February 16, 2011
· Posted by Greg Lloyd
Yesterday I read GigaOM analyst and editor Haydn Shaughnessy's Future of Work Platforms report (registration required, free seven day trial available). I commented: Haydn -- A very thoughtful and useful analysis – a combination that’s all too rare! I’m particularly happy to see your thoughts on observable work (see the full report for Haydn's excellent analysis).
Ever since Jon Udell coined the term, it struck me as good way to talk about practical benefits and a business purpose for collaboration. In my opinion it helps by pealing back issues of privacy in context and activity streams, along with subtleties required to support the social dance of getting things done, dealing with exceptions, and staying aware of what’s going around you without getting swamped. This is much closer to jazz than the world of canned business transactions. It requires a level of attention to ease of use and user experience that’s just as important but in many ways more challenging to do well in a business context than for the public Web.
I also thank you for your careful analysis and kind words about Traction Software.
I've thought a lot about how to describe the relationship between Observable Work and the style of action tracking, coordination and agile project management used by TeamPage customers like Brian Tullis and Joe Crumpler, as well Traction Software folk. When you watch a skilled team in action, it's like watching a great jazz group - there are themes, there is structure, and there are limits, but a team shines in individual excellence combined with coordination, improvisation, innovation, handling exceptions, and seemingly effortless awareness of where others are and where they're headed.
Traction TeamPage 5.1 aims to support this performance model. Bill Ives captures the idea well: "The action tracking concept is not old school project management with Gantt charts and resource allocation. It is allowing employees to manage their work tasks and make this management transparent to those who need to know...This is the action tracking part of project management for the regular employee, not the program management office. It brings this activity into the enterprise 2.0 world as every task is treated as an object for comments, RSS, and made searchable to those with the proper permissions."
Every business activity involves some measure of action planning and tracking. People have lived with action tracking systems that range from a list on the back of an envelope, to getting things done style planning, to multilevel project plans for large and complex products like aircraft.
The TeamPage 5.1 action tracking model focuses on making it simple for individuals and teams to plan and coordinate the daily, weekly and monthly activities that drive effective teamwork. This level of coordination can quickly become too complex for the simplest systems, but too detailed – and close to real life – to be effectively modeled, tracked and managed in real time using software designed solely for top down project modeling and planning.
In my opinion, the big difference is action tracking built in to the natural flow of work. This makes daily life easier rather than more complicated.
- Collect individual tasks into projects to make summaries easy to report up, and top down progress easy to track by project or by individual.
- Tag any paragraph as a task and later dive down by person, task, project or milestone to make personal tracking and maintaining awareness much easier.
- Click a name and link to a colleague's profile to see tasks, activity and status from their perspective.
- Pop a quick question into a status window to make communication quick, effective and observable.
- Add a comment to a task (status message, page, post or paragraph) to raise an issue or suggest a solution, to make exceptions much easier to recognize and handle.
All of this works with TeamPage's advanced search, notification, and a collaboration model that puts tasks, status, conversations and posts in a business context, organizing communication by space for those who have permission to read, while using spaces to protect all content in client, partner or internal spaces that require privacy.
Watch the video to see what I mean.
I've worked for the US Naval Research Lab managing parts of very big projects for the US Navy, and as a member of small startup teams. I believe that at the working level the same model supports effective teamwork where bottom up activities meet top down plans as the foundation of projects of any size.
We're seeing first results from TeamPage customers and Traction Software using TeamPage 5.1 integrated action tracking and the response has been great. Look for updates here, on Twitter, or join the TeamPage Forum and the live conversation - or to should I say jam? (to borrow a great term from IBM).
GigaOm Pro analyst Haydn Shaughnessy writes "The enterprise collaboration space has entered an exciting new phase of collaboration. New software and applications are coming to market, as are new concepts for how to work and communicate in the knowledge age." Shaughnessy analyzes the new diversity of work, the human element, and provides key takeaways as well as reviews of hosted and E2.0 collaborative platforms. The free summary includes complete table of contents [ including Traction Software in the E2.0 Platform space ]. A GigaOm Pro subscription is required to view the full report, with a seven day Free Trial available. » Read the summary see also The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz
Simon Mackie of Web Worker Daily writes about the new GigaOm Pro report on The Future of Work Platforms (subscription required). Mackie highlights experience, driving new concepts in collaborative, work, ease of implementation, deep system integration, work process innovation, and stronger management oversight as potentially sustainable differentiators for companies [ including Traction Software ] in a feature comparison table from the report. » Read the full story.
