Google I/O 2016 - Introducing Allo, Duo, and Spaces

May 19 2016 08:51:54 PM Add/Read Comments [0]

Yesterday at the Google I/O 2016 conference they announced several new products. In the video below I share some thoughts about the new collaboration/communication tools Allo, Duo and Spaces. Some topics include:

  • Where do these tools fit into the portfolio? How do they compare the Messenger and Hangouts?
  • No matter how good the tools are, how do you get people to use them versus Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, FaceTime, SnapChat and others? It’s like Google+ vs Facebook, the best tool does not always win, as what matters is where is your network?
  • How will these tools integrate with Gmail, and Google Apps for Work 

 



Report: The Future of Work on Digitally Proficient Teams

May 19 2016 11:17:31 AM Add/Read Comments [0]

 

Announcing my latest Constellation Research report: The Future of Work on Digitally Proficient TeamsThe New Cultural and Technical Skills Required

This report contains information that can help all organizations plan for what type of people that want to hire, and for what type of training they want to provide employees.

Here is the executive summary:

Not long ago, many employees’ resumes included their typing speed and skills such as "proficient with word processing and spreadsheets.” But a very different set of skills is required in today’s digital workplace. Now, people need to work across time zones and language barriers. They need to be available almost any time, any place via mobile or wearable devices. They need to know how to create interactive content using social media and live-streaming videos. People need to move beyond boring slide decks and reports and instead visualize data patterns and derive insights to guide more informed decisions. Today’s top employees don’t just do their own jobs, they also embrace the role of company advocates and act as unofficial sales, marketing and customer support staff. Today’s employees even need to recognize that some colleagues are not even human, as artificial intelligence and personal digital assistants become part of our everyday workflow.

The main topics include:

  • Work Is Shifting from Communication and Collaboration to Conversation and Coordination
  • Conversations Power the Routine Part of Business Processes
  • Work Is What You Do, Rather than Where or When You Do It
  • Moving from Content Creation to Storytelling
  • Cognitive Digital Assistants Help Get Work Done
  • Employees Use Data to Work More Effectively
  • A Person’s Digital Proficiency Matters More than Age
  • Recommendations: Get Started on New Ways to Work

You can download an excerpt here

You can purchase the report here.

 

 

 



IBM Verse - Helping Shape the Future of Work

May 16 2016 10:17:12 AM Add/Read Comments [0]

In January 2016 I published a report titled Collaboration Vendors Shaping the Future of Work. The report highlights 18 companies/products that show vision in improving the way people get work done. One of the vendors included was IBM, specially their IBM Verse messaging client. Today I've published a guest blog post on IBM.com that dives deeper into the why IBM Verse plays an important role in shaping the Future of Work.

An outline of the key points are listed below, and you can read the entire post here on IBM's site.

Why IBM Verse

  • Recognizing Email Needs to Evolve, Not Die: While it’s common to hear discussions about the frustrations people have with email, the reality for most workers is that it’s still a critical, even if frequently misused, communication tool.
  • The Bridge to Collaboration: With IBM Verse, they have started down the path of removing the distinction between the various product families.
  • Investment in Design: This IBM Design team’s work does not just impact individual products, but instead ensures consistency that spans the collaboration portfolio. 
  • Introducing Cognitive Computing: Of all the things IBM Verse is doing, the most significant potential contribution to shaping the future of work is the proposed integration with IBM’s “cognitive computing services” from IBM Watson. 

Conclusion: For more than 20 years IBM has been one of leaders in communication and collaboration tools. Their products are used by millions of employees around the world every day. With their renewed focus on design and the ability to leverage IBM’s Watson’s cognitive services, IBM Verse is an important product in shaping the future of work.

 



It’s Time To Link Salesforce’s Marketing and Community Clouds

May 13 2016 11:33:27 AM Add/Read Comments [0]

This week I attended Salesforce Connections, a conference focused on their Marketing Cloud offerings, which competes with similar platforms from companies like Oracle, Adobe, SAP, and IBM

You can see my earlier blog post, Salesforce Strikes Marketing Cloud With Lightning where I discuss the main news from the conference:

  • Marketing Cloud is updated with the new "Lightning UI"
  • New Marketing Cloud mobile app
  • Advertising Studio for targeting ads
  • Email Studio for email marketing campaigns

In the video below I cover two things:

1) An overview of the products that make up Salesforce Marketing Cloud (from 00:00-08:30)

2) My thoughts on how the Marketing Cloud and Community Cloud should work together to a) provide collaboration for marketing professionals and b) add triggers for community events to Journey Builder (from 08:30-11:06)

 

Related Posts:

Holger Mueller, Salesforce Connections - Bringing together Builders and Studios for Marketing Success

 



Salesforce Strikes Marketing Cloud With Lightning

May 11 2016 11:00:00 AM Add/Read Comments [0]

On May 10th I attended Salesforce Connections 2016 in Atlanta Georgia. This event is Salesforce's conference dedicated to marketing, showcasing their Marketing Cloud offerings.

There were four main announcements:

  • Marketing Cloud is updated with the new "Lightning UI". Read announcement here.
  • New Marketing Cloud mobile app
  • New Advertising Studio for targeting ads to the right customers
  • Email Studio for those critical email marketing campaigns. Read announcement here.

My Summary

1.) With the updated look and navigation, the full range of features (delivered via a series of Studios and Builders), and the integration with the rest of Salesforce (ex: Sales and Service clouds) Salesforce Marketing Cloud provides an very powerful platform for marketing professionals to reach their audiences across email, social media and even places like car dashboards. They deliver personalized, 1:1 marketing whenever and where ever the customer needs it.

2) I was surprised by the overwhelming focus on email (they did not ignore social media, but it certainly took a backseat to email) and pushing offers (ads), as marketing is more than just pushing discounts at people, it's building relationships and providing them information and services they need.

