The Boston Red Sox are world champs - one of the few teams to sweep the series consecutively. And next year looks great with a lot of younger players coming into their own.
The Green Bay Packers are having an exceptional year. I don't think anyone would have imagined them at 6-1 and leading their division right now. As good as Brady is for the Patriots, we'll see how he lasts over time - Favre, at 38, is amazing (given the lack of a running game). That pass BTW, 82 yards, was the second longest in overtime history ... thrown by a 38 year old quarterback.
The UConn Huskies football program gains its first-ever national ranking - No. 16 in the AP Poll and No. 20 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. I've only recently began following the football program but its quite an accomplishment. I'll be at the Syracuse game in November.
The NCAA basketball season is not all that far off. I was able to get tickets to the UConn men's basketball game against Notre Dame in Feb and the women's game against West Virginia in January (both at Gampel Pavilion). This should be an improved year for the men and the women should at least make it to the Final Four this year.
OK, that's it ... back to writing an architectural template that describes the components of an XML syndication platform.
What I like about Glance is that it does exactly what I expect it to do, direct and simple. It does not eliminate the use of other web conferencing tools that provide greater functionality but often those tools can be cumbersome to use in certain situations or require intrusive registration or involve large downloads.
Glance Networks, Inc., creator of the “one-button-simple” Glance® desktop sharing service, today debuted a new lightweight remote control feature. Now Glance users can easily share their mouse and keyboard with other participants to quickly demonstrate software, co- edit documents, collaborate on designs, fill in forms and more — all online. ....
Glance’s lightweight remote control feature lets any session become a collaborative experience. A Glance host can share control with guests at any time. The host instantly regains control by just moving his or her mouse. To let a guest take back control, the host simply pauses. ....
In addition to remote control, Glance’s latest software release includes an increase in session size to 100 participants, providing more than enough capacity to use Glance for nearly any training session or webinar. ....The release also adds more methods to keep session participants connected — even if their network unexpectedly drops or briefly fades. ....
The new Glance version is available today for Microsoft WindowsTM PCs at www.glance.net/download. An upcoming version for the Apple MacTM will be announced soon.
Avenue A | Razorfish recently held a summit. Below are some thoughts on two of the blog posts reflecting on the event. Note, the "Key Point" comments interwoven through the posts are mine:
The conversation quickly turned into the debate about how important enterprise 2.0 technologies are within the enterprise with Andrew being the strongest proponent while some members of the audience playing the skeptics.
Key Point: It is not just a technology discussion. Any strategy to improve organizational communication, information sharing, collaboration, community-building and social networking without addressing (in parallel) the cultural, structural and governance aspects of the enterprise should be viewed very skeptically.
Some of the key points covered included what are enterprise 2.0 technologies actually good for? Some wondered how much of a difference enterprise 2.0 technologies make while others emphasized that they are good for only certain business scenarios and aren't meant to displace every other technology in place. That's important to recognize, don't expect Enterprise 2.0 technologies to solve all your problems. They do a few things really well within the collaboration and unstructured content domain but aren't designed to solve a lot of other problems.
Key Point: What is an Enterprise 2.0 technology? From what I read - virtually all technology post-2006 and some earlier are now labeled as "E2.0" without any agreement on the attributes of such software or how pre-existing software can be classified as E2.0 if it delivers some level of functionality.
If "Enterprise 2.0 = Everything 2.0", then does it matter
We tend to jump to E2.0 = blogs, wikis, tag/bookmark systems, social networking, and XML feeds - perhaps more depending on what you read. But right now, it is all hyperbole. What I would to see is a list of stuff that is NOT E2.0.
Another subject that came up was why aren't enterprise 2.0 technologies making us collaborate a lot more. Adoption of these technologies and continuous use appears to be a major issue in most organizations. Here's where the panelists encouraged the audience to start small, with small expectations and trust the community to do what's best. They felt that the less rules that are in place, more the potential for growth. Some felt that the difficulty in getting the employees to collaborate is more an organizational behavior and sociological issue than just an Enterprise 2.0 one. You may have enterprise 2.0 technologies but that doesn't mean you are an Enterprise 2.0 company.