Gleanster today announced the publication of three new "Gleansight" benchmark reports, on Mobile Marketing, Business Intelligence and Enterprise Collaboration. Drawing from the experiences of more than five hundred companies, the reports offer a comprehensive look at how Top Performers are implementing each of these initiatives to achieve their desired business objectives.
The Gleansight benchmark reports, along with related Deep Dive analyst perspectives, can be downloaded for free. Each report runs approximately 25 pages and consists of seven sections: Topic Overview, Reasons to Implement, Value Drivers, Challenges, Performance Metrics, Success Stories and the Vendor Landscape. The latter section includes company descriptions, analyst commentaries and comparative rankings (when available) across four key dimensions of evaluation.
For the report on Enterprise Collaboration, the vendors include: Atlassian; Blogtronix; Cisco Systems; Ektron; EMC Corporation; EPiServer; FatWire Software; Huddle; IBM; IGLOO Software; INgage Networks; Jive Software; Leverage Software; Liferay; Microsoft; Mzinga; NewsGator; Novell; Open Text; Oracle; PBworks; Realcom U.S.; Saba; Salesforce.com; Siteforum; Socialtext; Spigit; Telligent; Traction Software, Inc.; TWiki; XWiki; Yammer.
About Gleanster Gleanster is a market research firm that benchmarks best practices in technology-enabled business initiatives. Gleanster generates actionable insights that allow companies to make smart business decisions and match their needs with vendor solutions. The research, which draws from the experiences of tens of thousands of industry practitioners, is predicated on four guiding principles: specificity, objectivity, brevity and clarity. Gleanster ascertains how Top Performers achieve their desired business objectives - and how Everyone Else can, too. For more information, please visit www.gleanster.com.
For the original version on PRWeb visit: www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2011/2/prweb8114901.htm
January 18, 2011
· Posted by Jordan Frank
Jordan Frank writes: At the Gilbane Conference last month I stood in for Greg Lloyd in the Portal or Enterprise Social Software: Which Collaboration Environment to Choose? panel with David Seuss (CEO, Northern Light) and Jay Batson (Co-Founder and VP, Acquia).
I started my talk off with emphasis by asking Why Does Enterprise Search Suck? Then I elaborated on why the social intranet, built on the basis of links and pages, can work with good search such as our TeamPage Attivio® Search Module to deliver an intranet that works. In cases, social software may be used for a given use case (e.g. project management) or it may serve as the backbone for the intranet as well.
The tail end of the talk offers examples of each case deployed at customer scenarios at Kuka Systems, Alcoa, Athens Group, Borlaug Global Rust Initiative, National Health Service and a Global Pharma.
The full set of slides is available here at SlideShare:
高いセキュリティ性を確保するため、ワークスペース毎に細かく設定可能なアクセスコントロール機能や強固な認証機能を搭載。投稿された情報には段落単位でタグをつけて、必要な情報のみ抜き出してコメントや分類ができる。プロジェクトの内容やメンバーの役割や立場に応じて、ワークスペースや管理画面をカスタマイズも可能だ。» Read the full ASCII.jp article (Japanese)
[Google Translation] Project-based workspaces to streamline the Web to create a collaborative work on a collaboration tool that provides a foundation for the smooth working "TeamPage 5.1"
5.1 TeamPage is project-based workspaces to streamline the Web to create a collaborative work on a collaboration tool that provides a foundation for the smooth work.
If the PC environment from any browser available, such as smart phones and can be easily read and post information like your blog. Also, you can create multiple workspaces, they can work environments that are organized for each project.
To ensure high security and strong authentication capabilities can set granular access control for each workspace. The information posted is tagged by paragraph, and comments can be classified only to extract the required information. Member's role and position depending on the content and projects, and they can customize the workspace management screen.
» Read the Applied Knowledge Co Inc Press Release (Japanese) The Traction TeamPage 5.1 Japan release also include the Attivio Advanced Search module with Advanced Japanese Linguistics Analysis including faceted navigation.
Bob Gourley, CTOLabs writes: "This list reviews the companies regarded as having very high potential to change the way IT is done in large enterprises. For a company to be on the list they must have a currently shipping capability that appears to be a real game changer in enterprise IT." Traction Software is listed as one of the Disruptive small to medium companies versus IT Powerhouses like IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. » Read the Full Story
Bill Ives AppGap Review of Traction TeamPage Release 5.1 focuses on Traction's new integrated action tracking and project management: "The action tracking concept is not old school project management with Gantt charts and resource allocation. It is allowing employees to manage their work tasks and make this management transparent to those who need to know...This is the action tracking part of project management for the regular employee, not the program management office. It brings this activity into the enterprise 2.0 world as every task is treated as an object for comments, RSS, and made searchable to those with the proper permissions. Traction has always had great granular security and this permission level technology is applied here, as well." » Read the Full Story
See related 9 Nov 2010 | Traction® TeamPage 5.1 Introduces Integrated Action Tracking For Improved Team Performance
Traction Software has announced new TeamPage capabilities to help teams work together more effectively. Traction TeamPage Release 5.1 makes it easy for individuals to see their own action plans, the status of shared projects, team workload, individual progress and team progress toward common goals--all within the context of the TeamPage collaboration and communication platform where the planned work can also be managed or done. » Read the full story
Cornell information specialists received a 2010 Forrester Groundswell Award Nov. 19 for the globalrust.org website, which provides wheat warriors the advantages they need to combat the virulent new diseases of wheat that threaten world food security... From the beginning, the project presented various communication challenges related to intranets and extranets that the DRRW Web team knew they would have to solve to engage all the project partners... "We wanted to engage wheat scientists and promote multidimensional engagement," said Nelson, former communications director for the DRRW and an extension associate at Cornell. "We were looking for the ability to mix social, mobile, multichannel and media to make it easier for these high-value scientists to work together."... A combination of Traction TeamPage software and Attivio's Active Intelligence Engine enables the globalrust.org website to be user-friendly and deliver key content to more than 300 researchers daily » Read the full story
8 Nov 2010 | EContent - A Case of Life-Saving Collaboration
26 Feb 2010 | Great Wired Magazine story on Borlaug Global Rust Initiative
Traction TeamPage Customer Story Borlaug Global Rust Initiative
Traction Software is honored to be named one of EContent Magazine's one hundred companies that matter most in the digital content industry. Traction was one of only ten companies named to the list in the collaboration category. Traction Software partner Attivio was named to the 2010 EContent 100 list in the search category. EContent Editor-in-chief Michelle Manafy said: "... this year our judging team was tougher than ever before. Few (if any) incumbents were kept on through mindshare and momentum alone; every company was held up to scrutiny in terms of innovation and meeting customer needs. It was a challenging year for voting—as it has been for the companies that made this list through their hard work, customer focus, and continued responsiveness to the changing digital content landscape. The need to leverage tools to effectively maximize the value of digital content has never been greater. Like the creation of this list, the process is a tough one, but it’s well worth it." » See the EContent 100 Introduction and Category Descriptions and the EContent Judging Team.
London, November 19, 2010 Forrester Research, Inc. honored the six final 2010 Forrester Groundswell Award winners for excellence in effective use of social technologies to advance an organizational or business goal. Winners of the fourth annual Forrester Groundswell Awards in the International Business-to-Consumer (B2C) division were honored at Forrester's Marketing & Strategy Forum EMEA in London. "We're thrilled by the diversity and quality of the entries in this year's International Forrester Groundswell Awards," said Nate Elliott, principal analyst at Forrester. "With consumers worldwide embracing social technologies, the Groundswell is now global. The finalists and winners we've recognized — including local efforts on four continents and a number of truly global programs — are among the leaders in using social tools to reach and serve their customers." » Read the Forrester Press Release
The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative is an international project founded to help reduce the threat of something called ‘wheat rust’ – a crop disease that has the potential to devastate the world’s food supplies. Because the disease mutates as it spreads, scientists from different countries must work together to fight it, and they must do so quickly. The Knowledge Bank allows a small number of global wheat rust experts to rapidly share new knowledge with local biologists, agricultural organizations and NGOs – and then allows them all to collaborate on solutions to beating the disease. Hundreds of researchers in more than 50 counties use the Knowledge Bank every day to fight wheat rust and protect the world’s crops.
The Borlaug Global Research Initiative website globalrust.org is powered by Traction TeamPage with Traction's Attivio Advanced Search option.
