Microsoft Surface: A User Experience Designed For People

by Erica Driver

At the end of May, Microsoft announced a project called Microsoft Surface. Microsoft Surface is a new, game-changing computing interface: a 30-inch display table that individuals or small groups can gather around and use collaboratively. Ms_sc_collab_photo_app The user interacts with Surface using natural hand gestures, touch, and physical objects placed on the surface. Here's a photo courtesy of Microsoft, but photos don't do Surface justice so check out the demo on Microsoft's Web site.

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Use Real Metrics To Assess Value Of Collaboration

by Erica Driver

When trying to establish metrics for the success of your collaboration strategy or software implementation, use measures of real business value, not false indicators.

False Indicators

  • Number of items in a discussion thread
  • Number of community members
  • Megabytes of unstructured content in a site
  • How many times you get in front of decision makers to present -- and the responses you receive
  • Number of ideas entered into an idea tracking system
  • Repeat users on a site (e.g., team workspace, wiki, blog, community)
  • Number of site visits

Problems With False Indicators

  • Can be manipulated for positive results
  • Not valued by business stakeholders
  • Ideas don't automatically translate into business value
  • Use of a software tool does not mean it is producing results -- it could be nothing more than a productivity sinkhole
  • Time a user spends on a site may indicate an affinity but does not mean the content on the site is influencing the reader to create higher value

Measures Of True Business Value

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Collaboration Platforms And Information Workplace Platforms

by Erica Driver.

We’ve had clients ask us recently — in fact we sometimes ask ourselves — “What’s the difference between a collaboration platform and an Information Workplace platform? Here goes:

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FTC review of Google/DoubleClick: No big whoop

Shar VanBoskirk

You have probably heard the scuttlebutt around the FTC investigation into Google's acquisition of DoubleClick.  Last week, the FTC confirmed that it would conduct an antitrust review of the deal, paying particular attention to the amount of consumer data DoubleClick gives Google access to.   

My take is that this is all much ado about nothing.  Why?

*Google is an easy target.  Google is so large, and has seen such rapid growth over the last 3 years, that we all (competitors, consumers, government officials, press, industry analysts) can't help but be a little suspicious of them.  And maybe a little jealous of their wealth and presence. 

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Microsoft Is Using Workplace Design And Layout To Encourage A Collaborative Culture

by Erica Driver.

During a recent trip to Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Washington, I was treated to a tour of the company's Workplace Advantage showroom. Workplace Advantage is a Microsoft real estate and facilities management program “focused on empowering Microsoft’s employees by creating new work environments that foster innovation and productivity and that reflect the culture and position of Microsoft in the marketplace as a visionary technology leader,” according to the program’s glossy literature. Some highlights:

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Show Me Your Viral Video And I’ll Show You Mine

Laura Ramos

Forrester encourages B2B marketers to use online video, recorded Web seminars, and other rich media to educate, train, and persuade buyers. Through testimonials and case studies, video creates a lasting impression and emotional bond that is important in business marketing. It’s also less risky to experiment with this medium with the cost of recording decreasing.

But how far can B2B marketers push video from traditional interview or demonstration formats into non-traditional word-of-mouth? Clients see consumer-oriented video ads on YouTube and ask if we see viral video work in business marketing. The answer? We don’t see much.

Exceptions do arise: Scalent VP of Marketing and friend, Kevin Epstein, sent me an April Fool’s joke video his team put together, and – on a whim – decided to post on YouTube.  Kevin wrote about this decision on his blog and I asked Forrester’s marketing research team to look and weigh in. Our take: video may become the digital tchotchke: logo-emblazoned pens, toys, and other useless items companies give to prospects or hand out at tradeshows.

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One Of Many BI Trends — Convergence Of Structured And Unstructured Data

Boris Evelson

by Boris Evelson.

I’d like to hear what my colleagues out there think about the convergence of structured and unstructured data business intelligence. Here are the intersects as I see them. I see two types of BI paradigms emerging in the future:

  1. Structured OLAP will continue to be just that – structured, as far as the process and UI are concerned. However, to become more effective, we will need to bring unstructured data into the analysis, in a way that is transparent to the end user. For example, as we are creating customer segmentation analysis for a marketing campaign, in addition to structured data such as customer demographics and prior buying behavior, we’d want to bring in comments hidden in customer email and voice mail requests. In an ideal environment, the OLAP engine will automatically match these emails to a customer dimension and quantify and qualify comments into star schema facts (number of requests) and dimensions (request types).
  2. Combination of search and light-weight query used for ad-hoc research and analysis. Here, a familiar search text box should be the main UI, however, the engine should be smart enough to a) quantify and qualify unstructured results into facts and dimensions – a so called guided search, or b) recognize that the request is actually about data stored in a structured repository and automatically return search results via OLAP, cross tab or tabular report format.
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aQuantive Acquisition Signals Major Shift In Media/Advertiser Relationships

Shar VanBoskirk

Early this morning Microsoft announced it will buy online marketing company aQuantive -- the holding parent of interactive agency Avenue A/Razorfish, display and paid search ad mangement platform Atlas and inventory management system DrivePM.  The $6 billion deal cash deal represents an 85% premium to aQuantive's closing price last night and will likely close during the first half of 2008.

I think there are two obvious calls to make based on this deal:

1.   The acquisition certainly builds out Microsoft's access to the entire online advertising supply chain.  Prior to the acquisition Microsoft had the execution channel -- sites where advertisers could buy ads.  Now, they also have the upstream pieces of this chain:  planning, strategy, creative.  WPP is working toward a similar goal with its recent announcement to acquire 24/7 Real Media.  But WPP had the planning, strategy, and creative pieces and bought 24/7 for access to the downstream channel.   

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Businesses Are Moving In Droves Toward Phase 4 In Forrester's Collaboration Maturity Model -- Standardization

by Erica Driver.

It's Thursday night of Forrester IT Forum and I've had 19 formal one-on-one meetings with attendees so far, and talked with dozens of other people during meals and breaks and before and after presentations. There's something striking about these conversations, compared to years past. Pretty much every meeting I've had with non-vendor attendees has been about their organization's enterprise collaboration strategy or Information Workplace strategy — or their need to develop one. I've been speaking with information and knowledge management professionals with titles like CIO, VP Emerging Technology, Sr. Project Leader, Dir. Global Strategy and Architecture, and VP of Information Systems. They are coming to 1:1 meetings extremely well-prepared, armed with architecture diagrams, drafts of their collaboration strategy documents, and lists of carefully thought-through questions. What a difference from five years ago when common questions were, "What are other companies doing in the area of collaboration?" or "Which is a better team collaboration tool: eRoom or Groove?"

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Silverpop/VTrenz: Makes Sense All Around

Shar VanBoskirk

Greetings from beautiful Stone Mountain, GA, where I am currently prepping for my presentation tomorrow at Silverpop's Digital Marketer Customer Conference.  I'm looking forward to hearing more about the Silverpop/VTrenz deal tomorrow, but here are my thoughts so far:

Overall, I think this is a good move for Silverpop and an even better one for VTrenz.

VTrenz gets access to enterprise customers, and Silverpop's well-established resources: R&D, client base, professional services team.  And they break into the mainstream email marketing space.  A coup I think for a niche player from Fargo,ND which to date has been company to a solid, but very small collective of B2B electronic lead management tools.

And Silverpop enters a new market: B2B and now has a ready-made solution for marketers trying to use email to sell high-consideration products (think cars or health insurance rather than books or pet supplies).

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