by Jeffrey Mann | April 1, 2011 | 11 Comments
We are constantly looking at our branded deliverables to see how they can be improved or connect more closely with how our customers use them. Customer feedback has told us that the names of the 4 sections in our Magic Quadrants don’t correspond with how many customers choose to interpret them. Despite our efforts to explain how these are intended to be used, many customers insist on ignoring the real intentions behind the structure and assign simplistic interpretations to what each placement means.
Therefore, as of April 1, 2011 we will be renaming the Magic Quadrants and calling them “Real Quadrants®” and changing the names of each quadrant. Rather than Challengers, Leaders, Niche Players and Visionaries, the corresponding sections will be named as indicated below to correspond more closely with these simplistic interpretations.
It will take some time to finish reformatting existing documents. We expect to have this completed and will launch them all simultaneously on April 31, 2011. We have not yet come up with a name for the fifth quadrant introduced in Mark McDonald’s new magic MQ, which launched today.
For more information about Real Quadrants, please click here.
Category: being an analyst humor Magic Quadrant Tags: April Fools, Challengers, Leaders, MQ, Niche, Real Quadrants, satire, Visionaries
by Jeffrey Mann | March 30, 2011 | Submit a Comment
I’m waiting for my flight home after seeing the 2011 Portals, Content and Collaboration summit come to a close in Los Angeles. We passed the venue on to our CRM colleagues, who will continue with Customer 360 event. These conferences are always as exhausting as they are stimulating, so please allow me some fairly random comments and observations.
- It felt good, from the analyst perspective.
Events each have their own feel, their own level of buzz. This event certainly had lots of buzz, with a feeling of optimism underlying it. Judging by feedback from Twitter, people laughing at the right spots, and having lots of questions I felt like my sessions were well-received, even the one where I attack the wisdom of pursuing financial ROI for PCC projects. I was a bit nervous about that one.
- The venue was great.
The conference location at LA Live was pleasant to be at. I like downtown venues where it’s possible to get out and see something, where there are people around that aren’t part of the conference. This venue had that.
- Technology is advancing, but the issues that many enterprises are facing don’t.
The biggest challenges that enterprises face continue to be defining strategy, setting priorities and policies, and driving adoption. New capabilities come available, but these remain the issues that cause the biggest problems.
- IRL doesn’t necessarily mean face time.
The opportunity to meet with other people facing similar issues. This remains a challenge though, as ever more powerful and portable devices provide distraction. I almost tweeted a scene I found funny, with six people sitting around a table in comfortable chairs, all of them engrossed in their phones and tablets, ignoring each other. Tweeting snarky comments about customers is probably a bad thing though, so I held back.
I hope that Customer 360 will be as good. I will be watching on Twitter.
Category: collaboration PCC social software Tags: collaboration, content, los Angeles, portals, summits
by Jeffrey Mann | March 27, 2011 | 2 Comments
I am not usually all that into gadgets, and I have never understood the manic devotion to all things Apple that some normally rational people display. I don’t have an iPhone (I tried, but that’s a long, not very interesting story) and am very happy with my Blackberry Torch. I get a secret satisfaction out of often being the only one in the room without one of those black rectangles.
I resisted getting an iPad when they first came out, because I figured the second edition would be much better. The lack of a camera was a particular drawback, since this is such a perfect form factor for video conferencing. As Apple gets more and more controlling and arrogant (App Store policies, newspaper subscriptions,…), I wasn’t sure I wanted to go down that road.
But the iPad 2 convinced me. It is better in enough areas to convince me to get one. Not one, but TWO cameras. I was ready. They would soon become available in Europe (although about $220 more expensive than one bought in the US), but I figured I could pick one up during a trip to California this week.
I saw the news reports of low stocks in stores, and inquired about my chances on twitter. They were not encouraging. Apparently, to score one of these things, I should go to an Apple retail store at 5:00 am and wait in line until the store opened at 10:00 (maybe 9:00) to get one of the few devices dribbling out. Or check out a long list of inventory web sites at other retailers, followed by phone calls to plan out a strategy.
I don’t think so. Yes, I want one, but not THAT badly. For awhile, I will have to content myself reading what colleagues say about this phenomenon. I would not put it past Apple to be orchestrating this scarcity to increase the buzz, and I don’t want to encourage that kind of behavior. I might still get one, but not until I can avoid going to fanatical lengths to get one.
Category: Apple Personal RIM social media Tags: fanboys, ipad, tablets
by Jeffrey Mann | February 14, 2011 | 1 Comment
Good systems have good user interfaces. They anticipate what we want to do, learn our preferences and foibles; protect us from mistakes. As devices get better at anticipating what we do, they gradually become a part of our personalities, as we get more and more accustomed to how they learn about us and come to reflect ourselves in them.
