5 Easy Ways to Get Started with the Social Enterprise

21 Mar

The Social Enterprise marketplace is maturing as major corporations invest real dollars in projects with a “social core”, analysts and research companies are releasing reports of tangible business benefits with social, and recently, SAP hired (and made a huge investment in) Social Enterprise icon, Sameer Patel as Global VP, Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software Solutions.  While many early adopters have made some strides in the space and the early majority are finally moving into social technology mainstream, some firms are still trying to decide how they will maximize a significant social technology investment.  And as they explore, these firms tend to have a lot of really good questions that they want answered before they move forward:

“How will I know that I’m getting a return on my investment?”

“How can I measure success?”

“Which technology(ies) has(ve) seen the highest adoption?”

“How can I drive real business benefit with [insert tool/technology here]?”

“What are others in my industry doing?

If you’re in this same camp, don’t feel too overwhelmed or discouraged; Altimeter recently released a report finding that “most organizations are still early in their Social Business maturity“.

Source: Making The Business Case For Enterprise Social Networks

However, we wouldn’t recommend holding off for too long as you may be left in the dust by your competitors, employees, and partners – adopting is gaining.

Good news is, breaking the bank for a huge social initiative isn’t the only (or even the best) way to get started with the Social Enterprise.  Taking on any (or many) of the below are simple ways to explore adopting the Social Enterprise and mitigating risk of falling behind your competition:

  1. Read a selection of acclaimed blogs, articles, or publications  about Social, that you come to trust, on a regular basis.  Get a feel for what’s going on in your industry.  Educate yourself, your team, and form a POV on social.  I happen to like TechCrunch, Mashable, TheBrainYard, PretzelLogic, GigaOm or this blog🙂
  2. Try out a free tool or a trial version on your own and get a feel for the principle ways in which social technology works.  Explore how you can share, categorize, filter, and discover information. Make it social…get a few colleagues or peers involved with you so you get the full experience. Social is about people after all.
  3. Wondering how to define success with social? Ask yourself how you measure success today.  Could you define metrics or data points that help you measure success today?  If not, social technology can already give you a leg-up from where you are today, since it’s rather easy to automate the collection and analysis of data.
  4. Attend webinars, conferences, and speaking events.  Even if you don’t get your most pressing questions answered or satisfy all of your curiosities, you have a starting point.  You get some perspective on what you know you know, and perhaps what you know you don’t know.  You know? But more importantly as you become aware of the capability of social, you also begin to formulate your own opinions of how your firm can leverage the social enterprise.
  5. Ask your colleagues, partners, and customers about their experience with social.  How are they interacting with it?  With whom are they currently using social technology?  Where are they having positive experiences?  Negative experiences?
What are some other low-cost, low effort ways that you’re exploring social for business?

St. Paddy’s Day Gold – 5 Ways To Reduce Costs in the Cloud

15 Mar

We’ve been hearing about the explosive growth of cloud computing for a while now, and many companies are taking advantage of the new paradigm to cut costs, create efficiencies, and drive new revenue ideas.  However, there are still many of you who aren’t sure how to leverage the model most effectively.  In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, we thought we’d share a few ideas on this front to help inspire you to find a little gold at the end of the cloud rainbow.

1)      Get the most out of your salesforce.com licenses

If you are already using salesforce.com, you can replace edge applications as extended custom modules on your salesforce.com instance. You can stop paying for systems that may be sitting in old, outdated, or expensive technology.  Examples include recruiting applications, project management, and internal support applications.  Rationalizing applications such as these provide cost savings in license costs as well as support costs.

2)      Stop over-paying for email

By replacing your Lotus Notes or Exchange mail system with Gmail, you can realize some serious immediate cost savings.  To give you a sense of the potential cost savings, use this as a guide.

3)      Stop creating physical test/training environments

If you’re in the process of specifying hardware needed to support upcoming test and training environments, consider leveraging Amazon EC2.  It’s mind-boggling fast to spin up an exact replica on the platform, you pay only for the computing power you use, and you can shut it down the minute you’ve completed your testing or training.  If you’ve lived through the painful process of procuring and creating such an environment, you’ll appreciate the ease and cost-effectiveness of the approach.

4)      Stop over-paying for office productivity software

For most employees, Google Docs is more than sufficient for everyday tasks.  In fact, our Google business unit has been using it from the outset.  You can still find reasons to “need” the full version of MS Office, but don’t let exceptions create the rule.

5)      Embrace Social – Create “Social Fridays”

On Fridays, by promising better personal SLAs for those who reach out using social collaboration channels and less promising turnaround on direct emails, you can incent employees to collaborate with each other rather using person-to-person requests that often result in delays, frustration, filled inboxes, repetitive questioning, duplication of documents, increase storage costs, and…well…you get the idea.  This suggestion may not show up as a specific line item on your P&L, but bottom line savings and overall efficiencies you can create by embracing social collaboration in your organization can be massive.

So you can keep overpaying for underutilized, overpriced on-premises technology, or you can catch some gold at the end of the cloud rainbow.  Which will you choose?

Media Mavens report on Monster Merger

12 Mar

This has been quite a week for GlobalOne.  Actually, it has been quite a year – but this week stands out with the major announcement of our company merging with Cloud Sherpas.  For those of you who haven’t yet heard, we announced on Tuesday, March 6th the joining together of Cloud Sherpas and GlobalOne to become one of the largest Cloud Service Providers focused on helping customers adopt and enhance cloud solutions.  It is obvious from the coverage we have received that there is tremendous interest in the marketplace for companies to move into the cloud.

