Posts tagged "social networking"

Novell Rivals Google with Real-time Enterprise Collaboration


Betting that Google Wave would've fared better had it been released for business folk rather than consumers, an enterprise software company called Novell recently announced their own real-time collaboration mashup platform. Because it uses the Wave Federation Protocol, Novell Pulse is essentially Google Wave with a greater emphasis on security and management.

In a Nutshell…

Novell's angle is serious. "We include features that the business consumers want, but also the security and controls the enterprise demands," said Ken Muir, CTO for Novell WorkGroup.

Those features include:

  • Security: Provisioning, sign-on and permissions leverage enterprise identity and access management systems, directory servers and audit tools to integrate with established processes, keep data safe and support compliance requirements.
  • Real-time collaboration: Collaborative editing and document sharing enables users to get work done with other users in real-time, from co-editable online documents to the ability to share and comment on traditional office documents in real time.
  • Unified Inbox: A single interface allows users to see, sort and filter all their personal and professional content from various social messaging services, email, Wave, etc. all in one place.
  • Enterprise social messaging: Social Blog allows users to share, follow and comment on topics and ideas.
  • Real-time awareness and chat: Allows users to know exactly when their colleagues are available via people, group and message activity monitoring

“Novell Pulse is the first enterprise class, real-time collaboration platform that unites communication, authoring and social messaging tools. Novell Pulse helps drive enterprise productivity and innovation by making it easier to communicate digitally, generate ideas and share information,” said the Novell team in a recent statement.

Don't Call it Wave

Who knows what upcoming versions of Wave will include (Google is scheduled to release a business-y version the the collaboration platform later this year), but for now, it looks like Novell is attempting to fill in the Google gaps. In addition to being able to collaborate with Wave users and offering what Wave is known for, Pulse provides social-networking features like profiles as well as the option install the tool locally. Local installations do not rely on Google for any of these features

Moreover, the security features are a big deal, and certainly a must for any enterprise customer.

linkedFA Offers Social Networking for Financial Advisors, Investors

A Partner, Not a Threat

While the financial industry struggles to figure out how social media can be successfully integrated, linkedFA went ahead and built a model that meets FINRA regulations, while enhancing the professionalism of financial advisors and broadening investors' access to their advisors.

But Byrne wants linkedFA to be seen as a partner, not as a perceived threat to the financial industry. He and other founding members of linkedFA not only understood the challenges being faced by financial advisors, but that there was a great need for CRM at the dealer/broker level. Naturally, social media was the solution.

Released only recently, linkedFA has been positively received. For now, mostly independent advisors are among its users, but large broker houses are on board, just waiting to finalize details and decisions before joining.

Five Key Differentials

While Byrne says that most financial investors acknowledge the merits of social media, linkedFA focuses on five key differentials, designed to maximize communication and compliance.

First, linkedFA may be a social networking site but it’s all business. Its business-centric model allows advisors and investors to talk shop, while keeping the professional separated from the personal.

Figure 1. Investor dashboard

With its advanced compliance controls, linkedFA automatically records and stores all communications and content for at least six years, supporting the financial professional’s unique requirements in meeting regulatory bodies’ legal mandates. This allows financial industry professionals to request a custom communications export under the compliance feature at any time.

“Your personal life is your business, but it’s not good for business,” says Byrne. linkedFA provides a degree of reputation management, requiring advisors to approve any comment posted and offering three different profile templates from which to customize appropriately for the audience intended: advisors, marketers and investors.

Advisors needn’t worry about having their clients poached by the competition. With its privacy protection, other advisors can’t see your investors, unless there is a shared connection.


Figure 2. Message & Notification Settings

Finally, linkedFA believes that social networking is about referrals. When investors invite others to join linkedFA, user are automatically linked to the advisor’s network.

Moving Forward

As feedback from Beta users trickles in, linkedFA is prepared to launch updates as needed. Additionally, as more broker houses come aboard, new features may emerge.

Ultimately, linkedFA aims to bring advisors and investors together while maintaining compliance and transparency.

Enterprise 2.0 Conference: How New Tools, Processes Are Creating Value

The growing importance of Enterprise 2.0 tools and processes to a broader range of businesses is reflected in this year’s Enterprise 2.0 UBM TechWeb conference. This year’s action zooms in on the use of social computing, collaborative tools and Web 2.0 technologies, and how they are creating business value.


As one of the major events in social computing on the calendar, it gives companies who are interested in transforming their business through the use of Enterprise 2.0 technologies a chance to see what’s what and what to expect over the course of the following 12 months.

Read related article: Social Networking in the Enterprise: What’s the ROI?

Enterprise 2.0 Driving Business

The list of speakers and themes is growing, and this year conference organizers say they are focused on providing practical steps and case studies on deployment and use of these technologies.

Last year in Boston, the key message we identified coming out of the conference was that that enterprise 2.0 was not about the deployment of technology, but about adoption. And adoption will be one of the focuses this year.

While the list of main tracks is still being developed, some of those already scheduled include:

  • Setting Enterprise 2.0 strategies without the hype
  • Social business applications and platforms
  • Search as a means of developing new business
  • Enterprise collaboration using video
  • Integrating social media and business communities
  • Deploying and mobilizing
  • Adoption in the enterprise for practitioners

Keynote speakers come from across the industry and include:

  • Eugene Lee, CEO, Socialtext
  • Andrew McAfee, Principal Research Scientist, Center for Digital Business, MIT Sloan School of Management
  • JP Rangaswami, CIO and Chief Scientist, BT Design
  • Murali Sitaram, Vice President and General Manager, Cisco's Enterprise Collaboration Platform
  • Gentry Underwood, IDEO

Enterprise 2.0 Conference takes place at the Westin Boston Waterfront, June 14-17, 2010. Head over here for registration.  

Tear Down Knowledge Silos with Enterprise Social Networks

Silos don’t just exist on farms. You can find them in business, in government, in charities, in hospitals, everywhere where humans organize. Silos can be strategic, functional or geographic. They are characterized by their isolation within the larger organization, acting as self-contained units with very little interaction occurring outside their walls.

What is Silo Thinking?

The expressions "silo thinking," "silo vision" and the "silo effect" describe departments, teams and groups that function well on their own but are dysfunctional as contributors to overall performance within an organization. Silos are focused on their own issues, their specialties. The members of silos view the opinions of those outside the silo as being of no value. This behavioral rigidity can have serious negative consequences. Just ask Helen Lampert, Partner at WISDOM Practice, a Toronto, Canada, based consulting firm that specializes in strengthening organizational performance.

"We see silo thinking a lot," states Lampert. "Teams, as small as five members, are just as likely to operate in silos as global organizations with headquarters around the world. The consequence is that the whole is less than the parts, best practices are never shared, and opportunities to leverage existing investments and intellectual capital are wasted."

Lampert along with her partner Lisa Brisebois have been providing companies with training and coaching on improving team effectiveness. Lampert comments, "In our experience, smashing silos is an imperative for success. Sadly, once the silo effect becomes a cultural norm, it takes extraordinary determination and support to break through and change behavior."

The Consequences of Silo Thinking

There are far too many examples of silo thinking contributing to detrimental outcomes. Here are just a few from recent world headlines.

Just think of the senior flight safety decision-making processes at NASA that led to the 2003 Columbia shuttle disaster. Those outside of the inner circle raised alarms about a potential danger from falling foam debris but the inner circle in its silo ignored the concerns. In the report that followed this disaster the conclusions referenced the silo thinking at NASA as contributing to the death of 8 astronauts and the loss of the spacecraft.

What about the lack of a tsunami early warning system when coastal areas around the Indian Ocean were inundated in December 2004? Countries on the Pacific Ocean's Ring of Fire had an early warning system in place. Why did countries surrounding the Indian Ocean not overcome their own silo thinking to recognize the importance of implementing a similar system? Over 226,000 people died. Many could have been saved.

