Archive for October, 2009

Apple Entering the Enterprise 2.0 Market?

Last week I was browsing the apple website for software and came across some very interesting features in the new OS X Snow Leopard Server software. It appears apple have have made quite a large contribution to incorporating many collaborative tools into their enterprise product. I then attempted to do some research about how the company have recognised the importance of enterprise 2.0 however the information was very scarce. I couldn’t even find a blogger who has also noted this. So I decided to put it out there as an apple mac user myself to spread the word.

The main collaborative application included in OS X server is titled Wiki server, although contrary to the name suggests it does a lot more then just wiki’s. Apple advertise this simply as “Easy Group Collaboration”. From a collaborative business perspective, they offer the whole shebang. They primarily cater for enterprise level wiki and blog creation. All with fully customizable comments, tags and many other 2.0 goodies. Also they have pushed the idea of sharing information and building your brand by including ‘Podcast Producer’. Which makes recording, editing and publishing podcasts and vodcasts so quick and easy that anyone can do it! Many enterprises can benefit from this software and it is interesting to know the some of the big players are realising the importance of colaboration and including these tools in their enterprise software.

Apple OS X Wiki Server

Google – taking over your browser one side at a time!

Website annotation has been around for sometime now with services such as shadows, TrailFire, and Dingo but haven’t really taken off…Enter Google with their edition of website annotation titled SideWiki!

So what is it all about?  Sidewiki allows any Google user to place comments on an entire page or even selected sections of a web page. These comments are listed in a retractable toolbar down the side of your browser. They have also included the option to embed images and videos into the comment however in my brief search I haven’t seen it done yet.

So how do they control things like spammers and flamers? The have used a ranking system where users can vote up or down on comments. Comments with more votes up directly affect that users ‘ranking’. Users with high ranking or reputation will be placed towards the top of the sidewiki hierarchy and low rating users will be stomped down to the bottom where no one will read them. In my opinion this sounds like an effective measure. Chris Doble talked about this concept in his recent post disscussing Kevin Rose’s suggestions for taking your site from one to one million users. Kevin suggested that giving users an “ego” to work on gives them an incentive to post good material and to get involved positively. Sidewiki has done that well because not only does one ‘flame’ take down that comments rating, it affects that users overall positioning on all other pages. This is a huge incentive to help other users and collaborate. Very Web 2.0 like.

So I took the liberty of giving SideWiki a go and had some pretty pleasing results. It’s not everywhere yet but found it in heavy use at TechCrunch and also at sites such as reddit. It seems to be currently used as a reviewing type system where users are saying, I use this website for this, it is good for this etc. I can see this being very useful if it is taken on by the wider public as a very, very helpful tool in research. Having short summaries and recommendations before you read an entire journal would be very beneficial to students and researchers in particular.

Overall it seems like a good thing, but like all web 2.0 tools you need people to come on board to get the ball rolling. The only strongly disappointing feature of Google SideWiki is…. it is bundled with Google toolbar (yes, the screen hogging, colourful pictures and auto-filling nightmare). Hence the reason why I am about to uninstall the add on and end my google SideWiki experience for now. Fingers are crossed that they will release a standalone add-on in the near future!

~Jamie

Google SideWiki being used with reddit

Ensuring Successful Enterprise 2.0 Adoption

I have been doing a lot of reding lately about how companies have introduced web 2.0 into their business and the issues that they have come accross. Most seem to have the same types of adoption hurdles that are needed to be overcome. From what I have read I have formed my own opinons about what seems to be the three major issues with enterprise 2.0 adoption:

1. Fear of change

Many people fear change and this becomes especially revelant within the enterprise. incorporating new technologies into existing business processes can be met with resistance from employees and accommodates. Some even regard the switch to Enterprise 2.0 and a culture change within a business.

2. Losing ownership

The concept of creating a collaborative community can sometimes prove to be challenging to some. Personality types that desire to be the ‘head honcho’ especially can be resistant to passing on the ownership of roles to colleagues and others. shifting the responsibility to the whole rather than having the single opinion of a manager of IT department, this does prove to be confronting and can can tie in with the fear of change issue.

3. Privacy Issues

One of the concepts of web 2.0 especially is sharing information in ‘The Cloud’. Many people used to traditional communication tools such as email find this concept intimidating as they are putting themselves out there for everybody to see. Wiki’s, blogs and social networking all focus on sharing your opinions and creating networks between people by sharing information. Especially security conscious companies with confidential information can find it a challenge to maintain their privacy. In my opinion this is the biggest hurdle to overcome when adoption these technologies within the enterprise.

Forrester research produced some very interesting results lately regarding the adoption of E 2.0 within businesses. “90% of surveyed IT professionals and security decision makers reported that they are at the least “very concerned” about related threats and may have made the leap into these technologies without thinking about the security consequences.”

So what are some strategies to overcome these issues with adoption? Yuri Alkin has made some suggestions that I agree with. Knowing which enteprise 2.0 technologies are appropriate for your business is very important. Flooding a company with many new technologies that all do similar things or are unnecessary will be one the the easiest ways for employees to lose interest. He also suggested runing a pilot process to get initial feedback however I believe this should be expanded on by making the pilot an optional task for employees. Initially allowing the people who really want to help contribute, therefore creating a positive and productive community. This will then show the others the benefits and will encourage them to jump on the E2.0 wagon. Finally it is just as important to follow through with projects once they begin. Maintaining and adjusting to the needs of business as time progresses is very important because every business is different and the perfect enterprise solutions for a business can only be achieved over time after many cases of trial and error.

So what do you think are the main issues with Enterprise 2.0 adoption? what strategies can you suggest to help introduce new companies to the concept?