Office 2010 Backstage: Content + Context = Collaboration

Ted Schadler

 Ted-Schadler by Ted Schadler

Microsoft announced more details on Office 2010 today. It's a healthy release from my perspective: more, simpler, better, faster, cleaner. But there's an interesting new thing that Microsoft has introduced with this release. They call it "Backstage," but it might be easier to think of it as the context of the document -- everything you need know about it and everything that you can do with it.

At the highest level, Backstage is all the stuff you do once the document has been created: save it, print it, email it, etc. It's also all of the metadata associated with the document: permissions, version history, etc. This makes it much easier for teams to collaborate on documents and for documents to be part of a workflow or business process.

It looks like this:

Backstage

So why does this matter? Three reasons:

  1. The "context" of the document as visible as the contents of the document. It's as if the book just got a cover, a card catalog label, and an availability tracker. Wow. Metadata that matters to anyone who's looking for the document.

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IBM Moves Ahead In Smart Computing, But Still Has Ways To Go

Andrew Bartels

IBM threw a big event in New York City on Thursday, October 1, and Friday, October 2, to publicize its Smarter Cities initiative, part of its Smarter Planet marketing message. The event featured an impressive list of politicians (Mayor Bloomberg, NY Governor Patterson, governors from Vermont and North Carolina) and CEOs (CEOs from ABB, Verizon, American Electric Power, etc.). I was part of the crowd of hundreds of attendees and IBMers on Friday, and my colleague Doug Washburn attended on Thursday.

It would be easy to dismiss this as part of hype machinery that IBM is running to build awareness of and create customers for its Smarter Planet initiative and the emerging offerings that it is creating under that rubric. But I think there is more going on here. What IBM is really doing is creating a vision - or more precisely, half a dozen visions - of how a new generation of technology can help address some critical challenges facing the planet. Visions of course can easily become hype. But as several speakers noted, visions are also a necessary first step in any transformation process, building awareness of what can be different at the end that will inspire people to start the journey. And IBM to its credit put concrete examples behind the proposals.

Here is what IBM is doing right:

  • Focusing on key social and economic problems facing many countries around the world. Cities and national governments face challenges of providing healthcare more efficiently, improving the quality and delivery of education, managing greater and greater volumes of people travel and goods transportation, providing public safety and security in the face of increased threats of terrorism and persistence of crime, and encouraging energy conservation and alternative energies to counter global warming. These are the problems that IBM's Smarter Cities initiative focused on.
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A trip back to the future...of green IT

Chris Mines

Christopher Mines [Posted by Christopher Mines]

I had the privilege of hosting the Green IT 2009 conference in London back in May and wanted to share a couple of observations about that terrific event. I often tell clients in the U.S. that I am taking "a trip to the future" when I go to Europe; in particular, UK public sector organizations are probably the most advanced anywhere in terms of green IT behaviors (or should I say behaviours?).

Two statements I heard from IT procurement people at the conference that should be on the radar screen for vendor strategists looking to anticipate the next wave of enterprises' green requirements, and for IT planners looking to get more aggressive about their company's green IT initiatives:

  • Requirements for longer-lifecycle IT equipment. Planned obsolence is going to become obsolete. Expect your customers to require longer warranty periods, modular/upgradeable designs, and lifecycle-based carbon footprint analysis from you and your gear. Companies are realizing that, as one conference attendee put it, "we puts lots of bodies in motion" when they order new equipment.
  • Increasing demand for green/renewable energy. No matter how efficient a data center is, it can't really be green unless it's powered by green energy.

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SOA: Dead Or Alive?

Sharyn Leaver

by Sharyn Leaver

Sharyn-Leaver Some recent buzz in the industry would have you believe that “SOA is dead,” but that just isn’t the case — SOA is far from being dead, outdated, or irrelevant. In fact, its use and influence are still growing. A recent Forrester survey indicates that 75% of Global 2000 organizations will be using SOA by the end of 2009. 60% of current users are expanding their use of SOA, and a substantial number recognize SOA’s strategic business value and are using it on a sizable portion of their solution delivery products.

Stories of less-than-successful results may dent its reputation, particularly in today’s climate of pessimism and uncertainty, but when done right SOA has the potential for broad-reaching positive impact on the enterprise. Instead of getting caught in the hype or jumping ship on their SOA efforts, CIOs should keep in mind that: 

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The lighter side of tech: Michael Jackson and technology

Tim Sheedy

It's been a while since I blogged - and even longer since I did something a bit light hearted - so I thought it's time to make a comment on something about tech that has been bugging me recently.