Picking up someone else’s smartphone feels like entering a strange world, where everything is familiar… but creepily wrong. It has learned all about someone else, whose preferences inevitably just feel doofy. I long to get back to my own device, which has the email icon in the right place, and knows what to do with copies of sent emails. It feels like coming home. Even though my laptop is slowing down and crashes every now and then, I resist reinstalling the image, even though I know that make everything faster and more stable. I hate the idea of having to teach it all about me again; what pictures I like on the desktop, what web sites I go to. All the things I do without thinking, I would have to think about again.
Sometimes this familiarity absolutely scares the bejeebers out of me.
Not because I am afraid that my laptop will learn too much about me, or become sentient and try to take my place. The stupid thing goes into a total panic if I change printers without telling it. I don’t feel threatened. But I am scared that I will come to depend on it knowing me so well that I will do something stupid. For every email address that auto-completes, every password that my browser remembers for me, I feel myself getting a little more dependent and looser. I let my system take care of the small things so that I can think of bigger stuff (I tell myself). But what if the little things aren’t so little anymore?
I got to thinking about how UIs are evolving when I read about new cars coming on the market that can park themselves. Letting a car steer itself into a space will take some getting used to, but I can see how this could be considered a little thing. Engineers are also experimenting with cars that will drive themselves, or at least steer themselves on the highway. That seems like a bit of a bigger deal, but I could get used to that. I could make jokes about Blue Screens of Death, or how unreliable software is, but that doesn’t really concern me. I am more worried about me.
Once I get used to my car steering itself, I expect cars to do that. That will be the new normal for how cars work, just like I expect browsers to know that when I type “nyt” I actually mean http//:www.nytimes.com. When I use another system that doesn’t do that, I have a small “what the…?” moment until I remember that I am not “home” and adjust.
But once I get used to my car steering on the highway, someday I know that I will get in a rental car, and it won’t be so smart. This new normal will lead to disaster, when it becomes too normal. My car already decides when to turn on the headlights, how to keep the inside temperature at 19 C, when it’s raining enough to turn on the wipers, and when it wants to go to the garage. I have come to expect that cars have central door locking. That can lead to an unpleasant surprise with some rentals, but nothing as bad as assuming that my car will keep me from bashing into the car ahead of me.
It’s great that these things are looking out for me, but I hope that I still remember to look out.
Category: Applications devices predictions Tags: design, travel, user interface
by Jeffrey Mann | January 26, 2011 | 7 Comments
I wish to apologize for all of the demos I have somehow disrupted, those in the past and I am sure, in the future.
I see a lot of vendor briefings as an analyst. A disturbing number of them go wrong. I cannot count how many times I heard the phrase “Haven’t seen that before…” or “Can you see anything?” or “It worked this morning.” My favourite is “We just released a new build, and it might not be completely stable,” as the software crumbles into a smouldering heap of bits.
Or worse. Just this week, a very proud web conferencing vendor wanted to show me their flashy new version. It did look good, until it crashed my machine with a Blue Screen of Death, the first one of those I have seen in several years. That day also saw the second and third time I saw it, until we finally gave up.
I’m not sure why, but I am prepared to believe it is my fault somehow. I spend a lot of time in the mountains, which makes for sometimes dodgy Internet connections. Maybe that is what does it.
Maybe its just my karma. Whatever the reason, I am sorry. If I could make it stop, I would.
Category: being an analyst conferencing humor technology Vendors Tags: BSOD, crash, demos
by Jeffrey Mann | January 23, 2011 | 2 Comments
Social media policies are proving to be a minefield for companies and individuals learning to navigate the shoals of what is permissible, desirable or merely awkward. Digital channels multiply the opportunities for potential cIashes between what we think we are doing or saying as private individuals, and the reasonable interests of our employers or other institutions. This problem is often expressed as an unavoidable clash between who we are as employees and who we are as private individuals.
Framing the question this way seems far too simple to me. The issue is not whether it is possible to separate the work persona from a personal persona, but rather how to manage the multitude of personas we inhabit. Every day we switch between dozens of roles: employee, manager, father, husband, Battlestar Galactica fan, college friend, dog owner… We are accustomed to dealing with these different contexts, switching between them and modifying how we behave and what we say.