Can the failure of the levies around New Orleans be attributed to the silo effect? The Army Corps of Engineers, climatologists, federal and state government bodies, all failed to act in concert to prevent the post-Katrina disaster. Each knew that the levies could not withstand a significant storm surge resulting from a hurricane. The result — the flooding of 80% of the city and the death of over 1,800 people.

Is the current massive recall of Toyota motor vehicles another example of the consequences of silo thinking? Despite customer field complaints about quality and safety issues, those in the upper tier at Toyota appeared to ignore the problem. The current count has reached over 9 million vehicles recalled.

In all these cases multi-disciplinary and cross-departmental knowledge sharing could have played a mitigating part leading to different outcomes.

What Role Can Enterprise Social Networks Play?

Enterprise social networks are primarily platforms for omni-directional communication. If you were create a diagram of an enterprise social network it isn't hierarchical. It's more like a circle. When David Tebbutt, an analyst with Freeform Dynamics, presented at the CMA Annual Conference in London, England, in February 2009, his topic was "The Business Value of Social Networking." Tebbutt outlines what social software means to the corporate world: "Hierarchies get flattened. Silos get breached. Intermediaries get sidelined. Openness increases. Transparency increases." Let's look at each item from Tebbutt's quote.

  1. Hierarchies get flattened
    Enterprise social networks are primarily platforms for omni-directional communication. If you were create a diagram of an enterprise social network it isn't hierarchical. It's more like a circle with lines of communication crossing in every direction. Information flows up and throughout the organization. The social profile of a person at the top of the organization chart in a social network appears no differently from the employee who is on the production line. The entire dynamic of a business can be altered particularly around problem solving and collective causes.
  2. Silos get breached
    Lampert states, "To break through silos we begin by demonstrating they exist." Most companies do not freely admit they foster a silo culture. When social networks are implemented new roles and structures emerge in the virtual space breaking down the silo walls. Lampert observes, "once individuals connect on a more personal level you can institute new role structures, identify cross-functional opportunities where previous silo thinkers can come together and share."
  3. Intermediaries get sidelined
    With blogs, wikis, walls, chat, multimedia support, document sharing, virtual community spaces, tagging, powerful search and other functionality, an enterprise loses its internal gatekeepers. Blockers melt away and sharing becomes part of the corporate ethos.
  4. Openness increases
    Social networking is all about communication, about a continuous conversation, unfiltered, direct, without mediation. This conversation can be between people in the same department, in different departments, between employees and customers, between employees and prospects, between customers and prospects, and with suppliers.
  5. Transparency increases
    An enterprise social network can encompass not only the corporate team but also suppliers, customers and prospects. Through transparency the business can enhance its reputation as being responsive and responsible. Transparency makes the company more agile. It can bring expertise to bear quickly because the shared expertise is available community wide within the social network. Knowledge flows. New hires become more effective, more quickly.

In our case examples of silo thinking it doesn't take much convincing to see the merits and value of implementing tools that breach silo walls. Social networking can play such a key role in helping companies to be their best by harvesting the collective wisdom in which they have invested. Lampert believes that social networks can play a huge role in organizations. She states, "today our clients at Wisdom Practice are able to come together in so many ways thanks to new technologies like social networking. We're seeing a huge uptake of these types of business tools. It just makes sense — easier, faster and unlimited collaboration at your fingertips and no silo walls to get in the way."

Social Media Minute: Twitter Makes a Deal with Yahoo, Passes MySpace on Status Updates

Social media moves so fast, it's hard to keep up. Here are the week's top stories in scan-friendly format:

  • Social Networks Continue To Draw More Visitors
  • Yahoo Signs Partnership to Integrate with Twitter
  • Betty White Has a Shot at SNL, Because of Facebook Fans
  • Twitter Passes MySpace For Number of Status Updates

Social Networks Continue To Draw More Visitors

Nielsen, one of the world's most quoted research companies, has reported that social networking use amongst Internet users has increased sharply over the last year. In the month of December 2009, global consumers spent around 5.5 hours on social networking sites, an 82% percent increase over December 2008.

Also, social networks and blogs still rank amongst the most popular online activities, even beating out online gaming and instant messaging. What sites were the most popular online? Facebook won this honor with 207 million unique visitors in the month of December. An impressive 2/3 of all global social media users say they visited Facebook during the month.

Looking internationally, Australians lead the world in time spent on social media sites, with more than 6 hours per person spent on social media followed closely by the United Kingdom.

These numbers should be welcome news to sites such as Twitter and Facebook. It suggests that not only are they adding more new users each day, but these folks are lingering around more on the site, making social media advertising more attractive.

One figure not mentioned in the Nielsen report is if mobile access to Facebook/Twitter are included in the hours per month.

Yahoo Signs Partnership to Integrate with Twitter

As readers probably know, Twitter is a highly addictive property that gives you instant updates on your friends' status, current events and more. Recognizing this, Yahoo has recently announced a deal with Twitter that will bring Twitter integration into many of Yahoo's popular services and portals. In effect, Twitter users can now update their status from the Yahoo home page, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo News, Sports and many other Yahoo properties. Also, Twitter users will be able to see their Twitter timeline on Yahoo sites as well.

As a second part of the agreement, Yahoo will have access to real-time Twitter results in its search engine, much like the deals signed last year between Twitter and Google/Bing.

It is apparent that with this deal, Yahoo is recognizing that Twitter is a sticky service that is likely to be around for quite some time. The Twitter integration is similar to another social networking partnership Yahoo has already built with Facebook.

Betty White Has a Shot at SNL, Because of Facebook Fans

Not long ago, a Facebook page was set up by user David Matthews. Since launching, the fan page has gained almost half a million fans, all rallied around one cause: to give Betty White the chance to host Saturday Night Live. It appears the former star of The Golden Girls has gained some fans on the popular social networking site and these fans want to see the comedy actress on SNL.

Mashable reports that Betty White is not associated with the page, but that she'd welcome the opportunity if the gig came up.

These types of grassroots efforts show how social networking can really affect mass media and public discourse. Obviously, getting Betty White on SNL won't cure cancer or house all the homeless, but it goes to show that when people rally around a cause and use the new "mass media" that is social networking, good things can happen.

Twitter Passes MySpace For Number of Status Updates

Just a few years ago, MySpace was the top dog in social networking. The site had a large user base and was acquired by News Corp. because of the promise it held. However, flash forward to today, where Twitter and Facebook dominate the news in the social media space.

Recently, Twitter announced that they see an average of 50 million status messages posted each day. ReadWriteWeb looked to MySpace to evaluate their figures, and counted that they have around 33 million status messages per day. In effect, this means that Twitter is updated now more than MySpace — a pretty interesting development.

However it should be pointed out that MySpace is still used to a high degree. 33 million status messages per day is a large number in and of itself. So, the old guy on the block isn't dead yet, but he has been passed up by the new kid. How MySpace responds will be watched carefully, I'm sure.

Facebook Buys Talent, Ready to Counter Google Buzz?

 And the shopping sprees continue! Facebook (nsite) recently bought an under-the-radar company called Octazen Solutions—its first purchase since acquiring FriendFeed seven months ago.

Facebook’s Got Talent

The team behind the second most popular website in the U.S. is referring to the purchase as a “small talent acquisition.” Said the Facebook team: “We’ve admired the engineering team’s efforts for some time now and this is part of our ongoing effort to add experienced, accomplished technical talent.”

It’s worth mentioning that Facebook’s purchase of FriendFeed was also described as an addition of talent, but the conditions this time are different. While FriendFeed continues to operate separately from Facebook a whole seven months after being acquired, Octazen is already closing its doors. Once an importing solution for webmail contacts, the company’s site now states the following:

…effective immediately, Octazen will no longer accept new service contracts or renew existing service contracts, and will enter a transition period to wind down operations. During this transition period, Octazen will continue to honor existing service contracts and will remain your point-of-contact. We wanted to inform you as soon as possible to ensure you have adequate time to select another service provider without disruption to your business. We will do our best to work with you to ensure a smooth transition.

