WebSphere Portal Coolness Factor Just Shot Through The Roof

by Erica Driver.

Today, IBM announced that it will bring Google's consumer-style Web utilities, called Google Gadgets, into WebSphere Portal 6.0 and WebSphere Portal Express. Nearly 4,000 Google Gadgets will be available to WebSphere Portal 6.0 customers at no additional cost. Google Gadgets include things like package tracking, Wikipedia searches, language translators, weather, and--my personal favorite--the Virtual Flower Pot. (Just today I realized that the reason my red tulips weren't growing is because I wasn't watering them by mousing over them frequently enough.) What this all means:

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Retention Management Best Practices – Hard To Find

by Barry Murphy.

Last spring, Forrester introduced the concept of retention management, which extends records management to all content from creation through long-term retention and destruction (check out the Retention Management document).  Seems simple enough, but with so many repositories of information (hard drives, network file shares, SharePoint sites, email servers and archives, and any number of managed repositories) extending retention policies to all of it is all but impossible.

To get a sense of how organizations address retention management, I reached out to approximately 300 companies for a research interview, figuring maybe 10 would be willing to speak about what they are doing.  In an indication of how hot the topic is, over 30 companies wanted to speak further.  Having conducted about half the interviews so far, it’s clear we are at the very beginning of the learning curve for retention management. 

Some emerging hypotheses to date:

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How To Restore Email To Its Productivity-Enhancing Glory

by Erica Driver.

I just got off the phone with a small software startup called Get Back Software. For $3/team member/month, a department head can use Get Back’s product, called Postware, to put a cap on the number of emails that people in their group can send. The thinking behind this new software as a service is that email has turned from a productivity-enhancing tool into a productivity sinkhole, and that by giving workers a limited “email allowance” you can change their behavior—you can get them to think twice before cc:ing their boss or replying to all, or inviting a colleague to lunch via email rather than by walking down the hall or picking up the phone. I agree with the core premise here—that the productivity benefits of tools like email (and instant messaging and mobile devices) go down when the volume of communications hits a critical mass and when workers have no control over the volume and frequency of interruptions to their work.

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Poor privacy impact assessments

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Americans are having immigration problems going to Canada based on very old criminal offenses. This is because of Canadian law that bars certain individuals from entering the country. The law hasn't changed, but the information available to the border guard has changed. The article states:

So it isn't as if rules have stiffened. But what has changed is the way the information is gathered. In the wake of 9/11, Canada and the United States formed a partnership that has dramatically increased what Lesperance calls "the data mining'' system at the border.

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Google Changes the Productivity Landscape

by Rob Koplowitz.

I have a confession to make. I really can’t tell the difference between Office 2000, Office XP and Office 2003. I have had all three installed on various computers in my home and they all look the same to me.

Now, I can tell the difference between all of the above and Office 2007. When I joined Forrester I left my Office 2007 beta behind and was presented with a brand spanking new laptop with Office 2003 pre-installed. To quote Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda, “DISAPPOINTED”. Luckily, Microsoft came to the rescue and shipped me out a copy of Office 2007.

Against this backdrop I find myself on a call with Google who is briefing me on their upcoming move into the world of business productivity applications. That evening I sat down with my focus group of one, my son Jake who is a sixth grader with writing goals surprising similar to my own. I pulled up Google Docs and Word 2007 and asked Jake to make a comparison. After a few minutes he gave me his expert analysis. “They’re the same.” I was incredulous. I alt-tabbed between the lush, multi-hued garden of Office and the spiny houseplant of Google and asked how they could be the same? Jake patiently pointed out, feature by feature, that Google had everything he needed. All of the advanced features of Word were invisible to him.

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File this under 'gee isn't that obvious'

Apparently it really does take a study of the US military and Carnegie Mellon's CERT to understand that there is a link between disgruntled employees and IT sabotage. The story notes:

Nearly all the cases of cybercrime investigated were carried out by people who were "disgruntled, paranoid, generally show up late, argue with colleagues, and generally perform poorly."

They produced a study and model of which employees were most likely to commit sabotage. Security management vendor's claimed the solution is password management, which I wouldn't deny is part of the solution, but is it really that hard to spot a disgruntled employee? What if they put in a backdoor that you don't even know about? That password isn't going to do much good. And if any of my colleagues disagree with my viewpoint, perhaps they should be examined more closely for insidious intent as the vendor also noted:

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The death of DRM? I doubt it

There's been a lot written about the deficiencies of DRM over the last couple of days, with some justification too. Recent efforts have been pretty shoddy, with very little effort devoted to allowing content creators to get true credit for their work and more to serve corporate interests. There's some pretty complex political wranglings to sort out here, between the content providers and hardware and software manufacturers. Does this mean the end of DRM? I doubt it.

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From RSA to 2007 and beyond

The Forrester security team: Jen Albornoz Mulligan, Natalie Lambert, Laura Koetzle, Christopher McClean, Jonathan Penn, Paul Stamp, and Chenxi Wang attended this year's RSA. Among the 7 of us, we probably talked to 90% of the companies represented at the conference (if not more).  Collectively, here is our team's takeaway and outlook for 2007 and beyond:

1. Lots of service plays and blended software/service offerings (we predicted this trend before the conference). Software as a service seems to be maturing in the security world, particularly in the content filtering and SIM spaces.

2. More big players are getting into the security business. Oracle had a booth at RSA! Smaller vendors seem to target more at potential acquirers or VC funding rather than customers, which means M&A activities will remain high (We also predicted this in our pre-conference poll, see our Feb 5th blog entry: RSA trends). Increasingly, security will be a market made up of big businesses.

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Call For Collaboration Strategy Documents

by Erica Driver.

My mind is a sieve. It can take a few requests before I remember to do something. And even with a few prods, it takes a while for me to get moving. But I've gotten so many requests along the lines of "What does a collaboration strategy document look like? What should it include?" that it's all I'm thinking about these days.

I will be publishing a sample collaboration strategy document in Q2. If you have developed and documented an enterprise collaboration strategy and would be willing to share it with Forrester for the greater good of industry research--with our promise to guard it and not share it with anyone outside the company--we would love to include you in our research. You can find me at edriver@forrester.com.

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Mini Y2K all over again

When congress changed the daylight savings time standard, we saw the fragility of our computer infrastructure once more. It's the Y2K problem all over again, granted on a much smaller scale as time will only be off by an hour, not a century. Several of our clients have asked about this issue, as well. So I pose this question to you, blog readers! What are you doing about this time change? Do you think it will cause problems for your organization? Are the vendors responding quickly enough? How do you handle custom applications?