See also 8 Nov 2010 | EContent - A Case of Life-Saving Collaboration
26 Feb 2010 | Great Wired Magazine story on Borlaug Global Rust Initiative
Traction TeamPage Customer Story Borlaug Global Rust Initiative
Meet Jordan Frank and see Traction TeamPage 5.1 at Booth # 406, KMWorld 2010 at the Renaissance Washington DC Hotel. TeamPage Release 5.1 makes it easy for individuals to see their own action plans, the status of shared projects, team workload, individual progress, and team progress toward common goals, all within the context of the TeamPage collaboration and communication platform. This clear and simple model is focused on the lightweight coordination of individual and team actions that drive collection, analysis and planning for knowledge management, intelligence analysis, and all business activities.
Combating the Wheat Rust Pandemic: Bridging the Worldwide Scientific Community with Enterprise 2.0 Social Software -- Wheat rust is a serious fungal disease affecting wheat caused by the rust fungus Puccinia triticina. It is the most prevalent of all the wheat rust diseases, occurring in nearly all areas where wheat is grown. Thought to be all but extinct for more than 50 years, the world is now facing a new pandemic of wheat rust -- Ug99, a highly virulent stem rust variant. This strain could potentially be responsible for the destruction of more than a third of worldwide wheat production. Such a failure could be devastating as wheat is the world's most widely planted crop and accounts for a fifth of humanity's calorie intake (1).
The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI), a collaborative effort led by Cornell University and including such prestigious organizations as the University of Minnesota, University of California Davis, the University of Sydney, the USDA, the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute and more, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was formed to reduce the world's vulnerability to wheat rust diseases through a first-ever international collaboration in wheat research.
Currently, only a handful of organizations have expertise on the subject of wheat rust. The BGRI needed a way to bring these experts as well as a dispersed community of wheat scientists, universities and agricultural research organizations in more than 50 countries together to collaborate, educate a broader community and disseminate details on wheat rust research and best practices to prevent its spread.
Further, within the scientific community knowledge is typically spread through the publication of research within peer-reviewed scientific journals – a process that can slow the exchange of knowledge by months and years. However, the BGRI could not afford to operate on that kind of timeline. Ug99 isn't just on the march; it's mutating, and has developed the ability to overcome resistance genes that were being used to combat it. The project leaders needed a collaboration platform that could be easily organized, easily updated and accessible from anywhere in the world.
The BGRI decided to create a community portal where research could be published, shared and collaborated upon. Further, the site would offer resources and training for the scientists who have never witnessed wheat rust first hand.
The project organizers, led by Cornell University, selected Traction TeamPage from Traction Software, an award winning social software solution that combines wiki, blog, tagging, activity streams, discussion and social networking capabilities in a secure, scalable Enterprise 2.0 Social Software platform.
In a short period of time (a few weeks), the BGRI launched Global Rust (www.globalrust.org), a publicly available web-based knowledge source for wheat scientists, agricultural research organizations, policymakers and others. As part of the newly-launched community there is a public domain for information sharing as well as private communities where researchers can come together to collaborate in a more focused manner.
Today, the site coordinators and users alike have noted that the site is an excellent resource of news and critical research information on wheat rust. Through Traction TeamPage's access control features, leaders are able to more easily disseminate information that has been appropriately vetted and scientists can collaborate privately and securely on grant proposals to secure future funding, while Traction's version control feature enables teams to keep track of shared documents. Effectively, TeamPage satisfies their need for a virtual intranet; project management and collaboration tools; private communities; and a public wiki resource.
Additionally, the Traction TeamPage Attivio Search Module, which includes Attivio, Inc.'s Active Intelligence Engine (AIE), was selected to power search and information access, which are considered vital functions for the website. AIE is a unified information access platform that aggregates content in all forms – structured, unstructured and semi-structured. The Attivio Search Module and underlying AIE gives researchers and other wheat rust community stakeholders easy access to relevance ranked search, guided by advanced entity extraction as well as further drill down based on explicit facets including tags on the content, and implicit facets, such as derived key words and phrases, that occur prominently in the content.
