Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


E-mail Steve
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    Listen to internet radio with Steve Boese on Blog Talk Radio

    free counters

    Twitter Feed

    Socialcast: Collaboration Beyond the Enterprise

    Today the enterprise collaboration solutions provider Socialcast (a VMWare company), announced a set of new features to augment and extend the capability in their already impressive collaboration solution. For readers that might not be familiar with Socialcast's solution, it primarily serves as an internal enterprise activity and interest stream, where colleagues can share status updates, links to relevant content, share files, and easily create internal groups organized along organizational or project lines. More recently, Socialcast launched a product called Reach, which gives customers the ability to easily embed and include the core collaboration platform in any number of enterprise systems like ERP, CRM, or other knowledge management platforms, thus taking 'collaboration' closer to the places and systems where the work gets done.

    Today's announcement of the new capability that allows enterprises to dynamically create external collaboration groups, and that extends the collaboration platform to an organizations' partners, customers, or even social media fans and followers; is a natural extension of the Reach tool, taking the collaboration environment beyond the walled garden of the internal enterprise, to wherever and with whomever leveraging the platform makes sense.

    External Group View - image provided by Socialcast

    Beginning today, users of Socialcast can create dynamic groups to invite contractors or suppliers to collaborate on projects, connect more effectively with joint venture partners, or even conduct on the fly customer and follower focus group discussions by simply sharing a link to an external group on Facebook or Twitter, and invite followers to participate. It is a great piece of functionality, and one that attempts to begin to address the more flexible and fluid ways that organizations, teams, and individuals are getting work accomplished today.  

    The other interesting feature that Socialcast announced today is a new organizational charting feature that not only can graphically depict the traditional organizational relationships and hierarchy (automatically generated from Active Directory or LDAP), but also can include insight into the external relationships with customers, suppliers, etc. that the organization's employees have developed over time.  This new and hybrid type of an 'extended organization chart' is a novel idea, and one that over time in many organizations could prove to be just as valuable as the traditional, internally facing org. chart.

    These new features continue to strengthen Socialcast's position in the enterprise collaboration technology space, an increasingly crowded market where Socialcast competes with offerings from Yammer, Salesforce Chatter, Socialtext, and others.  Where Socialcast appears to have an edge, is in their realization and reaction to the changing ways of task and resource organization in many enterprises, the need for a collaboration solution to support much more flexible methods of collaboration beyond a separate and isolated tool, and with the ease of deployment and administration that allows the solution to take hold rapidly across and outside the enterprise.

    I don't write too many 'new product announcement' type posts, because frankly, most of them are not all that interesting. But I have been a fan of the Socialcast platform for a while, have used the collaboration tool in some of my HR Technology classes, and do feel that in a crowded space that Socialcast has consistently had intelligent approaches and ideas to better enable enterprise (and beyond) forms of collaboration.

    More and more, success for many organizations will be at least in part determined by how they can best manage and extract value from a disparate, diverse, and fluid ecosystem of internal and external resources, and products and solutions that can help manage and support this new framework offer organizations some clear opportunities and advantages.

    You can learn more about Socialcast and today's announcement at www.socialcast.com.


    A Pocketful of Zen Lessons

    Many years ago a former colleague gave me the book you see in the picture on the right, it is called 'Zen Lessons: The Art of Leadership', a small (so small fits in your pocket), book of Zen stories and tales meant to be a guide to 'enlightened conduct for people in positions of authority, based on the teachings of several great Zen masters of China.' It is kind of an interesting little book, and while I don't claim to understand all that much about Zen, seeing as my entire education in Zen has been this pocket book and close and repeated examinations of the 'putting lesson' scene in Caddyshack, I have managed to keep this book with me through several moves, jobs, and life changes.

    To get an idea of the kinds of Leadership Lessons encompassed in the tiny book, check out some of the wise sayings from the Zen lessons:

    On not ignoring small problems in hopes they will just disappear or remedy themselves: 'Even dripping water, if it does not stop, can turn an orchard into a lake'.

    On selecting a mentor : 'You should always follow a leader that is a little better than you, to be alerted to what you have not yet reached.'

    And lastly, on seeking and accepting feedback from peer and from followers: 'Only the foolish dislike to hear how they are wrong and only expect unquestioning obedience from their communities.'

    I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. Actually I couldn't go on and on very long, it is only a pocket book of Zen Leadership Lessons after all, certainly not meant to serve as anything more than reminders or examples of more universal kinds of truths that I imagine would take years and years to master. Which takes us to another question entirely - how much of something do you need to know in order to know enough of what you need to know?

    But regardless for some reason this little pocket book has stuck with me though the years, and while I can't necessarily point to any specific occasions where I have applied the lessons in business or leadership situations, I can be sure the lessons have served me well. Simply having the book around is kind of comforting in a way. I suppose it is the equivalent of a good luck charm or even my version of the 'red stapler' from Office Space. No matter what jobs, projects, challenges that have come the Zen Lessons have always been there, available to assist if needed.

    What about you guys? Do you have your own version of the pocket book of Zen? What little guides or good luck charms do you make sure travel with you as you move through your careers? 

    I can't be the only weird one.




    Five for Friday - July 21, 2011

    Every week it seems like I read about 47,000 blog posts, articles, press releases etc. all in my continued quest to provide you, loyal readers, with ideas and insights to help, inform, or amuse you. But each week also, I am lucky if I can draw on at most 4 or 5 of these pieces that might eventually become the basis for posts, the rest slip off into the ether.  Sure, I share some of the links on Twitter and Facebook, but we all know how fleeting those media can be.

    So today I thought I'd do a classic 'Links to 5 articles I thought were interesting this week' take, so that at least I could find a way to share and promote some of the great stuff I read. But then I thought about it for a minute more and realized the 'Here are 5 links' posts are pretty weak, a little tired, and sort of a blogger's way of raising the white flag of 'I have no more good ideas this week. I surrender.'

    But then while I was debating this, (the mental debate was at least 43 seconds), I remembered a neat little presentation-type tool I read about this week that might make my little '5 links' post just a bit more interesting.  Below is the embed of the tool and the links, more details on what it is and how you can try it out after the jump). Email and RSS subscribers may need to click through and there is a little arrow on the upper right corner of the slideshow to use for navigation.

    Steve's Top 5 (or really 7) Reads of the week:

    Pretty cool right? 

    The tool is from a web service called Slidestaxx, and it allows the user to create embeddable and shareable slideshows from multimedia and social web content. Sign up for a free account, and in minutes you are creating a cool slideshow that can consist of online images, video, website links, and more. Add a short little description to each slide, (about the length of a Tweet), and publish.  You can then share your slideshow on social media, share a direct URL link, and grab the embed code to use on your site.

    All told, I think it is a nice improvement from the list of hyperlinks.

    Give Slidestaxx a try and let me know what you think.  And check out the 5, (really 7), links in my Slidetaxx presentation above.

    Have a great weekend!


    Protecting the Boss - A Shaving Cream Tale

    The News Corporation 'hackgate' scandal is a mess, both figuratively and by virtue of a classic 'shaving cream in the face' gimmick, literally as well. In case you need a little refresher course, ('It's all ball bearings these days'), during Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch's appearance at a British parliament inquiry into the various alleged improprieties at the now defunct News of the World newspaper, a wacky protester rushed the Murdoch's table, and attempted to give 'ol Rupert an old-fashioned shaving cream face wash.

    Check the below video to see what transpired - (email and RSS subscribers click through)

    Pretty wild and interesting to me for two points. One, after the shaving cream incident you can hear the chairperson of the hearing announce a 10-minute break in the proceedings. Ten whole minutes? Only seconds after an apparently deranged man attempts some kind of assault in a parliamentary hearing, and there is no way anyone could have totally processed the situation and ongoing threat level, the chairperson announces a 10-minute recess? Gutsy. If that kind of incident happened in the US Congress, we'd be at a standstill for days, maybe weeks while a new inquiry led by a blue-ribbon 'Commission on Shaving Cream Incidents' is formed and begins an investigation.

    The second point of interest in the clip - check out Rupert Murdoch's wife Wendi Deng leap into action and toss a right hand haymaker in the direction of the assailant. Quick, decisive, powerful - and from the sounds on the video, it seems like she did make contact and swatted the guy. Sure, it would be natural and correct to interpret Ms. Deng's actions as the reflex of someone instinctively protecting a loved one, and while extremely commendable, it doesn't seem all that unusual. I think most of us would react similarly if we sensed a spouse, child, or anyone else close to us was in imminent physical danger.

    But if we spin this just a little differently, and indulge a bit of extension outside of the familial bonds here and think about the organizational ones, a slightly different take emerges. In the entirety of this ongoing News Corporation hacking scandal it is pretty much impossible to find any actor that will emerge from this looking good. The Murdochs themselves appear at worst complicit, and at best, ineffectual and out of touch with what their managers and executives were doing. Variously the police and politicians that are caught up in this might find themselves out on the street, their reputations and long-term career prospects significantly diminished.

    But you know who looks good in all this? At least to someone from outside the UK that might not be as intimately aware of the full details of the story? That's right - Wendi Deng.

    Think about her actions in the video in the broader context of career and organizational advice you have probably heard for ages - protect the boss, think about how you can make the boss' life easier, how you can get ahead by understanding your boss' objectives and how you can best help him/her achieve them.

    If you look at it that way, wouldn't you want to have someone like Ms. Deng sitting next to you at the next big board meeting?


    Welcome Back - News from Steve

    Requesting your kind indulgence today, as I have some personal news to report today on the blog.

    Recently I accepted a position with Oracle Corporation, working in the Fusion HCM Product Strategy team, and I will start in my new role next week. I am excited by the opportunity to work with such a fantastic team of Human Resources technology professionals, and with a set of new technologies in Fusion HCM that are driving innovation, capability, efficiency, and business insight for organizational leaders and managers. The Oracle Fusion HCM team has spent several years designing and building an incredible set of applications, and I am thrilled at the chance to help continue the momentum, and help customers with their critical Human Resources and Talent Management initiatives.

    Some of you might know that I have a long history of working with Oracle Applications, from my earliest days with AT&T implementing what now seems like a quaint 'green screen' Oracle Apps version 10.4 in the dusty desert city of Riyadh in the 90s. That project was simultaneously my first real experience with a true enterprise-class set of technologies, and my first taste of seeing up close how the implementation of the right technologies, by the right people having a shared commitment to the desired outcomes could truly transform an organization. It was the perfect project to get introduced to the world of enterprise software, large enough to have significance in the organization, but with just enough self-governance and individual accountability to keep the engagement levels high, and the spirit of teamwork alive.

    Eventually I moved back home from Riyadh, and continued to work with Oracle Applications for most of the ensuing stops in my career, (including working for Oracle Consulting directly), in roles ranging from client implementations, project management, enterprise HRIS management, and more.  But even as the geographies, industries, and responsibilities changed for me, I consistently stayed close, (some might say loyal), to the set of Oracle technologies that I first encountered many years before on a 115 degree day in Riyadh. Consistently, I derived the most satisfaction by learning new technologies, working with clients to assess their needs and goals, and finding and delivering solutions that could help them to meet these goals. And sure, getting the chance to 'play' with cool new tools is always fun.

    So for me, to return to Oracle, and to work with Oracle Fusion HCM Applications at this point in my career is, I think, a natural fit. As I said, the Fusion HCM team is the best in the space, (sure I am biased), and the Fusion HCM Applications that have been delivered, and the ones that are on the way, are on the absolute cutting edge of our industry. I am looking forward to the chance to contribute to the team, and most importantly to be back helping customers achieve their goals.

    Some other notes, (continuing the navel-gazing theme of this post), I do plan on keeping this blog active here, contributing to Fistful of Talent, and continuing to produce and host the HR Happy Hour Show, (although I am taking tomorrow night off).  In time there may be some changes to one or both of these projects, we will just have to see how that develops. Going forward, I will have to manage and determine my participation in other events and projects that I have been associated with in the past and balance the needs and objectives of my employer and our objectives. But I do plan on remaining active and visible in the HCM community, and look forward to continued engagement and dialogue with the many, many fantastic and intelligent people it has been my great pleasure to come to know in the last few years.

    Lastly, I wanted to say thanks to all the fantastic friends, colleagues, blog readers, show listeners for the assistance, kind words, advice and counsel over the last several weeks. One thing I have learned for sure is the value and power of community, and I am humbled and appreciative for all the generosity directed to me. I only hope that I can find a way to repay at least some of the good Karma in the future.

    That's it for now - tomorrow we are back to our regularly scheduled program of technology, innovative ideas, basketball, and barbecue.

    Have a great day!