Is There a Role For Pre-moderation In Internal Social Networks?

"Well, as of this moment, they're on double-secret probation!"

Dean Wormer, Faber College

Recently I have had a number of conversations regarding the role of pre-moderation of internal social networks. Just by way of explanation, pre-moderation would be the approval of all content (posts and comments) prior to posting. Over the past several years and hundreds of conversations with enterprise clients, this has rarely come up.

Just to be clear, there is risk associated with enterprise social networking. There is nothing about social technologies that precludes requirements for privacy, security, maintenance of intellectual capital, regulatory compliance, etc. However, given the right degree of attention, these all are manageable. In fact, over time, social technologies will reduce the risk associated with all of these (more on that later).

OK, so if anyone can say anything at anytime, that's risky right? Well, in thoery, but in reality, not really. Remember, we're talking about internal social networks. Presumably, these are IT sanctioned, authenticated solutions. In other words, everyone knows who you are. And, we can assume that with some degree of planning and education, your users will be aware of the policies that govern the environment. And if you post something not within policy, well you get put on probation (or maybe double-secret probation). Animal House references aside, many a fine internal social networking policy begins with "don't do anything that will get you fired".

There are three key points here:

  • One, provide a sanctioned solution for your organization because if you don't they may well find something on their own and that could be a whole different kind of trouble.
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Social means business

Rob-Koplowitz by Rob Koplowitz

Last week at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference we found more evidence of the changing nature of enterprise collaboration. Both customers and vendors provided evidence that social networking was quickly moving into the enterprise landscape and warrants the attention due a potential game changer. There are three trends that warrant attention:

  • Forward thinking organizations are developing broad collaboration strategies that embrace social networking while recognizing and managing associated risk. In fact, it is becoming clear that a well managed strategy with regard to social in the enterprise should lower risk associated privacy, security and compliance. Sounds counter-intuitive? Well, transparency is a beautiful thing.
  • The vendor landscape is vibrant. At many conferences these days, the standard refrain is "in this economy". Not here. Vendors are investing heavily in new capabilities and are being rewarded with robust business. 
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"He don't know it's a d---- show, he thinks it a d---- fight"

Rob-Koplowitz By Rob Koplowitz

Great line from Rocky, one of my favorite movies, as Apollo Creed's manager recognizes that the underdog needs to be taken more seriously. In this particular scenario Cisco is the underdog. I'm currently listening to Cisco's vision for collaboration and in this market, they are an underdog. Microsoft is the 800 pound gorilla and IBM is a pretty big beast as well. In a market dominated by a small number of software powerhouses, why do we want to take Cisco seriously? For a few reasons:

  1. The market is going through multiple disruptions: the move to the cloud, the move to unified communications, the increasingly pervasive adoption of Web 2.0 technologies, etc. A market in disruption is an opportunity.
  2. Cisco is already a player. Really. WebEx is a big part of many organization's collaboration portfolio and was the first commercially successful SaaS based collaboration offering. They own a lot of eyeballs and they are good at SaaS. The Jabber acquisition was a key move that is just beginning to show full value by delivering standards based presence and IM across the entire portfolio.
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Novell Pulse Lookin' Cool with Google Wave

Rob-Koplowitz  by Rob Koplowitz

Novell collaboration has been in the process of an extreme makeover for a while now. It started with the acquisition and subsequest integration  of SiteScape. It continued with new releases of their email offering GroupWise. But, all along they were working on something that would really differentiate their offering in the market. On Wednesday morning they announced Novell Pulse at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. I've been watching Pulse move from concept to what is now an announced product with an H1 2010 announced ship date for the better part of two years now. It represents an interesting blend of synchronous and asynchronous collaboration and content generation capabilities. If that sounds a bit familiar, think Google Wave. In fact, at the time Wave was announced, I was holding my tongue when folks would ask me if I'd seen anything like it before. I had, the product that became Novell Pulse. I just couldn't say because of a pesky NDA!

Thus it was interesting that Novell became the first vendor in the collaboration space to announce a significant partnership and integration with Google around the upcoming Wave offering. The premise is actually pretty cool. A user in Novell Pulse can work in real-time on a document simultaneously with a user on Google Wave. From the Novell side, all security is managed and maintained by Novell.

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It's Time To Put Aside Childish Things As Microsoft Announces Layoffs

Robkoplowitz By Rob Koplowitz

In his inaugural address, Barack Obama told us it's "..time to put aside childish things." A country that once showed greatness through youthful exuberance is being asked to show greatness through measured maturity. It's a moment of realization. And a time of challenge.

Microsoft has announced that it intends to lay off up to 5000 employees over the next 18 months. For those of us who have chosen this industry as our career home, layoffs are nothing new. We live in a cyclical world and nowhere is the cycle more evident than in the computer industry, where companies are constantly appearing out of nowhere, growing, shrinking, acquiring and being acquired.

But this is different. This is the latest sign of a sea change in our industry. The best and brightest minds in the industry saw this coming. Steve Jobs saw it when he turned Apple Computer into Apple and turned tech into "tech fashion." Larry Ellison saw it when he began to acquire players that would make Oracle an indispensable piece of corporate infrastructure and at the same time established a more predictable maintenance revenue stream to Oracle.

