Envisioning and shaping the future of work and business.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Interesting Enterprise 2.0 Readings - Week 8 2010

2:36:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg 1 comment
"...rule-following employees are worth zip in terms of the competitive advantage they generate".

Gary Hamel, "The Future of Management"
Compliance is simple to measure, simple to test for and simple to teach. Punish non-compliance, reward obedience and repeat. Initiative is very difficult to teach to 28 students in a quiet classroom. It's difficult to brag about in a school board meeting. And it's a huge pain in the neck to do reliably. The economy has rewritten the rules, and smart organizations seek out intelligent problem solvers. Everything is different now. Except the part about how much easier it is to teach compliance.
Janine Nahapiet of Oxford University opens up the morning...Her central proposition is that a knowledge economy is a relationship economy, and the basic mechanisms of sharing are social processes. This will of course depend on trust and distrust, but the returns to trust are huge...Increasingly innovation comes from the outside. She suggests that over the next couple of decades this will increase and we will look to new places for ideas, not just India and China but also Africa. Our western paradigms are not working and may be getting in the way of things.
Eric Fulwiler: "The trust bureaucracy"
In business, the inefficiency of many bureaucracies stems from the same lack of trust we all experience online. In most mid to large-sized companies, employees work in a system where trust is a scarce and highly valuable resource. If a manager can trust his/her employee, he can delegate more effectively and avoid time-consuming micromanagement. If this system of trust were to be implemented across an entire bureaucracy, employees would be able to create their own trusted corporate networks in which reliability, accountability, and productivity flowed freely.
The Mayo Clinic, founded on the principle of collaboration, is taking collaboration and innovation to the next level. With a mission nothing short of transforming how healthcare is experienced and delivered, Mayo’s Center for Innovation integrates emerging collaborative tools into processes and culture...Besides asynchronous social tools, Mayo is now piloting instant messaging in several departments including nursing and radiology. Paging, a precursor to instant messaging, is deeply engrained in Mayo’s culture. Anybody can page the CEO and expect a prompt call back. Hierarchy is muted at Mayo, and the CEO is always a practicing physician. Mayo’s culture is ripe for IM and unified communications through which people can connect spontaneously through IM, voice or video regardless of level, role or region.
Watson Wyatt, a human resources consultancy, does a large-scale annual survey looking at return on investment for communication strategies. One section of this year’s report focused on Social Media as used by 328 organizations that collectively represent 5 million employees in various regions around the world:
  • The most prevalent reasons for not increasing the use of social media stem from a lack of resources and knowledge, rather than legal restrictions
  • Companies that are using social media to engage employees are using these tools to address a variety of topics. The most prevalent topics are collaboration and team building, adapting to change, and promoting health and wellness.
  • Highly effective communicators are using social media tools 2-3 times more than the low-effectiveness group of companies to reach employees. Most participants (65 percent) expect to use social media more next year.
People are willing to pass judgment, with or without good information. Where examples of one’s competence or reputation are lacking, people will construct whole profiles of another’s personality from what little information is available....Olson finds that when only text is available, participants judge trustworthiness based on how quickly others respond...Psychologically speaking, responsiveness makes it easier for others to attribute our misdeeds to the situation, rather than our personality...For establishing trust, video is better than audio (with no video), and audio is better than a chat window...The more non-substantive information the medium can convey, the more data a listener has to decide how trustworthy the speaker is.
Why don’t star ratings provide the nuanced content quality evaluation that sites hoped for? It turns out that people take the effort to rate primarily things they like. And because rating actions are socially visible, people use ratings to show off what they like...The simpler “thumbs up” or “like” model, found in Facebook and FriendFeed has taken precedence over star ratings systems. This simpler action can surface quality content, while avoiding the illusory precision of five-star ratings...The use of a rating system should be seen not like a “set and forget” rollout, but as an experiment with goals...Be prepared to make changes if your initial experiment teaches you things you didn’t expect.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why the future workplace will be hyper-connected

12:08:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg No comments

”Throughout the primate world, social networks provide a fast conduit for innovation and information-sharing that help the group as a whole to adapt to its environment.”

Alex Wright, “Glut - Mastering Information Through The Ages

The future workplace will be hyper-connected, meaning that we will use multiple means of communication, so that we can be more innovative, quickly adapt to a changing environment, and access and use all the best resources we need to do what we need to do, no matter where the resources are located.

