Archive for “May, 2007”

Get ready to MESH


It’s the eve of the Mesh Conference in Toronto, and like last year, the organizers are faced with a full house – the event is completely sold out. And while I’m sure the repeated protests of “There are no more tickets – no, really, NO! MORE! TICKETS!” are as much about buzz as reality, it promises to be a pumped-up event with lots of interesting satellite networking events as well.

I’ll be speaking on the second day as part of panel conversation dubbed “New Media – Teaching Old Markets New Tricks”, along with Mike McDerment, Jennifer Evans and John Jantsch.

If you’re attending, be sure to say hi!

I've deleted my MySpace account – long live Facebook!

I’m also going to expound on the glories of social networking sites in a moment, but first, here’s why I left MySpace:

1. No one else I knew used it in a meaningful way (or, at least we were never motivated to find one another).
2. The spam! Egads, the spam! Between malicious “friend” requests that, once accepted, would spam your friends list and the requests from people making tens of million dollars a week doing online surveys, it was seriously getting to me.
3. I really like Facebook’s “status update” feature – which is so terribly Twitter-like.

And here’s why I think social networks are the cat’s meow, and destined to eclipse “one trick wonders” like Twitter and (yes) Flickr. They let me do everything in one place and share it with my friends and colleagues. I don’t have to have two thousand desktop widgets keeping me up to date on what’s happening, I don’t have to visit twelve different sites to check and use twelve different functions – it’s all in one place, and (this is the important part) I can easily share my cross-format content. Not just my status with fellow Twits. Not just my images with fellow Flickrers. EVERYTHING. IN. ONE. PLACE.

And that’s why I love Facebook (but they could use a better blog-like function, though the “Wall” thing is pretty close).

Update: Just as I have demanded convergence in my technology, I demand convergence in my social media.

Americans (with broadband) spend 1/2 their spare time online

Which translates into approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes (or about 48% of the average person’s spare time) per weekday, according to this Media Post article.

The Net Pop I Play survey (conducted by Media Screen) took a look at four major entertainment genres – games, movies, music, and television – and has a number of significant takeaways:

  • 48% of younger users say they learn about new entertainment through community, review and video sharing sites and blogs. Only 25% say they learn about new entertainment through television
  • 27% spend their time online communicating (email, social media, etc.) – the same amount that they spent on entertainment activities online
    1. According to the respondents, the time they spend sending email and visiting websites eclipses the time spent watching television. Given the fact that just 7% of advertising budgets are devoted to buys in a space where people spend more than 40% of their time, it would appear that there’s more than a little bit of a disconnect in the media marketplace. I’m not even going to mention TiVo.

    The Enterprise Irregulars


    Have, via Dennis Howlett, kindly asked me to join their little corner of the Internet. Knowing the incredible company I would be keeping, I accepted immediately – and was deeply flattered.

    If you haven’t done so already, stop by for a visit – here’s the official blurb,

    We are a diverse group of practitioners, consultants, investors, journalists, analysts and full time bloggers who share a common passion – enterprise technology and its application to business in the 21st century.

    The Social Media Collective is created in the same model, but the EI’s have been around a while longer. Thanks, guys – I’m honoured!

    en vacance

    Dear Readers, I will be on vacation from Wednesday May 16th (yesterday) until Tuesday May 22nd. Just before I go, however, I’d like to thank my fellow bloggers for the pleasure of their company in Vienna. It was a great time, and I want to do it again soon.

    (most) of the bloggers at SAP’s Sapphire07 in Vienna

      Clockwise from bottom left, Charlie Wood, Craig Cmehil, me, Prashanth Rai, Axel Angeli, Stacey Fish (SAP), David Terrar, Mike Prosceno (SAP), Sig Rinde. Not shown: Dennis Howlett, Manoj Ranaweera, James Governor, Thomas Otter, Bruno Haid.

    Photo credit: Craig Cmehil

    Thanks especially to Mike and Stacey for their efforts and attention to detail.

    The other thing to come out of the event was a video of me doing a particular trick with my nose. James Governor has sworn to make it famous. Sigh. I suppose if that happens, I’ll have to let you know about it.

    Social Media Today Podcast – Sapphire '07 Vienna

    In this special edition episode, recorded on May 14th in Vienna, Austria at SAP’s Sapphire event, Mark Yolton, Vice President SAP Community Network and Craig Cmehil, Community Evangelist, SAP Developer Network explain the rationale behind the creation of the SAP Developer Network (SDN) in 2003 and the more recent launch of their Business Process Expert Community (BPX). They talk about organizational lessons learned, business intelligence gained, SAP’s ongoing (and frequently stated over the last few days) commitment to leveraging the power of the SAP ecosystem and their plans to get into the enterprise collaboration space. Craig also speaks about the “care and feeding” required and Mark explains how SAP is beginning the process of calculating the ROI of these networks.

    Click to listen:

    Do subscribe to our feed – we’ll be interviewing a new member of the Social Media Collective each week, the podcast is published fresh every Wednesday. You can even leave us audio comments right here using the handy tool below.

    To leave an audio comment, use the “my voicemail” tool to record direct from your computer’s microphone, or leave a text comment (which we will read aloud on the show in a voice that we imagine to be like yours) simply leave a comment on this blog.