Key Point: Wow - technology does not necessarily make us collaborate more - again, tools enable collaboration but do not conscript collaboration. Yes, certain business activities direct participants to collaborate because some "joint work" is defined a sales team must work together on a proposal). So "directed collaboration" sometimes leaves people with little choice but the richness of that collaboration is still dependent on how much participants want to volunteer beyond that which is needed to satisfy the task. There are many different collaboration patterns - a community collaboration pattern (which might be influenced more by social contracts between members) can differ from a directed collaboration pattern (which perhaps is more influenced by the roles institutionally assigned as part of a workflow process).
A key worry highlighted during the panel was that Enterprise 2.0 technologies maybe misused. Audience members worried that an HR policy on a wiki maybe edited at whim or that important company information maybe vandalized. The panelists and other audience members highlighted the history features in wiki and also argued that vandalism and misuse can happen with email, in file servers, at the water coolers and everywhere else too. Its not an Enterprise 2.0 issue per se.
Key Point: Very true - this is an age-old problem. That does not mean that organizations need to revamp policies and procedures. It also means that a certain level of due diligence is required to make sure tools support features for moderation, audit, compliance, etc. It also means that permission models need to be applied to certain content.
Andrew made an important point when he polled the audience asking them how often they engage in collaborative authoring versus primarily writing documents alone. Practically everyone answered with collaborative authoring. In fact, I strongly suspect that the one person who raised his hand for sole authoring, misunderstood the question! Andrew then asked why we use sole authorship tools like Microsoft Word versus the ones that have collaboration more deeply integrated into them. He had a point. Our tools have a lot of catching up to do. Old habits are hard to change.
Key Point: Again - we need to define terms. What do we mean by "collaborative authoring"? There are many ways to define the phrase:
Same time / same place editing of a common artifact (e.g., page)
Same time / different place editing of a common artifact (e.g., page)
Same time / same place editing of different artifacts in a collection
Same time / different place editing of different artifacts in a collection
Same time / same place feedback on a common artifact
Repeat for above (feedback rather than edit)
This is just a quick example. Sometimes we do indeed author alone and just want comments at a later stage in the cycle. Sometimes we do indeed want to collaboratively author but at a collection level (multiple pages, multiple chapters) but not on the "same page"). We need to get off the idea that if you are not using a wiki to author (or a blog) there is something wrong with you. Tools and containers matter less over time as content flows in and out of those point-in-time constructs. Also, if tools supported round-tripping - I could author in Word, and save to Wiki and then highlight a page in the Wiki and "open" it as I would a file-based document. If you look at Windows Live Writer - what if I could post to a blog or wiki?
But it is true - "what I know is what I use" and "what I have is what I use". Habits are difficult to break.
Some key points raised during the discussion included:
1. Employees should be trusted to do the right thing. Andrew McAfee took up this point, echoing a position taken earlier in the day by Jimmy Wales. Jimmy's supporting anecdote is an apt one - one doesn't put cages around tables in restaurants to keep folks from stabbing each other with their knives; rather one depends on civility and learned behaviors. Although I agree with this in theory and practice, Rob Koplowitz provided a much needed subtle slant - one takes the knives away from children. He didn't mean to equate employees to children but rather highlight different levels of understanding and ability with new tools. Michael Idinopulos leveled out the debate with the insightful comment about there being a necessary distinction between discussion and decision. In other words, let discussion happen freely amongst employees but don't mistake open discussion for a mandate of consensus decision making. Instead clearly communicate how discussion will be incorporated into a final decision making process.
Key Point: Employees lack "perfect knowledge" and are not always aware of what the right thing is - look at the security space and how often people make poor choices on data to keep on laptops or to give out passwords to people pretending to be a co-worker. In some industries, compliance and other regulatory guidelines need to be pervasive or else people can end up "dressed in orange" (i.e., jail).
Time and time again, I find that people are making blanket statements regarding the need to tear down walled gardens - some walled gardens are absolutely necessary and are not the result of politics. We want to teat down the inappropriate walled gardens and we want to shift mindsets from a "need to know" mentality (which often leads to stove pipes) to one where we think about "need to share" and "right to know".
Sometimes, an organization also need to be careful about groups talking to other groups - financial institutions come to mind - but also certain franchise business models where "corporate" needs to be distant from the employees of its franchisers to maintain a proper separation (the employees of a franchiser may not be "employees" from a corporate perspective.