More and more, work will be treated as something we do, not a place (building). Knowledge / creative work is highly collaborative by nature and we can't let time, space and organization stop us from collaborating with the right people at the right time. Virtual collaboration will become the norm and face-to-face meetings will be seen as one of the many ways of meeting each other.

The previously so common 1:1 relationship between organization and enterprise will be very uncommon. A typical enterprise will be made up of people from many different organizations, and a typical organization will be involved in many different enterprises. People might belong to an organization, but it is secondary to the work do and who they work with.

The network will need to replace the hierarchy as the primary model for organizing resources. As work becomes more and more network-oriented, so will the way we organize ourselves and other resources.

New generations that enter the workplace will be always connected, they will be more open to making new connections, and they will be more connected than any generation before them. The will understand and nurture the value of their relationships, with a solid understanding that "no man is an island" and that their success and well-being depends on with whom they are connected, how they are connected, and how they mutually benefit from using these connections.

Our focus will shift from producing and organizing documentation to communicating and interacting in real-time, with documentation as a by-product. We will need to spend more time on building and maintaining relationships and less on trying to find information and people, recreating information we cannot find, and creating documentation as an activity separated from our daily work.

Right now, we are just seeing the dawn of the hyper-connected age.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Interesting Enterprise 2.0 Readings - Week 7 2010

10:03:00 AM Posted by Oscar Berg , , No comments
"Repeat after me, this is not an information revolution, it is a relationship revolution"
Tweet by John Hagel (@jhagel)
The cool technologies that are transforming the competitive landscape and how companies operate are not prototypes in some electronic giant's lab. They're in the marketplace, and affordable. You don't have to overhaul your IT architectures to implement them. If anything, they improve the value of that architecture that you spent gillions putting in place.

And, as a bonus, these technologies promise to, in the words of one CIO, "make IT fun again!" The promise of new, cool technology depends on IT-smart business leaders, who discover the potential in them through experimentation and application. These are learn-by-doing technologies that are not programmable by IT. Employees will "reprogram" how their companies operate based on how they use these technology. IT's job is to teach, coach, observe, and scale. Imagine the impact of having everyone in the business 10% smarter about IT? It'd do a lot more good than making everyone in IT 100% smarter about the business.
Paul Sloane: "Empowering Innovation"
Often the best source for innovation is the team within your business. A great leader can turn them into entrepreneurs who are hungrily looking for new opportunities. The key is empowerment. By empowering people you enable them to achieve goals through their own ideas and efforts. The leader sets the destination, but the team chooses the route.
...crowdsourcing is the asking of a large group for their contributions. Just because individuals in the community post original contributions, doesn't mean other employees can't collaborate around them. In fact, that's an incredibly valuable basis for getting top ideas...If traditional collaboration is the process of executing on a known objective, crowdsourced collaboration is the process of discovering and building ideas that are not yet known...Crowdsourced collaboration creates new opportunities, and traditional collaboration executes on them.
Of course not. For years, the prevailing practices for productivity were project and process management. Now that we’ve begun to recognize the critical role of collaboration, and collaborative software for improving productivity....(Good) Collaboration software helps connect geographically dispersed teams, dramatically improves communication, and creates a shared workspace where team members can contribute, aggregate and iterate information and work. Shared workspaces help the team create and maintain a shared view and understanding of their problem space – the military calls this a “common operating picture”. The logical (and critical) next step is to enable this team to plan, track and execute with the same level of ease and convenience as they can now communicate and aggregate work.
Keith Errington: "Web 2.0 – Collaboration vs. Control"
...this leads us to the more fundamental problem behind Web 2.0 adoption. The people making the decisions at a strategic level, need to understand these technologies, what they mean and what they can and cannot do. Then they have to see how they can be used to meet their organizational objectives. And then they need to implement them to the depth appropriate to the proposed strategy and with the right level of control. They need to understand the implications of the success of such projects to both the budget and the corporate culture. But one of the strengths of these technologies is that often their effect adds up to much more than the sum of the parts – that they generate new paradigms and evolve into systems that defy strategy and planning. They cross departmental boundaries and break down barriers between the organization, its customers, and its suppliers. And once users get the taste of openness and collaboration, they generally want more – it’s difficult to get that genie back in the bottle.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Have you ever heard this story before?

