Monday, June 28, 2004

Homeland Security launches Groove pilot

The Department of Homeland Security launches this week in Dallas the first pilot for their Security Information Network-Critical Infrastructure Programme. The solution will be based on Groove Workspace and MS Sharepoint. The solution will connect 50 states, five territories, Washington D.C., and 50 major urban areas to strengthen the exchange of threat information.

[Link]

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Groove brings quantifiable savings to SMB's

An article from the July issue of Inc. Magazine. "The Next Best Thing to Being There" highlights how two small companies are using Groove to connect their employees and suppliers across thousands of miles. Groove is noted as providing a quantifiable ROI for Alaska Sports — their "communication costs are down 70%", and AlgoRX Pharmaceuticals — they've "saved thousands of dollars in travel and telecom costs."

[Link]

Google employees Google-bomb their own bosses!

Try this out now: Go to Google, type in “out of touch management", and click “I’m Feeling Lucky." Surprise, surprise...already signs of friction inside the company in preparation to the highly expected IPO?

The Technology Review Blog reports

[A buried article in The New York Times lastr week] cited “a person close to the company“ as the source for its assertion that Googlers themselves engineered the prank.

Google bombing is the practice of creating so many links to a particular Web site that it fools Google’s popularity-based search algorithms, forcing that site to come up first in Google’s search results for the words in that link. Earlier examples have included “miserable failure,“ which linked to George W. Bush’s White House biography...

Ironically, as Technology Review reported.... Google itself predicted in its initial filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the IPO could “adversely impact relations“ inside the company. In that case, the company was referring to inequities in the distribution of stock and stock options among Google employees. Could relations be souring even before Google’s stock price rockets to the heavens?


[Link]

IDC: Training up but lags behind projected pickups in other areas of IT

Sandra Gittlen comments re: recent IDC report titled "Worldwide and U.S. IT Education Services" on her last NW newsletter on IT Education and Training.

"A proportion of technology infrastructure has reached the end
of its useful life, which will lead to upgrades."

This is great news for IT managers arguing for a boost in
training budgets. What you can draw from this statement is that
now is the time to invest in education so that planning for new
technologies is efficient.

...will need growth in skills development, including network
security, mobile computing, storage management, customer relationship management, Web services and business intelligence.

.... e-learning will continue its upward climb; however, IDC says to look for more blended models of learning.

Not surprisingly, security is projected to be a top area for
training.


[Link]


Wednesday, June 23, 2004


7 Tips for Managing Distributed Projects

7 Tips for managing distributed projects

Successfully Managing Distributed Projects with Groove

Geographical distribution, time-zone differences, different organizations, systems and cultures...I think we've all come across these distributed project management problems which result in "awareness deficits". This Webcast, sponsored by Groove Networks and TeamDirection, throws in some great tips on how you can manage your resources more effectively and how to reduce distributed-team coordination costs by using their "digital project home" solution, based on Groove Project Edition.

[Link]

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Supporting remote workers

I read with interest the comments from Sandra Gittlen on the Network World Fusion newsletter on IT Education and training. Sandra was last week on the road with the Remote Office Networking Technology Tour in Arlington, VA, discussing with IT managers the issues surrounding supporting remote workers.

The list of challenges is pretty long, however she brings up the following: Security, Policy enforcement and awareness, harnessing executives, replicating the desktop environment within the remote terminal, etc. Read on for more.

[Link]

Piloting Iterative And Agile Processes

interesting Forrester report on how to pilot new processes and the tools that support them. Focus on new project management techniques, and think of comparative metrics!

Here's the exec summary.