Pretty good advice in the article below. I would add a couple of prerequisites however before conducting any type of hands-on experiment with consumer sites:
Check your existing policies and procedures concerning use of technology by employees. Many organizations have guidelines in place since the early days of bulletin board systems. In many cases, there's no problem with people becoming active in various online communities, social networking sites or publishing their own information via blogs, wikis and so. But, issues can arise when an employee represents themselves as an employee and includes any type of brand reference as part of their personal participation. For instance, I know one company that terminated an employee because they started a company network on Facebook.
Be smart with any company-related information. There have been published accounts of information posted on consumer sites that could be considered an outright security breach or creates a situation that increases the risk of social impersonation. There have also been reports on use of consumer tools that has lead to embarrassing media coverage for some enterprises.
Use of consumer-centric tools can lead to an internal pilot. Even if it does not, hopefully, IT organizations are investing in some type of emerging technology group to help establish a baseline understanding of the different categories of social computing tools available and how best-of-breed vendors approach the market. Often I find that IT strategists are simply going with major vendors without any, or very little, effort to asses what specialized vendors have to offer. I understand the affinity for going with a larger vendor (reduce infrastructure complexity, avoid higher integration costs, change management, risk management, acquisition of smaller players, etc). But that does not excuse the lack of due diligence when it comes to examining the market and a assessing particular technology domain. The knowledge gained from understanding market dynamics and positioning multiple options (with pro/con angles) enables strategists to do a far better job at gap analysis against the larger vendors, assessing that vendor's ability to deliver over time, and eventually making an informed decision on that larger vendor.
In any case (1) IT organizations should familiarize themselves with consumer market trends and obtain hands-on experience with the various social applications (2) people should initially be very open-minded when looking at their social computing technology categories and specialized vendors within those categories. Closing down options upstream will bias the entire process.
This last item warrants having some type of emerging technology group that can "kick the tires" of these tools and create a "learning baseline" for other IT strategists to tap into as they make informed decisions regarding preferred and/or standard vendors. In some cases, what a larger vendor delivers in terms of social software will suffice. In other cases, the overall platform provded by the vendor will outweigh the functional deficiency it hase with a particular area. In other situations, a tactical decision might be made that favors an emerging player (an example here would be the recent partners Microsoft announced for XML feeds [NewsGator] and wikis [Atlassian]). A strategic decision on a specialized vendor could be justified if the preferred vendor does not have a solution in a particular category, or the implementation within that category is unacceptable given business needs.
To some extent, this leads to a discussion on decision criteria, IT principals and having a reference architecture against which you can set product direction. It also highlights the need for strategists to think in terms of transitions and flows rather than static architecture and product standards. If you don't have a life-cycle management framework for technology, then you tend to not develop the governance and change management practices that enable you to leverage specialized vendors when they are indeed appropriate.
I have a challenge for every CIO and IT manager reading this: Set yourself up on Facebook.
I challenge you because I'm convinced it's something you have to do if you ever expect to truly comprehend the power of social networking and the role it can play in the growth of your business. Until you "get it," you'll never be able to embrace what experts say is inevitable. This is the future of networking.
So during a break, I talked with a number of IT managers and grilled them about their knowledge of social networking sites. Most of them viewed the sites as problematic in terms of security and work productivity but admitted they didn't know much about sites like MySpace and Facebook. A few said they did Facebook and MySpace searches when interviewing potential employees (the idea being that any secrets you have will be revealed on your profile page). None of them had ever navigated a site, but they were convinced they knew how their kids were using them. Surprisingly, none of them had corporate policies blocking social networking sites, nor were they considering doing so, even though in a recent survey, nearly 50% of businesses polled said they did block these sites.
The good news is that with a little prodding (and explaining), I convinced some of them to try it. If nothing else, they'll at least be more knowledgeable when the debate over social networking sites makes its way to the table.
Interesting from two perspectives: external facing situations as described in the article below, but also how the backstory influences employees internally - workers like to be associated with ethical and responsible organizations as well. If the organization fails to establish a sense of community internally, then whatever it does externally is built on a brittle foundation. Management needs to focus on the backstory as it aligns with social corporate responsibility but also in how it affects internal human resources and the level of employee engagement and the solidarity of its workforce. The ability of an organization to be resilient is becoming more important, especially if you are looking at challenges and risks associated with shifting employee demographics (such as aging workforce and acquiring/retaining talent), globalization and so on.