1:27:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg , No comments

The management within a company finds it needs to replace their existing, custom developed ERP system with a modern standard ERP system. A major ERP vendor brings their best sales people to a meeting with the management, equipped to the teeth with the most impressive product PowerPoint slide decks they could up-bring (that is, bullet-rich slides with a lot of interconnected 3D boxes that makes the ERP seem very advanced and capable).

The sales people manage to convince the company management to buy the most expensive license of their ERP system. All modules they could possible use, and a few more, are included in the price. As an extra bonus, the license agreement also contains a few "Easter eggs", including a free license of the vendor's state-of-the-art and very versatile portal software.

The company - some folks at the IT department - discovers the Easter-egg with the portal software. Like boys with toys, they can't wait to open it and see what it does. So, they install the software on a server - "for evaluation purposes".

Sometime later, a business unit identifies a need for aggregating all the information and tools they need in one place. They've heard that some competitor does that by using a portal solution, and that a portal solution is just what they need too. So they turn to their IT Department, telling them they need a portal solution.

The boys at the IT department (not many girls around) get all fired up. They tell the business people that they in fact already have a state-of-the-art and very versatile portal software in their enterprise software portfolio. Since the ERP system is a corporate standard and is mandatory to be used by all business units, so must the portal software that came along with it. Besides, it is free of charge. In fact, it is already installed on a server. With an IT strategy having consolidation as a key component, introducing new enterprise software is simply out of the question (even if you could argue that the portal software is not officially introduced and used).

The business people understand they don't stand a chance against this strong setup. Besides, when looking at the slide decks that the vendor left them with, the portal software seems to be pretty much what they are looking for. So, they decide to skip the part of the process where they define their needs and requirements in more detail and start looking for different alternatives to evaluate and eventually purchase. Instead, they invest their money in an implementation project, seeing the promise of a short time to platform and quick and tangible business results.

The implementation project is executed and eventually a portal solution is launched. Soon enough it turns out that they did not really get what they expected, but to ensure return on their investment, they decide to force adoption with directives and policies. Maybe they will also work out some the kinks, possibly by purchasing a bunch of 3rd party software.

It does not take very long until the following has happened: The users are unhappy and frustrated and do whatever they can do to find reasons for not using the portal solution. The expected results are nowhere to be seen, and the portal solution quickly enters maintenance mode. It is just too expensive to develop it any further. But as some people have invested a lot of prestige and their entire careers in this thing, nothing can be done about the situation.

A couple of years later, the business people identify a need for aggregating all the information and tools they need in one place. This time, they don't need a portal solution. Obviously, portal solutions are not the recipe for success. Now success is spelled differently. Instead, they need a versatile platform with a lot of capabilities, from search to business intelligence.

So, they turn to their IT department...

It would be very interesting if you could list 5 faults you find in this story, and come up with 5 things to make it right.

(thanks @letterpress_se for inspiration)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why does Information Management need Enterprise 2.0?

9:51:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg , 5 comments

AIIM research tells us that 52% of organizations have "little or no confidence" that their electronic information is "accurate, accessible, and trustworthy". Yet, over 90% of organizations view their ability to manage electronic information as critical to their future.

At my own company, Acando, our strong focus on Information Management is based on the belief that making sure the right people have the right information in the right time will create competitive advantage for our customers.

At our recent Information Management seminar, a colleague of mine presented some quite compelling findings from a study by TDWI (The Data Warehousing Institute) saying that poor information quality costs organizations 10-20% of operating revenue in process failure and "information scrap and rework" in direct costs. What is even more interesting is that although 83% of the companies that participated in the study thought they had a lot of information of bad quality, 80% thought the cost for bad information quality was below 0,1% of revenue! No wonder Information Management is not on the top of their priority lists.

Even for companies that claim to understand how great the negative impact of bad information quality really is, the sheer size of the challenge might scare them from putting it up on among their most prioritized tasks. Cutting costs in transactional processes is just so much easier to do.

Information Management is a daunting, almost unmanageable task. It is safe to say that any team that is given the responsibility to "fix" IM within an enterprise will be given an impossible mission. The scale of the challenge makes it impossible for a small team to make anything but a minor difference, if any at all.

