Last month, on 17 April, I was invited to attend the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW
)'s annual Cloud accounting event - Winning business in the cloud: reap the benefits of SaaS
. A great title with with the promise of making the case for deploying Cloud. The hashtag for the event was #icaewcloud
- it's now at the stage that if your event hasn't got a hashtag, you're missing out in a big way. Actually this event was generally good, except for one presenter who was well off message, and with whom I have to take issue - more on that later. First I have to disclose that ICAEW is one of my biggest customers (we provide the technology supporting their on-line community
), and that I have a huge amount of time and respect for Richard Anning
, the head of the IT Faculty. He and Paul Booth
do a good job putting on events like this one, and fostering IT Counts
which is a great resource for peer to peer technology advice in the accounting space. I should also disclose we resell Twinfield's online accounting
- they presented last year and the year before, but not this time.
Richard did a fine job chairing and ...
Last Monday I visited a data centre housed in a nuclear bunker. Visiting data centres isn't usually that inspiring - rows of server racks, cabinets with uninteruptible power supplies (UPS) and the like. This one's different, which is why I want to tell the story. Can you think of anywhere safer for your data than an underground bunker capable of withstanding nuclear attack? But I must start with two disclosures. The first is that this company is our latest customer - we're helping them with product messaging, website content and social media strategy. The second, you may know anyway, is that I'm a bit of a business geek and I never tire of doing the tour of a new company or industrial site. I'm fascinated by the way organisations set themselves up, from the layout of the office to the machinery on the "shop floor", and all the processes in between - whether it's an agency using words, design and a bit of technology to heavy manufacturing and big machines making "things" I get excited. This visit was a bit more than special though.
I've known The Bunker for years. I thought they had just picked a cool name for their ...
I've been pushing the concept of using social technologies for collaboration and connections both inside and outside of business to make companies more effective since early 2006. The naming has changed from web 2.0 to enterprise 2.0 to social business, but the concept is the same. However, when some areas of technology like smart phones or tablets have made such an impact on business in such a short space of time, why is the potential of social media in business, apart from use in external marketing and customer support, still largely unrealized? I believe it's the C word (and that's context). To explain that, three things came together over the last few weeks - a briefing session with Appian
CEO Matthew Calkins
, a blog post from Sigurd Rinde
about the fallacy of the Information Age and the need to move to a better framework, and one from Simon Wardley on flow structures
and what he explains as the move from Pioneer, to Settler, to Town Planner.
First, let me set the scene by reminding you that we've been running businesses with incomplete ERP systems for decades - they usually cover a company's core processes but leave plenty of gaps. I was reminded of some of the ...
Last week's Apple event has been widely reported in detail, but with a minimum of real analysis on the importance of the why, the how and the what being communicated. For me there were three significant aspects:
- Apple improving their leading position in the tablet business by making the leading product even better, as well as opening up a new sub segment of the market to flank the low end competition.
- The whole event demonstrating that design is still at the heart of the Apple vision.
- Showing there is life after Steve Jobs - the vision, culture and team he put in place are carrying the torch and keeping up the pace. (I wish I'd bought shares around about the time the iPod was first announced or before!)
Plenty of reporters and commentators presented most of the facts and the numbers corectly, misunderstood the pricing of the new iPad Mini thinking it too high, and then made the mistake of missing the .9 after the 7 in the size of its screen. So much technlogy reporting these days seems repetitive, regurgitating the technical specifications and processor chip models in the press release with little analysis and thought of what the technology ...
Back on 26 April I was asked to present "5 Key Challenges for the ISV CTO and How to Beat Them!" at a Ciklum seminar for ISVs
that intended to deliver a hype-free conversation among CTOs, Chief Technical Architects and other key executives grappling with the journey to the cloud. My slides for the session (see below) are already on Slideshare
, but they are mostly visual, so I decided to do this comprehensive (that means long right? - Ed) blog write up following the slide sequence as a companion piece. I was in good company, because the other speakers were Jimmy Gasteen of Precursive
, Liam Hogan of OpenText
and Melissa di Donato of Salesforce.com
. My pitch was intended to do three things:
- Give my perspective on the current state of the Cloud landscape
- Offer my 5 key challenges for the ISV CTO in moving to the Cloud
- Leave the audience with some practical ideas to take action straight away
The current IT landscape is pretty cloudy. IT providers are branding whatever product they have that happens to run in a datacentre somewhe as "Cloud" ...
