Gnerc - The Ultimate Enterprise Software Solution (Parody)

July 4 2016 10:54:58 AM Add/Read Comments [1]
Often during product briefings, this is where my mind wonders to...

Image:Gnerc - The Ultimate Enterprise Software Solution (Parody)

I'm here to tell you about Gnerc, our innovative, paradigm shifting new SaaS based software platform application tool.

The first and only cloud based solution that uniquely harnesses advanced predictive analytics and data insights to power our cognitive artificial machine learning intelligence engine, allowing for tailored, personalized, and customized 1:1 employee engagement and customer journeys. 

Our blockchain secure infrastructure taps into millions of interconnected IOT sensors to meet the strictest governance, auditing and compliance regulations of the industry you work for and the countries you do business in.

Our millennial programmers use design thinking and agile, enabling us to deliver not just a mobile first experience, but a mobile always experience, ready for you whenever you need it. 

Our servers are running even if your computer is turned off. So if you're at your child's sports game or musical concert, our servers are still there, all day, everyday, even on weekends and most holidays.

Our API centric platform allows for industry standard based integration with the other mission critical business applications your organization relies on, so that you can take action in context, reducing data silos and eliminating information overload.

So if you're looking to be more productive at the important job that you do, and want to socially empower your teams to succeed in meeting enterprise grade KPIs, then Gnerc is the answer. 

We even removed some of the vowels from our name to highlight that we understand empathy in user experience, and deliver maximum ROI.

So sign up now and get up and running with your own Gnerc solution today. You'll thank us to tomorrow.

IBM and Cisco Announce Integrations To Help People Communicate and Collaborate

June 30 2016 11:00:00 AM Add/Read Comments [0]

Today IBM and Cisco announced a new partnership that brings together parts of each vendor’s collaboration platform: IBM and Cisco Tap the Power of IBM Watson and Cisco Spark to Transform the Way People Work

"As part of the transformation, the highly secure Cisco Spark and WebEx collaborative workspace platforms will be integrated with IBM’s leading cloud collaboration solutions, including Verse and Connections, and underpinned by IBM’s cognitive computing capabilities."

On the surface, this sounds like a good opportunity for both companies.

  • IBM has been successful in the email and social networking markets (with Notes/Domino and Connections, and is now offering customers IBM Verse), but their Sametime product is not as well known as Cisco WebEx for web conferencing or Cisco Jabber for voice/video calls.
  • Cisco has been successful with WebEx and Jabber, but has a poor track record (see below) in collaboration software and does not have their own email platform.

So working together could provide each vendor a way to expand their market presence by leveraging the other to fill their gaps. But questions remain:

  • Will Cisco WebEx customers buy IBM Verse and IBM Connections based on this new integration?  
  • Will IBM Verse and Connections customers buy WebEx (vs IBM Sametime) and more importantly to Cisco, will they use Cisco Spark instead of or in combination with IBM Connections? What about IBM’s upcoming project Toscana software?

Collaboration Portfolios At A Glance

  • Notes/Domino
  • Verse

Voice/video chat

  • Sametime
  • WebEx
  • Jabber

Social networking 

  • Connections
  • Project Toscana
  • Spark

Cisco Benefits From IBM's Cognitive Computing

One of the most important aspects of today’s announcements is that Cisco plans to leverage the cognitive capabilities of the IBM Watson platform to help improve the way people work. Meetings, chat, voice calls all contain large amounts of unstructured data, making it difficult for people to easily glean insights from the content and interactions they have with their colleagues and customers. If Cisco can bring a layer of intelligence to WebEx, Jabber and Spark it will not only help their customers, but also provide an excellent reference for the power of the IBM Watson platform.