    SMC Podcast Alley feed {pca-98374b14f8d1d5121d18320e6d8ee4fb}

    My Odeo Channel (odeo/c5980d54f89f57b8)

    Someone's been drinking the Kool-AID…

    You know when you buy a new car, and all of a sudden you see the same model everywhere, as if everyone decided at the exact same moment to do the same thing you did? Of course it’s just your perspective, but it does feel that way.

    I’m starting to feel the very same about social media and SAP. The concepts and language of Web 2.0 are popping up everywhere, and are being very prominently mentioned in very prominent speeches and statements by very prominent people.

    This morning Léo Apotheker, Deputy CEO of SAP AG, gave a keynote presentation that covered a wide range of topics. Including the benefits of and SAP’s commitment to all of their communities, like the SAP Developer Network (SDN) and Business Process Expert (BPX) community, which were mentioned by name, which is a big deal (if you’re interested in finding out more, I did a podcast with two of the people responsible for these groups; it will be published first thing tomorrow) and particularly their Industry Value Networks (IVNs) Enterprise Services Community (ESC). Apotheker went so far as to state, emphatically, that SAP remains absolutely committed to the strategy they launched in 2003 – that is, the strategy of leveraging their ecosystem to gain competitive advantage (and, as I posted about yesterday, helping their customers do the same).

    The other thing that struck me full in the face was the language he used. Words like “authenticity”, “transparency”, and “collaboration” were flying all over the place. Of course it’s one thing for an executive to use popular lingo to illustrate a point, and another to actually execute on that vision.

    To return for a moment to the Industry Value Networks Enterprise Services Community, this model is absolutely fascinating to me. The way it works is this: industry leading firms that represent the full biodiversity of a vertical are invited to participate. The example that was used in the keynote was banking – 130 organizations have been collaborating on a banking-oriented service-oriented architecture (SOA – one of the many new acronyms I have learned over the last two days. It just means software that is created to meet a specific business requirement, i.e. if dinner were a business, a can opener would be SOA) within an SAP IVN ESC. The objective of this exercise is an industry-wide solution created within the SAP platform.

    Apotheker went on to explain that, of course, someone needed to be the “custodian” of the results of the effort and that SAP had graciously stepped into the breach.

    So let’s review:

    1. Put together a group that accurately represents all aspects of a vertical
    2. Give them a space to collaborate and a problem-solve to solve using your product
    3. Take the results to market
    4. Cream your competitors with a perfectly targeted proprietary product developed by experts within the industry you’re selling into.

    Why on earth did SAP invite me to Sapphire?

    Arriving in Vienna yesterday and joining some of my fellow bloggers (David Terrar, Thomas Otter, Dennis Howlett, Bruno Haid, Prashanth Rai, Sig Rinde and Charlie Wood) for dinner last night, this was the question that immediately popped up. I’m surrounded by software/IT bloggers. What am I doing here? Aside from enjoying a few days in one of the most beautiful cities in the world? For free?

    After today’s keynote address by SAP CEO Henning Kagerman, it (thankfully) became clear. SAP has identified that the pace of innovation has far exceeded the pace a single firm can successfully maintain. They’ve also recognized that helping companies network inside as well as leveraging their own ecosystems is an incredible business opportunity. In other words, using SAP software to flexibly connect (and, one would assume, sometimes disconnect) business functions in order to realize massive efficiencies, combined with the deployment of SAP tools and platforms that allow firms to bring the interconnectedness of social networks into their employee and supplier networks and leverage all that trapped intellectual capital = great big competitive advantage, something a lot of people will want to buy.

    How SAP is currently exploring these concepts within their own communities (there are at least six external SAP social networks) is clearly giving them incredible insight into how this paradigm can be deployed as part of their offerings (more on this later). This is something Robin Fray Carey also alluded to in her recent whitepaper, SAP: A Company Transforms Itself Through Social Media.

    Kagerman said straight out that SAP sees the transformative power of bringing web 2.0 into the enterprise, across three main areas of benefit:

    1. Increasing employee self sufficiency
    2. Enhancing work patterms
    3. Harnessing brain power

    There was a demo of an unnamed software prototype that showed the keynote audience how these concepts could be practically applied. A project was created, individuals from across the organization were added and invited to participate, and timelines and/or benchmarks were established. Basically, all of the components of a successful project were put in place, including full auditability – there will be a complete trail of who did what and when.

    Software like this will allow individuals within organizations to create specialized teams on the fly, project-by-project. Which raises two interesting issues: with individuals empowered and required to both initiate and follow up on projects, who needs bosses anymore? Could this level of social networking with an organization further flatten hierarchies, creating short-term micro hierarchies around events or projects? Will everyone and no one become a manager?

    Aside from the obvious benefits of unlocking and harnessing more of the expertise that exists, latently, within organizations, it’s clear that social networking within the enterprise will have profound cultural implications as well. It will be so interesting to see what kind of offerings SAP will develop and how swift and/or not swift the uptake will be out there in the real world.

    Posting from Vienna this week…

    …as a guest of SAP at their Sapphire event – hoping to track down Mark Yolton, Vice President of SAP Community Networks and interview him for a podcast on the subject of social networking for business – stay tuned.

    Therefore posting will be somewhat sporadic this week – but I will leave you with some images of Vienna painted by Andrew Judd, an old friend who lived there up until about a year ago. Enjoy!

    Cafe Sperl

    Cafe Hawleka