Posted tagged ‘collaboration’

Productivity and Trust, No Longer Mutually Exclusive

June 18, 2012

In the Post-PC era, organizations are increasing facing the pressure to choose between serving the needs of the user to be productive, versus IT’s need to ensure overall safety of information. Productivity and safety have fundamentally been at odds for a very long time.  However, if organizations are able to achieve the right balance of catering to the needs of the user and IT, great transformations occur.  These transformations occur not only in business and IT, but also in individuals to drive great outcomes.

Additionally, user work patterns and expectations are changing very dramatically.  Today’s user expects instant access to any information regardless of where they are, or which device they are using.  They also have little tolerance for poor user experiences.  They want to be able to share the information with others within and across firewalls.  Organizations are becoming artificial boundaries.

Lastly, it is far too expensive for IT to move content from different repositories into yet another centralized repository when a new way to work comes about via a technology innovation.  Instead, information is expected to have a distributed characteristic, but access patterns, governance, management and policy enforcement should evolve based on new work patterns.

The question we as a business community are faced with is whether we should accept the imperfect world where such an artificial choice is forced upon us, or reject the status quo of mutual exclusivity between two very significant necessities for a business to be successful.  When we look closer at the key defining traits important for productivity and safety in a trusted enterprise, a few aspects are amplified.  Let’s consider each of the two dimensions more carefully.

Productivity for the user typically considers aspects such as:

  1. Mobility:  Ensure users have freedom to choose their devices, and access the right information from anywhere, at any time on any device.
  2. Delighting The New User:   Deliver a user experience that is completely intuitive, frictionless, efficient and just works the way one would expect it to!
  3. Ensuring Collaboration and Transparency Across Boundaries:  Whether it be geographical boundaries, device boundaries, infrastructure boundaries or organizational boundaries, people should have the option of full transparency and engagement to get their job done in the most effective ways.
  4. Matching the Home Computing Experience in the Workplace:  The most common question that gets asked by users is why is it so much easier for them to get stuff done at home versus getting work done in the workplace.  This includes simple and rapid provisioning  of technology that is as effortless as using Facebook
  5. Policy Automation:  Conventional wisdom has taught us that security, governance, compliance, rights management, etc. are restrictions that hamper user experience.  However, if implemented correctly, user experience can be materially enhanced by effective implementation of policy (e.g. don’t allow a sales person to open an older version of the price sheet by implementing an information rights management)

On the other hand, a trusted enterprise worries about capabilities such as:

  1. Security:  It isn’t just who has access to what information, but also having access to the right information at the right location in the right context.
  2. Governance and Compliance:  It isn’t just keeping your organization secure, but also ensuring the right governance and compliance of the information regardless of where the information lives.  Policy must follow content rather than being tied to a physical repository.
  3. Control: Sensitive and business critical information should be owned by corporations, not individuals.  If a device is lost, information on that device must be controlled by the corporation.  If a user decides to pursue other career options they should not be able to walk away with company sensitive information.
  4. Manageability:  IT should be able to make it easier for provisioning users, accounts, and customer experiences.
  5. Rights Management:  When information is shared outside corporate boundaries, organizations sharing the information shouldn’t lose control over the information.  Furthermore, at any point in time, information shared with others outside the organization should have the ability to disable information based on a set of criteria.

As we move into the new world where the user has taken control while IT is required to `keep the organization safe, compliant and secure, a new breed of solutions will emerge.  These will be solutions that deliver superior user experiences while not ignoring the risk, safety, compliance and manageability aspects that IT so rightfully cares about.  This will be a race where many will claim that they cater to this duality of needs, but only a few will be able to deliver on this promise at scale to enterprises.  The challenge is harder than it sounds, but results are far greater than they seem on the surface.  This is truly the new era of the content and collaboration market.  Like any discontinuous innovation, the success of this will be over-estimated in the short-term but grossly under-estimated in the long term.  The intersection where productivity meets trust will truly be a sea change for the content and collaboration work patterns within the enterprise.  Finally, organizations won’t be forced to make a choice between two very important needs of a business – keep my users productive while keeping my organization safe.