IBM and Cisco Have Been Down This Road Before

This is not the first time IBM and Cisco have partnered on integrating their collaboration offerings. In 2009 the two vendors made a very similar announcement: Cisco and IBM: Enhancing the Way People Work Through Unified Communications 

2009: "Together, the two companies are enabling a new way of  communicating and collaborating—one that’s open, timely, and effective. Using best in class unified communications capabilities from both Cisco and IBM, organizations can transform their business processes and reach new levels of productivity. Collaboration will be made easier and communications will be enhanced. Individuals and teams will work more effectively—when, where and how they choose—without sacrificing security or productivity. The integrated product offerings combine IBM Lotus® Sametime®, IBM Lotus Notes® and multiple Cisco Unified Communications products to deliver a complete uni fied communications solution that unify voice, data, video, messaging, and mobility technologies into a single, flexible solution."

While I do not have statistics around the number of new customers or amount of revenue this previous partnership generated, it’s safe to say it did not have substantial impact on either company. However, things are a bit different today. In theory, today’s software is easier to integrate in the cloud than older on-premises offerings were. IBM says that we’ll start to see the newly announced integrations this year, with the cognitive capabilities of Watson working their way into the Cisco portfolio in 2017.

Cisco’s Rocky Road To Collaboration

Cisco new collabroation platform Spark is being well received by customers and partners, but Cisco has had a tough time getting to this stage. Here is a timeline of Cisco’s collaboration software portfolio. As you’ll see they have tried twice to create their own offering first with Quad then WebEx Social, then tried partnering with Jive (which sounds a lot like today’s IBM announcement) and are now back in the market with Cisco Spark. 

  • Mar 2007 - Cisco acquired WebEx
  • Sep 2008 - Cisco acquired Jabber
  • 2010 - Cisco announces their social networking for the enterprise platform, Cisco Quad
  • Aug 2011 - Cisco acquires Versly: integrates collaboration capabilities via a plug-in into Microsoft Office applications 
  • Jun 2012 - Quad is rebranded as WebEx Social
  • Dec 2013 - Cisco acquires Collaborate: provides unified document sharing, task management and team communication
  • May 2014 - Cisco ends WebEx Social and announces partnership with Jive - "Today I am happy to announce that we are entering a relationship with Jive Software to deliver the best in enterprise social collaboration to our customers. By combining Jive’s enterprise collaboration platform with WebEx and Jabber, we can bring together the elements that help organizations deploy an integrated, seamless experience for their employees, customers, and partners. What really gets me excited about the Jive and Cisco integration is that we are bringing two leading collaboration and communications technology solutions together and delivering them in a single experience for our customers"
  • Jun 2014 - Cisco acquires Assemblage: real-time collaboration apps for shared whiteboarding, presentation broadcasting and screensharing.
  • Nov 2015 - Cisco acquires Acano: video and audio bridging technology that allows customers to connect video systems from multiple vendors across both cloud and hybrid environments.
  • Dec 2015 - Cisco announces Spark, cloud based messaging, meetings and voice calls
  • Jun 2016 - IBM and Cisco Combine the Power of Watson Internet of Things with Edge Analytics
  • Jun 2016 - IBM and Cisco Tap the Power of IBM Watson and Cisco Spark to Transform the Way People Work

After several different strategies around collaboration, Cisco now seems to focused on making Spark a success. They have even created $150M developer fund to entice business partners to build solutions on the new platform. It remains to be seen how Spark will compliment or compete with IBM Connections and later IBM Toscana.


  • Both vendors have held leadership positions in their respective markets, but are now facing tough competition that is stalling growth or even reducing their base. Both companies are looking for new routes to market as they compete against the likes of Microsoft, Google, SAP, Salesforce, Facebook, Slack and others, and partnering with each other could open up additional opportunities. 
  • For IBM, the more places they can have IBM Verse and IBM Connections (ex: the file sharing component) integrated with business applications that people use everyday (such as WebEx) the better.
  • For Cisco, having access to IBM Watson’s cogniti ve capabilities will help them compete with Microsoft and Google, each of which has their own cognitive platforms that they are leveraging in their own collaboration products.
  • I’m pleased to see the IBM Collaboration Solutions division making partnerships. This follows the modus operandi of General Manager Inhi Cho Suh, and shows she’s already having an impact in her new position. 
  • My biggest concern is IBM’s ability to deliver on this functionality. Over the last few years IBM has been heavily criticized by customers, partners and industry analysts such as myself for over-promising and under-delivering. As I’ve frequently said, code talks… not slides. IBM has struggled in delivering new features to their Notes/Domino platform, meeting customer expectations with their new IBM Verse email client, and is now talking about a new product in Project Toscana. Will they have the resources to develop all of those things, as well as this new Cisco integration, and other integrations/partnerships such as Box. Time will tell, but IBM is saying we will see the first phases of this Cisco/IBM integration before the end of this year.

