Asana: One Truth, Many Contexts – Revolutionizing Enterprise Software

I’ve spent many years in the wilderness that is Enterprise Software: from attempting to wake up SAP, to mistepping with Jive; from clucking over Bantam to writing Yammer’s first partnership agreement. In all these attempts to connect the corporate landscape I’ve always felt something was lacking. At first I attributed this to the fun, human factor, but even then I thought this wasn’t quite it.

Take a look at how so many people these days interact in their personal lives – for some, many in fact, Facebook is almost permanently open. They tap into the newsfeed in real time, sharing thoughts, conversing with friends and colleagues. Yet their work lives are seldom as enriched. They often have no clear picture of what is happening on their team, yet alone across their department or division, and as for the company proper – forget it.

And yet, finally, I believe my trek through the corporate desert may finally be bearing fruit. I believe I’ve seen the mother of all oases. Take a look through the lens of my telescope below and tell me – is this a mirage or has one of the co-founders of Facebook cracked it. Let me introduce you to your new best friend, both personal and corporate: your single source of truth – always open, always updated, always….ASANA:

Social Business Design: Birth of a New Industry

La Défense

New industry sectors coalesce and crystallize as a result of a number of factors converging.

In the case of Social Business Design this is an area that has been bubbling under for about 18 months with a range of different tags, such as Enterprise 2.0, but it never really gelled together. There were differences of opinion on who the market was, how to approach it and what exactly did it constitute. Was it simply setting up a corporate blog, an internal wiki and a customer forum or was there more to this area?

Charlene Li’s book Groundswell went a long way towards gathering impetus behind this new industry sector, but still the gel wasn’t quite there. When she left Forrester and set up the Altimeter Group people took notice, but their attention wasn’t galvanized.

And then Jeremiah Oywang left Forrester as well and joined Charlene. People started to sit up and really take notice – they were primed for something to happen. Around about the same time David Armano, an exec with the Dachis Group gave a presentation at the Social Fresh conference titled Social Business by Design. The industry now had a moniker to focus around.

The key inflection point though came last week when Dachis acquired Headshift. Much has already been written about this and most industry commentators will agree with the following tweet from @amayfield:

Headshift/Dachis is massively significant. Not marketing…this is a new sector shaping up: social business.

The Social Business Design meme is now starting to spread rapidly courtesy of one of the classic tenets of this industry: sharing. David Armano had placed his deck of slides on Slideshare two weeks ago. It has since been featured on Slideshare’s new “hot on Twitter” section and is gaining a lot more viewers.

This depth of attention around the topic is rapidly turning to more widespread adoption of the term, both by potential industry practitioners and by their potential clients. An industry is born.

What is Social Business Design?

Anne McCrossan has delivered a cogent summary of this arena:

Social business design sits at the intersection of organizational development and marketing, and can loosely be described as the practice of developing communities of engagement to develop ideas, activities and outputs for commercial and social benefit.

As organizations adopt the principles of social business design, intangible, soft assets like brand value, purpose, human resources, processes and capabilities come to the fore. Social business design is about engendering involvement and it’s inbound.

Slightly differently, marketing services and ‘broadcast’ media operate on the basis the message and transaction are the means to the end. Marketing services communicate primarily outbound.

Her entire post is pure gold and I highly recommend anyone who has read this far to jump over to her site and continue reading.

You will be hearing a lot more on the topic of Social Business Design and I will aim to synthesise and analyze as much of it as I can.

ADDED: Gaurav Mishra has posted a comprehensive summary of this burgeoning space and I wanted to point to his thoughts as they complement the thread in this post.

The key take out, for me, from his comments are that both Altimeter and Dachis focus on using emerging social technologies for transforming businesses, instead of merely reaching out to customers.

This is a salient point. As the social technologies shift, so can the emphasis that an agency puts in those technologies. For example, Augmented Reality is still in its early infancy as a technology and a few years out from being of use within the enterprise. However, when it does mature as a technology it will have an immense impact, until then it is on all of our watchlists, but it’s not worth confusing clients with until it matures somewhat.

[picture courtesy of JArous]

Cloudera: Hadooping The Downturn

A group of Silicon Valley technologists are thumbing their noses at the down(turn)-talk and setting up a new venture to provide support to companies wanting to make use of Hadoop.

Bay-area based Cloudera will provide enterprise-level support for Apache’s top level, open source map reduce technology, which enables companies with large amounts of data to have significantly more detailed analysis and efficiencies related to this data.

The team includes Michael Olson, the former CEO of Sleepycat Software, makers of the open source embedded database engine Berkeley DB, which Oracle acquired in 2006.

Other founders include Jeff Hammerbacher, who led the data team at Facebook and Christophe Bisciglia, who created Google’s Academic Cloud Computing Initiative.

According to Venturebeat, the fourth founder, Amr Awadallah, is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Accel Partners – while this does not guarantee they will back Cloudera (ask former Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale – he was an EiR with them before they passed on funding Second Life), there is a good possibility they will tip into a round to get the company operational.

Metarand Unplugged: TechnologyOne’s Adrian Di Marco On The Lack Of Australian Government Focus on Technology

Headquartered in Brisbane, Australia TechnologyOne is a leading enterprise software solutions provider with a fully integrated “Connected Intelligence” suite of products that places it well ahead of its competitors.

In this session of Metarand Unplugged we talk with Adrian Di Marco, the Founder and Executive Chairman of this ASX-listed company.

Adrian has played a major role in building and supporting the Australian information and communications industry, both through his roles on industry bodies and as an investor in early stage ventures. He talks candidly about the Australian government’s paucity of support for this all important industry.

He sits at the helm of one of Australia’s most successful software companies and is clearly passionate about the space and about creating the right kind of framework and ecosystem in the country that will enable it to achieve benefits for years to come.

His thoughts are not only very pertinent to Australia, but also to any other country and group of entrepreneurs faced with a similar situation.

Stream the Session in Quicktime:


Stream the Session as an mp3: