remain focused on the business problem p.10
the ‘secret sauce’ for correlating unstructured data p.22
december 2011 volume 2 number 6 www.itincanada.ca
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Which database has the right moves? DB2® on Power Systems™ performs three times faster per core than Oracle Database on SPARC – based on both TPC-C and SAP® SD benchmarks.* Yet the price of DB2 is as low as 1/3 the price of Oracle Database.** Maybe that’s why in 2010 over 1,000 Oracle Database clients chose DB2 instead. Game over.
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*PERFORMANCE: www.tpc.org as of 3/28/11 [IBM Power 780 (3 x 64 C)(24 Ch/192 C/768 Th); 10,366,254 tpmC; $1.38/tpmC; avail. 10/13/10 v. Oracle SPARC SuperCluster w/T3–4 Servers (27 x 64 C)(108 Ch/1728 C/13824 Th); 30,249,688 tpmC; $1.01/tpmC; avail. 6/1/11]. TPC-C is a trademark of Transaction Performance Processing Council. 2-tier SAP SD standard application benchmark results as of 3/28/11 [IBM Power 795 (32 P/256 C/1024 Th); 126,063 users, SAP ERP 6.0 EhP4/AIX 7.1 + DB2 9.7; cert. 2010046 v. Oracle SPARC Enterprise Server M9000 (64 P/256 C/512 Th); 39,100 users, SAP ERP 6.0/Solaris 10, Oracle 10g; cert. 2008042] www.sap.com/benchmark. SAP and all SAP logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany and several other countries. **PRICE: all prices shown in USD, based on publicly avail. U.S. info on 2/10/2011 for IBM DB2 Advanced Enterprise Edition + Oracle software w/comparable capabilities. No SAP SD benchmark results are used for any price/performance metrics. IBM: 100 Processor Value Units. Oracle: assumes 1.0 processor multiplier. Both incl. Y1 maint./support. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, DB2, Power Systems, Smarter Planet and the planet icon are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. © International Business Machines Corporation 2011.
DB2 on POWER: 3x faster. Check. As low as 1/3 the price. Mate.
Vol 2 No 6 November/December 2011
10 Technospective on Networking & Communications Features 4 Editorial B:11.125”
10 Technospective on Networking & Communications Two vendors, one sure fire way to drop the social software ball 12 Technospective on Skills, Service & Delivery Social Media Mining 13 Info-Context Business oversight: where does it come from, and is it here to stay? 14 Technospective on Personal Technology The perils and potentials of your social media policies
6 Cover Story: Collaboration scorecard: business views on IT support Departments 16 In the Middle More than video: the evolving reality of collaboration solutions 20 Case Study DFAIT’s Virtual G20 21 Case Study Global music agency collaborates and cuts costs with phone system upgrade
24 From the Inquiries Desk Collaboration apps for small business 26 Case Study Extending Adobe 28 New in Social Perspective and invective from the IT in Canada Forum 30 Executive Perspectives HDS Canada’s Barry Morrison
Online Extras: www.itincanada.ca Missed an issue? Misplaced an article? Visit www.itincanada.ca for a full archive of past It in Canada issues, as well as online extras from our many contributors. 26 Case Study November/December 2011 ITinCanada.ca / 3
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ike any good catch phrase, “the consumerization of IT” covers a lot of territory. But it is the broad strokes this expression paints that make it such a good descriptor of the changes that are shaking the world of collaboration. For users who remember the early days of PCs and the Internet, experience with collaboration began and ended with professional use of email that we slowly adopted into our personal lives for information sharing. For users coming online today, the alpha is a whole new range of multimedia content, application capabilities, access devices, delivery mechanisms and use cases – and the omega is nowhere in sight. If collaboration technology originally hailed from workplace environments and was translated into personal use, the opposite is the case today. Most contemporary business solutions either mimic or integrate new technologies that were popularized outside corporate environments, featuring innovative approaches to VoIP, video conferencing, social networking capabilities, the BYOD phenomenon, as well as cloud delivery of collaboration apps. With this “consumerization” come a number of corresponding organizational shifts that we have tried to describe in this latest issue of the IT in Canada magazine. These are not limited to the need for new security protocols – though we have included this discussion too in Dave Chappelle’s Personal Technology Technospective, “The perils and potentials of your social media policies” – but rather cover the “seventy-five percent change management” that our In the Middle market expert commentators point out is critical to realizing business value from collaboration