Companies considering adopting iterative or Agile development processes need to institute a pilot program from the start. The program must not only address the new processes but must also pilot any new tools(development or life-cycle management), project management techniques, and most importantly, new metrics. Project managers and developers must embrace the new processes and adapt their management styles accordingly. Without baseline and comparative metrics, it's impossible to know whether a new process has delivered any value or improved on the quality or productivity the teams had before.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Collaboration: The Future Is Contextual, Process-Centric, and Community-Driven

I found this article from META Group report, Mike Gotta, 29 April 2204, thanks to the Telework Times, a great source of knowledge for tele-workers, "exploring news and ideas on the business, technical, political, and social aspects of telework, remote collaboration, distributed development, and the virtual workplace of the 21st century".

The article META Group , stresses the need to focus on process alignment when introducing new collaboration systems into companies. "Effective collaboration strategies will enable workers and teams to be more productive within processes, with success measured via improvement in process outcomes and more sustained levels of innovation resulting from community insight."

Tools alone won't entice a group of coworkers to work more efficiently, as proven by a multitude of failed knowledge management projects. Mike Gotta counts off the hurdles to overcome, like "persuading people to work differently, establishing incentives and performance measures that foster greater information sharing and cooperation," but then moves right on to discuss benefits: "Community-building efforts are valuable to create synergies across processes and functional groups."


[via The Telework Times]

Managing virtual teams

This article throws in some brilliant tips on long-distance management. William Pape, highlights back in 1999 some of the techniques that make his distributed teams work as if they were in the same location.

Have regular virtual meetings or videoconferences, including managers, to strenghten relationships among distributed fellow workers.
At least some of the time, have managers operate in cyberspace , rather than out of the main office. "Sitting in a central office without plugging into the virtual culture is almost a guarantee of failure," Pape says. "You don't know what's going on, and you signal your employees that operating virtually isn't really important." And, like Carline Davis, who brings her managers together regularly for strategic planning, Pape believes it's important for employees to get together frequently.


Make sure home-based employees have appropriate work space. Have a separate room (with door included)to act as an office. Don't work from the kitchen table or your room, as you'll find extremely difficult to separate work time-frames from your private life.


Promote face2face meetings for monthly/bi-monthly strategic meetings.
Strengthen relationships between remote workers and employees at the main office . "People who work out of their homes or at customer sites also need to spend some time in an office with their colleagues," Pape argues. "Any face-to-face meeting -- a regular status meeting or an annual, sales, or planning meeting -- is an opportunity for cross-fertilization."


Help employees feel connected to the organisation.
Make sure, Pape advises, that remote employees receive frequent -- perhaps even daily -- updates about company progress. Include them in planning initiatives, and make your corporate mission and vision clear to every employee. "When you become a virtual organization, your staff suddenly loses all those interactions in the hallway, in the elevator, and by the water cooler that help move projects forward and smooth out conflicts," Pape says. To compensate, he suggests making regular use of videoconferencing and telephone conversations. Relying on e-mail too much, he finds, can allow conflicts to escalate. "When workers do most of their communicating by e-mail, small irritations easily grow into major conflicts," Pape says. "Learning how to disagree remotely is an important component of being able to operate virtually."


[via T+D Blog]

Saturday, June 19, 2004


Oficial Org-Chart

Informal Social Network

Friday, June 18, 2004

How Org charts lie!

Tons of money has been put into collaboration technologies, but not much effort into understanding what the socio-cultural ties that make us collaborate are . This article form Harvard Business Review, an excerpt from the Hidden Power of Social Networks by Rob Cross and Andrew Parker, elaborates into the intricacies of collaborative working.

"It has taken us years, and I think we are still not sure if we are getting things right even after substantial reengineering projects, a move to teams, new HR practices, two acquisitions, and a ton invested in technology. By now we should have reduced costs and created a more nimble company without a focus on hierarchy or fiefdoms. But it's tough to ensure that this is really happening. Most of us in this room have thousands of people we are accountable for stretched across the globe. It's impossible to manage or even know what's going on in the depths of the organization. I mean, each of us can fool ourselves into thinking we're smart and running a tight ship. But really the best we can do is create a context and hope that things emerge in a positive way, and this is tough because you can't really see the impact your decisions have on people. So you just kind of hope what you want to happen is happening and then sound confident when telling others".
—Executive vice president, commercial lending



AOL offers at voice and Web conferencing

AOL announced last week two new services will be launched from the AOL free Instant Messenger client (AIM). One will be AOL Web Conferencing (i.e. VoIP or audio through the Internet) provided by Lightbridge, and AOL Web Meeting, provided by WebEx.

