Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cloud computing ... de-geeked (work in progress)

Yesterday I started a little challenge on twitter to see if we can come up with a non-geek definition of Cloud Computing in 140 characters or less. 
I am posting the responses here in the order received and will update as more definitions are coming in. 

I look forward your your comments on this one.

Cloud Computing is ... 
@jonerp (John Reed)
Is *supposed* to make life easier by using the Internet to help me do things my own computer would choke on.

@timbo2002 (Tim Sheedy)
(1) IT Vendor and analyst hype designed to further alienate IT from the business. How's that?
(2) Your business as a service

In cloud computing you login to the program you want, which is hosted elsewhere, for a monthly or quarterly fee.

"What's cloud computing? That's exactly the point -- you don't need to care. It just works, wherever you are"

@mgd  (mark dixon)
(1) Cloud computing provides application, database, platform, storage, and computing services in a virtualized utility to enable agile business.
(2) Using computing services on demand, on a pay-as-you-go basis, like I buy electricity from my power utility.

Darren Crowder
A cost effective hosted platform that provisions business software capabilities on demand e.g. like electricity or water

Christian Büngener
Services and applications that are hosted on and accessed through the Internet

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Face off ! Facebook gets its fan base miffed .. a bit

Facebook decides to change its terms of service. Fair enough. 
Some people get wind of it and start a protest group. Fair enough also. (Thanks Anne)

And that group grew from nothing to more than 36,000 protesters almost over night. Sounds like phenomenal growth, but compared to the 175 million accounts on FaceBook, this is actually very little. 

Or is it? Maybe size does not matter? What's really at stake here? 

Let's see... Granted, FaceBook needs to have the right to do things with (y)our/their content, otherwise there would be no sharing, no forwarding, no collaboration.  No fun, in other words. 
And I don't think most people really mind that social media platforms have the right to manipulate and distribute the content we all contribute so willingly. And I think we all know, once we put our content into the public domain, it's pretty much "out there" for anyone to look at, copy and distribute. Fair enough. 

Given the assumption, however, that most of the 175 million people on FaceBook have little or no clue about the risks to their privacy and intellectual property rights, the problem is about the need to create transparency.  

That's why I like the initiative and jumped right in when I found out about the protest group.
- This is not about protesting against FaceBook
- This is not about pointing out another flaw in the emerging world of Social Media.
- This is also not about whining, because FaceBook changed the terms of service.

It's about creating awareness. It's about a call to action to all Social Media platforms to follow 5 simple rules to keep us all on facebook, twitter, myspace, blogger or any other platform for that matter. 

- Be very clear up front about what you intend to do with the content we contribute
- Give us a way to opt out easily if we don't like to play according to your rules 
- Allow some discussion before you actually change your Terms of Service
- Notify your clients before you're making a change
- Keep educating your clients on these issues, we are all learning here.

These should be the common rules of courtesy we can all subscribe to, and they are no so different from what we all commit to when we borrow a book from the library. And it's also important for enterprise software companies who depend more and more to tie the worlds of collaborative innovation into their standard processes. 

So. Dear social media platforms. It is important we address these issues in a open and proactive format. We are your platform. And we are willing to help. You know how to reach us. 

User contibuted content, co-innovation in communities, and collaborative development of new products and services are a key engine to innovation.  In this economic climate let's not screw that up, please?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

SAPPHIRE reloaded ... What do you want to experience?

2009 will mark the death of events .. events as we know it, I mean. 

A lot of people/companies will not spend the money to travel to some random location, just to consume the content they can download afterwards, or see keynote speakers from 100 yards out. And with the advent of social media, telepresence, and many other ways to engage with vendors in a relevant and specific way, the whole business of events as we know it will change. Has to change. I think it's about time, and the economic downturn is only accellerating the inevitable. Or so lots of people say.


Yet, there is still a lot of a value to taking the annual pilgrimage to the BIG event, watch the keynotes "live", see the big acts on stage at the post-show party, meet a lot of your peers and the experts etc. However, the question remains, now more than ever, are our customers really getting the most out of these happenings, with hundreds and hundreds of booths competing for attention, with speech after speech, and with meeting after meeting, until you are so tired you really really want that party and the free drinks. Is there another way? Yes there is. 

This years SAPPHIRE needed to be different, and will be different.  

SAP like every other company in this business is rethinking the whole concept of "events", and is taking a step back to look at how people want to consume information, and to make a trip to this event even more worth while. As one of the content strategy leads for the CIO village at this years SAPPHIRE, I have decided to try to tap into the wisom of the crowds to make this part of the show the best it can be.

