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Nostalgia…. and a feeling of a missed opportunity

Once again on LInux. This article is full of “nostalgia” for people who followed all of this development.
At the same time the article leaves a sense of a “missed opportunity”. To clarify I reproduce here the complete text of my online comment:

In the meantime, people at Apple, using the same unix-like baseline, developed something everybody likes and everybody would like to have.
This slideshow unfortunately represents the reality of a fight between 3 chickens in the same hen house. Instead of coalescing to produce something every user would like to have, they fought each other and, at best, "followed" what was popular elsewhere.
Just my personal interpretation of course!

It is not the first time I comment on this topic. And I will continue because I really cannot understand how someone could think that Unity (from Canonical) or Gnome could be something a normal user would like to have on her own desktop (if not because it does not cost anything)

Divide et Impera

Today I took the time to open a couple of articles related to Linux and to LibreOffice. I knew I shouldn’t have done it, because this makes me feeling engaged in a battle that I have lost the wish it will ever been won.

The first article, In Search of Linux’s Greatest Moment, looks to me the typical product of someone who is very proud of what he/she likes. I do not think there is any doubt about the revolution that Linux made possible in the IT world of today. This is true at enterprise level but, also, at consumer level. Anytime (or most of the times) in which there is an intelligent device, Linux is powering it. This is imho one of the Linux’s greatest moment.
The second one, as it appears in the article, is around Android.
But the author seems to look to where Linux did great on the desktop. And it is here that, imho, we do not have any great moment. The great moment will be when people will choose a Linux desktop instead of a Mac or instead of Windows. Not speaking about geeks or not speaking about people who do not like MS or not speaking about people who want to save money. I am speaking about my children for instance. They would love to have a Mac. They love to have an Android or an iOS. But they would never ever go and use Ubuntu or RedHat unless they would be forced to.
The strange thing is that the Mac UI (and the iOS UI also) are built on the top of a Unix derivative…. But in the Linux world there is too much separation between the Gnome and the KDE camps that this prevents forces to join and to create a seducing interface. Seducing for non-IT people.

And now to the second article, LibreOffice 4 review. Getting better but… , I understand that Sun before and, especially, Oracle after made things difficult with OpenOffice. But now the time is over. Oracle decided that they will not be able to make money out of OpenOffice and left it to its destiny. And the destiny is not that unknown… it is the Apache foundation. There are companies that put money and means in the Apache Foundation…. So, please, tell me what the need is to have LibreOffice if not the one of reproducing the battle bewteen KDE and Gnome that prevented innovation to spur on the Linux desktop…..

Apparently, instead than focussing on the real objective (make an free OS alternative to commercial OSes and make a free Office alternative to MS Office), people prefer to split the efforts, concentrate on one camp’s best idea instead than on what users will like….. Romans 2000 years ago said “Divide et Impera”. Perhaps 2000 years later we still need to prove that this sentence holds true.

Why (and how) should a company go to Social Media ?

I recently had the opportunity, together with my friend and colleague Willem Gabilly, to present IBM’s Social Computing Guidelines.  You can access here to the english version of the slides I presented. If you are interested in the French version of those slides, please go here. If you would be interested in the video recorded out my the session, it is available here

Can a Social Business address some shortcomings from the first Web era?

I found an interesting article and slideshow here: The Web vs. The World : 9 Epic Battles. There are some really good thoughts in there and I would like here to quote the ones who most hit me:

  • Battle #2 : Personal support vs. Instant support.
    Some companies have even started charging fees for letting you speak to a live support agent.”
    Despite what is often said that the Web brought the customers close to the companies, I think we all experimented the degradation of service in customer-care. We often land to some Automatic Response System that is difficult to navigate. Talking to humans sometimes does not help given the poor knowledge of the outsourced staff…
  • Battle #3: Cheaper Flights vs. Hidden Costs
    To keep their ticket prices competitive, airlines break out add-on fees for seat assignments, baggage checking, and other previously included (or nonexistent) services. As a result, the listed fares seem relatively low, and most people don’t notice all of the tacked-on tolls until after they’ve clicked and committed. Sneaky fees are a shady way of doing business, and ultimately they negate much of the value to consumers of comparison shopping.”
    I think anyone who travels nowadays has a clear perception of the degradation of the service. Of course, travelling 15 years ago was expensive… but was a nice experience also. Today, budget limitations force even business travelers to adapt to very poor standards. (BTW: I am surprised to see that there are still Business Class and First Class seats on traditional airlines… which are the companies which allow their employees to travel Business Class?)
  • Battle #4 : Being Present vs. Being Connected
    how many times have you been at a concert or a movie and seen a group of teenagers tapping away on their phones through the entire show? Some people spend so much time telling the world about what they’re doing that they fail to experience it with their full attention.
    This is really evident with adolescents… but isn’t this also clear in the business world ?
  • Battle #8 : In-depth news vs. free news
    But regardless of how or where you read it, professional journalism fills a crucial role in our society that casual blogging cannot.”

Reading the previous paragraphs made me thinking about Social Business. I think that a Social Business, a company managing (and “living”) its business inside and outside as a community serving its customers, can actually address these  shortcomings and provide a different experience to its customers:

  • Battle #2 : Personal support vs. Instant support.
    Engaging the whole company and, also, its partners and customers, in the co-creation process would certainly help deliver products that address the customer needs.
    And creating strong ties with partners and customers would motivate a company to consider the “customer care” as an additional channel for co-creation. Customer support is not the last step of the sale-cycle but the  “first step” of the creation of a better product.
    This approach cannot be invented in one night. It requires the transformation of a company into a Social Business, both inside and outside!
  • Battle #3: Cheaper Flights vs. Hidden Costs
    It may be strange to talk about this when the economy is getting into a new low-cycle…. but as some expensive products prove, customers are ready to pay something more for an additional value they get (iPhones and iPads are not the cheapest products on earth… but they are in the hands on anybody, regardless of their income!)
    A Social Business understands the needs of its customers, makes the best efforts to please them and to deliver top quality because the relationship with customers becomes personal. And we all behave differently when we engage ourselves personally with other people!
    Are we seeking “margin” in the volume only or in the quality of what we produce ?
  • Battle #4 : Being Present vs. Being Connected
    In order to be a real Social Business, a company must be authentic and transparent. It is not just a matter of having some presence on the web in order to get more customers or to apply analytics to electronic interactions.
    We do not want to tactically use Social Media. We must strategically transform into a Social Business, living the customer interactions with an outbound focus.
    Otherwise, customers will consider us a we do consider people who do not behave coherently and who try to manipulate others.
  • Battle #8 : In-depth news vs. free news
    I think that not everybody has the luxury to in-depth reading and studying what they think is important. We do some in-depth reading normally, but this is not enough to give us the whole spectrum of information that is required to do our job.
    What we normally do in this case?
    We ask colleagues who are expert in a given domain to give us their interpretation.
    Why don’t we ask our customers to give us their interpretation of the things on which they are expert (i.e. how they use our products) ?
    You do not refuse to help or to share your insights with someone close to you, with whom you have some link. In a Social Business, people inside and outside the company boundaries will be likely to help you get what you do not know. Because the Social Business behaves like an organism where all the organs work together to ensure life.
    Because in a Social Business the synapsis between each cell work at the best speed and at the highest efficiency.
    And, magically, the intelligence coming from others is richer than the one I could discover myself browsing around….
    Let’s remember that we have been give two ears and one mouth in order to use them in that proportion.

A Social Business is Person-Centric and, thus, Customer-Centric. It is not about changing the kind of business a company is in…. It is about changing the way in which that very same business is done. Making it Social, I think, helps re-discover the way in which humans built this world: working together, discovering new frontiers and new goods, embracing new ideas and facing challenges .

A new way of getting to Twitter and Social Networks

On my new iPad, I installed Flipboard and Zite !

What a change.

On Flipboard, for instance. I have my Twitter channel…. But it is NOT like reading tweets on Tweetdeck. It is like really harvesting the intelligence twitted by people and consuming it in the most appropriate format.

Same with Zite and its “Sections”.

Great tools.

Why Hasn’t BPM Taken Off Like ERP or CRM?

Last week, the ebizQ site posted a forum discussion on the subject “Why Hasn’t BPM Taken Off Like ERP or CRM?”. Hre is the reply I posted in the forum.

When we work we actually execute one (or more) of the "business processes" of our company. I think that "business processes" are, actually, part of the plumbing of each enterprise. At a point that, sometimes, it is "hard" to describe it because we sort of "live it".
So, in that matter, BPM should be the obvious fit.

The fact that it is has been "hard" to introduce it in the enterprises makes me thinking to the following:

  1. A business process which is not documented gives the possibility to be "adapted" more rapidly. Actually, a pre-requisite for adopting BPM will be to document what needs to be automated and managed 😉
    So, the perception may be that the company would be “more agile” if something could be changed without running into a big Change Management process.
    One could, also, think that something that is “not documented” may not be accountable also…. but this may certainly be the “bad guy” who speaks in my head…
  2. A significant business process often spans several domains.
    Formally describing it may introduce negotiation issues across departments and may imply some organizational changes.
  3. Once a process is described and ready to be deployed, an owner will likely be required.
    The owner may not be clearly identified yet and this may require some further negotiation. And may imply,once again, some organizational changes…
  4. As Nicholas Carr was saying in his book “The Big Switch”, it is easier today for companies to adapt themselves to the business processes embedded in the CRM and ERP tools they buy instead of investing time to describe and negotiate company specific business processes….

This said, I think that the maturity of the market and the maturity of the products are now helping a lot in the adoption.

Chrome OS and the principles of Web2.0

I read the Google announcement around the new Google Chrome OS.
I immediately went back to my article Enter the “Reign of RIA 3rd”. In that article I expressed my enthusiasm for the new Google browser as I saw, in the way it was announced, the principle for something new, a platform where applications delivered over the web can be executed fast, securely and offline…Chrome becomes a container for applications delivered over the web!
I rememberI concluded that long post saying:

Chrome, which could be the last browser but, perhaps, the first element of a different kind

I think that I missed something that, now, seems so obvious. I thought to Chrome as, mainly, a new RIA platform. Something beyond the traditional browser but still in the domain of a container.
What this announcement tells us is that Google went far beyond. Chrome becomes the OS, not just a container.

And not “just a new kind of OS”, but as the official announcement says, “the web is the platform”.
Ehi, this is exactly the first principle in Tim O’Reilly famous definition of what is Web2.0 !

The border between an OS and the “web as a platform” is blurring. Not only on the Internet infrastructure. It is blurring deep right onto the desktop. The Browser becoming the Operating System and the Operating System becoming an extension of the web platform itself. So, Chrome OS may be much more revolutionary than it appears. It is not simply Google attacking Microsoft on the OS battlefield. It is extending the cloud to the border.
The new Chrome OS may become the real incarnation of that principle. The operating system for the Cloud Generation. Where Web2.0, SOA and Cloud Computing meet and could shape something, this time, very different!

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