"The AIM service plays an important role in accelerating business communications, and many of the two billion daily instant messages sent on our network progress into telephone calls and meetings," said Ed Fish, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Desktop Messaging, America Online, Inc. "At work users now have a seamless way to move from one-to-one exchanges to new shared and collaborative experiences through AIM. Presence and real-time communications help boost efficiency, making the AIM service an even more valuable business tool."

The new services don't come for free though. In order to start a web meeting session, you'll need to set up a debit account with a credit card . However, I think this pay-as-you-go model is an excellent idea. I believe it's an important move because it will extend the capabilities of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and bring them closer to these type of collaborative technologies without the need to allocate a big budget for it. This way, SMEs will be able to have a go at these tools and learn about their own collaboration requirements, and to answer some of those difficult questions (i.e. what type of functionality do we require in a conferencing tool to effectively collaborate with our geographically distributed partners and customers? Are these tools good enough to save us some money and time from traveling?

The services can be accesed via AIM @Work. Pricing per participant:

Online Meeting: $.33/min
Call-in Teleconferencing: $.05/min
Call-back Teleconferencing: $.20/min


America Online, Inc. Launches AIM Business Services

read on Business Wire press-release

Yahoo's pre-emptive strike against Gmail

What a nice surprise I had yesterday!! All of the sudden I went from 10MB of storage to 100MB. All for no extra cost. Isn't that nice! Gotta thank Google already for stretching out Yahoo.

"While Google continues limited beta tests of its new Gmail service, which offers one gigabyte of online storage, Yahoo has gone the search king one better, offering two gigabytes of storage to subscribers to its premium e-mail package, up from 20 megabytes. Users of Yahoo’s free e-mail service, meanwhile, will get 100 megabytes of storage, up from 10 megabytes. At the same time, Yahoo has streamlined its Web e-mail interface and says it has given the software and servers behind the system a major tune-up, improving speed and searchability. (Search Engine Watch has a useful report on the change.) With such large amounts of storage at hand, Yahoo mail users may have less reason to switch to Gmail, although Yahoo mail stil lacks certain features of Gmail, such as the ability to display threaded e-mail conversations."

games in your iPod

Memo to Steve Jobs: Give iPod Color!

Great little article on how the iPod should move on into the future, and which direction its product line should take. To everyone out there that shares the passion and love to your cool-looking MP3 playing device as much as I do, here're a few hints:

More storage:

"there was the June 2 announcement by Toshiba that it increased the capacity of its 1.8-inch hard drive (the one used by iPod) to 60 gigabytes—20 gigabytes more than its previous high-end unit in that form factor. Sixty gigabytes is “more music [storage] than anyone will ever need,” says Phil Leigh, an analyst with Inside Digital Media."

Perhaps, more functionality, though I wouldn't mix photos, and say, email capabilities into it. Would you put mix your Blackberry and iPod into one device? Though..a bit of a friendlier colourful UI wouldn't do any harm, right?

"Apple CEO Steve Jobs has resisted calls to offer non-music applications on the iPod, most famously quipping, “It’s the music, stupid” during an April press conference"

Link to original article (requires subscription to MIT Technology review)

Tuesday, June 15, 2004


Advance by Netsenger Corp.

new tool for Groove: Advance!

New tool, developed by Groove's Partner Netsenger in Japan, to facilitate advanced messaging capabilities in Groove, e.g.IM back up and search.