It's difficult to imagine how an enterprise can expect people to go beyond what their job demands in terms of information sharing, collaboration, community-building and networking - if the environment is unstable, unhealthy or perhaps even hostile. I don't mean this as a return to the "job for life" world - one statistic I read was that the average worker will now have something like 10-12 jobs over their career lifecycle. So during a worker's tenure with a particular company - what programs, methods and practices need to be put in place? In the past we called this knowledge management. Sometimes KM programs were coupled with human capital management strategies as well. Now we seem to be telling "old stories in new ways" by labeling such endeavors as Enterprise 2.0 or social media (and other derivatives like social computing).
In any case, an interesting read - but keep in mind the notion that a backstory is important period - and that employees are often the authors, editors, actors and audience of that story. To get the external story right - you need to start with the participants themselves...
As the consulting outfit SustainAbility puts it in their report The Changing Landscape of Liability, "boundaries of accountability will progressively expand through the value chain and through the whole life-cycle of a product's development, production, use and disposal."
But in this new phase, it is not enough simply to stop being evil. As Marks & Spencer executive Ed Williams said, "consumers increasingly want to be sure that the companies they deal with reflect their values, can be trusted to behave responsibly, are who they say they are and are the kind of organization they like to be associated with." In simpler terms, companies are finding themselves held responsible for the whole backstory of their products.
A product's backstory, you'll remember, is everything that happened to get the object or service to us, everything that will happen behind the scenes while we use it, and everything that will happen after it leaves our lives. The backstory tells us who we’re being when we make a choice.
Good companies are getting better at telling the backstories of the things they make. Other companies -- the ones who can’t figure out how to tell their backstories, or whose backstories are shameful -- are sailing into the storm. Indeed, how companies tell their backstories is the critical business communication challenge of the next decade. We're entering an era of holistic accountability and backstory management.
I truly enjoy reading most everything Dana publishes and this article really falls into that category so follow the link and read it for yourself. I do not pretend to understand everything Dana writes about since I do not have a background in ethnography. But there are findings that correlate to things I do focus on concerning organizational dynamics and social computing as applied to enterprise environments.
Below, I specifically call out three excerpts from her article as "points to ponder" - I added the underlined/italicized to what I thought were some key points, as well as a brief opinion after each excerpt:
While I groan whenever the buzzword "digital native" is jockeyed about, I also know that there is salience to this term. It is not a term that demarcates a generation, but a state of experience. The term is referencing those who understand that the world is networked, that cultures exist beyond geographical coordinates, and that mediating technologies allow cultures to flourish in new ways. Digital natives are not invested in "life on the screen" or "going virtual" but on using technology as an artifact that allows them to negotiate culture. In other words, a "digital native" understands that there is no such thing as "going online" but rather, what is important is the way in which people move between geographically-organized interactions and network-organized interactions. To them, it's all about the networks, even if those networks have coherent geographical boundaries.
Often when I talk to enterprise strategists, we devolve far too quickly into a product discussion. The tone of my commentary regarding SharePoint was in part influenced by the extreme product-centric view the authors adopted regarding social networking (which is just so incredibly short-sighted). Of course, it's not just Microsoft, most vendors see their own platform as owning (a.k.a. "fencing in") the networking experience of its participants. The truth is, as JP Rangaswami points out in this blog post, it's about the ecosystem, not just the platform. Vendors should be called out when the attempt to deliver products that result in perimeters around their own platforms that create artificial boundaries in terms of social relationships. It is naive for a vendor to position its product as the cocoon for someone's social network - "come live in my walled garden" is not exactly the rallying cry for a next generation workplace or thinking in terms of "a new world of work".
Going native in a networked world is extremely difficult. What makes the experiences of say teens so vibrant is cluster effects. They're using the technologies with their friends. It's not about them and the machine. It's about them and their friends interacting through the machine. One of the things that I figured out really quickly is that having a profile did me absolutely no good. I needed to have friends who would interact with me so that I would get what it was like to experience the technology as a mediating force. Thus, I have dragged my friends kicking and screaming into using these tools just so that I could get it. Using these tools in my own social framework is not the same as experiencing what teens experience, but I needed to feel the social awkwardness, the consequences of power relations, the gulp factor when a comment was taken out of context, and the uh-ohs involved in expressing information in a persistent and searchable manner in the face of broad audiences. And this required my friends to be involved.
