I had a chance to listen to leaders of several IT-intensive organizations speak about their deployments of [[blog]]ging, [[RSS]] and [[wiki]]s. Here are some of my notes:

Collaboration in Logistics?

Rob Carter, CIO FedEx spoke about how Fedex has been working to present meta data about your specific logistics instance. FedEx.com was one of the first instances of a large transaction website. Today, the FedEx desktop delivers alerts and events on packages in transit (that you shipped and that are being shipped to you). The company operates 15 wikis and 80 blogs. Most of these, I suspect are in IT, airflight operations, marketing and corporate communications.

FedEx recently introduced the FedEx game for Facebook where you can launch a package to your friends. 

Rob's best quote: Viable networks always expand. 

Intelligence as Collaboration

The [[CIA]] offered a definition and history of the Intellipedia. I had just finished the novel Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent by Fred Burton, and could clearly see how services like wiki and RSS could provide perishable and useful information to users throughout the government and intelligence community. 

Wiki doesn't work in theory, only in practice. 

 Sean Dennehey (who introduced himself and said that it was his real name), offered three major elements for organizational focus:

  • Broadest possible audience.
  • Think topically, not organizationally.
  • Replace existing business processes by converting channels into platforms.   

Google Enterprise 

Google's product manager for enterprise applications spoke about the business trends behind Google Apps. One of the big ideas he presented focused on the advantages of direct-to-consumer innovations, which have been all the rage in the Internet world. Business users can benefit from this shorter chain of innovation, but it will reduce the choke-hold of IT vendors and their advocates in the enterprise – IT.

One of the things that I've been thinking about for many years is how the Internet changed the source and strength of IT innovations. Before Internet (BI), innovations were developed by the R&D departments of a few industry leaders who rolled them out to their customer bases. After Internet (AI), innovations were developed by small, typically VC-backed companies that delivered products as a hosted service aimed at consumers. The Internet enables a quality low cost connection between millions of customers and the software service. It's the inherent value of that extensive distribution network (connecting customers directly to information) multiplied out for the millions of users that is why the content provider (FaceBook, YouTube or whatever) delivers such high valuations.

Most of these applications aren't that hard to develop, but by doing it first, the innovators in these spaces end up with a first mover advantage involving millions of users that makes it hard to catch up, and therefore cheaper to just buy them rather than compete with them.


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