"Features:
Groove Instant Message export and import - Now you can backup all those messages!
Forwarding of Groove IM's via email - Use to send and receive IM's on your mobile phone!
Store pictures and multiple emails/phone numbers/addresses etc. of your contacts.
Advanced search capability of your activities, contacts, and messages.
English and Japanese support.
Works with Groove v2.5 and v3.0 beta"

link

Monday, June 14, 2004

Disruption Theory

A look into disruptive technologies, such as Voice over the Internet (VoIP) and Instant Messaging.

"These technologies could start to displace the telephone first along the fringes, with instant-messaging teenagers and penny-pinching small entrepreneurs. Before you know it, the telephone will have gone the way of the telegraph. It will still be here, but who'll use it?"

Link to Business 2.0 article by Erick Schonfeld.

Three IT pains

Outdated review, yet very up to date.

"Sara Radicati, president and CEO of The Radicati Group, spoke to press and analysts at the November 2002 OracleWorld Conference in San Francisco. She identified three key pressures that IT departments are feeling right now:


- A slow economy is making containment of infrastructure costs imperative.
- Globalisation is forcing companies to implement advanced messaging capabilities to stay competitive.
- IT must support an increasingly mobile set of users. "

Oracle goes head-to-head against IBM and Microsoft

There must have past over a year now since Oracle launched its own solution into the collaboration infrastructure software market. Today, Forrester publishes yet another interesting review.

The Oracle Collaboration Suite (OCS)has brought into the market another platform for collaboration, i.e. an asynchronous traditional eMail and scheduling infrastructure with some real-time capabilities such as instant messaging (IM) and web-conferencing.

Full Forrester report: Oracle's Path To Collaboration Success: Around, Not Through, IBM And Microsoft

Nike does it right

Nike's Just-in-Time training strategy has driven sales in stores by 2%.

"In the fast-paced, ever-changing retail world, training employees about new products, new technologies, and selling skills across a globally dispersed company with different populations is a challenge. Nike has tackled this challenge by making online learning immediate, updatable, informative, and engaging. Nike developed training with minimal disruption to the retail sales environment that engages a tech-savvy audience to increase seasonal product knowledge, improve selling skills, and enhance customer dialog at the point of sale. By focusing attention on quality, speed, consistency, and relevance of learning, Nike's online training efforts have shown significant early results with a minimum of a 2% increase in dollars in sell-through at participating retail locations."

Link to original paper from Forrester. Subscription required.

information quality life-cycle management

I like this concept. How to turn data into quality valuable information or intelligence on which you can act, is what most companies struggle to understand; and believe me, software companies within the content management arena make the most of it. This paper from Forrester throws in some interesting views from a process perspective into the mix.

"Information quality has a life cycle and so does the process of managing the information quality. As data is transformed into information as it migrates through the information supply chain, it gets new owners, consumers, and managers. Therefore, the quality of the information must likewise be managed throughout the cycle."

Link to paper. Subscription required.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Information Overload

Great piece of writing from Robin Good.

"Information overload is reaching, as long forecasted, new heights. It is becoming increasingly difficult to manage it all, or even to decide what to discard and what not. In the end, lots of relevant information is lost or it never reaches its ideal destinations.

The connection between information creators and information users is to be perfected.

As the network starts rapidly organize itself, different levels of automatic filtering will gradually make it easier for people to access the "right" information, and for information to be rapidly found by whoever seeks it.

This is what I see:

Yes, search engines are going to be playing an important role in this, and I personally anticipate the gradual, probably slow, but definite demise of the Google-approach to information search. Meta, and visual search engines will play a much bigger role in our future information searches. People working in
information architecture, information design, and data visualization and interface design have a fascinating future ahead of them as we need them to create the new metaphors, visual analogies and intuitive access routes that will greatly improve our abilities to rapidly access relevant information.