implementations. This focus on organizational change is especially apparent in our current research feature, “Collaboration scorecard,” in which IT in Canada CCO Michael O’Neil considers not only how collaborative systems are delivering “radically new capabilities” – and what are the new trends in technology adoption – but also who in the company dryad (business unit or IT managers) is driving investment in new collaboration tools, and who actually recognizes the value in these systems. The answers are not obvious – read on,Macduff! – though they do offer solid guidance for companies that should look, ironically, for greater collaboration across various departments when developing implementation strategies. Taken as a whole, the IT Market Dynamics research featured here and in our Info-Context section describes a new role, as well as enhanced oversight responsibility for IT projects (including collaboration) by business managers who also hold senior titles as well as the reins on the cheque book. This second instalment of our Collaboration pub is also about technology, though – as demonstrated by Stefan Dubowski’s look at new capabilities in social software provided by two industry leaders, Microsoft and IBM, and the “do’s and don’ts” in deployment. Our Skills & Delivery Technospective offers a guided tour that begins with “Dell Hell” and travels to the development of HP BI solutions that create new value out of the huge amounts of data collected from social media through B2B and B2C communications. In our Executive Insights feature, HDS Canada regional VP Barry Morrison discusses solutions to address storage management of the massive storm of unstructured data coming from collaboration apps – of which one is cloud. And in a final tech talk, Chris Rogers answers reader Inquiries by pointing to some cloud-enabled collaboration alternatives targeted at the small business user. Ultimately, the value in any tech solution lies it the ability of users to align innovation with enhanced productivity. In the Canadian case studies included in our Collaboration 2 issue, we have tried to give some sense of the wide variety of applications, users and use cases that are animating collaboration markets. From Canadian government use of Open Text technology to support the international summits held in Toronto last summer, to Refined Data use of the Adobe platform as a tool for business development, to The Agency Group’s update to Avaya digital telephony, much of it is here – or at least as much as we could fit. Happy Reading!
Mary Allen Editor, IT in Canada
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By Michael O’Neil
Collaboration scorecard: business views on IT support
How well does IT “do” collaboration? When in doubt, ask management...
here are many ways to categorize IT effective in delivering support to my staff?” The survey question we asked was deinitiatives. One that is often used disIn approaching our 2011 research on signed to both determine how prevalent coltinguishes between “projects that are collaborative systems, IT Market Dynamlaborative system use is in Canada, and also, contained within the IT department” and ics decided to hone in on the business to gauge the extent to which collaboration “projects that directly support business usmanagement perspective on collaboration technologies contribute to business success. ers.” Each category has its own advantages technology – its role in the organization, the Looking at Figure 1, we see that just over and constraints. IT-specific projects are ususpecific products that business units use, one third of Canadian organizations have ally intended to deliver incrementally better the effectiveness of IT support for collaboradeployed collaborative systems. Within this business performance, rather than radically tion, and the 2012 budget outlook for these group of current collaboration system users, new capabilities, but because the IT departsystems. Here’s what we found… our business management respondents are ment has (relatively) complete control over twice as likely to see these systems as deliverinitiatives contained within the data centre Collaborative systems are important ing significant benefit to the organization as (such as a server upgrade, or migration to business assets, especially in large they are to state that collaboration technola more advanced storage architecture) IT organizations ogy has no impact on success. When we drill management can evaluate payback from down into the data, we see that perspectives “Which of the following statements best these kinds of projects with a high degree of on collaborative systems vary by company describes the fit for collaborative sysclarity. Projects that are tightly tied to effecsize: small businesses are much more likely tems linking employees and processes tive end-user adoption, such as collaborathan mid-sized