Attivio's AIE enables Global Rust site visitors to wade through thousands of pages, documents, presentations and books. For example, the "bible" of wheat rust – the "Wheat Rust Atlas" published more than 20 years ago (and since out of print) offers more than 200 pages of key wheat rust information. Previously, getting copies of this book was difficult and expensive. The leaders of the Global Rust community struck a deal with the publishers and they were able to put a PDF of the entire book onto the TeamPage site. Through relevance ranking in the search results, excerpts from the book appear when the search terms appear near each other and in the proper order. This brings key source information to hurried researchers without requiring them to sift through 100s of pages.
Once blind to the full community of researchers, institutions, NGOs and other wheat research advocates, all stakeholders can now quickly navigate the wiki table of contents in the Advocacy space in Traction TeamPage. The Global Rust team used the wiki Table of Contents and parent/child features to build navigation into continent and country-based lists of people, projects and institutions focused on the rust problem. Exposing the community opens up new lines of communications, allows better sharing of best practices across country and continent borders and enables the community to better leverage scarce expertise.
Since the site's initial launch, content has increased multiple fold. With more content, there comes a driving need to constantly improve site navigation and information retrieval capabilities. The Global Rust team leverages TeamPage "sections" to dynamically display key content and easily reorganize the content. Meanwhile, with increasing content, the relevance engine in Attivio's AIE improves results and user efficiency via keyword facets and other advanced features.
Today, the site is used for knowledge-sharing as well as cultivating a rust community to combat Ug99. The combination of Traction TeamPage and Attivio's Active Intelligence Engine has enabled the Global Rust site to be user-friendly and to deliver key content to more than 300 researchers daily. In addition to the aggregation of data and content, at any given time, there are more than 25 people on the site working collaboratively to combat the rust threat.
Because of the immediacy in which research and data are available, the community has been able to get information to the public in a more timely fashion, including news about the availability of Ug99-resistant wheat varieties. Further, the collaborations have resulted in studies and reports that have enabled additional funding opportunities for more research projects and sustainable defenses against the wheat rust fungus.
Because of the initial success achieved through the globalrust.org community, the BGRI continues to grow its membership and encourage scientists and policymakers to publish important details on wheat rust. As part of this, site coordinators are introducing multi-media functions such as video and streaming media to further the collaboration effort and to better train those in the field who are working to identify and combat wheat rust first hand.
(1) "Rust in the bread basket," The Economist, July 3, 2010
19 Nov 2010 | Borlaug Global Rust Initiative Wins 2010 Forrester Groundswell Social Impact Award
25 May 2011 | Attivio and Traction Software Help Power Borlaug Global Rust Initiative to a 2011 Computerworld Honors Program Nomination
Press961: 29 Oct 2011 | KMWorld - Rich options expand the collaborative horizon
26 Feb 2010 | Great Wired Magazine story on Borlaug Global Rust Initiative
EContent's Marji McClure reports on how collaborative tools integrated with knowledge capture can streamline complex business processes while also providing valuable insights organizations for future use. She interviewed D. Craig McHenry, senior director of competitor insights of Pfizer Nutrition. “The big issue we found ourselves needing to address,” says McHenry, “was how do we really build over time a complete record of the different pieces of information gathered and analyzed and assessed and document it? How do we create a living history or a living document of that conversation?” McHenry and his team turned to Traction TeamPage. McHenry cites benefits of the Traction solution including reduction in the amount of information being pushed through the company's email system, making it less burdensome to stay engaged and on top of what happens in discussion. » Read the full story
Analyst Bill Ives reviews Traction TeamPage Release 5.1 new Action Tracking capabilities. Bill includes screen shots of task, milestone and personal profile views along with his analysis. He says: "The action tracking concept is not old school project management with Gantt charts and resource allocation. It is allowing employees to manage their work tasks and make this management transparent to those who need to know. This is where the observable work comes it. I have seen considerable improvement in employee and team performance when their work becomes transparent to the right others. The spot light does wonders when applied correctly. ... I think that this complete collection of new capabilities builds on the strong platform already established to take it further into the ideal of enterprise 2.0. Here the activities of an organization are accessible to those who need to know and this transparency operates at the task or action level." » Read the Full Story
See also 9 Nov 2010 | Traction® TeamPage 5.1 Introduces Integrated Action Tracking For Improved Team Performance
Santa Clara CA / Enterprise 2.0 — November 9, 2010 — Bridging project management and the flow of work Traction Software, the leader in enterprise social software innovation, today announced new TeamPage capabilities to help teams work together more effectively. Traction TeamPage Release 5.1 makes it easy for individuals to see their own action plans, the status of shared projects, team workload, individual progress, and team progress toward common goals – all within the context of the TeamPage collaboration and communication platform where the planned work can also be managed or done. Read » full release
See also Action Tracking with Tasks, Milestones, and Projects (video)
EContent reporter Kurt Schiller describes how the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) is marshaling a global response to a threat to world's food supply. Wheat rust is a virulent crop disease spread by the wind that can rapidly decimate crops leading to drastically reduced harvest and the threat of famine - currently endangering Africa, Asia and the Middle East. BGRI chose Traction TeamPage and its Attivio powered advanced search capability to quickly stand up a hub for collaborative scientific research, planning and public communication of the latest research results to a global audience. See the Traction TeamPage powered BGRI site globalrust.org » Read the Full Story
See also 26 Feb 2010 | Great Wired Magazine story on Borlaug Global Rust Initiative
Paula Thornton followed up on a TUG tradition she started last year with a series of short and lively interviews of folk who participated in TUG 2010 Newport. This year Paula interviewed: Brian Tullis, Alcoa (preview below); Michael Wadsworth; Patrice Livingston and Masayuki Kojima, AKJ Ltd.
TUG 2010 Interview - Brian Tullis from Traction Software on Vimeo.
See the Traction Software page on Vimeo.com for more videos (moved from blip.tv).
See the 12-15 Oct 2010 | Fifth Annual Traction User Group Meeting, TUG 2010 Newport for a summary of keynotes, talks and sessions.
TUG 2010 Newport was the best Traction User Group meeting yet! For links to individual video and audio podcasts of the fifth annual Traction User Group 12-15 Oct 2010 sessions and slides, see the TUG 2010 Newport Agenda page. See Chris Nuzum, Traction Software CTO and co-founder's TUG 2010 Traction Update below.
TUG 2010 Observable Work: Make Actions Observable Too - Chris Nuzum from Traction Software on Vimeo.
If you can't make it to the fifth annual Traction User Group meeting on 12-15 October 2010 in Newport RI, you can still join the fun on Twitter! Use hash tag #TUG2010 to follow updates from Newport or ask questions. You can also follow folk attending TUG 2010 Newport with the TUG2010-Newport list
Observable Workshop | 9am to 12:30pm EDT Oct 14 2010
Join Jim McGee, Jon Udell, Peter O'Kelly, Brian Tullis, Paula Thornton, Larry Hawes, Jack Vinson and others for a Observable Workshop to discuss the pattern that Jon called observable work : "... the idea that by narrating our work, we can perhaps restore some of what was lost when factories and then offices made work opaque and not easily observable." This will be a lively session based on this summer's globe spanning Twitter and blog discussion of Observable Work.
Friday Oct 15 Update: Special thanks to Paula Thornton (@Rotcapchen), Mary Abraham (@VMaryAbraham), Jared Sartin (@jaredsartin), Larry Hawes (@lehawes), Jack Vinson (@jackvinson), Arik Johnson (@ArikJohnson) and Traction Software's own Jordan Frank (@jordanfrank) for a their lively Tweet stream coverage of TUG 2010 Newport.
Friday Oct 22 Update: First batch of TUG 2010 videos and slides including Jim McGee, Jon Udell keynotes,Traction CTO Chris Nuzum, see 12-15 Oct 2010 | Fifth Annual Traction User Group Meeting, TUG 2010 Newport
Jon Udell - author, information architect, software developer and new media innovator - will give a closing keynote for the 2010 Traction User Group conference in Newport RI on 13 Oct 2010, bookending Jim McGee's opening keynote on Observable Work. Jon's 1999 book, Practical Internet Groupware, helped lay the foundation for what we now call social software. Udell was formerly a software developer at Lotus, BYTE Magazine’s executive editor and Web maven, and an independent consultant. He is now a writer and producer for Microsoft as well as a hands on organizer of the elmcity project, see Jon's blog and bio page.
Jon will join Jim McGee, Brian Tullis, Paula Thornton, Larry Hawes and others for a Observable Workshop session on 14 Oct discussing the pattern for Jon called observable work in 2009: "... the idea that by narrating our work, we can perhaps restore some of what was lost when factories and then offices made work opaque and not easily observable." This should be lively and interesting based on this summer's globe spanning Twitter and blog discussion of Observable Work.
See also 12-15 Oct 2010 | Fifth Annual Traction User Group Meeting, TUG 2010 Newport
Data Driven Career Discovery - Jon Udell 28 April 2009
Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work
September 4, 2010
· Posted by Greg Lloyd
A few days ago the Enterprise 2.0 Blog published Venkatesh Rao's excellent post The Real Reasons Enterprise Search is Broken. When he hears ironic jokes comparing search on the public Web versus internal enterprise search, Venkatesh notes: "People move on because they seem to think that this is incompetence at work. Search is soo 1.0 right? It's been solved and we're just fumbling the execution, right?" He says: "I have reached a radical conclusion: broken search is the problem, but fixing search is not the solution. Search breaks behind the firewall for social, not technical reasons... Let's start with the blindingly obvious, and then draw some weird conclusions." I think they are perceptive conclusions based on sound analysis, and agree with most, but come at the problem from a different angle.
I strongly agree with Venkatesh's main conclusion: "The fundamental social and information flow assumptions of “search” need to be deconstructed and reconstructed for the enterprise. Local/silo search within single sites/assets is fine. Enterprise-wide search in its naive form is a terrible idea."
I agree that flat and dumb enterprise-wide search is broken for the reasons he points out. The principles that make relevance ranked search work well on the public Web fail miserably in the link-poor, (relatively) small scale, cc spammed, siloed and obscurely hidden environment behind the firewall in most companies.
I agree that "Web 1.0" technology can't address problems of redundant attachments, email hairballs, point-to-point back channel communication that's not even indexed, let alone officialese used to send timed and coded signals the clear! [ I think Venkatesh just outed enterprise steganography. Cool! ]
A few years ago I wrote a note based on similar customer disappointment with enterprise search versus what they saw on the public Web and came to conclusion that the Web 2.0 / Enterprise 2.0 layer over the Web 1.0 layer offers hope for technology-based improvement:
1) Make business context manifest for discovery and search: This means the ability to create spaces that frame natural business context.
A space defines a context for documents, blog posts, wiki pages, status, what we now call activity stream items and more. A space can also carry permission to see or use content within that space - or know that the space exists.
For example a space "Board of Directors" or "Medical Records" may have more restrictive access that a space "Engineering". Although there are good reasons for making spaces as transparent to as many people as possible, a client facing space in a law firm would need to have permission limited to that client and members of the firm - reliably excluding other clients.
Likewise a space in which private medical issues are analyzed and discussed would need to be more private than most other spaces, but provides a perfectly transparent named context for search, faceted navigation and discovery, tagging, activity stream aggregation, or automatic notification - for those with appropriate permission.
A space provides context and can carry permissions, both of which are important for discovery, tagging, navigation, search, and cross-boundary discussions spanning as many spaces as an individual has permission to see (see Borders, Spaces and Places).
2) Searching across business systems is not the major problem. Enterprise search engines such as Attivio do a great job searching across multiple enterprise business systems. An MRP system, Accounting system, CAD/CAE repository may be a "silo", but it's a silo with a well defined purpose that functions like a "bounding space" by providing context that an enterprise search engine can map and use.
For example, searching for a part number might return hits in MRP, Accounting, and CAD/CAE design databases. These different sources can be modeled as facets, which makes it pretty easy to choose from among MRP, Accounting or CAD/CAE hits when you enter a part number depending on content: Are your interested in manufacturing, accounting, or design related part information?
In my opinion, the real problem pops up when you have one, two or a myriad of generic Content Management Systems or email repositories that are used as general purpose buckets where data and documents are dumped:
- Without a bit of context (think of the Ark at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark)
- Without hope of making stored content discoverable and linkable.
- With redundant copies of email conversations and attachments scattered over tens, hundreds or thousands of email accounts and email servers
I don't know a technical solution that disentagles this mess once it has been created. The context was never recorded or was destroyed when it was stored.
Doing a content search for "Acme Briefing" and finding thousands of hits in redundant copies of different versions of the same .ppt attached to email that has been cc:'d and re:'d to death for months is very discouraging.
Intelligent indexing of context as well as content in an Enterprise 2.0 system such as Traction TeamPage solves the nasty problem of correlating messy human details that people rely on beyond the neatly ordered world of functionally siloed business systems. I realize "Neatly ordered" business systems is a relative. A part number is a lot less ambiguous than "a really big contract problem with important customer" when you're trying to discover something.
