to come. Instead, they might pursue a hybrid model where they move some e-mail services to the cloud and keep some on-premise.

For typical information workers, Forrester estimates that it costs a company $25.18 per user per month for an on-premise e-mail system, including the hardware, labor and other costs associated with managing e-mail in-house. Alternatively, for companies using Google's fully Web-based Gmail, it costs a mere $8.47. Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft's version of a fully cloud-based e-mail, isn't quite as cheap as Gmail but rings in at $20.32 per user per month.

"Circling Around To KM" by Mike Gotta:
Technology is the tail wagging the dog when it comes to knowledge management - it always has been. Many of the failures of the KM hype of the nineties were a result of the exuberant belief that KM was a tooling problem.  Clearly technology has a role - a vital role in many situations. I am not anti-technology when it comes to KM - it's just that almost all my conversations with clients over the years have been anchored to a tooling discussion.

Technology helps people discover, filter, aggregate, connect and so on. Arraying technology in a poor fashion can undermine KM efforts. If arrayed effectively, technology can have a tremendous positive influence on KM efforts. But even if you execute well on the technology side of the equation, tools are still only enablers to help people and organizations attain the goals of KM that they have defined for themselves (e.g., at a personal, group or enterprise level).


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