3) While Marketing Cloud was updated with the "Lighting UI", it is still lacking the collaboration features that the Sales and Service clouds have. I look forward to seeing them add Chatter directly into the various Marketing Cloud studios so that marketing professionals can have conversations directly within the context of their campaigns.

Here is a short video recap of day 1:

Here are my tweets from day 1. You can scroll (down) through them, or click view as slideshow.



Box and Cognizant Partner To Develop Industry Applications

April 21 2016 10:06:08 AM Add/Read Comments [0]

Today enterprise content management vendor Box and and business IT consulting firm Cognizant announced a partnership to develop industry specific applications. This is similar to the announcement Box and IBM made in June of 2015. 

MyPOV: It's good to see Box continuing to expand the ecosystem of partners that are leveraging the Box platform to build applications. This continues to validate their evolution from just enterprise file synchronization, storage and sharing to being a platform that can be used for the enterprise content management, workflow and security aspects of industry specific applications.

Here is short video of my thoughts on today's announcement:



Cisco Spark - On the Road To Success

March 8 2016 10:35:18 AM Add/Read Comments [0]

Today Cisco announced two very strategic moves geared towards helping the success of their Cisco Spark collaboration platform.  

For those of you unfamiliar with Spark, it's Cisco's latest platform for team communication and collaboration. It brings together chat, voice calls, video meetings and file sharing. After several failed attempts at this space with Cisco Quad and Webex Social, Cisco finally appears to be on the right track in developing a platform and ecosystem that is more in line with what customers are looking for in a simple, cloud based, integrated tool. That said, there is still some confusion and overlap in their platform between Spark, WebEx, Jabber and Tropo. This is also a very competitive market with products like Slack, CoTap, Glip, HipChat, Unify Circuit, Ryver and others, which makes today's announcements event more significant.

Cisco Spark

 

The Success of a Platform Revolves Around Its Ecosystem

From their press release: "We want to make sure all great ideas come to life. We don’t want a lack of funding or support to get in the way. So in partnership with Cisco® Investments we have created a fund to invest $150 million in the Cisco Spark ecosystem. This fund will cover direct investments, joint development, additional enhancements and developer support."

As I mentioned above, the communication and collaboration market is a highly competitive one. It takes a lot to differentiate in this space, as most products have very similar features. Investing $150M to have 3rd party developers extend and enhance the functionality of Spark shows serious commitment from Cisco. Software vendors like Microsoft, Google, Salesforce and IBM already have large partner ecosystems, and recently Slack announced an $80M fund for developers. In a pre-briefing before today's announcement I joked with Cisco that they must have tried hard to get $160M so they could say they doubled Slack's deal.

With so many options available to developers today, it's vital that vendors build strong and trusting relationships with their partners. They must offer them training, support, financing, marketing, and more. While today's announcement is a great first step, the true measurements with come in 3, 6, 12 months when we see how this fund has been leveraged and what solutions have been created because of it. I hope Cisco is open with this information and shares several success stories. 

For more information visit the Cisco Spark Developer Fund website.

 

Build and Buy

Cisco also announced today the acquisition of search company Synata. I've been looking at this company since early last year, as they claim to help solve a problem I've been very vocal about around "social collaboration", this struggle of information and input overload. While everyone likes to complain about their overflowing mail inboxes, the reality for most people is that social tools can quickly become even more overwhelming and unmanageable that email ever was. Yes, sharing information is certainly better than it being locked away. However with departments, teams, companies even entire communities sharing information, finding the right people and content can quickly become a daunting ta sk. Vendors such as Microsoft (with Delve), IBM (via Watson), Google (with Google Now) and Salesforce (via SalesforceIQ) have been focused on not just helping people "search" for information, but instead helping them discover things related to the context of tasks they are working on. The acquisition of Synata signals Cisco's start down a similar path to helping people connect with the content they need to help them get their work done.

At the higher level, today's acquisition shows me that Cisco is not trying to build everything on their own. They are willing to invest in the Spark platform and acquire companies that fill gaps in the platform. They have done this in the past, with various degrees of success. For example: 

  • June 2014, Cisco acquired a Kollaborate.io (Assemblage), one of the early vendors that was creating "digital canvases" where information from multiple tools could be "assembled" on a single screen where people could comment on and share the information
  • Dec 2013, Cisco acquired Collaborate.com, a social task management vendor. Spark is still lacking in task management features.
  • Aug 2011, Cisco acquired Versly, Microsoft Office document creating, viewing and sharing

I hope that today's acquisition of Synata manifests itself in Spark more successfully then these acquisitions did in WebEx Social.

 

Leverage Your Base

While acquiring new customers is always the goal for software vendors, I think it is important for Cisco to focus on enhancing the collaboration experiences of their existing customers. I've been on thousands of WebEx meetings over the years. Not once have I been part of a collaborative process before the meeting, then had that information integrated during the meeting, then had the content, conversations, follow-ups, etc, from the meeting persist after the meeting ended. I hope to see Cisco use Spark to create a highly collaborative experience before, during and after WebEx meetings, perhaps merging the two one day.  Why have both?  I had hoped to Citrix would do this with GoToMeeting and Podio, but they did not. I hoped Microsoft would do this with Yammer and Skype (Lync), but they did not. I hoped IBM would do this with Sametime and Connections, but they did not. Let's see what Cisco can do.

 

On The Right Road

In conclusion, both of today's moves show Cisco's commitment to Spark not just as a product, but a platform for developers to build solutions that help people get work done. I applaud them on both the investment fund and the acquisition, moves that validate why I named Cisco Spark one of the 18 Products Shaping the Future of Work. Now Ciscos's next step is to prove success with customer and partner case studies.