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                                  Showing posts with label collaboration. Show all posts
                                  Showing posts with label collaboration. Show all posts

                                  Monday, June 25, 2012

                                  With Yammer, Microsoft Begins Its Journey From Collaborative To Social


                                  Confirming what we already knew, today Microsoft announced they are acquiring Yammer for $1.2 billion in cold cash. Here's a blog post by David Sacks, the CEO of Yammer.

                                  Microsoft doesn't report a revenue breakdown for their individual products but SharePoint is believed to be one of the fastest growing products with annual revenue of more than $1 billion. Regardless of how Microsoft markets and positions SharePoint, it has always been collaboration software and not really social software. Microsoft does seem to understand the challenges it faces in moving their portfolio of products to the cloud, including SharePoint. Microsoft also understands value of having end users on their side even though SharePoint is sold as enterprise software. Microsoft's challenges in transitioning to the cloud are similar to the ones faced by other on-premise enterprise software vendors.

                                  But, I really admire Microsoft's commitment by not giving up on any of these things. Skype's acquisition was about reaching those millions of end users and they continue to do that with their acquisition of Yammer. Going from collaborative to social requires being able to play at the grassroots level in an organization as opposed to a top down push and more importantly being able to create and leverage network effects. It's incredibly difficult to lead in with an on-premise solution retrofitted for cloud to create network effects. Native cloud solutions do have this advantage. Yammer will do this really well while helping Microsoft to strengthen SharePoint as a product and maintain its revenue without compromising margins. If Microsoft executes this well, they might unlock a solution for their Innovator's Dilemma.

                                  With Yammer, Microsoft does have an opportunity to fill in the missing half of social enterprise by transforming productivity silos into collaborative content curation. As a social enterprise software enthusiast, I would love to see it happen, sooner rather than later.

                                  At personal level, I am excited to see the push for social in enterprise software and a strong will and desire to cater to the end users and not just the decision makers.  I hope that more entrepreneurs recognize that enterprise software could be social, cool, and lucrative. This also strengthens market position for the vendors such as Box and Asana.

                                  It's impressive what an incumbent can do when they decide to execute on their strategy. Microsoft is fighting multiple battles. They do have the right cards. It's to be seen how they play the game.

                                  Tuesday, February 9, 2010

                                  Google Buzz Is New Black - Solving A Problem That Google Wave Could Not


                                  Today Google announced Google Buzz. Watch the video:



                                  The chart below shows the spectacular adoption failure of Google Wave as a standalone product. This was predicted by a lot of people including myself. As Anil Dash puts it Google Wave does not help solve a "weekend-sized problem".



                                  Besides the obvious complex technical challenges there are three distinct adoption barriers with Google Wave and Google Buzz has capability to overcome those:

                                  Inseparable container, content, and collaboration: Changing people's behavior is much more difficult than inventing or innovating a killer technology. Most of the people still prefer to keep the collaboration persisted separately from the content or not persisted at all. Single task systems such as email, Wiki, and instant messaging are very effective because they do one and only thing really well without any confusion. Google Wave is a strong container on which Google or others can build collaboration capability but not giving an option to users to keep the content separate from the collaboration leads to confusion and becomes an adoption barrier. 

                                  Google Buzz certainly seems to solve this problem by piggybacking on existing system that people are already familiar with - email. Google Buzz is an opt-in system where the users can extend and enrich their experience against using a completely different tool. 

                                  Missing clear value proposition: Google Wave is clearly a swiss knife with the open APIs for the developers to create killer applications. So far the applications that leverages Google Wave components are niche and solve very specific expert system problems. This dilutes the overall value proposition of a standalone tool. 

                                  Google Buzz is designed to solve a problem in a well-defined "social" category. People are already using other social tools and Google Buzz needs to highlight the value proposition by integrating the social experience in a tool that has very clear value proposition unlike Google Wave which tried to re-create the value proposition. Google Buzz assists users automatically by finding and showing pictures, videos, status updates etc. and does not expect users to go through a lengthy set up process.

                                  Lack of a killer native mobile application: This is an obvious one. Google Wave does work on iPhone and on some other phones but it is not native and the experience is clunky at best. When you develop a new tool how about actually leveraging a mobile platform rather than simple porting it. A phone gives you a lot more beyond a simple operating system to run your application on. 

                                  Google recognized this and Google Buzz is going to be mobile-enabled from day one that leverages location-awareness amongst other things. I hope that the mobile experience is not same as the web experience and actually makes people want to use it on the phone.

                                  You could argue that why Google Buzz is going to be different since Google did have a chocolate box variety tools before Google Buzz - Latitude, Profile, Gmail, Wave and so on. I believe that it is all about the right experience that matches the consumers' needs in their preferred environment and not a piece of technology that solves a standalone problem. If done right Google Buzz does have potential to give Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Gowalla run for money.

                                  Sunday, May 31, 2009

                                  Calculating ROI Of Enterprise 2.0 Is Calculating The Cost Of A Lost Opportunity

                                  I get this asked a lot – How do I calculate ROI of Enterprise 2.0? Bruce Schneier says, “Security is not an investment that provides a return, like a new factory or a financial instrument. It's an expense that, hopefully, pays for itself in cost savings. Security is about loss prevention, not about earnings. The term just doesn't make sense in this context.”. Similarly thinking of Enterprise 2.0 as an “investment” looking for a return does not make any sense. At best it is the cost of a lost opportunity.

                                  If you are a CIO looking for a detailed ROI metrics or a simple checklist for Enterprise 2.0 you are probably out of luck. However you could adopt a two-pronged approach. Convince the business that the organization needs Enterprise 2.0 by showing whatever resonates with them e.g. sharing files help reduce email quota, Wiki makes people productive by X percentage, giving them a copy of The Future of Management by Gary Hamel etc. Once you do get a green signal for Enterprise 2.0 deployment, please, don’t be prescriptive to frame the problem or the solution. Instead simply provide the tools at grassroots and let people run with these tools.

                                  For any collaboration, productivity, and social networking tools there is content and there is context that significantly depends upon the individuals that use these tools. For example some people prefer to be human-centric against artifact-centric. Some start interacting and collaborating with other people before exchanging the artifacts and there are others that prefer collaboration that is primarily an artifact-driven. Most of the tools mandate that users make an upfront choice. Even worse the IT makes the decision for them when they decide to purchase a specific tool assuming how people might want to work. This is the reason I like Google Wave since it does not make any assumptions on how people may want to use it. In fact it allows people to weave across people and artifacts seamlessly.

                                  When Google Wave was announced Google spent most of the time demonstrating what it does and spent very little time showing what problems it is designed to solve. They received quite a criticism for that. Many designers questioned Google whether they really know if people want to work this way. Some bloggers called it an act of breathtaking arrogance of blowing off potential competition and touting tech buzzwords. I believe they all are missing the point. Google Wave has broken the grid that the designers are very protective about and has empowered people to stretch their imagination to make mental connections about how this tool might meet their needs that no other tool has met so far.

                                  Would you still ask what’s the ROI?

                                                      
                                                      

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