or large enterprises to find inside and outside your organization?” tion systems, have a much wider range of that they have no need for this type of techpossible outcomes; however, when they nology, while mid-sized organizations are are successful, these kinds of initiatives can deliver tremendous new benefit. Figure 1. Collaborative system status Of course, the IT department is not the only source 100% – nor even the most impor14% tant source – of perspective 90% We use collabora/ve systems, and 24% 26% 32% on the success of projects they contribute signiﬁcantly to 7% 80% success aimed at supporting busi12% 12% 70% We use collabora/ve systems, but ness users. When it comes 15% they do not contribute 14% to these kinds of systems, 60% signiﬁcantly to our success 21% 21% the best source of insight is 50% We have a deﬁned need for 23% the line of business manager, collabora/ve systems, and are 40% 29% who sees first-hand whether working on rolling them out 22% 30% an IT solution delivers real We might have a use for collabora/ve systems, but this is 28% business benefit. Business 20% not a priority 20% management has a unique 10% We don't have a deﬁned need for and important take on quescollabora/ve systems 0% tions like “Do we need this 1-‐99 100-‐499 500+ Weighted kind of system? Is it helping total us to do business better? N=346 Canadian non-‐IT business managers, drawn from the Leger Business Panel Source: IT Market Dynamics, the research arm of IT in Canada, December 2011 And is the IT department
Figure 1. Collabora/ve system status
6 / IT in Canada November/December 2011
Research Feature most likely to report that collaboration is not a priority. Large organizations generally do see a need for collaborative systems, and tend to report the highest success levels associated with systems that they’ve installed.
How does this differ from IT’s perspective?
efit. Large enterprise business respondents are far more likely than their IT colleagues to report that collaboration is not a priority, or that they are still in the process of “working to roll these systems out.” Looking across all three e-size categories, we see that IT is more likely to report that collaborative systems are installed, and more likely to designate these systems as a success or failure. What we take away from this is the need for IT to educate business management on what collaboration is (and entails) – and to take the time to understand the fit between existing deployments and business needs before declaring collaboration victory or defeat.
In a world with unlimited budgets, IT management would probably elect to deploy a full portfolio of collaboration products (and with good reason – respondents reporting that these systems “contribute significantly to success” use an average of 50% more of these products than those who do not realize significant benefit from their investment in collaboration tools). However, all organizations need to live within budgets – and this creates a need to make choices between different options. Which collaborative technologies have the most appeal within the Canadian market? Our survey covered six different options: • Advanced, interactive web sites that your customers can use to configure and order products • Supply chain systems that connect your inventory and payment systems with your suppliers and/or business partners • Internal collaboration products – workflow solutions, or portals like SharePoint • Customer relationship management, or CRM, systems • Community or social media applications – like wikis, or Facebook or LinkedIn – ap-
Although all of our 4Q11 survey respondents are non-IT managers, this question was also used on a 3Q10 survey of 642 IT in Canada subscribers. In Figure 2, we’ve lined up responses from each group. Given the timing gap, the comparison isn’t perfect, but it is very interesting nonetheless. When we view the two groups side by side, we see some fascinating discrepancies UC, internal collaboration tools, and between business and IT decision makcommunity/social media lead adopers. In the small business (1-99 employee) tion rankings space, the key difference is in the perceived need for collaborative systems: just 21% “Which (if any) of the following types of IT respondents believe that these kinds of collaborative systems are in use of tools have no relevance to their organiwithin your organization – being tested zations, as compared with 45% of busiby your organization – or not currently ness managers. ITMD believes that this in use?” might actually reflect a divergence in how various tools are perceived, rather than disagreement over the basic technologies themselves; non-IT managers may Figure 2. C omparison of IT and business perspectives well view systems like conferencing and CRM as business rather than technology tools, while IT 1-‐99 -‐ IT respondents managers would see them