I behave differently with a difficult vendor challenging an MQ position than with a vendor where I have a long relationship working on strategy (I’m not easier on the latter, but it is undeniably different). I would act differently towards a youth athletic team I coach than with friends from college. I try (not always successfully) to hold back on sarcastic, ironic comments unless I know the people really well. I know that I am not alone. Everyone makes these kinds of shifts every day. If we don’t, we can’t do our jobs or even live our lives effectively.
Social media increases the chances where this can go wrong, but it is important to remember that this not something completely new; we need to learn to apply what we already do IRL to these virtual channels.
A bit of perspective and common sense will also help. I find some of these stories where it has gone wrong deeply depressing. Why would someone drinking a glass of wine while on holiday be fired? Would a company fire someone for griping around the water cooler? If not, why is a discussion on Facebook that much different? In fact, that often makes a good test as to whether something is worth pursuing: If the equivalent behaviour happened in real life, without digital media involved, would there be a problem? That can be one way of inserting common sense into some needlessly tense situations.
Category: IT Governance Personal policy privacy social media Tags: common sense, compliance, social media policy, wine
by Jeffrey Mann | January 5, 2011 | 2 Comments
As social software becomes more popular and widely-adopted, it seems like everything is getting a social component. I recently tweeted some musings about what could be the next big social thing. My colleague Andy added a few more. I thought I would use this longer format to add some possibilities of what these Next Big things might be.
- Social storage management: Where do you think this cluster should go?
- Social data center cooling: Is it hot in here, or what?
- Social format conversion: Is JPG trending higher than BMP?
- Social regression testing: Click that button again, I dare you.
- Social keyboards: A blog for four hands.
- Social app development. I thought you already built that?
- Social printer drivers: I prefer Bodoni
- Social WiFi routers: www.fon.com
- Social UPCs: BzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
- Social load balancing: Go without me; I have too much to do.
- Social browser caching: Who wants to see this again?
- Social network prioritization: No, I insist; after you.
- Social transaction processing: Not now; I’m busy.
- Social power plug: Does anyone have a Euro Powerbook cord I can borrow?
- Social telephone: Hey, there’s an idea!
- Social mousepad: <all right, I’m stumped. Who has an idea?>
Got any more? What do you think the least likely next big thing for social will be?
Category: humor social media social software Tags: #thenextsocial, humor, social media, social software
by Jeffrey Mann | January 1, 2011 | 5 Comments
For the last two years, I have done blog posts on what I call my anti-resolutions for the year. Many bloggers publish their predictions, personal resolutions and highlights around the end of the year. So I won’t. If lots of people do something, that usually is a good enough reason for me not do it.
Instead, I want to talk about my anti-resolutions for 2011.They are “anti” in a couple different ways. The main one is that these are not things that I intend to do, but are hopes and polite suggestions about other people. That is much easier, and an idea that seems to be catching on.This is also what analysts usually do; we rarely do stuff, but we comment a lot on what other people or organizations should do or have done.
Most of the resolutions are also “anti” because they describe something that I hope won’t happen rather than new things that should happen. I am generally not a negative person, but there’s a lot of undesirable activity going on out there. After reading this, please stop it. Thank you.
- Stop saying things are dead.
I thought that I dealt with this in a blog post last year, but it seems some people weren’t listening. Every week I read somewhere that Twitter is dead; Facebook is dead; Hyves is dead. Secrets are dead. About the only thing that can really be read from one of these pronouncements is that whatever is being discussed is most certainly not dead.
Concepts in the social media space rarely ever die. They get less popular, fade from attention, morph into something else; but rarely die altogether. Even if they do, it is tedious to talk about how something that most people think is popular is actually dead. If it were really dead, then no one would be talking about it anymore, now would they? It’s as if bloggers get extra points for being the first to jump on the coffin. I find it unseemly, as well as boring.
- Please don’t keep saying that microblogging is about telling everyone what you just ate.
I see this over and over again, that Twitter is full of narcissists broadcasting what they ate for lunch. This particular dig is usually a pretty good indicator that whoever says it does not use Twitter very much.
I cannot recall the last time I read about what someone ate for lunch on Twitter. I am sure that it happens, but if that is all someone tweets about, then they would be boring and no one would follow them. That is one of the best things about Twitter when compared to real life: it is pretty easy to avoid the boring bits. I don’t see those tweets because I ignore the people that I find boring. You should too.
- Stop assuming that everyone wants to use social media.
I have read several books and seen many presentations that enthusiastically proclaim how there is a huge pent-up demand for social media, that everyone is just panting to share, comment, tag and link.
It just ain’t so.