A Partnership for the New User

May 11, 2011

As you may have heard from EMC World, we’re working with Cisco to deliver an enterprise social collaboration platform. During my keynote yesterday, Murali Sitaram, Vice President and General Manager of the Collaboration Software Group at Cisco, joined me as we demonstrated the power of the Cisco Quad platform with EMC Documentum.

Below is a short conversation Murali and I had to discuss our plans.

THE NEW USER in the Post-PC Era

May 5, 2011

IT is undergoing on of the most significant transitions in history as we move into the Post-PC era.  This sort of material transformation typically happens only once every 10 to 15 years.  What also unique about this market transition compared to the market transitions of the past is that this time technology innovation is starting on the consumer end and bleeding into the work place.  Breakthrough innovations in the past transitions all started in the work place and bled into our home lives. As the Post-PC era takes effect, a NEW USER is starting to emerge.  This NEW USER has an entirely different set of expectations on how technology helps him/her get work done.  In fact, there is a much different work pattern in the way he/she expects to work compared to the past.  There is also a basic question that this NEW USER asks on a daily basis – “Why am I so much more productive at home than I am in the workplace?”.

As the diagram above illustrates, the NEW USER has a different set of expectations and work patterns.  The key expectations are…

  1. …that THE NEW USER is inherently more social and collaborative in the way he/she works: Today at home social media usage has surpassed email usage.  In the workplace, this same pattern will emerge.  The NEW USER will want to work more transparently, interact with others in a more inclusive manner, and expects the systems at work to provide the same richness and simplicity as they do at home
  2. …that THE NEW USER demands simplified provisioning of technology:  The expectation here is that the new user is used to having functionality provisioned to him/her in minutes and hours versus days and months.  There is an inherent pre-requisite that provisioning of functionality be simple in order for them to use the technology.  Users have always wanted provisioning to be simple.  It’s just that today the NEW USER has a better set of available alternatives.
  3. …that THE NEW USER wants control and choice:  Last but not the least, THE NEW USER expects full control and choice on the devices and applications they end up using to get work done and be more productive.  Also these devices and applications aren’t always different from the ones that they use at home.

The NEW USER’s NEW expectations make enterprise IT’s job materially more complex.  They must give the NEW USER the ultimate social collaborative experience in evolved work patterns, simplified provisioning, and choice, while still providing risk management, audit trails enablement  and ensure regulatory compliance as users  work in a transparent manner.  My colleague Chuck Hollis puts it best about THE NEW USER being different about their attitude with technology — “THE NEW USER is smart, self-sufficient and comfortable with powerful technologies.  THE NEW USER needs advanced levels of IT services, and is more than comfortable contracting for these independently if not available through a traditional IT storefront During any market transition there are winners and losers.  The companies that succeed in the Post-PC era will have optimized the experience for the NEW USER while effectively managing risk from such actions in this new Post-PC era.

Doculabs’ Whitepaper on Enterprise Social Computing and Collaboration

February 9, 2010

I am very happy to announce Doculabs’ latest whitepaper that was released earlier today on Social Computing and Collaboration (SC&C) within the enterprise and beyond. If you are interested in receiving your copy of the whitepaper, feel free to email me at

These are very exciting times that we live in. We are witnessing one of the most profound cultural and behavioral transformations of our time, where people are more and more at ease in working transparently and collaboratively with the masses. For example, consider that the Economist had a special report on Social Networking in the issue dated Jan 20-Feb 5, 2010. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook put it best referring to the behavioral shift due to social networking as “probably the greatest transformative force in our generation, absent a major war”.

Please feel free to email me at for your copy of the whitepaper. Many thanks for your interest and over the next few weeks I will be blogging about the key scenarios within enterprises that stand to benefit the most from social computing and collaboration. Look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on these discussions so that we can collectively better understand and define the impact and associated opportunity of social computing and collaboration for the enterprise and beyond.


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