as systems requiring IT Have collabora/ve systems Much more likely to report deployed, and they do support. no deﬁned 1-‐99 -‐ business respondents need contribute signiﬁcantly to The mid-sized and large success enterprise responses also 100-‐499 -‐ IT respondents contain intriguing differHave collabora/ve systems Much less likely to ences. In the mid market, deployed, but they do not report no contribu2on – but business respondents are 100-‐499 -‐ business contribute signiﬁcantly to also less likely to respondents much less likely (15%, success report success as compared with 41% of No deﬁned need for IT respondents) to report 500+ -‐ IT respondents collabora/ve systems 50% as likely to respond that collaborative systems Comparison of business to posi/vely to these op/ons “do not contribute sig– much more likely to IT responses 500+ -‐ b usiness r espondents report “not a priority” or nificantly to our success” “s2ll working on rollout” – but they are also less 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% likely (26% vs. 37%) to N=346 Canadian non-‐IT business managers, drawn from the Leger Business Panel, and 642 IT in Canada subscribers report that these systems Source: IT Market Dynamics, the research arm of IT in Canada, December 2011 do provide business ben-
Figure 2. Comparison of IT and business perspec/ves
November/December 2011 ITinCanada.ca / 7
Research Feature As is discussed above, business manplications that enable your organization to agement is the best-positioned source for connect with the broader community for evaluating the business benefit of userbusiness purposes focused technologies. It’s equally true that • Unified communications systems includbusiness management provides the most ing email, instant messaging, video conferobjective evaluation of the efficacy of IT in encing, and related capabilities delivering support to the organization – afAs Figure 3 demonstrates, “unified comter all, they see first-hand the productivity munications systems” was the option menbenefits of technology within their own tioned most often by our business manageworkforces, and within their competitors’. ment respondents. This is a curious finding, To get an understanding of how effectively as UC is generally thought to have failed to IT has delivered collaboration support to achieve mass-market status – and was the Canadian business, we asked respondents least frequently mentioned technology of to select one of four statements to describe five (CRM was not included on the 2010 IT’s contribution to effective collaboration: survey) considered in the 3Q10 survey of “our IT department has done an excellent IT respondents. It seems clear that the busijob of sourcing and deploying appropriate ness definition of “unified communications” products to ensure smooth collaboration spans a much wider variety of configurainside and outside our organization,” “our tions than the IT definition of UC. IT department is effective in its support” but Another interesting observation gained our collaboration tools are inadequate, “the from Figure 3 concerns community/social products we use may be adequate,” but they media. In all other categories, there is a are not used effectively, or “we have underregular progression – large enterprises are invested in both products and IT resources, the most frequent users of each technology, and do not have adequate collaboration followed by mid-sized organizations and support within our organization.” then small businesses, with the weighted As Figure 4 demonstrates, the most comaverage for Canadian public and privatesector organizations generally falling in line with the mid-market results. With community/social media, Figure 3. C urrent use of collaboration technologies however, we see substantial adoption reported by small business. If, as many 80% suspect, community/social 70% media expands beyond 60% its current strength in the 50% consumer market to be40% come a primary mode of 30% communications for com20% mercial enterprises, small 10% businesses will be ready to 0% capitalize on its cost and reach advantages.
mon business perspective is that IT has been excellent at both sourcing products and delivering service to support collaboration – but there is no real consensus evident in the data. Nearly half of respondents believe that either the technology or IT support for collaboration has been wanting, and another 19% believe that their organizations are deficient in both areas. The definition of “excellent” likely varies by company and/or context, but with 45% of respondents finding IT support lacking, and 39% (counting the “underinvested in both products and IT resources” group in both camps) believing that their organizations’ products are inadequate, it is clear that there is tremendous room for IT improvement in helping Canadian businesses to collaborate more effectively.