What is Facebook Up To?

These days it’s silly to take acquisitions lightly, especially when it comes to the shopping habits of giants like Facebook or Google (who, incidentally, just picked up social search engine Aardvark and a mobile text-search tool called reMail).

Interestingly, Octazen’s raison d’etre was similar to what Google Buzz got maimed for: Importing social network users' contacts from e-mail services into their social networks, except without all the messy privacy issues of course.

Users can already find new Facebook buddies via major services like AIM and Gmail, but with Octazen’s added capabilities Facebook may be able to determine user relationships on other social networks and e-mail services around the Web.

Could this acquisition be an answer to Google Buzz and the Google consolidation phenomenon? We’re willing to bet so, at least in part.

Social E-Mail Wars: Outlook Integrates LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace

Rather than creating an in-house social networking tool like the thus-far-catastrophic e-disaster more commonly known as Google Buzz, Microsoft (site) has decided to integrate the elite right into their own platform.

Introducing LinkedIn, Facebook and Myspace for Outlook 2010:

The Outlook Social Connector

Social networking within e-mail isn’t a brand new idea; Outlook’s Social Connector (OSC) was first touched on by Microsoft in November of last year. The addition aims to be enterprise-y by connecting people with their colleagues in a familiar environment.

"We don't want this to sort of be the next great time waster in the workplace," pointed out Will Kennedy, a corporate vice president for the Office group.

Features include:

  • The People Pane A name, picture, and title for your colleagues whenever reading a message from them.
  • Rich history See a communications history for each person that sends you messages with access to the most recent messages and attachments.
  • Activities Download and see real-time activity for your colleagues from business and social networks.
  • Get friendly Request someone as a colleague or friend with one click. Synchronize those colleagues with Outlook and keep them up-to-date as their information changes.
  • SharePoint 2010 Connect to the new MySite social networking experience right out of the box with the OSC & SharePoint 2010.
  • Extensible A public SDK allows anyone to build a connection to business or consumer social networks.

microsoft_outlook_socnetworking.jpg Outlook Social Connector

LinkedIn for Outlook

LinkedIn for Outlook allows Office 2010 Beta users to connect the OSC to a public network for the first time. By doing so, you can take advantage of all that niftyness mentioned above. Yes, this means you can view your LinkedIn colleagues’ status updates and photos next to the e-mail messages they sent you.

Also, in case you haven't put two and two together, it also means that when a colleague updates their contact information in LinkedIn, their contact info is automatically updated within Outlook. The same goes for phones synced with Outlook—contact info from the Web is automatically synchronized with your mobile.

Facebook and Myspace Partnerships

Even though Kennedy says Microsoft doesn’t want the OSC to be viewed as a time waster, they’ve sprinkled some popular social networking platforms in as well. The integration of Facebook and Myspace offers all the same perks that the addition of LinkedIn does:

outlook_facebook.jpg Facebook for Outlook

Says the official Microsoft Outlook blog: “Our vision for Outlook (and the OSC) is to provide a communications hub that is vital to both professional and personal communications; by integrating with both Facebook and MySpace, Outlook 2010 enables you to connect not only to co-workers and colleagues, but with all of your friends and family within your Outlook Inbox.”

Social E-Mail

It's kind of a big deal now, wouldn't you say? And as hard as Microsoft tries to convince us all that this connector isn't a time-waster, it's highly unlikely it'll be seen that way—at least, in part. However, there two points of interest with this approach: The inclusion of LinkedIn will surely attract the fickle enterprise, and could be the one tick that equals staying power for this tool. Secondly, Microsoft didn't mess around with in-house solutions. This may or may not be Google's biggest mistake with Buzz (other than the whole privacy thing), as it seems people love them some Facebook and Twitter time (note: there's no talk of being able to push information towards Twitter or Facebook from within Outlook yet). 

Are we ready for everything Google, or is a combination of our favorites the golden ticket? It'll be interesting to watch these two solutions compete.

Get started by downloading Office 2010 Beta.