The perspective Dana shares here is also relevant to the enterprise. I just finished a road trip recently and visited with several organizations. Often people talk about social networks and communities without a clear understanding of the cultural dynamics within the company or the social frameworks of their workers. "We want a corporate Facebook" is becoming a common term. Often I find myself in a top-down view of how management feels that they know how workers would benefit from social applications. That might be interesting from a "I know what's good for you" perspective but it misses a key point. There will be many more informal social networks that there are formal or semi-formal ones (in fact, they already exist and have always existed). The notion that social networks should be formalized was one of the concerns I had regarding a recent McKinsey Article that I raised in a recent post. When it comes to "corporate social networking", to paraphrase Dana, "It's not about employees and the enterprise. It's about employees and their co-workers interacting through social applications". There are formalized networks that management can facilitate (e.g., alumni networks, retiree networks, professional support networks) and that's perfectly fine. Indeed, it can be tremendously valuable and transformational. But is also equally important to realize that not all networks should be made formal - there are those that should remain informal, opaque or even unseen - and that's ok - create the right environment, or ecosystem - and these semi-visible or invisible networks will deliver value to formal business activities.
The next challenge for me was trying to understand how interactions moved between spaces. While cyberculture dreams were all about a life fully lived online, most people do not experience that and thus you cannot simply watch from an online vantage point. Seeing a teen's life through the lens of MySpace is akin to seeing their life through their time in school. It does get you part way there and it is important, but since I wanted to understand how social technologies fit into teens' lives, I knew I needed to go further.
The key point here is that the design of social applications will require a different approach with different skills than other types of systems IT organizations have delivered in the past. There is a greater need for expertise within project teams that are knowledgeable about ethnography, anthropology, and research methods such as contextual inquiry. The need to understand the online/offline transitions and the need to understand the interplay between work and lifestyle are important considerations as people become more mobile, the workplace becomes more virtual and an employees work "day" (no longer a 9-5 in-the-office structure) includes the interweaving of business and personal activities.
Too bad... hopefully the open source effort will continue and gain some market traction.
Discontinuing commercial offerings
Much to our regret, we must inform you that the company Mindquarry will stop providing commercial services and products. We could not convince our investor to keep financing our endeavour.
The Mindquarry GO and Mindquarry PRO products will be discontinued as of today. Our Open Source product will remain publicly available (see below for more information).
Keeping our Open Source software alive
Our developers team is currently working on finishing the Mindquarry 1.2beta release, which will be available around end of October. Beginning with 1.2beta, Mindquarry source code will be hosted on Sourceforge as well as the mindquarry.com Web site. Hence, our software as well as all necessary information such as installation documentation and forum discussions will still be available. Further details and links will be available in the next and probably final Mindquarry community newsletter.
The modern knowledge worker works across many different
Style of work
Complex tacit processes
Dynamic, urgent activities
Long tail metaphor carries over into IT in terms of software demands - IT focus is on core systems and not so much on the ad-hoc, situational, tacit-centric applications.
Smaller, custom applications are often not prioritized. End users have the demand but no clear management sponsorship because these applications do not justify "big IT".
"Situational Applications" are different, more spontaneous, more urgent, loosely coupled, needs evolve in response to circumstance, users are intimately involved in creating process, more emergent and collaborative in nature.
Problem with prior generations of tools is the lack of a unified architecture - end up with silos - lack of security/governance - hard to collaborate across the silo applications (flash back to prior generations of end-user computing tools).
End-user mash-up does not mean user only, IT involved, blended solution - want to get to the point of a unified, highly contextual, web workspace.
Important because of pipeline delays in terms of IT backlog - inability of IT to get to these types of "niche" applications - shift towards self-service within a sandbox that IT establishes around situational applications. Users become application creators - but within a managed framework.
Tools are in flux but in the mix are: wikis, blogs, XML feeds, widgets...
Situational applications are tactical in nature, more opportunistic - they are lightweight, participant-created but IT moderated, blend of user generated content as well as more structured sources.
"The last mile in business efficiency exists in the Situational Application".
AquaLogic Pages: positioned as a web-based system for knowledge workers to create collaborative workspaces and situational applications: content publishing, collaborative application building (a "live space" vs. a data space).
Walk-thru of several application scenarios and examples.
Recommendation: If you are not familiar with the BEA AquaLogic Pages solution, then this is a good overview and worth listening to a replay when it is available.
