The blurb I use for conferences states… “Paul Liesenberg develops methodologies that optimally align next-generation network infrastructures and overarching business processes. Prior to Cisco, he was VP of Strategic Marketing for ZettaCom and Bivio Networks. Earlier, he was with StrataCom and Cisco post-acquisition, Nortel’s Data Networks Division, and Siemens’ Public Networks’ R&D division. He holds two patents in the area of VoIP, and an M.Sc. from TUM (Technische Universitaet Muenchen).”
You can reach me at email@example.com , in LinkedIn (Paul Liesenberg) or on Facebook (id: Pablo Liesenberg)...
Pablo Liesenberg’s Profile | Create Your Badge http://badge.facebook.com/badge/1196141986.383.112375.png
The blurb I use for conferences states… “Paul Liesenberg develops methodologies that optimally align next-generation network infrastructures and overarching business processes. Prior to Cisco, he was VP of Strategic Marketing for ZettaCom and Bivio Networks. Earlier, he was with StrataCom and Cisco post-acquisition, Nortel’s Data Networks Division, and Siemens’ P
As I w as putting together some new material for a presentation I had to give at IASA’s eSeminar “The Age of Collaboration” a few weeks ago, I was lucky to come across a very thought provoking piece with one of those lucky Internet searches. “ Innovation and the Productivity Crisis ” (available in Google Books) contains quite a few theories that are applicable to several of the things we wrestle with when it comes to the “right” collaboration architecture for the enterprise. The main premise the book investigates is that, in many ways, “the electronics innovation has not paid off”, and the authors offer several very interesting theories on why that could be the case. Mainly, the authors speculate that, “.. in the long run, computers encourage companies to engage in more computer-related activities rather than reducing labor required for a given level ..”. And I think they are right indeed. If we observe our patterns as we go about our everyday duties as knowledge workers, I think it is clear that the workflow was hijacked by the computer interface. Furthermore, I would venture to say that this has not always been in the best interest of our productivity as knowledge workers (never mind our social human nature). We can all relate to the frustrations of being locked to our computer screens, wrestling with yet another clumsy user interfaces of a few critical applications that slow us down (yes, ERP systems, I am talking about you). We all have witnessed some applications become less useful as they widen their focus: we struggle to stay on top of our constantly overflowing email, there are so many wikis and other information repositories within our enterprise intranets that we are left wondering which one we should follow or contribute to. And shouldn’t people make up their minds about whether we should follow their blogs, their tweets or their Facebook updates? J I think the common theme here is that the knowledge worker is still trying to find the collaboration silver bullet: the optimal tool to gather, transform, and distribute information capable of influencing the decision making process of other knowledge workers. The dilemma may very well be that our computers are great to generate information. Lots of it: so much of it that it becomes disorienting. At their best, computers are to us knowledge workers what canvas and brushes are to a painter. But at the end of the day to get the job done we have to present, discuss, solicit input, seek consensus - and as close to the face to face, real time experience as possible. Surely, that presentation we put together is most effective at influencing others when we give it in person - having people download it and browse through it is not going to have the same impact. The problem with the work flow for knowledge workers is that, while it structures an activity and captures the documents we produce as part of that, it fails to capture what we could call “collaboration metadata”. And the latter is of vital importance to improve knowledge worker productivity. Which experts did I seek out for input and validation when I put my presentation together? What comments did those experts have as I presented my ideas? What internal and external websites and blogs and white papers and presentations influenced the material? That “collaboration metadata” is very relevant to anyone that, for example, picks up my responsibilities if I were to take on new role. Or if I want to avoid taking the same detours that slowed me down the last time I drove a very similar project. We all know that to replicate business success, we cannot merely try to clone the result, rather it is about replicating the best practices that lead to a successful outcome. And in a knowledge workers' world, it is about capturing the entire collaborative flow that lead to a successful result. Not just the documents that were generated as milestones - but the meetings, conversations, in a nutshell, the human exchanges that influenced the result, and which currently fall by the wayside into what amounts to a big trash folder in the enterprise. And then there is the information itself: documents are great, but we knowledge workers know that we absorb knowledge far faster in 15 minutes by the water cooler with an expert than tediously reading the white papers and presentations that same expert has recently produced. It's both more productive and more enjoyable. And that is what “the right collaboration architecture” for the enterprise is all about: about enabling an environment that boosts knowledge worker productivity by accelerating the type of workflow knowledge workers participate in: a workflow that for