So Michael Jackson and technology seem like very loosely related issues - and they definitely are. But the death of such a "big name" is quite a rare occurrence - and it makes people think back to the last time someone with such a high profile passed away, and how they reacted then. And at the same time, it demonstrates how technology, that is ultimately designed to connect people, actually ends up keeping us apart (or at least reminding us of the fact that we are apart).

When I think back to the last big "star" that passed away, in any territory of the world connected to the United Kingdom, it was probably the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. This happened in August 1997. In North America, people have been comparing Michael Jackson's passing to that of Elvis, Buddy Holly, and the likes. Such big events act as markers of time. People remember where they were when they heard of Elvis', President Kennedy's, and Lady Diana's deaths. And often these were shared experiences - people remember who they were with at the time - as often they heard this information from other people. I remember driving on Spit Road in Sydney when it was announced on the radio that Diana, Princess of Wales, had passed away. I had my partner (now wife) and friends in the car with me at the time. We shared the experience, and somehow even bonded over it.

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Take Your Time Moving To Process Based Organizations.

Marc Cecere

by Marc Cecere

Marc-Cecere Process based IT organizations have become the rage. These are IT shops that group people around the processes they support, such as software distribution or requirements definition, or by business processes such as claims management. In contrast, traditional shops group people by technologies (e.g. mainframe, desktop), internal customers (e.g. wealth management, retail banking), or geographies (e.g. France, Asia).

There are two types of process based organizations – IT and business. IT process organizations typically follow ITIL for infrastructure and a software lifecycle for applications. Using ITIL, they form groups around process associated with problem management, storage, or configuration management. For applications groups, they may have people dedicated to requirements development, coding or testing. Business process based IT shops are less prevalent but may include IT associated with claims processing in an insurance company or collections in a credit card company.

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Calculating The Fully Loaded Costs Of Corporate Email: It's Bigger Than You Think

Ted Schadler

Ted-Schadler by Ted Schadler

Since colleague Chris Voce and I published a pair of reports on corporate email in the cloud (one on the infrastructure and operations and one on the cost of running email on-premises or in the cloud), we have had dozens of discussions with our clients accompanied by detailed cost analyses of the true cost of running email on-premises versus running it in the cloud.

While the cloud-based cost of email is pretty transparent (many providers, including Microsoft and Google, publish their per-user per-month costs), the cost of running email on-premises is often a big mystery to everyone, including most CIOs. The big challenge is that the costs are spread throughout the budget: some in the hardware budget, some in the software budget, some in the storage budget, some in the cost of capital budget, some in the staffing budgets, and so on.

After dozens of these discussions and after a survey of 53 information & knowledge management professionals to ask about the cost of email, it is abundantly clear that few firms know their true cost of running email on-premises. And this matters if you're considering a move to cloud-based email.

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Sun Learning Exchange: Indeed, What If Work Meant Community?

Ted Schadler

Ted-Schadler by Ted Schadler

In early June, Sun Microsystems announced the Sun Learning Exchange. This is a commercial offering that borrows directly from Sun's own experiments, experience, and expositions on learning. We've written about this in a Forrester report: Tap The Potential Of "YouTube For The Enterprise," and now it's available to others.

Sun's CTO of Learning, Charles Beckham, has tapped his experience as a Java entrepreneur (he was part of the team that built one of the first J2EE application servers, NetDynamics) and bent it to the challenges of on-the-job learning. In an interview with Charles last fall, we came away convinced that his just-enough, wisdom of the crowds, power of video approach to learning was important.

 

Three things anchor the Sun Learning Exchange:

  1. The power of all employee-generated media, including video, audio, and blogs.
  2. A learning platform that is minimally invasive and maximally open to social contribution.
  3. A metric on social contributions to drive participation.
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CIOS: Don't Let New Sourcing Models Take Your IT Organization By Surprise

Sharyn Leaver

by Sharyn Leaver

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Good news for IT folks - server sales are down!

Tim Sheedy

I read on a twitter post recently that according to some recent research by Gartner, server sales are down 24%. And today I saw an article based on some IDC research that in Australia they are down by 39%. In my humble opinion, this is good news for IT leaders in Asia Pacific.

So why is it good news that server sales are down? The way I see it, IT departments are still serving their clients, web sites are not crashing, applications are stable, and generally IT systems in the region are running pretty well. So it seems that IT departments are doing well without all the extra hardware expenses.

The economic downturn has been a good thing for IT leaders. They have been forced to look for new ways of doing things - they have challenged the accepted wisdom. And they have continued to deliver what the business requires and have not had to buy a new piece of equipment every time they want to implement a new capability within the business. IT departments are now being given the license they have been asking for to consolidate systems across business units, departments and/or applications. Virtualisation, SaaS, cloud computing, SOA and many other technologies or technology-assisted services have come to the fore to allow IT departments to continue to deliver on the their requirements.

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