Bottom Line: If you wanted to walk away with a clear compare/contrast between this solution and others on the market, then this session is not for you. The concept of situational applications is valid - but the advantage of BEA AquaLogic Pages versus solutions from Microsoft, IBM and others was not strongly made (but again, that was not really the point to this introductory webinar). A future webinar that focused on that differential would be worthwhile for BEA to offer.
Interesting - but I remain quite skeptical - especially regarding "MOSS 2007 as your default option for enabling and managing social networks for business use". But this document is the best effort I've seen to-date to represent the capabilities that do exist into a social networking storyline. But it's just not there yet. My community and social networking short-list remains (in alphabetical order):
Solutions that intrigue the most right now (alpha order): Awareness Networks, HiveLive and SelectMinds - but none are perfect, all of these vendors have some gaps in their technical architecture, application functionality or go-to-market effort. There are some others worth mentioning to round things out: Ning, WetPaint, Web Crossing, Prospero, iCohere, Tomoye, Visible Path, Tacit, Collective-X also play in this space). I expect Oracle to be here at some point as well.
Of course, selecting any vendor is dependent on your goals, requirements, risk tolerance and other constraints (compliance). What comes to mind immediately when you look at this list is that most of the community and social networking solutions are not from major platform vendors (with the exception of IBM of course) and many offer only hosted services. This situation can influence decision-making - people may prefer to evolve with Microsoft over the next couple of years as they figure this space out - especially for internal deployments.
I find that in external situations, people are a lot more open-minded to specialized vendors given the potential benefits from a brand, customer/partner relationship, and revenue perspective - organizations looking at these solutions as part of a corporate social responsibility effort are also more apt to leverage best-of-breed providers. Even in some internal situations, strategists looking for purposeful applications are receptive to specialized vendors when they need targeted community or social network platforms for alumni, retiree, professional support, talent management, or recruiting solutions.
My conclusion from the excerpt below is that (1) Microsoft does not yet understand many of the fundamental concepts around social networking and the important distinctions between social networks and communities (2) Microsoft is looking at this through the lens of productivity which is very limiting (3) the information below reveals some poor design assumptions (in my opinion) that make this more closer to a formal (perhaps semi-formal) network (white pages, contact network) not a "social network" that is more informal (which is not necessarily bad, just not "as advertised"), (4) there are several fundamental elements that do appear solid (user profile, social distance in search) that Microsoft can build on but it is not clear how much of the social network capability is achievable outside an all-SharePoint environment (creating a product-centric version of a "walled garden", (5) there appear to be some capabilities in here that I thought were in the original Knowledge Network effort so I am wondering if pieces are going to show up piecemeal (6) I need to learn more about the BDC and how that syncs with the institutional data that needs to be included in profiles.
Enabling and managing social networks (for business use) with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007
While the Microsoft / Facebook expanded partnership announcement made earlier today doesn't have anything to do with SharePoint, the publicity it generated will likely get a lot more people to start thinking or asking about the value of social networking capabilities within an enterprise and between a company and its business partners as well as its customers. Eric Charran (Senior Consultant in Microsoft Consulting Services), Dino Dato-on (SharePoint Ranger), and Greg Lang (Program Manager for Microsoft Enterprise Services Communities Tools and Infrastructure) have written a soon to be published white paper that addresses the topic of the importance of social networking in an organization and how to properly implement MOSS 2007 as a social networking solution. Excerpted below are key portions of the white paper, which I hope will get you to think about MOSS 2007 as your default option for enabling and managing social networks for business use.
Social networking is much more than "productivity" although given Microsoft's emphasis on Business Productivity Infrastructure I understand the association with related go-to-marketing messages.
"The concept of social networking has recently experienced a great deal of visibility as a means to increase the productivity of information workers and organization members."
This is a surprising statement - and shows a critical lack of understanding - one can make the general statement that "all communities are social networks" but the concept is asymmetrical - not all social networks are communities. It is a mistake for people to only equate social networking with CoPs. That is one facet - but not the only one.
Social networking systems in the enterprise (commonly referred to as “Communities of Practice”) can help increase productivity and efficiency.