What we need to understand is that we will only become successful at Information Management if it becomes everybody's business. We are all producers and consumers of information, so it is (or should be) in everybody's interest that the information we produce and consume is fit for purpose (which by the way is one simple way to define information quality). But we must realize that we can’t do anything about it just by ourselves in isolation. Nor can we just assemble a team of especially skilled people to do it for us. Information Management can only be improved via mass-collaboration, or "collective collaboration" as I called it in a previous post. Everybody should be able to contribute to improving the quality of the information we produce and consume, and every contribution that brings things in the right direction should count and be recognized, however big or small it is.

The problem is that many businesses are addressing the IM challenge using strategies, methods and solutions that might worked well for more limited challenges before the Knowledge Economy, in the Industrial Economy, but which are totally insufficient for dealing with challenges of this scale. That is the simple answer to the question why Information Management needs Enterprise 2.0. To become better at Information Management, we need to take advantage of the scalability of communication and collaboration that today’s Internet-powered open and social communication platforms enable so that we can address the Information Management challenge as a collective.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Interesting Enterprise 2.0 Readings - Week 6 2010

What Google has proved to managers, is that people’s individual actions, if those actions are done in a transparent way, and if those actions can be linked, are capable of managing unmanageable tasks. Collaboration and collective work is best expressed through transparency and emergent, responsive linking. The mainstream business approach to value creation is still a predictive process designed and controlled by the expert/manager. This is based on the presupposition that (1) we know beforehand all the needed linkages, and (2) what is the right sequential order in linking and acting. Neither of these beliefs is correct any more. The variables of creative work have increased beyond systemic models of process design. It is time to learn from the Web.
Finding experts is a problem. Creating a closed stagnant database is a poor solution to that problem. But creating a dynamic system is a much smarter approach. First of all you get people answering questions — which saves time and money. And secondly, by leveraging social computing tools (and staying away from emails that hide conversations) it becomes clear who the experts really are. Employees might want to answer questions to demonstrate what they are capable of. And administrators can manage the system so that no one person gets too many questions...But having this kind of system solves a set of business problems that the old database would never solve.
...one of various options, but one that’s starting to grab more and more traction and become an indispensable solution to that everlasting issue of finding the right people at the right time with the right level of information / skills to help us answer even the toughest questions: Enterprise Social Software Micro-sharing/-blogging...Day in, day out, thousands of micro-messages get shared across and a good chunk of them are interactions taking place directly between experts and seekers of information. And all of that out there, in the open, public and transparent to everyone (Behind the firewall, that is…), so that people have got an opportunity to chime in accordingly, if there would be a need for it, or just learn along the lines.
Mark Tilbury: "We don't do workflow"
Content comes in different shapes and context. Some needs 'locking-down', other content is 'open', while elements develop as it is pushed, modified and enhanced. There is not a 'one solution' fits all process flow within each stream, nor within each site area within a community site. Some communities have areas which are controlled by a central team, and no-one else can update/add. They also have areas which are open and require no authorization or approval to publish and enhance. Other communities are more centrally controlled with some locked-down areas.

What we do provide is a 'governance structure'. Generally speaking the governance structure provides visible ownership for each area of a site. The owner is best placed to determine the requirements of content production for their area - from the user, risk and stream perspective. When we sit down with each 'owner' we then structure the content flow process and build as required. An overall 'steering group' would ideally determine the overall suitability of the workflow, however, experience suggests this is more a rubber stamping process.
Decisions that affect innovation are no different than other decisions. They are based on information. How much information, what kind of information, whether a company chooses to use certain information, and how well a company interprets available information, is the key to decision-making success.

Information isn’t always easy to obtain however, which is probably a good thing actually. Information - having it and not having it - becomes the basis for competitive advantage. You can only hope your information is better than your competitor’s.
Evan Rosen: "Smashing Silos"
In collaborative organizations, people interact spontaneously regardless of level, role, or region. This encourages broad input into product and service development, process improvements, and marketing campaigns. Rather than present a marketing plan or campaign after it's already developed, why not get sales, finance, and corporate communications involved early? Then the plan has cross-functional buy-in baked right in. And it's likely a stronger plan, because it reflects less-insular input.

In the product design arena, command-and-control organizations inform factory workers what they'll be building and how. These workers are on a need-to-know basis. Collaborative organizations engage factory workers in the design of the products and the manufacturing processes. This breaks down the barriers between product development and manufacturing and reduces the impact of silos. The collaborative approach also reduces product development time and ultimately produces a better result.
Harold Jarche: "Social computing in knowledge-intensive workplaces"
The lines are blurring between marketing and training just as they are between learning and working. The connectivity enabled by social computing gives us an opportunity to identify overlapping areas and redundancies in organizational human performance support. A unified support function, focused on really serving workers and helping them grow, could significantly reduce the 77% of CLO Magazine survey respondents who feel that people in their organization are not growing fast enough to keep up with the business.