The biggest issue I see enterprises struggling with is convincing people to use these new facilities. They expected that once the facilities were made available, all users would grab them and run with them. Instead, they find that most people never try it, and a few kick at the edges a few times before going back to what they were doing. That’s because what they were doing is what they call “their jobs.” If it is not made clear how social media will make individuals’ lives and jobs easier and more pleasant, they won’t bother. Aside from the relative few who see this immediately, most people need a bit more guidance and cajoling. That’s the hard job in front of every social media proponent who wants to scale their projects beyond the pioneering Happy Few.
- Stop assuming that social media will change everything.
Too many social media proponents breathlessly state that nothing will be the same after the social media maelstrom passes over us; that the way we work, play, and interact will fundamentally change, that all of our processes and work patterns will be unrecognizable.
Ho hum. Heard that before about so many things. Didn’t happen then, won’t happen now.
Don’t get me wrong. I love how social media has changed how I work, and love talking about how it can improve processes, and the way people work. But it won’t change everything. Nor should it; it doesn’t need to. Quite a bit better or even a little bit easier is certainly enough.
- Don’t think that your biggest challenge is to get your chief executive to write a blog
Eager social software organizers often feel that if they can only get the CEO to blog regularly, then everything else will fall into place. Top-level validation and executive buy-in certainly can help, but if a senior executive needs to be convinced to blog, he or she probably won’t be very good at it. With a great deal of work, it is possible to learn to blog effectively, but it’s difficult to get your boss’s boss’s boss to do this. It’s usually better to get someone lower in the organization who is attracted to blogging and more likely to be good at it.
- If you leave me a voice mail, tell me what you want.
I know I will be having a bad day when I receive a voice mail that says something like “Hi. This is Mphrlwysiz Affmrrhl. Can you call me back when you get a chance?”
I am pretty sure that their name is not actually Mphrlwysiz Affmrrhl, but something phonetically similar. Now I have to figure out how to get back to them, and what they want. Since I am often calling while juggling luggage on the way to the airport, it could take several calls back and forth before this interaction gets completed.
I live my professional life by email. It is great at conveying information, and handling the request right away. With mobile email, I can do this on the fly as well. I understand, however, that some people prefer to talk to other people, to make contact, explain the context. Fine. Just tell me what you want though, so that we don’t have to bounce back and forth too long.
- “Lose” and “loose” are different words with different meanings. Do not mix them up.
Look them up if you have to: Lose and Loose
- Don’t leave obvious, essential features out of your product.
With my Blackberry, I had to choose between wifi and a camera. The iPad ships without a camera, on a device which is perfect for video conferencing. The rims for my snow tires don’t come with hub caps, so the salt corrodes them. Every device needs its own specific power cord and connector, and they never include extras.
These features are all so obviously desirable, why leave them out? I know what you will say “To get us to buy expensive ‘accessories’ and the next version when it comes out.” But it ticks me off. Please stop it.
- Stop saying that something New is no different from something Old.
I have heard it before. Email is not that different from a fax. Mainframes had email and instant messaging decades ago. You could buy stuff to be delivered from a catalog long before you could do so from an e-commerce Web site. A wiki isn’t that different from a Word document with revision tracking on.
Sometimes these observations are correct. But who cares? The truth is that e-commerce is creating millions of new businesses, and changing the way that people buy, no matter who did it first. Email shapes the way we work to an extent that faxes or telexes never came close to achieving. Tracing the roots of a supposedly “new” development can be interesting. Unexpected similarities can expose different ways of looking at new developments. But if the goal is to squash the new thing back into a corner where it can be safely ignored, please don’t.
- No one should “Reply all” to more than ten people.
Yeah, that would be nice. I live in hope.
I guess I must be grumpy this year, since I made it back to 10 anti-resolutions. Last year, I only could think of seven. Grumpy is no way to start out the new year, however. I certainly don’t feel that way as I start into 2011. I think it’s going to be a great year, although it could always be a bit better.
Happy New Year, everyone!
Category: anti-resolutions blogging humor microblogging Personal predictions social media social software Tags: anti-resolutions, blogging, happy new year, humor, ipad, microblogging, twitter
by Jeffrey Mann | December 20, 2010 | 2 Comments
The Wikileaks organization has been in the news a great deal the past couple weeks with its large scale disclosure of internal communications from the US State Department, and promises to release reportedly explosive internal discussions from banks at a later date. I have held off commenting for awhile to see how the issue played out a bit, and what the potential effects on how enteprises use social software might be.
Last week’s announcement that Mark Zuckerberg is Time magazine’s “person of the year” for 2010 put the issue in perspective. Many were aghast at this perceived slight of Wikileaks’s Julian Assange, but I tend to agree with it.
