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Social Media

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Uncovering the Agile Elephant

At our social business event back in September, during Social Media Week London, we could feel something in the atmosphere.  A mood in the room, a sense of excitement and change.  Digital disruption is happening at a rapid rate.  Everyone's business model is under threat from the move to digital across all industries.  The average Enterprise has to change or get leapfrogged by a newer, more nimble competitor.  Being average won't cut it any more That got us thinking. The us, is Alan Patrick, Janet Parkinson and I - the team formerly known as Patchwork Elephant (we've got a new name now).  We all met last decade at London's Tuttle Club and have been crossing paths, working together and talking around the intersection of business and social tools on a regular basis ever since.  The eight different perspectives presented on the future of social business at that last event, combined with the resultant reaction and discussion, along with the commentary we see on our favourite blogs pushed us in to action.  We have some strong opinions around the social business topic.  About the thought leaders, companies and practitioners that are ...

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What next for Social Business? Patchwork Elephant Event Report

As part of London's Social Media Week we put on an event called Social Business – The Patchwork Elephant Revisited asking "What next for Social Business?".  We were kindly sponsored by our friends here at CompareTheCloud.net and we introduced the event and the speakers in an earlier post.  The idea was to get 8 different perspectives on where we are at, and where we go next, with using social and collaboration tools "inside" the business to add value and work more effectively.  Why is the "Social" word seen with such suspicion by some executives in the C-suite?  With the explosion of social media use in marketing or customer support reaching out of the organisation, why aren't more companies using it all over their organisations?  We believe change is happening, but why aren't we further forward with "Social Business"?

A few weeks after our event, Chris Heuer did a guest post on Brian Solis' blog that moved in to the same territory we covered asking Social Business is Dead! Long Live What’s Next! and highlighted the problem with:
"While the ideas behind the moniker are invaluable in defining the future of work, most large companies simply . ...
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Where next for Social Business? @ Social Media Week London

This week is Social Media Week in London (but also Berlin, Bogota, Chicago, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Sao Paulo and Toronto).  There is a packed schedule of events each day, heavily oriented towards social media marketing and using social to promote your brand and connect with your customers, fans and community in general.  We (Alan Patrick, Janet Parkinson and I) are running one of the few events of this week that talks Social Business - about using social tools inside as well as outside the organisation to make business more effective - Social Business - The Patchwork Elephant Revisited.  We'll also be discussing the way today's technology landscape is disrupting traditional business models, changing society, and changing the world of work.
The event is being held tomorrow September 27th at Hub Westminster, in New Zealand House in Haymarket (at the Pall Mall end).  It runs from 13:00 (with a formal start of presentations at 13:30 and a 45 minute break, so ample time for networking) and ends at 17:30.  I'm delighted to say we are sponsored by our friends at CompareTheCloud.net.
Three years ago we ran a similar event within the February 2010 edition of ...
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Connecting Appian, Rinde and Wardley with the intersection of process and social

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 ...
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The Cloud's 5 Key Challenges for the ISV CTO

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" ...
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Social Learning In A Dialogic Way

Earlier this week I joined a discussion group improvising on a theme around Richard Sennett's book Together and his recent RSA talk.  I understand the book explores the nature of cooperation, the evolution of cooperative rituals through history and the politics of the tribe versus the complexity of modern society.  Haven't read it - it's now on the long list.  The Everything Unplugged: Learning Conversation group meets in London every Wednesday at 10:00 at the RFH Level 5 to discuss wide ranging topics from creativity to the learning process.  This week's discussion on Sennett was titled "In a Dialogic Way" echoing Miles Davis.  I was intrigued on three counts:
  • I miss the kind of wide ranging conversations we used to have several years back at London's CreativeCoffee Club (which I founded with Toby Moores) or when the London Social Media Cafe/Tuttle Club was in its energetic heyday at the Coach and Horses or the ICA.
  • The topic of cooperation is vital to the the collaboration solutions I work with and I wanted to learn more about Sennett's take.
  • I don't often have philosophical discussions about dialectic argument versus the dialogic ...
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Social Business

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 2.0I'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 and IBM) 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:
  • The social ...
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Social Business - use cases and best practice are pants!

At the IBM Collaboration Diner at the Social Business Expo we had a long conversation with my old friend Luis Saurez about use cases and best practice - he doesn't believe in them!  Luis was there to do Wednesday's keynote address on the topic he is famous for - Thinking Outside the Inbox - There is no We in email.  I was there as one of the invited thought leaders contributing to the cafe style debates IBM and Collaobration Matters had organised inside a 1940s American Diner styled after Edward Hopper's painting Nighthawks.  One of my customers, Janet Parkinson of The Smart Work Company, was there joining in the discussion with Luis, triggered by our belief that there aren't enough good case studies of businesses using social tools inside their organisations to show how Social Business can work.  I commented that part of the reason for that is the difficulty of getting enterprises to share something that can be a competitive advantage, but Luis immediately declared that use cases are useless!

His view is that every business is different, every business is unique.  Having a use case for some other firm doesn't really help much.  He wants to go in . ...
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Social Business at IBM's Hopper Collaboration Diner

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. ...
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Back Blogging (again) and Fresh Business Thinking

I just want warn the Internet and social media addicts everywhere that I will be back blogging again on a more regular basis from today.  I've left a big gap since my last post although I've carried on tweeting and RTing snippets and the good stuff - the Twitter community that I follow still gives me the best, filtered access to quality content and ideas from out there.  I've been addicted to Twitter since 14 February 2007 - It seems appropriate that our 5 year love affair started on Valentine's Day!

I haven't been completely absent from publishing blogs as Cloud Advocates started a regular email newsletter called Cloud means Business over on Fresh Business Thinking.  The newsletter goes out to over 70,000 subscribers, and each post goes up on the FBT site too.  I write 2 of the 4 posts each month, and we are just about to publish the 8th edition.  I'll repost some or all of those 16 articles here in the coming weeks, and I'll add links in a side column soon.  As well as that I have half a dozen draft posts languishing in Evernote ready to be completed.  Thank heavens it isn't a blank page....

The thing that finally spurred me back to action was contributing to the ...