So. The listening has started. What would you like to see at SAPPHIRE '09? And how do you want to consume this information moving forward? 



Saturday, February 7, 2009

What you blog is who you are (WYBIWYA)? Identity Crisis Looming?

I still remember when Desktop Publishing swept away "typesetting" studios like a technology tsunami in the 80's. "What you see is what you get" became the marketing battlecry of a new generation of technology evangelists, touting Mac's and 300 dpi Laserprinters as if they had invented the anti-gravity belt and the cure to the common cold.

20++ years have passed, and now we are very deep in a new publishing tsunami, that has put several million people in the global content creation business. Not that everthing that's facebooked or tweeted has great value, but it certainly creates a digital footprint that presents both opportunity and risk. Opportunity since 1:1 online marketing will be able to shift into a completely new level of accuracy in the next 10 years, and consumers will enjoy the benefits of "target" marketing that evolves beyond hyperannoying spam into "permission selling". Maybe. Hopefully.

Risk, because the majority of people really have no idea how much of their personal details they are willingly, and maybe overly naively exposing to "identity bandits" in the waste lands of online crime.

I don't want to make this more dramatic than necessary, but I see details on the Web that I don't even know about people whose homes I visit on regular basis, and who I have known for decades. Why don't we just post our social security numbers, bank accounts, mother's maiden names including our password list in to the cloud and be done with it?

Ok. Sarcasm aside. There is, like I said, a real opportunity. What you blog is who you are, and I will continue to be out there in the blogosphere. I will also continue to try to educate and warn about the Über-exposure to private details this opportunity presents.

Enterprise Software vendors are called upon to both offer their expertise in this space, and to rapidly learn about the new challenges of an emergent digital identity footprint that is vastly different than what we have learned from enterprise software in the past 5 decades. Companies like SAP, IBM and others have for many decades successfully dealt with securing the identities and assets of millons users ... but this is a new world out there ... and new ideas are urgently necessary.

I look forward to hearing your views and ideas about identity management in this new frontier

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The dawn of social software --- maybe -- hopefully

Last year I finally dipped a toe into the the Social Media ocean and got pulled in very quickly and deeply. And I am not alone, more and more people I know are finally overcoming their resistance and are establishing a rudimentary presence on twitter &  facebook and are even beginning to blog.

I believe we are seeing the end of the "early adopter" phase of Social Media, and are now ready to enter the "bowling alley". (Forgive me for applying the Geoffrey Moore "crossing the chasm" methodology to this area.)

Seeing that more than 30,000 people were watching the SAP Business Suite 7 Launch on Twitter, makes me think the Marketing and Public Relations Industry might be one of the bowling pin segments for turning the corner from the experimental stage of Social Media to the more commercial phase. In addition, the cost cutting and travel restrictions of the current economic lull might lead to enough "pain" and therefore critical mass to herald the dawn of what I would dub "social software".

I would define social software as a mashup between the social media tools that are emerging by the truckload every day (just think of the tool-cloud around twitter as an example) and the "established applications" that still dominate the work place. 

The worlds of collaboration and process management are begging to be brought together. Most people I know are still bogged down with fighting the email hydra one mail at a time, realizing that, the more they deal with their mail box, the more they are getting overwhelmed by it. Communication and collaboration does not happen one mail at a time. Also, most fellow occupants of dilbert-space I know are still working in a very "waterfall" oriented process, taking weeks or months to crank out a deliverable, only to find out it has become obsolete during the production process, because they did not engage early enough with the target community to get feedback.

Granted. The tools are there. The Instant messengers. The Twitters. The Facebooks. The Nings. But there is still a great divide between the "professional" software world, and what you do in your "private" software environment. And until there is a robust offering that brings both worlds together, corporate IT will still watch this space with a great deal of resistance. 

Social Software could fix that. Social Software would mash up your "personal network applications" with your office applications. With the right context, persistence and security, and great integration with relevant back office processes and applications like your customer relationship software. 

Today, the gap between office software and community software is still miles wide. Social software would be very welcome by many, especially the early adopters, but I have yet to see someone emerge with a clear vision on how to bring these two worlds together. Maybe SAP with its Duet and Alloy products, mashing up the worlds of MS-Office or Lotus Notes with end to end business processes is an important first step. 

Maybe the next step would be for facebook and SAP to collaborate to create "bizbook?", and take the social media revolution to the next level?

Your thoughts?