Autonomy Ushers In New Era Of Information Management With Purchase Of Zantaz

by Barry Murphy.

Today began with very interesting news — Autonomy entered into a definitive agreement to purchase message archiving and eDiscovery vendor Zantaz. This is a great purchase for Autonomy. They have already integrated IDOL server into Zantaz's archiving and eDiscovery applications, so they can capitalize on synergies immediately. eDiscovery is a hot market for both companies — the combined entities will have likely the best brand value in the eDiscovery space. With organizations truly called to action by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCPs), Autonomy/Zantaz has the solution set to help implement a short-term solution that can evolve into longer-term information management strategies (see our eDiscovery market overview for more information on how the FRCPs have become an information management spending driver).

This also makes Autonomy more attractive to the larger vendors, and I would not be surprised at all to see a CA, EMC, IBM, or Oracle in turn acquire Autonomy. Oracle makes the most sense as it is the only of the big infrastructure vendors that lacks the message archiving capability that Zantaz could provide.

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IT Must Lead Legal To The eDiscovery Promised Land

by Barry Murphy.

I recently co-presented at a workshop on eDiscovery.  Before I spoke about what enterprises are doing about exploding discovery costs and the fragmented solutions landscape, a very experienced corporate general counsel spoke to the IT-heavy audience.  The theme of his presentation was "help a lawyer today."  That's right CIOs and IT project managers - your legal team is not going to tell you how to handle eDiscovery.  You are going to be responsible for effeciently and defensibly collecting information in response to regulatory and legal requests.  In fact, legal is relying on your expertise in technologies to better manage information.

The moral of the story is that IT must take the leadership role in creating a formal, cross-functional team and process for managing eDiscovery.  Don't fret - here's a few cheat sheets to get you started:

A list of the vendors to consider in any solution (http://www.forrester.com/rb/vpc/catalog.jsp?catalogID=24)

And the questions to ask those vendors (http://www.forrester.com/Research/Document/0,7211,40824,00.html)

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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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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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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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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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SAP Acquires Outlooksoft - Not A Minute Too Soon

Paul Hamerman

SAP has addressed a major gap in its business planning performance management offerings with the acquisition of Outlooksoft today. The internally-developed SAP offerings known as SEM had seen limited traction among its customer base do to usability and complexity issues. SAP has been vulnerable to competitors (e.g., Hyperion, Cognos), particularly in the planning and budgeting domain.

Outlooksoft’s offering, by contrast, features a native Excel UI that appeals to finance and business users, and has integrated capabilities for planning, financial consolidations, and business performance analytics. It has seen good traction as a best-of-breed offering, with a base of approximately 700 customers. Its newest release (5.0) incorporates SOA and Web 2.0 technologies, making it compatible with SAP’s technology directions. Also, Outlooksoft has begun to move away from its sole dependency on the Microsoft BI platform.

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Notes From SAPPHIRE

Paul Hamerman

SAP's annual Americas user conference was held last week (April 23-25), with impressive attendance of approximately 14,000. The abrupt departure of Shai Agassi a few weeks prior to the event was well covered, as Hasso Plattner stepped in to handle the technical vision keynote slot. A key message of the event was progress in adoption of SAP's NetWeaver platform and the latest release of the ERP suite, renamed ERP 6.0 from mySAP ERP 2005. ERP 6.0 adoption was announced to be approximately 2,600 to date, but upgrades from the older 4.6C and 4.7 versions continue to be a challenge for customers. SAP is looking to have 75% of its ERP base upgraded by mid-2008. Besides relief from rising support costs under the 5-1-2 maintenance plan, customers who upgrade to 6.0 can take advantage of a series of forthcoming enhancement packs as incremental add-ons (a strategy reminiscent of Oracle's family pack releases).

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