I would strongly disagree that it adds "significant" social networking context. Microsoft is pointing to the one area that is not all that bad actually - the user profile function. But some of the more interesting profiling capabilities that were in Knowledge Network have been delayed. And I am not exactly sure about the capability of SharePoint to integrate with HRMS, LMS and other formal information sources and synchronize that sources to your user profile.
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 adds a significant social networking context to its existing collaboration and communication features and capabilities. By providing a framework for the establishment of user profiles and the ability to understand the organizational hierarchy between these profiles, Office SharePoint Server can easily connect information workers and organization members together.
Interesting - I thought the mining feature was part of Knowledge Network so I am curious what's changed since I was last briefed. Mining e-mail and other sources (similar to what Tacit and Contact Networks do) is a complex undertaking and requires careful implementation of privacy controls.
Based on the organization's implementation of products including Active Directory, Exchange Server, Live Communications Server 2005 or Office Communications Server 2007, Office SharePoint Server will mine this information at the individual user level to determine other team members, organizational managers and direct reports and virtual team members that should appear on an individual's colleagues list. The colleagues list, presented through web parts on an individual’s personal profile page of their My Site will list these related individuals and provide contact, presence and organizational information to visitors.
Correct - moving from a simple "white pages" to a more robust profile environment requires a sub-system that integrates with a variety of operational information sources as well as content, communication and collaboration systems - IBM with its Lotus Connections product achieves some of this by using Tivoli Directory Integrator - it's not clear but I imagine Microsoft is going down the path of MIIS.
While the organizational hierarchy import from an authoritative directory store (such as Active Directory) is how Office SharePoint Server builds its initial foundation for social networking, organizations often have supplementary sources of information that can be combined to provide increased or enriched personal profile information.
I wonder if it can point to "real" blogs and wikis (not the sub-optimal implementations within SharePoint itself) ... so if I have a WordPress or Traction blog - or a Socialtext wiki - do they show up? How many design assumptions are being made that the social networking capabilities only exist within a SharePoint world? If so - how realistic is this design assumption - especially when you think about social networks that might span organizational boundaries?
The My Site can contain personal and targeted blogs, wikis, lists and web parts displaying colleagues and other profile information.
For example, users can modify the colleague tracker to present updated colleagues when anniversaries, profile properties, authored documents and blogs change.
Ah - so not MIIS but BDC ... hmm, I have to noodle on that, I actually have not tracked BDC.
As depicted in the figure below, data sources that populate user profiles can originate from Active Directory as well as an organization’s Human Resource Information System (HRIS) via the Business Data Catalog (BDC). By combining this information, enriched data regarding an individual’s skills, area of expertise, title, job description, etc. can be exposed through Office SharePoint Server’s social networking features.
Again - not all social networking solutions need a pre-requisite of an organizational hierarchy in order to become effective. I would question some of the underlying design assumptions here. It is true that profile data that is "certified" in the sense that it is institutional data needs to be correct and that issues related to identity and so on need to be accurate. And yes, knowing the formal hierarchy helps with social networking methods - but to position it as a pre-requisite I find quite odd. This phrasing comes across almost as a warning - failure to hang your social network around the formal hierarchy will defeat the system - but the informal network often exists regardless of hierarchy in the real world.
The organizational hierarchy is a critical construct that allows Office SharePoint Server to begin the establishment of colleagues for users. The organizational hierarchy is built directly from fields within the user profile object for each user.
It is of vital importance that the organizational hierarchy is reviewed and accepted by the organization as it is one of the critical foundational elements of Office SharePoint Server’s social networking capabilities. If the organizational hierarchy is not accurate, all further mining and relationships between colleagues can be adversely affected. The best way to ensure that the hierarchy is accurate is to validate the information supplied to the user profile and resolve any differences and inaccuracies between the data sources that feed the profile.
More clarity - again, quite odd - this is more "white pages" than social networking. More "contact network" than social network". My colleagues are my colleagues - regardless of organizational hierarchy. The design assumption of including people that you have a reporting relationship with in the context of colleagues and social networking is really quite strange. This is more of a formal network framework disguised as a social networking solution...
Colleagues represent a core underpinning of the social networking experience. By enumerating colleagues and displaying them on user’s My Site and profile information through various web parts, organization members can easily view and connect with individuals that hold relationships to specific teams, initiatives and interests.
Colleagues are built on the information constructed from the organizational hierarchy. Thus, immediate peers, managers and direct reports are included in a specific user’s list of colleagues.