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Cisco Acquires Jabber - Can They Recast Collaboration?

Robkoplowitz By Rob Koplowitz

Today, Cisco announced their intention to acquire Jabber, a major player in enterprise instant messaging. On the heals of Cisco's acquisition of PostPath for email, it's becoming clear that Cisco is really serious about collaboration. Not only are they serious, but they are begining to execute on a very compelling strategy. Some of the more interesting aspects of this move:

  • Jabber continues to fill out Cisco's collaboration portfolio by adding secure instant messaging and persistent chat. Now, they have their established position in unified communications, voice conferencing, telepresence and WebEx web conferencing and email, instant messaging and persistent chat coming on line. If Cisco can drive deep integration across all of these components and do it at a reasonable price point, there will be real value in the bundle.
  • Jabber is well positioned for cloud deployment. Their core differentiator has long been massive scalability with a design goal of serving millions, rather than thousands of users. If you want to take on market leaders Microsoft and IBM, you need to identify and exploit a market disruption. Cloud-based collaboration could be just the disruption Cisco needs. Massive scalability helps a lot.
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The Dark Horse Moves Forward In The SaaS Collaboration Race

RobkoplowitzBy Rob Koplowitz

Today, Cisco announced its intent to acquire PostPath, a provider of email solutions. Interesting news. As parts of the collaboration stack become increasingly commoditized, the lure of moving the functionality up to the cloud and letting someone else take on the day to day responsibility becomes increasingly attractive. Cisco is at the center of this trend with its WebEx brand. Web conferencing has yet to gain widespread adoption in the corporate data center. It's almost as if the market just decided that as cool as web conferencing may be, I don't want to bother with installing servers and running them. Let someone else do that.

Is broad based collaboration the next big app to move to the cloud? Could be. Microsoft thinks so. They have moved quickly and decisively into cloud based collaboration, first with the acquisition of WebEx's chief competitor, PlaceWare (now LiveMeeting), and more recently with their announcement of Microsoft On-line Services. Google thinks so, too. They have been morphing their consumer collaboration offerings like G-Mail and Google Apps into business ready offerings for the last couple of years. IBM, too, with their evolving vision for Project Bluehouse and its focus on enterprise ready social computing in the cloud.

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Is Salesforce.com The Key To The Cloud Kingdom?

RobkoplowitzBy Rob Koplowitz

Today Google and Salesforce.com announced another step in their ongoing flirtatious relationship. Salesforce.com will now bundle Google business applications into its on-line CRM offering. Salesforce will also begin to distribute Google applications backed by Salesforce support. It's always interesting when these two make an announcement for two reasons: First, they are both 100% committed to cloud computing and they think about the future of the industry in very similar terms. Second, it is fundamentally interesting to conjecture about the potential of a Salesforce acquisition. Note the rumor mill cranking up on this topic a few weeks ago when Oracle arranged for a $2B line of credit.

Now, Marc Benioff has stated early, often and loudly that Saleforce.com is not an acquisition target and has every intention of becoming the next major software infrastructure vendor. Fair enough. Salesforce.com has done all the right things to do just that. They've invested heavily in an infrastructure and built a reputation that represents a significant barrier to entry to anyone that wants to horn in on their territory. Salesforce.com has a significant history of securely and reliably delivering mission critical enterprise applications in the cloud. Raise your hand if you can make that claim. Not a lot of hands.

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Microsoft Goes Hostile, Looks To Buy Yahoo! And Yes It Impacts You

Kylemcnabb_4RobkoplowitzBy Kyle McNabb and Rob Koplowitz

This morning Microsoft announced a $44.6b bid to acquire Yahoo! Driven largely to bolster Microsoft’s search and advertising business in order to better compete with Google, this move does have a few hidden gems that will impact enterprise IT environments. For insights into the consumer side of this story, see the post from Charlene Li and Shar  Van Boskirk.

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Social Computing As Disposable Technology

by Rob Koplowitz.

The question of measuring ROI of social computing is hot because it's so much a part of enterprise software acquisition. As information and knowledge management professionals move to get ahead of this emerging technology curve, they find a very consistent pattern:

  • People are using this stuff! Blogs and wikis in particular are popping up everywhere. Why not? They are easy to access, often free, and they are dead simple to use. It's one of those permission / forgiveness things. We've all done it.
  • If people are using these things that IT doesn't know about, there is no way of ensuring security, privacy, availability, governance, compliance, risk mitigation and all of those good things that keep the organization running and employees out of trouble (maybe even jail!).
  • Most really don't want to shut it down because in many instances these are more efficient solutions than those provided by the organization. These tools are often just easier and better for generating and publishing content.
  • The natural inclination in this situation would be to bring in the tradtional software vendors and see if they can support these new technology directions. Not surprisingly, a number of big vendors are ready and willing to help, including BEA, IBM/Lotus, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP.
  • Sounds great. Lots of reasons to go with one of the big vendors (see bullet 2).
  • How much will it cost? How much will it give back? In other words, can the acquisition be justified with a strong return on investment analysis?
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