Tag Archives: socialbusiness

Interesting stuff from May 26th through August 22nd

The periodic round up:

Network v. node …
  • America’s Economy Is Officially Inside-Out – “But when growth rises and living standards fall? That begins to hint that there is something wrong—very wrong, perhaps terribly wrong—with the way things are.  It suggest that what is happening to this society is not merely a simple, passing, self-healing ailment; but a chronic, possibly permanent, definitely debilitating condition. Not a flu—but a cancer.” As always, Haque’s language is quite forceful, but it doesn’t invalidate the points he makes … that this may not be part of a familiar economic cycle that will ultimately right itself, but be a permanent change to our economy.
  • Hierarchies were a solution to a communications problem – “The high-value work today is in facing complexity, not in addressing problems that have already been solved and for which a formulaic or standardized response has been developed. One challenge for organizations is getting people to realize that what they already know has increasingly diminishing value.” … the ability to learn new things (where networks are very useful) is, for a lot of work, of much greater value than existing knowledge. Knowledge is power no more.
  • Entrepreneurs or the state: Innovation comes from public investment. – This is one reason that disinvestment in research & development by the Australian government is a bad thing. Contrary to popular belief, most innovation comes off the public dollar rather than the widely-lauded tech entrepreneurs we hear so much about. Now, commercialising innovation is an extremely useful and necessary step … but we should recognise where the ideas come from, so we don’t kill the golden goose by mistake.
  • How politics makes us stupid – This is why more facts and better logic aren’t as persuasive as they should be; our ideology actually prevents our brain from working properly … “As a way of avoiding dissonance and estrangement from valued groups, individuals subconsciously resist factual information that threatens their defining values”. Doesn’t augur well for a world that needs to come to its senses.


Interesting stuff from July 12 to August 7

The periodic roundup:

  • Do Things that Don’t Scale – Technologist and venture capitalist Paul Graham with advice for start-ups (it IS his game, after all) … it’s the stuff that can’t be automated that makes a difference, so do that.
  • How Drucker Thought About Complexity – You could be forgiven for thinking that since Peter Drucker worked in a simpler time, his thinking might not apply in our more complex environments these days. You’d be wrong … check out what John Hagel III has to say (read it quickly – it’s a limited access HBR article)
  • Overcoming the Barriers to Enterprise Collaboration – All the time I’ve been involved with technology, people and organisations have been pre-occupied with technology as a “silver bullet”, the magical answer to their problem(s) – enterprise social/social business has been no different. This is a reasonably balanced view of enterprise social media, and where/how it might help with your collaboration efforts
  • Robert McNamara and the Dangers of Big Data at Ford and in the Vietnam War – “McNamara felt he could comprehend what was happening on the ground only by staring at a spreadsheet—at all those orderly rows and columns, calculations and charts, whose mastery seemed to bring him one standard deviation closer to God.” Big data can be a powerful tool, but sometimes what you really need is eyeballs on the ground, where people do real things … either that, or we all just become part of the body count


Enterprise Architecture vs Social Business

[A long-overdue post on the New Enterprise]

I’m deeply interested in the potentially disruptive effects of “social media” on the enterprise as we know it.
I’m also an enterprise architect – into governance, imposing some discipline, big-picture strategy, technology roadmaps, and the like.

How do I reconcile those two interests?

Some context:
Harold Jarche speaks about some of the changes in work in the 21st century, and notes that knowledge and learning in enterprise are now group pursuits, because …

Individual learning in organizations is basically irrelevant because work is almost never done by one person. All organizational value is created by teams and networks. Furthermore, learning may be generated in teams but even this type of knowledge comes and goes. Learning really spreads through social networks. Social networks are the primary conduit for effective organizational performance. Blocking, or circumventing, social networks slows learning, reduces effectiveness and may in the end kill the organization.

Sounds disruptive, and it can be, especially for businesses still mired in Taylorist thinking, seeing one right way of performing jobs, and the incumbents as fungible and replaceable resources. But some proponents of Enterprise2.0/Social Business forget the alligators/draining the lake problem – before you can get Enterprise2.0 working, you need to have sorted out Enterprise0.0 and 1.0, or you will be too immersed in those problems to make the cultural changes required.
Enterprise 2.0 needs the “earlier” layers to be sorted, as Alan Patrick suggests:

  • Enterprise 0 – the non IT stuff – the processes, skills and culture of a company – the bedrock layer – will scupper any attempt to add higher layers if it isn’t a strong enough foundation. In all our work we have found you have to strip back to the processes and skills as a minimum.
  • Enterprise 1 – the ERP, CRM, EDI, SOP and all the other TLAs that manipulate, manufacture and move base information around the enterprise. If the underlying data is crap, and the ability to see it correctly is non existent, then the Social Business layer will fail.
  • Enterprise 2 – as in the supporting Web 2.0 systems that support the Social Media modules – crap webpages, poor real time performance, inflexible CMS – these are only as good as the systems they sit on top of.

