Saturday, June 27, 2009

Making Enterprise 2.0 Real. My Story of the "No E-Mail Beta Program" **

A whirlwind week in Boston as we launched Open Text Social Media to the premier gathering of Enterprise 2.0 thinkers, vendors and practitioners. The downside? I didn't attend nearly as many of the sessions as I had circled in the guide. The upside? Fantastic one-on-one meetings all week with customers, prospects, partners, press, analysts, bloggers. We chatted in meeting rooms, at the Starbucks, in the pub and of course, those comfy couches in the Open Text Lounge.

Still a lot of angst in the E2.0 world about making it real. How do we measure, how do we justify. SHOULD we measure? SHOULD we justify? How to get management buy-in, how to get community engagement.

Well, this week my colleagues & I tried to make it real. Most of the people who stopped by our lounge for a discussion about our new product saw something a little different. No virtual images. No dummy demo servers. No "what you COULD do.."

We spoke about our own personal day-in-the-life: as active production users of our own dogfood. (I know, I know...some colleagues hate that term. Champagne.. coffee... whatever). And we showed sample people, process and content scenarios based on the reality of how we do things.

Sometimes it is the simple story that delivers the lightbulb moment to people who don't quite see the value yet.

For me, it's my story of "The No E-mail Beta". **

In November we announced our 2.0 plans at Open Text Content World, and started recruiting customers interested in beta program participation. From November '08 to early '09, we talked with customers, learned about their potential use cases, their requirements, and narrowed down the list of participants who were keen and committed. The beta participants have been an incredibly rich source of feedback, ideas, and generous with honest and open comments on likes and dislikes.

In December, we kicked off a weekly status call for all of our internal people: development, services, product management and marketing, customer relationship managers, spanning at least 4 countries and likely 8+ cities.

Over the 7 months, about 40 people have been in and out of the weekly calls, depending on their roles and phase of the project. Once a week, a core set of this team got on the phone. And as people join the call, I open up our beta community workspace, go to the wiki for weekly status calls, click 'edit' and go.

While on the phone, the roll call is done, the old business reviewed, action items knocked off, new items added, we recap the status of all the customer beta communities, wrap up with a open discussion on issues or interesting topics. And when we're done, I click "save", and whammo. Instant meeting notes, organized consistently from week to week, categorized by the date and call number, immediately ready for anyone who missed the call, and optionally pushed out as a notification to those who chose to subscribe to updates.

Simple, fast, efficient.

7 months = 28 weekly calls so far, 2.5 action item updates per week x (40 people x 25% on core team) = ~700 emails not sent

Cool, but not the light bulb moment. That moment came a month ago when we got an intern from the university for a summer work term. How to get him up to speed rapidly and accurately to get him productive on Day 1? Easy. Sent 1 URL to the status call wiki, he read from bottom to top and knew what was going on and who the key people were. I actually cannot even imagine how long that would have taken if we would have relied on e-mail communication.

But it was not just the technology that made this work. It was the people - the people who committed to working this way. The core team who led by example. Who posted action items in the community (never underestimate the power of peer pressure to get things done). By delegating the call chair duties by posting a shout-out to the community when travel or vacation made it impossible for me to dial-in. By wanting to all be able to walk the talk in front of our colleagues, partners and customers.

2.0 technology made this easy, it but didn't 'cause' the success. The community workspace and wiki was a tool that made sense for the task - bridging a diverse, distributed global team focused on a shared objective. I haven't even personally met everyone on the team yet. But I know their smiling faces, what they can contribute, and what I've learned from them. My Social Workplace in action.

** OK, the 'almost' no-email beta program. Full disclosure: we used email with colleagues who had a specific role for a narrow portion of the program. Ie, getting the corporate legal OK on any agreements. And for customer communication before they went live. And my comment to my colleagues who subscribed to automated email notifications, well, that was your own choice.

Some good E2Conf recap blog posts so far - (watch the #e2conf twitter stream as more pop up over next few days):
Sameer Patel @ Pretzellogic

Ron Miller @ Fierce Content Management 1 of 2 (argh. I bad hair day, but was fun chat with Ron in the ultimate conference social workplace, the hotel lounge)

Ron Miller @ Fierce Content Management 2 of 2 "Neatest Technology at Enterprise 2.0" And yep... we're there ;-)

Doug Cornelius @ Compliance Building He called out some great reality checks as 2.0 comes into business and faces compliance and governance issues of the real world

What I Learned... @ Mashup Patterns

Social Amber - It's about the people...

E2Conf Blogger Janetti Chon "It's a Wrap"

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Open Text Social Media says "Hello World" - June 23 2009

Today we launched the new Open Text Social Media offering... helping organizations bloom into a new world of productivity and connectedness. This has been one of the coolest projects I've worked in my ECM career.

We're at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston June 22-25. If you're around, come see us at Booth 615. If you're not, checkout the Twitter stream at #e2conf

Announcement here:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Putting Passive on the Not-Hot List for 2010

TV, radio, movies, and music created by the few for the mass audience: the rise of content consumption as a passive exercise is a 20th century phenomenon.

If we go back a century, the way that we received and consumed content for leisure and business was by definition social: through the lecture, the recital, the sermon, the town hall meeting. It was people communicating directly with people. The opportunity to interact, question, or offer feedback in the form of applause or catcalls permitted immediately brought a connection between content producer and content consumer.

Mass communication facilitated by radio, TV, commercial movie studios or multinational publishing empires introduced a disconnect in the so-called modern era. A disconnect between the content producer and its consumers.

The rise of the participatory web - an outcome of the 2.0 phenomenon over the last few years - is changing this.

At the recent Gartner Portals Content & Collaboration Conference, I was fortunate to pick up a copy of "CrowdSourcing" written by Jeff Howe of Wired Magazine. It was gratifying to hear some reinforcing opinions - that passive consumption of mass produced content is increasingly becoming passé; as Howe says, "the explosive growth in user-generated content is less a new phenomenon than a sign that the impulse to interact meaningfully with our own media - to participate in its creation - never went away".

When we think about the work that we produce as information workers, we need to consider engaging our intended audience. That we not fall into the trap of being one-way push machines of mediocre mass-produced content. As Web 2.0 technologies come into the workplace, we need to expect to have our content read, rated, re-used, linked, re-tweeted, tagged and commented upon. Our audience - whether internal colleagues or external consumers - will feel freer to offer feedback as the tools permit.

Are we creating content that is so valuable that it will be linked to? forwarded? aggregated? quoted from? Social media forms lend themselves very well to the metrics and measurements of engagement. Active engagement can be measured and creates additional value to the original work via edits, comments, recommendations and aggregation.

Passive push of a slide deck in an email to one person when everyone could benefit is "Not Hot". Posting the same content in an interactive, linkable web community site where interested eyeballs can engage with it is.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What Do Records Managers Need to Know About Web 2.0?

This has become one of my pet research topics over the last 2 years. I've been invited to present this topic now in front of at least six ARMA chapters, a couple of AIIM events, four or five public sector conferences, the RMAA annual conference in Australia ...not to mention annoying my Records and Archiving "aspirin" colleagues with my endless fist-pounding cafeteria rants.

I keep promising @JesseWilkins that I'll put up a slideshare version of my ever-evolving deck, but in the meantime, here's where you can get to some of the key content:

June 2009: Discussion on US Federal News Radio "Daily Debrief Show":June 3, 2009 Federal News Radio MP3 Link

Slide Deck: From April 2009 Ontario Public Sector Information Management Conference: What do Records Managers Need to Know About Web 2.0

KM World Whitepaper from Fall 2008 (sign up required... free download): KM World Whitepaper Dec 2008

Legaltech NYC Keynote recap, January 2009 "Think Left" from ECM Briefs

RMAA Keynote Recap, September 2008, "What's Hot with Records Managers in Australia"? from ECM Briefs

2008 Podcast with Information Architected @Dan Keldsen, Records Management Product Marketing Goddess Liz Kofsky & me: ECM Briefs - link to podcast

I'll keep updating this resource list as content is published and updated.