Every department in the enterprise is part of the problem:
  • IT: for locking down computers and treating all employees like children, closing off a wealth of information, knowledge and connections outside the artificial firewall.
  • Communications: for forcing employees to use approved messages that do not even sound human.
  • Training: for separating learning from work.
  • HR: for forcing people into standardized jobs and competency models that do not reflect the person.
It’s time for all departments to become part of the solution.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Information Management loves Enterprise 2.0

8:59:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg No comments
I've just uploaded the slidedeck that I used during the Acando's Information Management seminar series in January and February in Gothenburg, Stockholm and Malmö. I used it for discussing and illustrating how Enterprise 2.0 principles and mechanisms can be useful when addressing Information Management challenges.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Interesting Enterprise 2.0 Readings - Week 5 2010

3:20:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg , , No comments
Social media has intensified the loss of consumer trust by creating a new channel in which consumers no longer need to trust businesses, they can simply trust each other. Social media allows people to grow their own communities to supply resources, one of which is consumer trust. If we are interested in a new product, we don’t have to trust what the ad on TV says, we can sit at the computer (or phone) and in 5 minutes access a community of thousands of reviews and suggestions. Businesses must acknowledge that their traditional channels of trust may be broken.
"Be yourself.” It’s one of the rules of social media. If you’re blogging, tweeting or Facebooking for business, be real—or you won’t be followed. Yet, how do you pull off “authentic” while maintaining the company brand message? It’s tough enough for a small business. What if you’re #2 on Business Week’s best global brands list, with nearly 400,000 employees across 170 countries? At IBM, it’s about losing control.

“We don’t have a corporate blog or a corporate Twitter ID because we want the ‘IBMers’ in aggregate to be the corporate blog and the corporate Twitter ID,” says Adam Christensen, social media communications at IBM Corporation. “We represent our brand online the way it always has been, which is employees first. Our brand is largely shaped by the interactions that they have with customers.”
In a collaborative organization, senior leaders reach out to salespeople for unfiltered, real-time information and input into decisions. Salespeople, in turn, engage and collaborate across leadership levels and across functions, business units and regions. Presence-enabled tools enhance this by letting people find each other and collaborate in real-time, enabling salespeople to share intelligence with senior leaders, R&D and others. But tools can only enhance and extend collaboration. For salespeople to contribute to product development and strategy, the organizational culture must support informal, spontaneous interactions regardless of level or title.

I believe the shifts above are being driven by the following forces:
  • Ambient communication - Today, everyone can talk to anyone, just about anywhere for nearly (thought not at) at zero cost.
  • Global information flows - The largest, fastest growing, and most freely flowing source of information available is the Internet. This trend will only continue into the future as all information platforms move online.
  • Social computing - Social models for communication, collaboration, and business are proving to be more effective and fundamentally better than non-social ones.
  • Market discontinuity - There is both space and demand for major changes in the way we do things in business today.
  • By 2014, social networking services will replace e-mail as the primary vehicle for interpersonal communications for 20 percent of business users.
  • By 2012, over 50 percent of enterprises will use activity streams that include microblogging, but stand-alone enterprise microblogging will have less than 5 percent penetration.
  • Through 2012, over 70 percent of IT-dominated social media initiatives will fail.
  • Within five years, 70 percent of collaboration and communications applications designed on PCs will be modeled after user experience lessons from smartphone collaboration applications.
  • Through 2015, only 25 percent of enterprises will routinely utilize social network analysis to improve performance and productivity.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Examples of guiding principles as components in an ECM strategy

1:52:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg 3 comments
This post will be very short, as it is just meant to provide some examples of guiding principles for an ECM strategy (to support a conversion on Twitter). I might explain these in more detail later on:
  • Be open by default
  • Integrate ECM capabilities into the daily workflow
  • Allow all types of content to be managed
  • Manage content throughout its life-cycle
  • Manage critical content as other assets
  • Ensure there is one version of the truth
  • Make content accessible in every context it is needed
  • Different content needs to be managed differently (one size does not fit all)
  • Share links to content, not the actual content