Over here we are anticipating this year's Cloud Computing World Forum
in London, but over in the US Larry Ellison, Oracle's founder and CEO since 1977, has pivoted his position on the Cloud along with "crossing a line" to trash key competitors. Elsewhere old guard software giants like IBM are mis-communicating the Cloud messages. How does this help the the industry, the typical buyer in an SME, or the average CIO in a larger enterprise? Actually this noise generated by the old guard of IT is significant in positioning the current status of the Cloud landscape, but what we really need is some clarity of vision on the Cloud topic from the big players rather than messaging crafted at protection of their existing customer base and revenue streams.
Last Wednesday Larry announced what the Oracle press release claimed as "the "industry’s broadest and most advanced Cloud strategy"
, although on the day he actually said, "we are now announcing the most comprehensive Cloud on the planet Earth"
. This is an interesting turn around considering Larry has regularly lambasted the Cloud term. Take a look at this interview some of you may remember from ...
After some soul searching I've just started updating my various personal profiles around the web to say I'm a social business evangelist
rather than saying enterprise 2.0
. I've got close to this before
. I wanted to explain why now. For me that terminology change is a big deal because I'm not 100% comfortable with "social business
", but it's not me rather the market that decides. If we move the clock forwards 5 years I'm sure we'll be using different language again, and I believe the way the smart companies use social media and social tools in their businesses today will be as natural and essential to any organisation as a website, email, phones or mobiles (cell phones for my US friends, handys for the Germans - language is so crucial!). I actually prefer the term "amplified enterprise
" because the terms "social business
" (as used by the likes of Dachis
, Altimeter Group
) or "social enterprise
" (as used by Salesforce
) are already occupied by a very different idea. Go ask the average, non-technology oriented bushiness person in the street and see what they say. Actually my perspective on this topic has 4 dimensions:
This week I was invited by IBM
(and Ogilvy PR
) to join in the collaboration debates at the Social Business Expo
, a new strand of the Unified Communications Expo
at Olympia . This is not an event I would normally attend, covering everything from phone handsets through VoIP to tele conferencing, but I'm sure the social business component of ths show will get even bigger next year. The attraction was to be part of what IBM is doing, which moves a long way from your typical steel, white and blue corporate show stand. Their event was themed around recreating the late night downtown diner scene depicted in Edward Hopper
's famous Nighthawks
painting from the 40s. It represents loneliness and alienation. IBM are the sponsor, but their partner Collaboration Matters
came up with the concept, created and hosted the stand. The front of the cafe was peopled with actors who remained in character throughout both days, and who alternated between the original solitary view, and using smart phones, iPads and Macs to collaborate and connect with people. Each character had their own Twitter identity so we could interact and break through the social isolation. ...
Two weeks ago I was part of a modest International stream as part of Twinfield
's very impressive National Accountancy Day in The Netherlands. They have been running this Annual event for 6 years and it has grown from 30 attendees back in 2005 to 500 last year, and well over 600 attendees this time, along with an exhibition area where around 40 companies showed their Twinfield connected applications and services. There was a buzz of excitement, and a feelgood vibe you might expect from a Salesforce event, but not necessarily with a collection of mostly accountants as the audience.
The event was significant, both because of the size and the fact that this was the first event following Wolters Kluwer
's takeover of Twinfield
earlier this year. It gave me a chance to gauge the progress they've made and judge how well Twinfield will thrive under their new parent's regime. The initial indications are very positive.
The International stream was attended by UK customers like Goodman Jones
, CWM, and Wingrave Yeats
. Twinfield's Irish partner presented their Ezora reporting
explained their document scanning solution that is now live linking purchase invoice scans ...