Where do we go from here? Figure 5 provides a peek into what we might expect to see in the Canadian collaboration market in 2012. In the graphic, we have shown “not planning to invest” as a negative number, and summed the three other options provided to our respondents – increasing collaboration spending, decreasing
Figure 3. Current use of collabora/on technologies
Collaboration: where we are, and where we are going in 2012 “Overall, how well do you think information technology supports your organization’s ability to collaborate?” 8 / IT in Canada November/December 2011
N=346 Canadian non-‐IT business managers, drawn from the Leger Business Panel Source: IT Market Dynamics, the research arm of IT in Canada, December 2011
rEsEarCh FEaturE spending, or investing at the same rate in 2012 as in 2011 – to 100%. Our weighted total column shows that while collaboration spending will be unchanged for roughly half of respondent organizations, the other half is three times more likely to foresee increases than decreases in spending. ITMD is still in the process of collecting the data needed to forecast Canadian IT spending trends for 2012, but our preliminary take is that spending on collaboration will grow at 5%-6% in the new year. Where will the money go, and will it prove to be well spent? The data in Figure 4 indicates that there is ample justification to invest in both new assets and staff resources. We expect that most IT managers will look to nudge the needle forward in both categories, and to use both new technology options and increased staff support to better tie collaboration infrastructure with the business users who do – or do not yet– benefit from collaborative systems.
Figure 4. IT support for collabora/on
Figure 4. IT support for collaboration
IT has been excellent in both product sourcing and support 36%
We have under-‐ invested in both products and IT resources 19%
The products we use may be adequate, but IT does not provide eﬀec/ve support 26% N=346 Canadian non-‐IT business managers, drawn from the Leger Business Panel Source: IT Market Dynamics, the research arm of IT in Canada, December 2011
Our IT department is eﬀec/ve in support, but our collabora/on products are lacking 20%
Figure 5. Collabora/on budget outlook Figure 5. Collaboration budget outlook for 2012 for 2012 100% 80%
Increasing spending on collabora/ve systems
Inves/ng in collabora/ve systems at about the same rate
20% 0% -‐20%
Reducing spending on collabora/ve systems
(Not planning to invest in collabora/ve systems)
N=346 Canadian non-‐IT business managers, drawn from the Leger Business Panel Source: IT Market Dynamics, the research arm of IT in Canada, December 2011
itmd’s collaboration research is delivered in two reports – one based on a survey of business users, and another integrating this perspective with a survey of it decision makers. both reports are available to members of it in canada’s it insight exchange program and subscribers to All points connected research program at no charge. non-clients can order the reports and/or custom analyses of the data from it market dynamics. please contact stephen symonds at email@example.com for more information. November/December 2011 ITinCanada.ca / 9
Technospective Networking & Communications
By Stefan Dubowski
Two vendors, one sure fire way to drop the social software ball Microsoft and IBM may compete in collaboration, but both say that companies lacking business vision have a hard time implementing social media.
ocial media has come a long way since the advent of websites such as MySpace and Facebook just a few years ago. The technology has made its way from the halls of high schools and universities into many a business seeking to benefit from the interaction and information flow that the software affords. Technology providers, including Microsoft and IBM, now offer business-class social software that enables organizations to balance data security and sharing. But industry insiders and observers point out that companies need more than advanced software to really make a go of social media in the enterprise. Business process alignment is the key to successful implementations.
Microsoft and IBM Microsoft and IBM offer social media software for businesses. Microsoft’s solution builds on the company’s SharePoint server, a sort of omnibus system capable of providing everything from intranet portals and document management to enterprise search and collaboration functions (including individual employee profiles, wikis, and blogs). Matt Wolodarsky, senior SharePoint product manager at Microsoft Canada, explained that the latest version – SharePoint 2010 – offers even more social capabilities than its predecessor (SharePoint 2007) did. The new platform includes social feedback features such as the ability to organize content by keyword, and a bookmark function whereby users can essentially dog-ear specific content on the server for quick access later on. Its enterprise wiki capability includes credential-based access for enhanced security, while the enhanced My Site feature now has an Ask Me About section, where users can share their areas of expertise, affording improved subject-matter expert searchability. Perhaps one of the most important elements of SharePoint is its similarity to other
run them in Notes. If you run an Exchange environment, you can implement them inside Exchange. If you run SAP, Oracle – because they’re components – you can simply deploy them inside other applications.” Matt Wolodarsky from Microsoft: social software should mirror the look and feel of apps that users are familiar with.