The answer to a messily human search for "what's the contract problem" is likely to be found in the Enterprise 2.0 record of work, conversation, tagging and tracking by finding either the answer or people who know the answer (and who are now a click away)
I believe that the transactions and content in functionally siloed business systems should be observable and addressable using standard Web protocols (with appropriate identity and security to allow transparent linking). It would also be best to avoid creating separate social silos that act as walled gardens embedded within each business system, see Intertwingled Work.
3) Make "who links to what and who talks to whom about what" indexable for search and discovery. Indexing author, date, space and other metadata as well as content associated with links and attachments adds valuable context for facet content navigation, discovery and search.
When Mr. Dithers shouts: "Bumstead! Where are we on the Acme Account?", the most timely, frequently discussed and contextually relevant version of Dagwood's slide set could pop closer to the top of the result list, along with the cloud of tags and people who have touched or talked about that account (see Why Enterprise Search Sucks).
4) Be clear what you mean by Enterprise Search. No technology or search engine will be able to find its way through the twisty maze of social relationships and pathological behavior that people can use to hide information that they want to keep private and off the record. The only exception is the technology proposed by Prof Germain Gervais in his Green Chameleon video.
What if you really want the inside scoop on what's happening with the Acme Account?
4a) Use the social network. Find someone in the know and ask them. Enterprise social networking can be a lifesaver when the big barrier is finding something which wants to be widely know in the company but is hidden by an infrastructure that sucks. If what you want to know is the unofficial word (often the truth), find people in the know who are part of a network of trust. If you're been in the military, you'd ask a trusted Sergent or Chief who's well connected in the NCO network.
4b) Hire a private detective. It take human intelligence and experience to find something that doesn't want to be widely known in the company (even if it should be widely known by policy). You could also become a whistle blower and get professional investigators on the case if the issue is really serious.
4c) Find a better place to work. If your just plain frustrated with an inability to find what you need to get your job done and feel happy about it, rise to a position of power and fix it, or find a job in an organization that's not so damaged.
For an example of how Traction TeamPage handles boundary aware navigation, tagging and search, see TeamPage Attivio® Search Module and Michael Sampson's Currents: "TeamPage - the One System to Rule It All".
KMWorld recognizes Traction's continued leadership in the Enterprise 2.0 market, naming Traction TeamPage a KMWorld Trend-Setting Product of 2010. KMWorld Editor in Chief Hugh McKellar says: "This year, more than 600 products were assessed by our judging panel which consists of editorial colleagues, analysts, system integrators, vendors themselves (sometimes even competitive ones), line-of-business managers and users. The products selected all demonstrate clearly identifiable technology breakthroughs that serve the vendors’ full spectrum of constituencies, especially their customers." » Read the September 1, 2010 KMWorld Trend-Setting Products of 2010 announcement.
The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative is a great example of Enterprise 2.0 technology used to support global collaboration aimed at finding and implementing a solution to a complex and urgent problem - as originally envisioned by hypertext pioneer Douglas Engelbart. How urgent? "90 percent of the world's wheat has little or no protection against Ug99 wheat rust. This plant disease could quickly spread and annihilate a crop that provides a third of the world's calories." The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative was formed to reduce the world's vulnerability to wheat rust diseases through a first-ever international collaboration in wheat research. We're happy the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative case has been nominated for Forrester's 2010 GroundSwell award. Please read the Groundswell page on The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative's Knowledge Bank - and add your own rating, comment and review for the BGRI case and others.
From the Outcome section:
In addition to serving its publicly facing mission, the site is the hub for globally distributed scientific data collection and research, with over three hundred researchers using the site every day - and more than twenty five using the site at any time.
The BGRI community has compiled important data quickly, and gotten it into the hands of other researchers, institutions, NGO's and other advocates who share the site. This is in sharp contrast to a global research publication cycle which typically operates in a time frame of months or years rather than days or weeks. This is necessary to combat the UG99 threat which not only spreads rapidly, but also mutates rapidly.
The globalrust.org site helps the BGRI community organize and work faster than the threat.
We're delighted that globalrust.org is powered by Traction TeamPage - and puts TeamPage's Attivio Advanced Search option to good use for faceted content navigation of research data and papers as well as content search.