now is still fraught with ambiguities and fuzzy logic, as well as information packaged in ways that are very slow to consume and hamper its effective reuse. Linear workflow tools fail to capture the complex interactions between knowledge workers, and impose artificial rules and constraints that often slow down activities. Plus should, should we admit it: richer, more social collaboration tools are far more enjoyable. And, that, I think, is what the authors of “Innovation and the Productivity Crisis” were describing. The right collaboration architecture will allow us to start the slow process of alleviating that productivity crisis. It will eventually deliver on the elaborate, flexible yet replicable type of structure (or, as it is called in business process modeling, “choreography”) that will greatly boost the productivity of many workflows knowledge workers participate in. Rich information that is easy and appealing to consume will be tagged along with the collaborative metadata that generated it, greatly boosting learning curves, greatly enriching enterprise information capital, and allowing knowledge workers to use more natural, enjoyable tools. It's truly no revolutionary insight: more engaged, happier employees are always going to be more productive. I am excited about attending Gartner's Enterprise Architecture Summit t his week to discuss this topic with Enterprise Architects that are increasingly discovering Collaboration Architecture as an area they need to optimize and quickly add enormous value for their enterprises in. If you're attending the same conference and want to discuss the topic, we are having a collaboration architecture get-together. More information on-site. Or join the collaboration architecture discussion right here! ****** Background Information about the Collaboration Architecture Blog Series ****** This blog is part of the Collaboration Architecture Blog series. View the brief video below to find out what this blog series is, and why you should read, subscribe, and post your feedback. View all posts in this series. Posts to the Collaboration Architecture Blog are made at least once a month. Subscribe via RSS feed so you don't miss the next one. Video Link : 4578
... View more
Susan - please blog for us (I am a fan of your book). :-) I entirely agree that mobility and enterprise mashups are huge emerging trends in our space, and we shall certainly have a few dedicated discussions around them. And like you say, silos are ultimately the architectural enemy this fight is about, as I also once said in an earlier blog. Mashups are those silver bullets, the agile constructs we shall increasingly use to combat such silos. Given mashups' device agnostic nature, they naturally support better mobility capabilities, too - allowing us to participate in business processes wherever we happen to be (I type this from a wine bar after work, in fact, while attending a Barolo tasting :-)!).
... View more
Blair - this is an excellent point. To put it in terms of IT implementation, this is about "graceful service degradation". That means that we employees have the flexibility to participate in business processes requiring our input remotely. In Cisco we have long been believers in that, and I for one think that is one of the reasons while our productivity is high. Sure, we may not be able to participate in watercooler exchanges or impromptu whiteboard sessions, but at least we can still participate (albeit in a -depedent on our job role- perhaps slightly degraded form). It's better than the binary no-access alternative that the old-fashioned model provided us with. In my opinion, Enterprise Architecture these days it is also about making sure that productive involvement in the business process is not solely dependent on our being present within the strictly defined corporate perimeter of the immediate corporate campus geography. A well-desinged collaborative enterprise architecture allows us to stay involved when we are on the road for business, stay home with a flu, or a snowstorm or other higher force keeps us away from the strict traditional corporate boundaries. Anyhow, here's wishing our colleagues, partners and customers in the East Coast a safe commute to work tomorrow... or -as you stated- the ability to be productive from home!
... View more
Thanks for the comments - I agree with everything you mention, passionately and thoroughly! Silos will fail every time these days in the enterprise unless the linkage to the business workflow utterly and totally forces them onto users. Knowledge workers are becoming more workflow savvy than business process architects give them credit for! I for one will never forget how *I* started to use a third party IM client (ok, I will admit it, Yahoo Messenger) to break the silo that our enterprise IM system imposed on me at the time: customers and partners were not reachable through our internal IM offering, which given the workflows I was involved in imposed an unacceptable limitation on me. that is just one example for the fact that we as users are becoming more empowered to enrich the workflow with tools we explore. But it would be more effective if such tools are introduced by enterprise architecture visionaries based on the requirements of workflows that are critical to a particular enterprise's success. I entirely agree that without open interfaces for integration, and without commitment to separate service core functions from presentation (so that they can be integrated into any client or mashup irrespectictive of client hardware or operating system) to reusable security or identity or presence functions, we are simply ignoring both sound enterprise architecture methodology as well as simple common sense.