Which seemed to mesh with a presentation from Dave Allen (the Getting Things Done ® guy) about the whole GTD thing: it’s not actually about “getting things done”, it’s about freeing up cognitive space so we can do more interesting things. Now GTD is at the individual level, but the same principles hold true at the enterprise level: enterprise architecture (EA) is about making sure that the background stuff stays there, and allows an organisation to concentrate its collective cognition on the functions and capabilities that make it different and better and agile and a whole lot of other goodness (fill that in with whatever your organisation sees as important). One way of finding and focusing that cognition is to use social networking tools to surface and amplify it.

But if you’re too busy trying to balance the general ledger, you won’t have time to figure out what new changes are on their way, and how you might adapt to them … so EA is like GTD for companies.




Interesting stuff from April 20th through April 26th


The periodic round up:


  • How Zynga, Facebook and Groupon’s Go-To Auditor Rewrites Accounting Rules – Forbes – An article interesting on two levels: it raises some questions about pre-IPO financial advice and post-IPO audit deals; and it also raises some interesting questions about how we account in the real world for financial transactions played out in a virtual world. One for the accounting wonks out there …
  • Journalism Inside® – While we may have outgrown the need for dead-tree newspapers, we will continue to value the practice of journalism (even if we don’t call it that in the future). Jeff Jarvis explores some possibilities for the future of journalism …
  • The Myth of Social Media Tactics Versus the Reality of Social Business Strategies – A gentle reminder that having a Facebook page doesn’t make you a social business – tactics bereft of a strategic framework will amount to very little. Creating (or transforming into) a social business often requires a cultural shift, and this needs more than ticks on a checklist of social tools.
  • Game-change: Moneyball and the reality of social business – So, you thought Moneyball was a movie about baseball? Wrong … it’s a morality tale about YOUR business, and how outdated business models are killing you, and all you can do is sack the people who tell you that. Will you be playing in your industry’s equivalent of the World Series, or will your season end prematurely? Start listening to the folk who are telling you things you don’t like to hear, because they don’t fit your current models … pioneer or dinosaur?
  • Ten graphs on organisational warfare – A fairly deep look at (and great synthesis of) models of business competition tied together as an explanation of how organisational warfare is conducted, and why business can be complex.






Interesting stuff from February 27th through March 10th

The periodic round up:

  • Making collaborative work work – Is “social business” necessary for collaboration? No – ALL business is collaborative. But three simple “social” principles can make collaboration in your business BETTER. Simple in principle, that is … execution is the trick. You’ll see what I mean when you read the post!
  • Why Connect.me? – My piece on connect.me, a site which tackles the thorny issue of trust on the internet. If you know someone, or something about them, you can vouch for them on that topic. Over time, and multiple vouches, a reputation can be made evident, and trust can be built. My point is that trust is one of three things that needs to be in place before we see the missing 90% of the internet’s potential. The other two? Read on …
  • But are they working hard? – A look at the problems managers get themselves into when they concentrate on inputs (hours worked, “busyness”) rather than outputs (actual results); and when they try and attribute team results to individuals … most performance reviews completely ignore that individual achievements in a business context are extremely rare – most, if not all, results are a collective effort.
  • Edging toward the fully licensed world – So who owns what on the Internet? Doc Searls looks at why we need to think now about what sort of “ownership” we want for the Internet, before corporations turn it into a shopping strip, and we lose the freedoms that make the Internet valuable. SOPA, PIPA and ACTA are just the tip of the iceberg  
  • Right versus pragmatic – Note to big media: don’t fight demand; address it. A pragmatic approach to piracy illustrated by men’s bathroom habits …



Interesting stuff from August 15th through September 6th

The weekly round up:


  • Collaborative Learning for the Digital Age – It’s a longer piece, but an interesting discussion about attention blindness, and how you can use groups to avoid/minimise it. If everyone focuses on the one thing, you miss a lot of other stuff, but if everyone takes a different piece of the jigsaw, and then assembles it, a fuller picture emerges.
    There’s also some interesting thinking about assessment that plays out in corporate performance management …



  • - Every journey … – The other recent post that highlights the personal nature of enterprise2.0 … for adoption, people have to find a solution to their problem(s), and this doesn’t usually happen according to a project timeline, but one person at a time on a serendipitous scale



  • Talking about a world without faces – One of a couple of posts recently seen that go to the heart of a problem with the idea of “social business” or Enterprise2.0: in the end, social networking/media in the enterprise is only effective if people voluntarily adopt. The implication of that, often forgotten, is that some won’t. We have to be realistic, therefore, about what is possible … this post also demonstrates that adoption can only be maximised if we make the “social” part of every body’s “business”.



  • Leadership: Vivek Kundra, Uncle Sam’s first CIO – It may sound like the dream job, but the outgoing CIO of the United States found many of the same problems that are familiar to the corporates (albeit with a few extra zeroes appended) – projects over budget and schedule, poorly executed, and old technology. Maybe we shouldn’t feel so bad …



  • Your customer won’t take a bullet for you – Loyalty programs don’t really build loyalty in your customers – they’re a bribe or incentive to get them to so something they might not otherwise. The “new” buzzword, gamification, is also a pretty shallow substitute for a product and/or service that kicks ass. If you really want customer loyalty, make their lives better in some meaningful way …