Monday, March 30, 2009

Living it, Not Lip-Synching it - Becoming an Enterprise 2.0 Practitioner

AIIM Expo is in the City of Brotherly Love - Philadelphia - this year... and what better place to explore all of the collaborative, cooperative goodness that is Enterprise 2.0...

I registered for the Enterprise 2.0 Practitioner Workshop. The 2 day course was compressed into one as a pre-conference tutorial before Expo kicks off on Tuesday. Via the magic of Twitter over last few weeks, was glad to get to know the instructor, the smart and funny Hanns Kohler-Kruner (sorry but I think he'll always be HannsKK now...).

The jam-packed day was worth it. I would not hesitate to recommend it to colleagues, partners and customers. But of course, always room for fine-tuning...

But What About the Human Voice? We spent a useful chunk of time exploring the evolution of Web 2.0 vs. Enterprise 2.0 and discussing the relative merits of accepted definitions. But the workshop materials proposed an updated definition that quite frankly, I didn't buy. Is E2.0 really "a system of web-based technologies that provide rapid and agile collaboration, information sharing, emergence and integration capabilities in the extended enterprise"? Too focused on the 'technologies' and no mention of the underlying cultural, change-agent or human elements that 2.0 has the ability to surface and nourish. I still prefer the original Andrew McAfee take: "use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers”. At least we have a sense of people, and building connections between and among key stakeholders inside and related to the business. But… bonus points to the AIIM definition for acknowledging the “extended enterprise”. Recognizing that trusted relationships are outside as well as inside the firewall is the underlying message of what Open Text calls the “Social Marketplace”.

Blogs! And Wikis! Oh My! Perhaps I have become overly sensitive to this particular issue (Hi Colleagues!) but using “blogs and wikis” as lazy shorthand for Enterprise 2.0 just doesn’t cut it anymore. Blogs and wikis are buckets of text. Err… that’s it. (Don’t worry – I have the same beef with people who say ‘compliance’ as lazy shorthand for records management…) Overemphasis on individual types of tools that sit under the label of 2.0, and not nearly enough about the value of contextual interactive communities. Successful adoption of 2.0 practices and technologies are heavily dependent on shared objectives, common purposes of a team of individuals. Community workspaces and transparent team discussion/debate (which may or may not be in blog and/or wiki format) is the glue that holds it all together. Value rises out of the aggregated harvested wisdom of experts and individuals (which is not the same thing as wisdom of ‘crowds’). It’s this community-centric approach to work that allows the withering away of needless email. Not blogs for the sake of blogs.

The Sore Thumb Moment: One section of the course that could easily be eliminated is the chapter on “Lowering the Barriers to Integration & Development”. The discussion of lean thinking, agile software methodology, FISDEV just didn’t seem to fit – perhaps the accelerated 1-day version of the curriculum didn’t do it justice. But I didn’t see how the topic fit under the chapter called “Business Drivers for Enterprise 2.0”. When I think of “Business Drivers”, I think about measurable improvements or objectives an organization would want to accomplish with an E2.0 strategy, like supporting a virtual organization, enabling their front line, better protecting corporate memory… not software development philosophies.

But I'm thankful that AIIM has stepped early and thoughtfully into Enterprise 2.0. It's the right community of dedicated information management professionals to highlight the importance of balance if this new social networking phenomenon is going to take hold in business - security, auditability, informed debate over where records management and digital preservation fit - hugely important topics for today.. not tomorrow.

I think all of the attendees walked away satisfied… thanks so much to the AIIM Expo team for choosing a venue with reliable FREE wireless. It meant that the twitter-addicted half of the class could share reading lists and exchange contact info via the “back channel” and even virtually loop the original course developers and Enterprise 2.0 Market IQ authors Dan Keldsen and Carl Frappaolo into the mix… check out the tweet-stream for yourself:

… more later this week…

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Sun, the Cave, Enterprise 2.0 and the "A-HA" Moment

I'll confess. The content I read in the social media twitoblogomavensphere strikes me as both amusing and wretched. Do we "really" think we've uncovered something new? Or are we today just in the early stages of bringing an element of balance back into our professional sphere?

That people matter is kind of old news. Aristotle in "Politics" clued in that because humans had the gift of language, they were naturally suited to living in a community. And from that household grew the polis, the city, the state.

Business has always occurred in the context of community: guilds, apprenticeships, Chambers of Commerce, volunteer groups, country clubs, union halls, alumni associations... This social aspect of the workplace and the marketplace is not new, but perhaps forgotten? Automation, process engineering, the send, approve, reject buttons, auto-reply, auto-forward, press 1 for technical support and 2 for sales.... no wonder we've forgotten that we're people doing business with people.

Somewhere along the way, we've accepted that this sterile work world is OK. Last fall I was sitting with a group of colleagues at a conference. Two of us were excitedly chatting away about our personal and professional use of social networking tools. Twitter and Yammer and Facebook and Communities of Practice and Livelink Real Time and Second Life and Blip.. and.. and .. and...

One of the group finally put her hands up and said "I don't get it!" "Why on earth would anyone care that I've been working on the same PowerPoint for the last 3 days?" "If I don't have time for this how could anyone else"

So I said, "But... you work in a company full of ECM experts. You can't tell me that someone hasn't already created content on that topic by now... if search isn't turning up what you need, why don't you use your status line as a shout for help and see if someone sends you what you need?".

"Oh", she said. "Never thought of that".


And then she looked at the two of us and shook her head and wondered why we'd bothered trying to change her mind. I looked at her and said, "It's because we're Draggers. We get the value of building a social angle into our professional relationships. Because we know it makes a difference. And we want to drag you kicking and screaming into the light".


"Did you ever study Plato's Allegory of the Cave in school?...."

Behold! Human beings living in a underground den, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the den; here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets...
Walk through most office buildings today and look around. Cubicle or office walls - the veal-fattening pens we joked about in the '90s haven't changed all that much. Wires and cables and cords keeping our heads focused in one direction - the flickering, glowing monitor screen.

...and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave?...And if they were able to converse with one another, would they not suppose that they were naming what was actually before them? And suppose further that the prison had an echo which came from the other side, would they not be sure to fancy when one of the passers-by spoke that the voice which they heard came from the passing shadow? ...To them, I said, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images.
The in-box is the task master. The email, the workflows, the action items pushed by process and systems and scripts and triggers. Success means reducing the un-read list, clicking a button before the deadline, keeping things moving. Somewhere, anywhere, just not on my plate. The end goal, the objective, the customer or colleague waiting at the end of the line isn't real, but the blinking light or now-red follow up flag is.

And now look again, and see what will naturally follow if the prisoners are released and disabused of their error. At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck round and walk and look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive some one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but that now, when he is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned towards more real existence, he has a clearer vision, -what will be his reply?
I'd like to just pick up the phone, or sit down over a coffee and come to an agreement, but I don't have time. I have too many emails to read to sit down and chat with my team. I need to finish filling out this spreadsheet by 2pm so no, I can't come to the new-guy welcome lunch. I'd love to join the customer user group meeting, but I need to update and circulate the forecast templates for to all my direct reports and cc: the regional management teams. It would be great to attend that conference on the key trends on my industry, but I need to finish formatting my roadmap Powerpoint for next week.

And you may further imagine that his instructor is pointing to the objects as they pass and requiring him to name them, -- will he not be perplexed? Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him? ..And if he is compelled to look straight at the light, will he not have a pain in his eyes which will make him turn away to take and take in the objects of vision which he can see, and which he will conceive to be in reality clearer than the things which are now being shown to him?
What if I stood up and walked over to the guy waiting, and sat down to ask about what he needs? What if I picked up a phone, or directly messaged him, or asked to join him for lunch? What if we figured things out on the back of a scratch pad, or napkin in the cafeteria? What if we did it sitting with 10 other people, so they knew what was going on too?

...And suppose once more, that he is reluctantly dragged up a steep and rugged ascent, and held fast until he 's forced into the presence of the sun himself, is he not likely to be pained and irritated? When he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to see anything at all of what are now called realities.

...He will require to grow accustomed to the sight of the upper world. And first he will see the shadows best, next the reflections of men and other objects in the water, and then the objects themselves; then he will gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars and the spangled heaven; and he will see the sky and the stars by night better than the sun or the light of the sun by day?

...Last of he will be able to see the sun, and not mere reflections of him in the water, but he will see him in his own proper place, and not in another; and he will contemplate him as he is. ...He will then proceed to argue that this is he who gives the season and the years, and is the guardian of all that is in the visible world, and in a certain way the cause of all things which he and his fellows have been accustomed to behold?
What if I stuck my head outside the cubicle, and asked my colleagues and customers what they really thought? What if we listened to people about what was important? What if we pooled our best ideas? What if we skipped the inbox and just started working?

...And when he remembered his old habitation, and the wisdom of the den and his fellow-prisoners, do you not suppose that he would felicitate himself on the change, and pity them?

...And if there were a contest, and he had to compete in measuring the shadows with the prisoners who had never moved out of the den, while his sight was still weak, and before his eyes had become steady (and the time which would be needed to acquire this new habit of sight might be very considerable) would he not be ridiculous? Men would say of him that up he went and down he came without his eyes; and that it was better not even to think of ascending; and if any one tried to loose another and lead him up to the light, let them only catch the offender, and they would put him to death.