... View more
Quick-witted Oscar Wilde coined the famous phrase "As soon as a truth becomes a fact, it loses all intellectual value". Philosophers have been discussing the principle of "intuitive certainty" over the ages, and interestingly many of the things at the very core of our knowledge rely on belief and intuition rather than ultimate fact. Collaboration in the enterprise, in my opinion, to this day mostly falls into the realm of things we intuitively feel are beneficial: employees and partners and customers communicating in more effective ways must ultimately be of significant benefit given the changing nature of business, right? But often it is hard to prove the point with strict metrics. I think that may now be changing: Forrester Consulting conducted a study aptly titled "The Right Collaboration Architecture Drives Business Transformation") that analyzed the benefits of collaboration in the enterprise. CIOs and Enterprise Architects got a chance to share their experiences around exisiting, recent investments in collaboration technologies (such as Unified Communications or TelePresence), but they also talked extensively about their expectations around future collaboration technologies (such as Enterprise Social Software or collaborative mashup tools). The study captures the excitement around the immense potential benefits of collaboration technology: Let's face it, when over 70% of IT strategists state that they expect collaboration technology to significantly cut decision making time and improve productivity, we are now moving away from intuitively perceiving the benefit of investing in collaboration: what we have is a metric that shows that companies that are not looking into a strategic collaboration architecture are doing so at their own peril. But we also need be aware of the fact that there are risks in charging ahead and hastily implementing new collaboration technologies in the enterprise. The main risk is that enterprises may regard collaboration as a simple continuation of their voice communication strategy. Voice, while always a strategic business tool, in most cases (call center applications aside) has been implemented as a parallel silo: in essence, enterprise users rely on their computers to interface (and log compliance) with enterprise workflows, and on their phones when it comes to quickly reaching out to and involving other participants. And the latter very seldom is captured by the formal workflow. But as we talk about a far richer set of collaboration tools in the future, there will be 2 critical factors for success: first of all, we can not implement every new collaboration technology as a new communication silo, meaning that we can not leave it to users to reconcile all these new tools, we can not expect users to learn how to put them to the best possible business use. Which leads to the second point: a cohesive collaboration architecture is required, an architecture with the ability to smoothly integrate a wide array of collaboration technologies, to deliver on user and device friendly interfaces, and to also offer key capabilities as reusable services that can be integrated (i.e. "mashed") into other enterprise applications. Forrester Consulting's claim -implied in the title of the study -that only the right collaboration architecture will deliver on the desired busines benefits for enterprises may sound self-serving at first, potentially resulting in monolithic collaboration suites and huge consulting projects. But it is of vital importance that enterprises consider collaboration as a pillar of their enterprise architecture, and thus strategize and deploy accordingly. The right collaboration architecture is nimble, modular, extensible. And the right collaboration architecture must include a critical resource that has often been neglected in enterprise architecture: the network. The network has become the sensory system of the emerging enterprise: among other things, it reaches everywhere, it instantly and reliably detects location, status and can link these to identity information, and the network by its very nature is a perfect mediator that breaks down silos. Our Cisco version of the resulting collaboration architecture is here . It is going to be a fascinating journey indeed as we transform key business processes with emerging collaboration capabilities. What are you seeing in your enterprise? Do you suffer from collaboration silos? Have you successfully begun to craft a more comprehensive collaboration strategy? Does the the architectural model that Forrester suggests work for you, or would you suggest changes? ** Background on the Collaboration Architecture Blog series. And link to RSS feed ** The above blog post is the first in this Collaboration Architecture Blog series. View the brief video below to find out what this blog series is, and why you should read, subscribe, and post your feedback. Video Link : 4578 Posts to the Collaboration Architecture Blog are made a least once a month. Subscribe via RSS feed so you don't miss the next one: https://communities.cisco.com/community/technology/collaboration/business/blog/feeds/tags/collaboration_architecture_blog
... View more