There is already a flurry of new search tools around but you can be sure that the trend has only started. We are finally going to have some effective, powerful and innovative alternatives. "

Here's the link

I'm an astut follower of technologies that help us filter and digest information to our own needs. At an infrastructure level you can look at advanced information retrieval tools that facilitate conceptual search such as Autonomy, and if your interested in clustering and information visualisation, check out Grokker, and Vivisimo.

eMail may not die, but hey, its role will never be the same

good news to all eMail addicts out there, pretty soon your life will not be hanging off your eMail Inbox.

There are plenty of tools out there that will make email a small part of your day2day life. We have instant messaging (IM), collaborative workspaces to work on projects and help you "swarm" teams together, social networking technologies to find people with similar interests to yours, and the RSS feeds will bring the blogs and other news right to your deskptop, for you to read at your convenience. Isn't that fab?!

"Ironically, attempts to shut down information exchange have the opposite effect. A Microsoft speaker told the conference that IM traffic is now outpacing e-mail inside the Redmond firewall. And there are fundamental incentives for preserving information transparency.

...And finally, the elephant in the room: RSS. While INBOX wrestles with the intractable problems of blurred international boundaries, too-complex authentication solutions and too-expensive computational and payment schemes, more and more of us are routing around e-mail for all but the most basic services.

IM for supply-chain communications, social networks for collaboration spaces, and RSS as the glue that ties these data points together.

This real-time services fabric is that deadliest of competitors to e-mail: It shifts attention slowly and surely away from a producer-consumer economy to a publisher-subscriber ecology."

Read on Dan Gillmor's article "As E-Mail Hassles Pile Up, RSS Is the Elephant in the Room" on eWeek



empowering individuals

Empowering individuals

Just came across the slide above in one of Tom Peters presentations. Well, my thoughts are the following, how about if we flip the tortilla? I agree that empowering individuals may make the world "unstable and dangerous", but it also throws in a lot of good opportunities. Governing form the centre doesn't mean we have a safer life. In fact, central systems are always more susceptible to attacks. As our organizations begin to decentralize, power is shifting towards the edges, for the good and the bad...lets make the most of it. Lets embrace edge technologies such as blogs and P2P to make a difference.

For anyone that's interested in decentralization and to understand how the nature of our work is changing, I strongly recommend watching "The Present and Future of Work" webcast. The book written by Tom Malone is also a great read.

"As managers, we need to shift our thinking from command and control to coordinate and cultivate, and Groove provides a communication infrastructure to support this."

- Thomas Malone,
Groove v3.0 press release

Brand you!!

Todays dynamic and ruthless market conditions force us to be permanently marketable. We're are just one more product out there. Well not really, we're all special and unique, but what is your uniqueness? what qualities make you different and stand out from the crowd?

Tom Peter's Brand You book is always a book a return to. You gotta re-invent yourself!! Transform yourself from an "employee" into a brand.

"Cubicle Slaves...Hack off your ties...flip off your heels.."

"Y-O-U can make a difference! Bash your cubicle Walls! the white-collar revoluiton is on!...be distinct or be extinct"

Great stuff,now, I've just come across this other resource of know-how re:self-marketing thanks to Robin Good's recent post

Here are six simple steps you can take to standout and prosper in the new world of work:
1. Think like a free agent.
2. Discover what sets you apart and market it shamelessly.
3. Get visible.
4. Stop networking, and build a network.
5. Add value - and then some.
6. Accelerate your brand power by getting in sync with a major trend in your field and moving to the head of it. " I would add:
7. Marry an important, ethical cause as a complement to what you like to do
8. Share before looking for profit
9. Help others become as successful as you
10. Question yourself and your approach systematically - get forever curious

here's the link to the original source

my babe...on the right

dogs can understand human language

"A clever border collie that can fetch at least 200 objects by name may be living proof that dogs truly understand human language, German scientists reported on Thursday....
Rico's abilities seem to follow a process called "fast mapping," seen when young children start to learn to speak and understand language, they report. "

Wired News, June 10 go to reference