But what if I get fired for speaking up? What if I call B.S. on the process? What if people think I'm just wasting my time? If they can't count my read-items or completed workflow tasks, I might not get a good review...

... the prison-house is the world of sight, the light of the fire is the sun, and you will not misapprehend me if you interpret the journey upwards to be the ascent of the soul into the intellectual world according to my poor belief, which, at your desire,

...But, whether true or false, my opinion is that in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort; and, when seen, is also inferred to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right, parent of light and of the lord of light in this visible world, and the immediate source of reason and truth in the intellectual; and that this is the power upon which he who would act rationally, either in public or private life must have his eye fixed.

What if we decide people are more important than processes? What if we decide that the brains we employ are more important than the buildings we put them in, or the computers we give them to stare at? What if indeed.

Full Text of Plato's Allegory of the Cave here

YouTube 7:17 min version of The Allegory of the Cave

Same thing, in 2 minutes...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bloom: Open Text and Enterprise 2.0

Last few months I have been heads down reading, writing, researching one of the most exciting projects I've had in recent years. Working with an incredibly talented group of colleagues to build the Open Text Enterprise 2.0 (...and beyond) strategy that we call "Bloom".
The world of work is changing. Disruptive forces are at play in business and are compelling organizations to rethink traditional content communication and the way we define an information worker. We must address these disruptive forces to stay competitive, deliver services, manage risk and costs, and protect the corporate memory resident in employees and applications. A more Social Workplace and Social Marketplace raises productivity even as resources become scarce; it taps into the collected intelligence across employees, customers, and other external stakeholders; it opens the door to mentorship and knowledge sharing to information workers who are not traditional desktop PC users; it connects your people to the content and processes they need to get their job done.

Bloom is about allowing your people to grow to their full potential. People are the greatest asset to an organization, and nurturing a culture and environment that encourages a higher plateau of connectivity and collaboration delivers the baseline for greater engagement and productivity. This social fabric of trust and teamwork is what binds people together and connects them with the processes and content they need to achieve their goals. Bloom is our vision to help organizations move forward, to connect and collaborate with their people both inside and outside the enterprise.

We announced the strategy in November 2008 at our "Content Days" annual user conference, as a follow up to the March '08 announcement that Open Text intended to be a player in the world of 2.0. The tipping point for this next generation of collaborative tools entering mainstream business has arrived.

Bloom: Basics on Slideshare (link)

Analyst Blog posts on the Bloom strategy: Carl Frappaolo's Taking AIIM, Cody Burke @ Basex

We've scheduled our first public-facing webinar on the Bloom strategy for April 1. If the date and time doesn't work for you, please register to get the notification of the recording so you can go back and listen at your convenience.

As I look across the kitchen table to a vase full of spring flowers just beginning to unfurl, and the sun comes through the window, a sense of optimism cracks through the cold uncertainty. Now's the time to innovate, to rally your best and brightest, to work faster and smarter, be agile and survive.

"Information Governance in the 2.0 World"

Thrilled to finally see my article "Information Governance in the 2.0 World" appear in the current March 2009 issue of Financial Executive Magazine . (Note - subscription only...)

As the culture, technologies and content forms inspired by the world of Web 2.0 are adopted by information workers, the potential for disruption in mainstream business is massive... if we don't pay attention now.

New perspectives on appropriate use policies, a rethink of privacy, security and confidentiality, a recognition of the opportunity to see substantial cost savings and productivity improvements, the chance to discover unheard voices and expertise. Companies that want to stay agile and reinvent themselves while competitors retrench in fear can use the new world of online collaboration to advantage.

Check out the article if you can, or use this opportunity to make a friend in your corporate finance department and see if they'll lend you their copy of the magazine. That's what the social workplace is all about, right?

(nice comments/summary of this article at Lee Hopkins blog:

My Mission for 2009

Inspired by a conversation with some creative colleagues at our sales kick-off event last summer. Never under-estimate the power of a blank napkin or coaster when sitting with interesting people.

Hello World

I've been squatting on this blogspot URL for a few months and the time is right to get moving.

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Cheryl McKinnon. I've spent most of my career in the technology space generally known as "Enterprise Content Management". I do not consider myself to be a geek, techie or propeller head. I've been professionally trained as an historian. My passion is the meaningful use, preservation and protection of the electronic residue of our society: the personal and professional artifacts of the online communication in which we all now engage.

My current area of interest is helping organizations understand the risks and rewards of adopting a more social / "2.0" /collaborative approach to information exchange in the real-life business world. After years of living online in my personal sphere, the time is right to extend into the professional.

More info on my publications, speaking engagements and professional background on my LinkedIn profile: