#SocBiz #FutureOfWork News Including VMWare, Box and Jive

October 17 2015 08:57:13 PM Add/Read Comments [0]

Here is a recap of some of the key news of the last week in the Social Business / Employee Collaboration / Future of Work world.

  • VMWare's end user computing division acquires mobile email client Boxer
  • Box shifts gears and turns their core file-sharing services into a platform from developers to leverage in business applications
  • Jive improves their external community platform, Jive-x


Did I miss something big? Please post a link in the comments.


Reference Links:



Quip Raises $30M As They Try To Redefine Content Creation and Collaboration

October 17 2015 08:56:08 PM Add/Read Comments [0]

Oct 15, 2015, Quip raises $30M in Series B financing.

In the video below, I talk about some of Quip's key features, highlighting how they combine content creation and conversations into a single user experience.


Earlier this year I named Quip one of my Constellation Research Rising Stars


Competing Against Industry Giants and Popular Startups

Because Quip combines content creation and collaboration, they span several of today's common market categories. Depending on your organization's needs, they could compete against:

  • Traditional document tools in Microsoft Office 365 or Google Apps for Work (Google Docs)
  • Note taking tools like Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, BoxNotes, Mammoth
  • Group chat tools like Slack, Glip, Ryver, HipChat


What Comes Next?

Now that Quip has secured an additional $30M, there are several areas I hope to see improved as they continue to try and evolve the way people work together. They have created an interesting foundation for content creation and collaboration, and I look forward to following their next steps. If your organization is using Quip, I'd love to hear if/how it's changing the way your teams work.


What Does IBM’s Cognitive Computing Era Mean For Collaboration?

October 7 2015 12:44:32 PM Add/Read Comments [9]
One of the most common complaints from employees is that they can’t keep up with the vast amounts of information available to them. Many of you have heard me talk about the issue not being email overload, nor even information overload, but rather input overload. We have too many places to look for, or respond to people, content and conversations.

But what if computers could do that for you? What if they could eliminate having to know where content was, which was the most relevant, what needs your attention now or what you can avoid working on? Even better, what if computers could go beyond helping you prioritize and filter, and start to actually take actions on your behalf?

With ideas like these in mind, IBM has just announced their new strategic initiative, Cognitive Business.

You may have heard of IBM Watson, the computer that beat two Jeopardy grand champions. Well, that system was designed to do a lot more than just play trivia games!  Watson does not just know what it’s programmed to know, it learns and adapts, similar to the way humans do. This is called cognitive computing.

While IBM's marketing is currently focused on large industry initiates like healthcare and finance, cognitive computing could also one day help individuals and teams collaborate more effectively. IBM’s collaboration platform, IBM Connections and their new email client, IBM Verse could one day leverage the cognitive capabilities of IBM Watson to help people make sense of the vast amounts of information they are currently flooded with. In addition to helping people filter and prioritize information, one day the tools could recommend actions and even proactively respond.

Let’s call this next generation of personal productivity and teamwork, Cognitive Collaboration.

What Customers Should Consider

IBM is not the only company applying artificial intelligence to teamwork. While IBM will argue they are the only company with true "cognitive computing" (Watson), to the average person the technology behind the scenes does not matter as much as the end result. Other vendors are also adding digital assistant capabilities of their tools, such as Microsoft with Cortana and Google with Google Now. Salesforce also recently released Salesforce IQ which proactively helps sales professions organize their pipelines. Customers should speak with these vendors to get a list of current capabilities as well as future roadmaps in how their platforms will help employees get work done. It's important to note, most of these cognitive capabilities only work in cloud based deployments, as the computing power for these systems is not offered on-premises.

What Partners Should Consider

The success of any platform is determined by the strength of its ecosystem. For collaboration software, it's critical that tools integrate with other enterprise applications and expose their features so that 3rd party developers can create add-ons and additional features. IBM Watson has a very strong focus on developers, and has been rapidly expanding the set of cognitive capabilities that are available for use in other applications. I look forward to seeing if the IBM partner ecosystem comes up with interesting ways to use Watson to help people collaborate.

Moving in the Right Direction

I really like the new “Outthink” messaging. It bridges IBM’s long standing message of “Think", with this new cognitive era. I've not been a fan of the previous company wide mantra "Be Essential", but I think trying to get every employee to rally around cognitive computing is a good move. I look forward to seeing how IBM ties together their collaboration tools and the Watson platform.

Image:What Does IBM’s Cognitive Computing Era Mean For Collaboration?

The New Salesforce UI, Intelligence and Integrations Help Employees Get Work Done

September 21 2015 11:06:57 AM Add/Read Comments [0]

Last week in San Francisco, Salesforce held their annual Dreamforce conference. This year's attendance was announced at 150,000 people... regardless of the accuracy of that number, it's safe to say the event is massive. With announcements of new product features (in Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Community Cloud, Service Cloud), new partnerships and ecosystem expansion (Apps Cloud), and new platforms (IoT Cloud powered by Thunder) there is far too much news to cover in one post. Luckily, Salesforce does an excellent job at making video replays of the keynotes available, so you can catchup on anything you missed.  Also, at the end of this post I have provided links to several posts written by my colleagues that provide excellent analysis.

For this post, I've chosen to focus on the following three key announcements, and how they contribute to improving the way people get their jobs done.

1. The new Salesforce Lightning User Interface

2. SalesforceIQ for Small Business and SalesforceIQ for Sales Cloud

3. Future Integrations With Microsoft Productivity Applications


Modernizing The Look, Improving The Usage

While Salesforce introduced several new features, perhaps the most significant announcement was the updating of the Salesforce User Interface (UI) with what they call the new Lightning Experience. Forget about the new name and marketing, what this really means is that the almost decade old look of Salesforce has now been updated with a much more modern style. Icons for key product areas are now available down the left side, and the main screens have been redesigned to provide more information in the centre along with supporting information in a sidebar on the right side.

Employees will most likely welcome this new look, but it will take a little while to get used to. Customers should not worry about additional training costs, as Salesforce provides several resources to get people up and running quickly, such as this short overview video.


Linking Data, Finding Patterns and Making Recommendations

For me, the most interesting announcements of the week centered around the rebranding and evolution of RelatedIQ (acquired July 2014) into SalesforceIQ.  What this tool does is bring "intelligence" into the sales cycle. By intelligence, Salesforce means linking together your email, calendar, personal contacts and company's CRM data, then looking for patterns and making recommended actions that could help speed up the sales cycle.  For example, SalesforceIQ can help you find the people in your organization that may already be connected with a prospect listed in your pipeline.  Also, SalesforceIQ introduces a new inbox that links together your email, calendar, files and Salesforce... reducing the need to switch between multiple tools.  Rather than me explaining further, watch the follow two short videos:

SalesforceIQ for Small Business

SalesforceIQ for Sales Cloud

I really like the direction SalesforceIQ is going in.  As my readers know, I am very focused on the intersection of analytics and collaboration, looking at ways data can be used to help people focus on the right things and connect with the right people. This is exactly what Salesforce is starting to do. Additionally, Salesforce also recently acquired Tempo.AI (smart calendar) but that has yet to manifest itself in SaleforceIQ. For now, SalesforceIQ is focused on sales use-cases, I look forward to seeing if they bring similar "intelligence" to Marketing, Community and Service clouds.

Caution: Speaking with several people at Dreamforce, there is some confusion between the two versions. When should a company use the SMB version, and when should they move up to the Sales Cloud version? Why even have the two versions? Will there be feature parity between the two? Salesforce has attempted to answer some of these questions in a FAQ, but I think it will be a while until this is al clearly understood.  Pricing for SalesforceIQ starts at $25/user/month, but quickly jumps to $65, $125 or $250 depending on the features you need.

Seamless Collaboration and Business Processes

The third big announcement that will impact the daily use of Salesforce is the upcoming integration with Microsoft's collaboration and productivity tools.  While today there is integration with Outlook, Excel and a few other products, Microsoft and Salesforce have vowed to further integration between their two industry leading platforms.

I've already written about this announcement in detail, but the four areas they have placed onto the 2016 roadmap are:

- Skype for Business, providing presence awareness inside Salesforce and allow for seamless web conferencing, chat and VOIP calls
- OneNote, enabling note taking to be linked directly to Salesforce records
- Office Graph and Office Delve, so surface Salesforce content inside Microsoft’s new search and discovery UIs
- Salesforce1 Mobile App for Windows 10

Here is short video that talks about the planned integrations.


Helping People Get Work Done

Over the last few years Salesforce has evolved dramatically from a company that helped Sales Reps keep track of their deals to a platform that supports several business functions (such as Marketing, Support, Community) and thousands of partner applications. Each of the announcements above support the idea of improving the way people get their jobs done. From a fresh new user interface, to leveraging data to make informed decisions, to integration with the most popular productivity tools... Salesforce is focused on helping people get work done.


Additional Resources

Salesforce Evolves Communities From Forums To E-Commerce, by Guy Courtin and Alan Lepofsky

Dreamforce 2015: Value for customers - but some concerns on direction, by Holger Mueller

Salesforce IoT Cloud Awaits Thunder Real-Time Engine, by Doug Henschen

Salesforce Unveils Breakthrough IoT Cloud, Powered by Salesforce Thunder, by Holger Mueller

Salesforce Unveils Breakthrough Salesforce IoT Cloud, Powered by Salesforce Thunder, by Dr. Natalie Petouhoff

Salesforce Makes Wave Analytics More Accessible, Affordable, by Doug Henschen

Dreamforce: Salesforce Unveils the Next Wave of Salesforce Analytics Cloud, by Holger Mueller


#SocBiz #FutureOfWork News Week Ending Sep 11, 2015

September 12 2015 11:00:00 AM Add/Read Comments [0]

#Socbiz #FutureOfWork News - Week Ending Sep 4, 2015

September 5 2015 11:00:00 AM Add/Read Comments [0]

Microsoft Acquires VoloMetrix to Help Improve Employee Productivity

September 3 2015 11:00:00 AM Add/Read Comments [1]

Below are my thoughts on Microsoft's acquisition of VoloMetrix , and how it can help improve employee productivity. This is an area of research I'm working on which I may term Enhanced Productivity or Assisted Productivity.  Which do you prefer?