Coverage ranged from the WSJ noting that as “an international cloud service provider, (the merged company will be) helping businesses in the US and Asia Pacific move their computing to the cloud,” to Talking Cloud saying “A blockbuster cloud services provider (CSP) merger involving Cloud Sherpas and GlobalOne, potentially forming a next-generation cloud consulting company.”  Brandon Butler, Network World,(Cloud consultants Cloud Sherpas, Global One merge) quoted Jeffrey Kaplan’s perspective: “The SaaS-based cloud industry has proliferated and is beginning to consolidate — the consultancy world is a shadow of that,”  Kaplan says. “It’s all about moving from best of breed offerings to more stand-alone, all-encompassing, strategic suppliers of services.”

And a favorite is the one from Channel Nomics  where Larry Walsh called our “Monster Merger” the “Deal of the Year” so far in 2012, saying “Perhaps it (the merged company) will draw the new blueprint for what solutions providers should be in the cloud era.”

What do you think such a blueprint should be?  What are your expectations from a strategic cloud service provider like us?

If you are new to this blog, sign up for the RSS feed and keep watching us. We have new partnerships, new solutions and workshops all coming out this spring.

Simple Steps to Cloud Rationalization

8 Mar

In world of enterprise computing there is no shortage of industry buzz words. Cloud computing is no exception and one of the latest topics du jour is known as Cloud Rationalization.  As CIO’s are constantly being challenged to maximize the ROI of their enterprise technology stack, many are looking to cloud based solutions (Iaas/PaaS/Saas) to reduce IT complexity and gain competitive advantage.  Those that have not already deployed a cloud solution are likely investigating what benefits the cloud offers their firm. In doing so technology leaders are being forced to determine what they can and cannot leverage with cloud solutions.

The Global Architecture Group at GlobalOne is frequently called upon to help clients understand the cloud paradigm particularly as it applies to enterprise computing.  An element of that exploration is helping clients to determine what applications are good candidates for cloud deployment and which will likely not yield the sought after ROI and value to the firm. Cloud Rationalization is an iterative process with which a firm assesses their computing needs and aligns them with the value drivers and capabilities of cloud based solutions.  Some applications are just not best served by the cloud right now.  Other solutions are perfectly suited.  So how do you decide?

Using a straightforward “What are my options?” approach to Cloud Rationalization a CIO can ascertain what deployment options are viable and quickly arrive at a cloud short list.  So, let’s ask the question: “What are my options”?

  • Run the application as-is, no modification to current architecture
  • Move it offshore in its’ current state in order to reduce expense
  • Use someone else’s flexible hardware offering (IaaS) but maintain administrative control
  • Replace existing application with a 3rd party SaaS application
  • Rewrite existing application for a PaaS platform and migrate to cloud

While this list (like the cloud) will not address all scenarios, it does a good job of illustrating what a CIO can do to start understanding the initial steps to Cloud Rationalization and developing a short list of applications that may or may not be good candidates for cloud deployment.  It is important to note that the organization should conduct a thorough requirement and business impact analysis once they decide what applications to cloud enable.

Many of the pundits state that immediate cost savings of jettisoning hardware and administration overhead, while beneficial, are short lived wins.  The challenge is to make these moves understanding the long term strategic value of the applications and aligning the firms current and future needs in concert with any cloud architectural assessments.  While many are drawn to the flexibility and openness of the cloud, technology leaders need to be watchful for common mistakes such as “fork lifting” applications.  Fork lifting is another buzzword for migrating an application from one deployment model to to another without strategic review or modification, just movement.  Normally a quick win from a infrastructure point of view but often a lost opportunity for strategic alignment and application consolidation.   If the application is still in a silo and doesn’t add any more value in it’s new form the return on the migration expense may be negligible.  Moving to the cloud is not a solution in and of itself, rather one of the tools a CIO has to meet the ever changing needs of enterprise computing.

In the next installment of GlobalOne’s Global Architecture Review, we will look at what classes of applications are experiencing high rates of cloud adoption and how CIO’s can re-purpose infrastructure using Hybrid Cloud technology to maximize utilization and investment in hardware and staff.

Becoming world’s leading Cloud Services Provider: GlobalOne and Cloud Sherpas Merger

6 Mar

For those of you who have been watching GlobalOne, the announcement being made today should not come as a surprise. Since GlobalOne’s founding, our vision was to enable companies to transform their businesses by leveraging the power of the cloud. Today we advance that vision forward by joining together our company and the top Google Enterprise Partner, Cloud Sherpas. This union joins together two market leaders, united in our mission to deliver cloud advisory and implementation services to assist you with your journey into the cloud.

We have seen first-hand, customers struggling with multi-location and global teams trying to run mid- to large enterprises with traditional on premise tools. That is yesterday’s approach. Today’s enterprises are integrating cloud based applications such as Google and Salesforce.com and others into their technical architectures. This brings new, quickly evolving capabilities for collaboration, sales, service and workforce management, marketing and many more tools into the hands of the user. And all this is being done at a fraction of the cost it would take to even try and do the same with traditional on premise solutions. The browser is the new desktop and the cloud is the enabler of that reality, a reality that exists not just in the office, but anywhere a tablet or smart phone can go. As a combined company, Cloud Sherpas and GlobalOne, now operating as Cloud Sherpas can help you plot a course, plan specific projects, execute those projects and enable the new cloud reality in your company.

More details of the announcement can be found on PR Newswire as well as the Cloud Sherpas’ blog.

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