• Will your data always be there?

    People tend to believe that Web operators will keep their data safe in perpetuity

    This sentence from Technology Review’s article – Fire in the Library is a good reminder on how vulnerable we are with our data and the useful information stored on the Web.

    Coins in stone purse

    Photo by TruShu (Flickr)

    Try out this test by answering the following questions:

    1. You posted your photos online to share with your friends
    2. You posted status updates on a social network
    3. You write a blog
    4. You have a personal web page
    5. You put your documents online
    6. You posted some stuff in an online forum
    7. You signed up for Google Wave

    (more…)

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  • A wiki CRM for small companies

    26 June 2011
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    Smaller companies are sometimes caught in a dilemma – whether to invest in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. Our recommendation as such…

    Scenario: You currently use spreadsheets as your Contact Manager.

    Consider moving it onto a wiki as it can offer very useful features:

    • consistent format thru page templates
    • searchable even into attached external docs
    • dashboard reports e.g. sales pipeline, salesperson activity log

    Scenario: You plan to use a sophisticated CRM within 6 months.

    Consider a full-fledged CRM software with all the fancy features (below) built-in and deployable out-of-the-box.

    1. Integration to accounting/customer ledger
    2. Email blasting with subscription analytics
    3. Online customer self-service with order tracking

    So before you are ready for a fully integrated CRM software, you can always rely on your wiki to manage and retain important “intelligence” on your leads, prospects, clients and even business competition.

    Knowing your prospects: Who they are? What their needs are? Will certainly help increase chances in closing the deal. Find out more on Akeles Opportunity Management plugin.

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  • How come Enterprise 2.0 is not everywhere yet?

    In his blog post, Arjun Thomas mentioned that Web 2.0 adoption in the corporate sector has been slow. This is indeed true and I will like to share my opinion on this.

    There have been a lot of case studies citing successful implementation of Enterprise 2.0 throughout the world. Companies were quoted being able to cut down costs through improvement in productivity and knowledge retention. Some companies even improved their revenue due to new innovation through collaboration and fostering a closer relationship with the clients.

    So the big question is, if Enterprise 2.0 is so beneficial to the companies, why aren’t every company adopting it?

    In my opinion, the 3 barriers to Enterprise 2.0 adoption in corporate are

    1. the probability of success (ability to replicate the success enjoyed by other companies)
    2. the courage to invest (due to inability to guarantee the ROI)
    3. the lack of in-house expertise

    1. The Probability of Success

    First, according to the blog post posted at ZDNet, the typical failure rate for IT projects is 68%. This is despite the fact that most IT projects were kicked off with more well-defined requirements and structure. On the other hand, Enterprise 2.0 applications are more free-flow and unstructured in nature. Instead of clicking a button or filling a blanks, there are much more things that the user can do on a powerful and flexible Enterprise 2.0 application. Therefore the uncertainty level is much higher than typical IT applications.

    While the request to adopt Enterprise 2.0 is high, a lot of people got the misconception that it can be done by just buying the enterprise 2.0 solution off the shelf.

    To quote, Yuri Alkin:

    No one (okay, almost no one) expects that buying a word processor can turn him into a great writer. Yet somehow it’s almost widely assumed that deploying tools labeled E2.0 would turn an organization into an E2.0 business.

    I am sure that a lot of CEOs and CIOs are aware of this and therefore not that willing to commit themselves unless they can be assured of higher chances of success.

    2. The Courage to Invest

    As a business seeking profits, all companies will have to justify that all spending should eventually translate to lower cost or increased revenue (whether short-term or long-term). However, the benefits from adopting Enterprise 2.0 will need time to mature and bear fruit. And without a guarantee on the success, it makes it even harder for management to justify the ROI. This is not helped by the current poor economic climate.

    3. The Lack of In-house Expertise

    Despite the first 2 barriers, some companies are still willing to try. I do know of a few organizations that have installed wikis and blogs and tried to conduct some small trials. However, the results have not been encouraging. This is due to the lack of proper understanding on how to use the tools effectively. Here is an interesting negative example I have heard about wiki adoption. The team was asked to copy the content in their weekly progress report on word documents to the wiki at the end of the month. While the intention is correct, this creates extra work for all the staff.

    As Enterprise 2.0 is an emerging concept with a wide variety to skill sets (beside technical skills), there aren’t a lot of people who are knowledgeable and proficient about that. Even though, there are a lot of discussions, training and workshop on this, it takes more than theory to execute the implementation perfectly.

    In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell explained his research that it takes up to 10,000 hours of practice to become a “world-class” expert at something, anything. But how many experts are there in the company that has done more than 1 successful Enterprise 2.0?

    Conclusion

    If you agree with my points or have any possible solutions, please drop a comment. If there is sufficient interest on this post, I will follow up in next post with a solution to tackle these barriers.

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