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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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Trash talk and FUD harms the Cloud industry

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 ...
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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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Twinfield show their vision of the future of accounting

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 system.  P2D explained their document scanning solution that is now live linking purchase invoice scans ...
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Demystifying the Cloud

How do you spread the word about the benefits of Cloud Computing beyond technology enthusiasts, web "savvy" geeks and industry insiders  to the general business woman and man "in the street"?  The likes of Microsoft and Salesforce are certainly trying to do that with some of their advertising campaigns, but I believe they are missing the target by a mile.  A group of us have got together to try and amplify our voices with an initiative called Cloud Advocates.  Let me explain with a bit of an advert, tell you about our first event and our tie up with Freshbusinessthinking.com.

We are at the stage where Cloud Computing,  from web  based applications to on demand infrastructure, is just moving from being the next big trend to a mainstream technology choice.  There are a plethora of events and announcements around the topic, and just to complicate things every technology provider is redefining whatever offering they've got as a Cloud solution.  In the middle of all this noise  we need some clarity on the topic.  That is why Richard Messik and I decided to pool some of our marketing energy and form Cloud Advocates, an association of ...
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More than just another microblogging tool - tibbr

Earlier this week I attended the UK launch event for just another Twitter style microblogging tool for the enterprise like Chatter or Yammer or Signals inside SocialText.  This one's called tibbr.  Some people would have been underwhelmed and said "so what?", but I got excited - I can see some huge potential here, and I'd argue that every enterprise should be taking a serious look at this product.  Let me try and explain.

It's from TIBCO, which is hardly a particularly well known, sexy or significant name in the IT world.   They are pretty big though - they are a US company (NASDAQ:TIBX) who have been around since 1997 and formed out of Teknekron who started back in 1983 (with a product called The Information Bus, which is where TIB comes from).  They have grown to have offices in 40 countries and provide over 4,000 customers with tools for business process management, SOA, and application integration - crucially important middleware that connects things together in the background for big companies.  They might be very well known to the IT guys, but fairly invisible to the rest of the business.  That could all change now they've ...
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Social CRM - the new rules

There are changes underway across the worlds of social media marketing, social media applied inside business (what some people would call enterprise 2.0) and  where these tools connect (or not) to the business processes in (Cloud based) CRM and ERP systems.   Products like Salesforce are adding Chatter, and Twitter connectivity.  Enterprise 2.0 tools that started as wikis or forums are adding micro-blogging along with more and more social functionality.  Content Management Systems are adding or acquiring a social dimension.  Marketing departments are struggling with, or looking for tools to help with, brand  reputation monitoring and management.  One significant segment of this change just got much clearer with Altimeter Group's R “Ray” Wang and Jeremiah Owyang producing Social CRM: The New Rules of Relationship Management.

R told the Enterprise Irregulars earlier this morning that this report is the culmination of 6 months of research, collaboration, hours of white boarding, phone calls, and skype calls in the early morning and on weekends working with an ecosystem of 42 partners.  The document identifies 18 use cases for Social ...
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Salesforce shows the future of enterprise collaboration - but have they got the branding right?

A month ago on Monday 7 December I was sitting in the London version of the CloudForce2 Partner Summit, and then stricken by a virus overnight, I watched Marc Benioff livestreamed for the 2 hours and 15 minutes of his keynote in the general customer session on the following day.   It sounds like he did a shorter, sharper version than his reported performance at the big Dreamforce show in San Francisco where 19,000 attended.  I've been re-acquainting myself with the Salesforce story, and considering whether my company and our Twinfield colleagues should become part of their partner ecosystem.   The combination of Force.com platform, combined with Salesforce applications, and partner applications makes a strong story.  Benioff was emphasizing companies like FinancialForce.com and Jobpartners who have developed their applications natively using their Cloud technology.  However, the big announcement was their new "Twitter and Facebook" style micro-blogging product and the addition of the Chatter Cloud, alongside the Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Custom Cloud in their presentations and messaging.    I'm impressed by the functionality . ...