I will be attending Cisco Live on July 10th, and I expect to learn a lot more about this there.

If you are a customer of both IBM Collaboration Solutions and Cisco Collaboration, I’d love to speak with you about the ways you see this partnership impacting your organization.

Microsoft Acquires LinkedIn: Connecting Professionals With Business Process

June 13 2016 11:08:16 AM Add/Read Comments [0]

This morning Microsoft announced they are acquiring LinkedIn for $26.2B. Microsoft is one of the largest providers of business and productivity software and LinkedIn is one of the largest professional networks. The combination of the two, bringing LinkedIn data and connections (social graph) to Office365 and Dynamics could have major impacts on personal productivity, team collaboration, social selling, human resources, marketing and customer experience. 

Here are my thoughts on what this deal means for daily users and developers.



ThinkTank - The Future of Work: People, Places and Technology

May 28 2016 10:30:00 AM Add/Read Comments [0]

On May 25th I had the pleasure of participating in an all day Think Tank about the Future of Work. The event was hosted by Adobe and took place at One Kearny in San Francisco, in conjunction with the release of a new FoW study Adobe has just published.

The Think Tank brought together eight industry experts to discuss potential changes in the future of work that will take place over the next 5 years in the categories of people, places and technology. Some of the things we discussed include:
- What is work? Is it something we do for money or personal fulfillment?
- What is employment? Should we all be contractors? What is loyalty? 
- Where do we work? Office? Home? In transit? In shared spaces? In virtual environments?
- What is work:life balance, or life:work balance, or blending, or integration, or just life?
- Should work be fun? Should we have choices of what we do, or do we need to just accept what’s available?
- What’s wrong with the tools (software and hardware) we use today at work, and how can we fix them?   How will AI, VR/AR, wearables, IoT, etc. impact getting work done?
- How should performance be measured? Today jobs can scale on the web far more than they could in the physical workplace. What is the return per employee?
- How should we be paid for work? Is money the only currency? 
- Are robots and AI going to replace us all?
- Have we seen all this before, and we’re just living in the middle of a current cycle, or is something different this time?

I had a great time interacting with and learning from the experts on people and workplaces, and hope I contributed on the topics of technology. I found the event extremely beneficial, and will use the information to guide several of the topics I write/speak about in the future.

One thing I would have like to have seen us do more of is push the boundaries further. To be fair, the day was focused primarily on the next 5 years or so, but imagine the next 10 or 20! Think about transit to work via hyperloop subways, ramjet planes or self-driving cars. What about when “function specific wearables" go away, and their functionality is just woven directly into our clothes, shoes, glasses, hats, etc. ex: Imagine a map displayed right on the sleeve of your jacket. What will work be like when augmented reality provides us information in real time, right within our field of view? How will holographic displays or flexible/foldable/bendable screens impact our ability to create and consume information? The future is exciting, and I can’t wait to be part of it.

Below is the recording of one part of the Think Tank, in which Jeremiah Owyang moderates a 90 minute discussion with us all. Stay tuned, as more content will be released from the day long event, including short interviews and highlights from our brainstorming workshops. *I am looking into if anyone has indexed the 90 minutes, listing the questions and their timing.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the future of work.  Will is remain the same? Will it be completely different? What do you hope changes? What do you hope stays the same?

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 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.