Too many years ago, I did a customized undergraduate college degree in the Philosophy of Journalism, so I probably should have some deeper opinions about the issues Wikileaks raises. When I was thinking about journalism in the early ‘80s, I was mostly considering differences between the Soviet model of journalism and how it compared to Western ideas. Like so many projects studying anything having to do with the Soviet Union, all that work has since become utterly obsolete and almost completely irrelevant.
Now I spend more time thinking about how enterprises use social software, an endeavour which might remain relevant for a bit longer. The Wikileaks affair actually does not have much to do with social media, or at least it shouldn’t. Despite its name, Wikileaks does not have much to do with technologies like social networking, discussion boards, or even wikis. The organization uses fancy security and anonymization techniques to keep their web sites up and protect contributors, but there isn’t much social about what they do in the way that Wikipedia or Yelp are social.
The rise of internet-mediated social interactions has had a profound influence on how we work, play, and interact as humans. Without downplaying the effect that Wikileaks will have on politics, journalism, and potentially business (if Assange’s threat/promise to release controversial banking documents comes to pass), the influence of social software goes much further. While not the only driver, Facebook is the public face of this influence.
So for once, I agree with Time. It doesn’t happen often.
I fear that an unavoidable, but unfortunate result of the furor around the Wikileaks disclosures will be an increased desire to lock down conversations and restrict communication at both commercial and government organizations. It will be used as a reason to block access to social media sites, stop sharing information, and treat many who want to collaborate widely with suspicion. After a period where sharing and access were generally encouraged, I fear that the pendulum will swing too far back the other way. This inevitable reaction is unfortunate from a social media perspective because encouraging participation is one of the biggest challenges I find organizations facing. As social software gains in maturity, usage grows beyond the pioneers who are naturally attracted to the technologies and interacting that way. After the pioneers, the settlers need encouragement. Clamping down amid an atmosphere of fear is not conducive to encouraging participation.
This would not be the first time that a desire for one thing triggered the opposite. When deciding on steps to take post-Wikileaks, I really hope that the familiar relationship between babies and bath water does not get forgotten.
Category: compliance Facebook privacy security social media social software Tags: Facebook, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, person of the year, TIME, wikileaks
by Jeffrey Mann | November 19, 2010 | 1 Comment
Symposium is usually an intense experience, and this year was no different. This year 3300 attended the event, a 21% increase over last year. It was the biggest EMEA Symposium in the last ten years. Close to 100 analysts did 200 presentations, almost 2200 1on1 meetings, and about 40 user roundtables. Personally, I did 26 1on1 meetings and seven sessions over 3 1/2 days. All those contacts provide a lot of information from customers about what they are doing, what they are struggling with, and what is confusing or perplexing them about the developing world of collaboration. I will be mining these insights over the next couple months in research notes.
These were some of the top questions people were asking about.
- Promoting Social Software in Conservative Organizations.
The initial issue many organizations faced with social software was how to get control of the mavericks and pioneers who were dragging in innovative solutions from wherever they could find them. As adoption deepens, more organizations are finding that their internal or industry culture is stronger than the impulses of these dynamic individuals. In conservative organizations, people feel that using wacky new software like wikis or microblogging would be seen as a bad thing, even if there is no official statement or prohibition. These organizations are looking for ways to encourage innovation and responsible adoption.
- Developing a Collaboration Strategy
A bit of an evergreen, but definitely still a hot topic. There are lots of initiatives, some benefits, and lots of attention. How do we channel that energy into a viable strategy?
- Involving Customers in Social Software Efforts
The first several iterations of social software concentrated on collaboration among colleagues. After that, the marketing or customer service organization started Social CRM efforts. Now, it’s time to develop a long term view of how to involve customers in the developing conversations.
This year is different for me because it is most likely the last time I will serve as chair for the event as well as attending as an analyst. This was my third year organizing the agenda, which is personally stimulating as well as a pleasant challenge. I became familiar with areas of our research that I otherwise would not have seen. I loved the chance to think about how we present our ideas as well as what the ideas themselves should be. I have loved working with the events team, leading to a much greater appreciation of the professionalism, work, and skills needed behind the scenes to pull off an event like this one. If Symposium is a success, it is mostly due to the events people making it seem (mostly) seamless. I will miss that part of the event, when I go back to just worrying about finishing the slides for my own presentations.
To everyone who made Symposium possible: Events staff, analysts, consultants, management, sales people, and (most of all) clients and sponsors: An enormous thank you.
Category: being an analyst collaboration consumerization europe Events social media social software Strategic Planning symposium Tags: conservative organizations, EMEA, social software, symposium. #gartnersym, Type C