Envisioning and shaping the future of work and business.

Friday, April 3, 2009

This week in links - week 14, 2009

"The Implications of Cloud Computing for Work Teams and Leaders" by Betsy Carroll:

Cloud computing, by democratizing computing, will take us one step further into being an economy in which your knowledge and talents, rather than access to technology, give you an edge. Who might this affect?

  • IT leaders will spend less time focusing on managing capital investments and more time focusing on effective and efficient use of technology.
  • IT support will not need to focus as much on troubleshooting hardware, and can invest more in training people in the organization to take full advantage of applications.
  • Using technology to try out new ideas will be less risky - even if the idea fails, there will be little sunk capital costs.
  • Even physical space and interaction might change. For example, I am currently chained to my computer, so to speak, because of specific applications I use regularly. But I work with people throughout the organization. If my applications were accessed through cloud computing, I could work in many physical spaces other than my office. This could enhance our ability to collaborate both face-to-face (by accessing work together on a computer in one office) and virtually.
  • Virtual teams may be formed more often and in more organizations because cloud computing will give teams the tools they need to collaborate effectively and at a reduced cost to the organization.
  • Workers may see an increase in flexibility of work hours and opportunities for remote work.

"Findings from the NASAsphere Pilot" report by Celeste Merryman:

Why social networking...Because NASA is more that just one expert and one center. New ideas and new solutions for NASA’s complex missions require input from a geographically dispersed community of knowledge workers. By providing an online social network, NASA creates a collective intelligence and learning community for and by NASA knowledge workers that disseminates mission-related information broadly and quickly.

As described by a NASAsphere participant: “The network of a conversation spreads based on its topic rather than by person-to-person sharing.”

Ninety-three percent (93%) of the questions answered were by people different center than that of the person who posted the question.

"Employee social networking − Sabre Town case study" by Toby Ward:

Sabre, the company that runs most of the world’s airline flight reservation systems among other systems, is an impressive leader in employee networking. With nearly 10,000 employees spread around the globe (55% work outside of the U.S. where they are headquartered), Sabre is a progressive company that has Intranet 2.0 with spectacular results.

Sabre built an impressive employee networking platform called Sabre Town. Sabre Town represents the company’s need to build more meaningful connections with this geographically diverse employee population.

On Sabre Town, users can post a question to the entire organization, and the site’s inference or relevance engine will automatically send the question to the 15 most relevant employees (based on what they’ve entered in their profile, blog postings and other Q&As that have been previously posted).

The results have been spectacular:

  • 60% of questions are answered within one hour (one hour!).
  • Each question receives an average of 9 responses (9 responses!).
  • The system has already led to more than $150,000 in immediate, direct savings for the company, with much greater benefits not yet measured.

The community helps itself, with members answering each other’s questions,” says Johnson [at Sabre]. “Members tap into a collective brainpower they can’t get from systems alone.”

"NYTimes.com and Knowing the Difference Between Innovation and 'Bright & Shiny'" by Heather Snow:

    1. We mustn’t be transfixed by the bright and shiny. Never should a tool or tactic be executed because it’s cool or buzzy. What are we solving for? Strategy planning should start with a question, not an answer. Social media is not a strategy.
    2. We mustn’t overlook Return on Innovation in our mad dash for Return on Investment. Innovation is hard, and its rewards aren’t immediate. But innovation has the potential to pay dividends, hand over fist.

"Study: surfing the Internet at work boosts productivity" by Jacqui Cheng:

Workers are more productive when they are able to occasionally do non-work stuff online, researchers at the University of Melbourne have found. Dr. Brent Coker studied the habits of 300 workers and found that the large majority engaged in what he calls "Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing" (WILB)—surfing the Internet for personal reasons. But despite the common perception that such a behavior is a drain on employers, Coker says that these employees are able to focus better when performing tasks for work.

In his report, Coker said that 70 percent of workers engage in WILB, the most popular of which involved looking for information about products, reading news, playing games, and watching YouTube videos. "People need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration," he said in a statement. "Short and unobtrusive breaks, such as a quick surf of the internet, enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher total net concentration for a days work, and as a result, increased productivity."

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