February 3, 2012 Leave a comment

This news is very encouraging, we found the work we did for the playbook BBX V 1 hard going as the webworks API was very limited.

I hope the BB london is as good in theses scores.  The fundamental question remains – how will this help organisations who have to target the older platforms too.??#

There is no real migration path. We have no choice but to build our apps using the Java engine as webworks is so poor on the older devices (BB OS 7 6 and 5) – OS 6 scores 247 and 7 only 266…. And that is for the browser itself not the webworks API. This means we cannot use it for building rich apps. So to target the majority of users of blackberry devices TODAY we have to use java. We would love to go HTML5 but cannot. OS 6 and 7 will be around for a long time yet so we have no choice to develop for both platforms.

I suspect that most orgs will end up porting over their android apps rather than re-writing them for BB10. When they introduced QNX why didn’t they think 1st about porting over what they have got already – give us a JVM, the line I’ve heard from Alec and his team has been well it just isn’t possible is just false… if they can build an android runtime (and Droid is based on java) then they could build a runtime for their current java implementation. This would have made 100% more sense than releasing the Cascades SDK or supporting Flash… Look after your existing customers first, deliver them exceptional service then it will make sure you can cater for new ones in the future.

Categories: Group Chat

Time for some ‘IDEA SEX’

February 3, 2012 Leave a comment

The most valuable asset of every organization for the future is brainpower, despite the fact that “employees do not show up as an asset on the bottom line” (Crager, 2002).

With this in mind it is easy to see why the focus of ‘Social Business’ or Enterprise 2.0 technology is on people and their profiles and often why they are so close in functionality to consumer tools. I don’t agree with this approach, Once a company has gone past the initial start-up phase those that remain successful understand that it is the collective efforts of individuals working together as teams that makes the difference. as the idiom ‘No one is indispensable’ is typically the case. This got me thinking about a great TED talk I saw some time ago by Matt Ridley (see it here). I wholeheartedly agree with this view, and there are plenty of examples of this in everyday life. I’d go as far as suggesting that the history of human success is the story of specialism when combined with contextual collaboration – let people focus on what they are good at and make sure there are easy ways for them to ‘connect’ with each other in the correct context. This is how we work.

Some great examples of how teams innovate and evolve we see or use every day – take GPS for example, the story goes that it all started one morning when some Physicists at the Applied Physics Lab at John Hopkins University were in the cafeteria talking about the successful launch and orbiting of Sputnik, they wanted to know if they could ‘hear it’, from that they wondered if they could work out its location, and eventually their boss (Frank McClure) asked them if they could reverse this process, to find out the location of an earth based object from an orbiting satellite and GPS was borne.

These coffee machine moments, or team meetings are the real lifeblood of organisations – however there is a belief that innovation is down to the ‘lone hero’, or a particular genius, that scientific breakthroughs happen by chance discovery, flash of insight, the rock star scientist having a ‘Eureka’ moment. This really isn’t how people work or think, the psychologist Dr. Kevin Dunbar spent extended periods of time (four months to a year) in molecular biology and immunology laboratories, videotaping and audio taping scientists at work in their labs all over the world., his team found that scientists would most often make advances in their lab meetings and by discussion with their peers. It was only with the birth of trade routes, commerce and urbanisation that, as a species humans were able to leverage specialist knowledge and skills and invent.

In my own work I have seen on numerous occasions that by implementing a topic and  team based approach to collaboration an organisation can yield tremendous rewards. One example was when we did a pilot with one company: they had a sales and trading team that was truly global, the pilot was to see if getting people to share what they were working on and discussing their activity with others, who were doing similar roles, but were dispersed geographically would give them a competitive advantage. The answer was given to them when a single trade generated enough profit to pay for the entire implementation (worth hundreds of thousands of dollars). The reason for this was that the new ‘TEAM’ were able to capture local specialist knowledge and apply it globally.

The is an ‘I’ in TEAM – A successful team is made up of individuals – but it requires them being given the tools to collaborate effortlessly (and informally) to avoid key man dependencies. . For proponents of enterprise 2.0 or social business it is vital that real-time contextual communication is put at the centre of these efforts.


If you would like to know more about how we have been helping organisations solve these issues please take a look at FCG.

Attack of the clones.

January 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Consumers/employees now have better gadgets than can be provided by their companies and their UX expectation is increasingly being set in the consumer world – after all if you are building software (or hardware) the bar for things like security is much lower.  Just walk past any Starbucks to see how many people are sitting there with their MacBook Air or iPad. This is great in many ways as it is making all of us working in the enterprise world up our game and go back to what is most important – the USER! However this can also be dangerous take a look at what is happening in the enterprise 2.0 space at the moment – ATTACK OF THE CLONES. Every corporate social network vendor out there is doing the same thing – copying facebook. Am I the only one who has noticed this? It is sort of like the windows 3.1 days when pretty much every desktop application looked the same and had the same way of interacting. There is a distinct lack of originality out there – Good artists may well copy but come on.

Let’s for the sake of argument say that this is the only way a social business platform should be implemented why is everyone so sure that this is what is needed? Look t the statistics posted by facebook at the f8 developer conference – they were very impressive:

  • 50% users log in every day 
  • The average Facebook user spends 20 minutes on his or her account during each visit.
  • The average user has 130 friends and is connected to 80 pages, events and groups.
  • 91% of online American adults (approx. 129 million)access some form of social media each month. (Experian 2011 Social Media consumer report)
  • 98% of 18- to 24-year-olds access social accounts monthly 800Million or so users, 50% of users logging in daily

Now let’s compare that against enterprise adoption (where possible – from what figures I’ve managed to find).

  • “Just 22% of social software users tell us the technologies are vital to their jobs –Forrester
  • “We have anywhere from 10% to 20% of our employees logged onto Yammer at any given time.” -IGN Entertainment
  • ‘ What is interesting, however, is the fairly low estimates of actual adoption by Forrester, citing that only 12 percent of information workers are provided with enterprise social collaboration software, while just 8 percent of them use it once a week.’ – Dion Hinchcliffe – ZDnet.

Already I’d say the numbers aren’t looking hot… what good is a collaboration tool if you’ve not got anyone to collaborate with? I’ve no got the statistics on email usage but I would hazard a guess that 100% of workers who have an email account (for business purposes) access their email every day. That is what Social business tools should be seeing if they are doing their jobs right. These should be the first thing that is launched in the morning and the last thing that is turned off. As for ROI – it is often difficult to get hard ROI figures but if done correctly Enterprise2.0 will produce genuine ROI –

“ Intangible assets such as knowledge and technology seldom have a direct impact on financial outcomes such as increased revenues, lowered costs, and higher profits.  Improvements in intangible assets affect financial outcomes through chains of cause-and-effect relationships.“ – Bob Kaplan and David Norton – Strategy Maps

My suggestion to find out if it’s working at your organisation, try turning it off and se what happens – if people start shouting or calling meetings about it then you know that you have reached a tipping point and that the tool has become part of the organisational DNA.

sorry for the radio silence.

January 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Well it has been quite a while since I last posted anything here… for the main reason of time – or lack of it. Over the past few months as a team we have been working on our future plans and the message – and I‘ve been lucky enough to speak to lots of different people about what we are doing. Over the next few weeks I will be posting some of what I’ve distilled (so far) so please stay tuned…

Categories: Group Chat

iMessage – a grown up version of BBM

October 14, 2011 Leave a comment
"Leopard" Icons in Black

Image via Wikipedia

So… I updated to iOS5 yesterday morning, the thing I wanted to try out most of all was iMessage and in all honesty it took me a while to figure out how to use it… because I was already. Now this for me is the perfect example of good design, it should be so simple that to use it there is no learning curve – or in fact no learning at all.

BBM has been the big success story for BlackBerry – particularly when it comes to getting teenagers to use it as BBM provides free texting, the trouble with it is that you BBM identity is based on your device PIN which means if you switch devices you have to add all your contacts again.  This has been made easier due to the backup/restore services however it still sends out an invite request to all my contacts. I seem to constantly get new invites from people who have lost, replaced or updated their BB.

The next issues is that it is an extra app to use which means that for those new to the blackberry they have to work out how to use it, OK so it isn’t like learning how to do open heart surgery but it still requires going onto another application and then adding contacts.

So what is so good about iMessages – The genius of it is twofold:

1. To begin with you don’t know you are using it, if a person in your contact list as an iPhone (or other iOS device) running it then an iMessage is sent by default and sms is used as a ‘backup’, I can see the delivery state and if the other person begins responding you can see it – so you can’t see if a message has been read but I’m not certain that is a killer feature anyway.

2. it works on multiple devices and follows you around based on where your account is in use rather than your device PIN. This means I stay who I am and if I get a new phone or device it will work on there too without having to do anything or requesting to be added to people’s contacts.

How Apple could improve it further would be to add it as a feature to iTunes or better yet make this accessible from other platforms and devices too but that may well be too big an ask.

A few years ago I used to talk to people about how one day all our phone numbers would be replaced using ‘presence’ and how UC would transform how we would live and work, that has failed to materialise (yet), for many reasons but steps like this will begin to make it a reality.

Using Group chat in an Investment Bank.

October 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Here is an example of what it is like to be a city trader using Group Chat on a daily basis:


You arrive at work and log onto Group Chat. You check the conversations and message threads from the close of trading in the AsiaPac time zones last night. You can choose which topic specific chat room you read, so you get an instant history of the industries that are relevant for your clients and you’re fully up to date for when trading begins. You remember (with no hint of nostalgia) when you used to have to get in for 5am to listen to the ‘squawk boxes’ for an update on the close of markets in Singapore and Japan.



A new recruit turns up for their first day. Rather than it taking months for them to get to grips with past news and trends, you set them up on the chat rooms that they’ll need to use (FX and Treasury) and they are instantly aware of the full transcript of past conversations. After all, conversations contain the most important value and information asset – especially in your industry – so giving a new recruit this information (in context), means they will get up to speed faster than ever before.



You’ve set up two filters – an ‘ego filter’ to alert you each time your name is used in typed conversation and a ‘boss filter’ for each time your boss’ name is mentioned or your boss posts a message. You receive an alert that your name has been mentioned in relation to an analysis report you sent your top client yesterday. You suddenly remember you forgot to send it.



You send the said document (a large file containing some highly sensitive information) to the said client via Group Chat, safe in the knowledge there is no security risk and that the client will receive it instantly.



Panic. Your top client is on the phone asking what’s going on with the US Dollar. You calmly chat away, at the same time as typing a request on the ‘FX’ channel that is instantly relayed to 2000 of your fellow traders and analysts. (You’re relieved you no longer have to rely on the old ‘hoot and holler’ system, where you often misheard or completely missed vital information if away from your desk). A message pops up on your screen. It turns out the US Dollar is ramping up due to a rumour that there is going to be a significant increase in interests rates – You also see there is more detailed analysis of this situation in the ‘Treasury’ channel. You relay this to your client in the course of conversation.


Your client gets the information they need, when they want it – and you’ve just won yourself some brownie points.



You now have some prime information on the US Dollar at your fingertips. Who do you tell first? As you know more than anyone, time is money and with 10 clients, ranging in importance and size, you’d normally be tempted to always tell your number one client first. With Group Chat, you can tell them all at the same time with one message. As a result, your ‘bottom’ client feels as loved as your ‘top’ client and your productivity goes through the roof.



Great. Your telephone is emitting a high pitched sound in your ear and there appears to be a problem with the line. You send a message to the support team. Everyone else hearing the same high-pitched noise can see the posting and so the support team avoids being inundated with the same complaint.



An IM appears to let you know the problem with the phone line has been fixed.



Earlier this afternoon, you set up an alert on your IM to alert you every time ‘US Dollar’ is posted on a message by one of your colleagues. An alert pops up to let you know that the rumoured change in interest rates is confirmed and that the US Dollar is sky-rocketing. Looks like tomorrow will be interesting….


RIM BlackBerry Torch 9860

August 9, 2011 Leave a comment

OK – so I’ve finally had a chance to play with this now. And it looks pretty.. and it feels nice too… it is certainly more solid than the torch released this time last year. But is it enough??? My short answer – no. My reasons:

  1. Not enough apps – you cannot compare the BB app world with the iOS App store or the Android marketplace.
  2. OS7 – Shame on you RIM. You deliver nice hardware with a really horrid OS. You should have stuck to the alleged plan of making OS7 QNX based… Building apps for the blackberry is not nice using  place to play.
Categories: BlackBerry, Torch