Microsoft products such as the Microsoft Office productivity software suite. Wolodarsky said social software should mirror the functionality users are familiar with, especially if the business wants to drive social media usage. Employees won’t want to spend time learning an entirely different interface, he said. “People like to use familiar tools that are an extension of the tools they already use.” IBM’s social software offering is known as Connections – a range of modular applications that businesses can mix and match according to their requirements. The Connections list includes a customizable home page where users can see what’s happening in their social circles, a blog system, a communities feature enabling users to share information through a web browser, IBM’s Sametime collaboration software, or an email system, and a document sharing feature, among others. “Customers can choose to deploy all of the components together – the complete Connections product – or they can deploy individual components,” said Greg Schiltroth, business unit executive and regional brand leader, collaboration solutions, IBM Canada. “The advantage... is that you can deploy these components into your existing business processes and applications. If you run a Notes environment, you can
Do’s and don’ts As more and more businesses deploy social software, the technology industry has amassed a number of do’s and don’ts for implementation and management. Number one for most: align your social media strategy with specific business requirements. “Remain focused on the business problem you’re trying to solve with the technology, whether that’s increasing productivity, driving efficiency or improving customer service,” said Microsoft’s Wolodarsky. Tim Walters agreed. A senior analyst with Forrester Research, he noted, “Social technologies do not normally find a great deal of acceptance if they are not tied to a business outcome.” If an organization figures it might win more customer RFPs if it can better leverage the collective wisdom of its employees across myriad geographies, for instance, the company may well have a good reason to implement social media. Lacking a business hook, social software implementations can fall apart. This isn’t to say that social software is intrinsically tied to any specific set of business goals, however. It all depends on each individual organization and its own needs. And as Walters said, “It’s a balancing act, certainly. On the one hand it’s true that social technologies can create new kinds of interactions, new kinds of relationships and allow a business to do things that previously they were not able to do. There is this experimental side.” Still, he said, “very often when we see organizations introducing social technology, Continued on page 22
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Skills Service Delivery
By Mary Allen
Social media mining With sophisticated software and analytics, Dell and HP are creating business value from customer communications.
Dell Hell” trained a spotlight on the power of new forms of social collaboration in a way that no marketing campaign ever could. When Jeff Jarvis coined the phrase in his blog, The Buzz Machine, back in June 2005, his critique of Dell products and services was quickly picked up by mainstream media (The New York Times two days later), demanding immediate response which was delivered up by CEO Michael Dell. Through this process, some new market realities became clear: that social media can have significant impact on reputation, that customers have new degrees of control in conversations that must be twoway, and that the global reach and immediacy of social technologies require direct and rapid comeback. While Dell’s contretemps with Jeff Jarvis demonstrated the potential impact of social collaboration, how organizations could harness this power to serve business ends was less clear. Since 2005, however, Dell has taken what was essentially a defensive campaign and learned from it, transforming social technologies into a proactive solution that can be used in support of corporate goals. Immediately following the Jarvis fiasco, Dell organized the Online Community Outreach Team, a group of six technicians whose mission, according to Jason Duty, director of Dell social outreach services (SOS), was to “seek out the Jeff Jarvises of the world” to understand their issues and help where they could, and to provide feedback to Dell product businesses and to Dell customer service divisions. Along with the Dell Community Forum (launched back in 1996), this team’s goal was, Duty explained, “to drive business change, to improve things customer experience-wise.” Early use of online tools to listen to customer feedback changed with Duty’s leadership of the Outreach team several years later, expanding to encompass a new genera-
12 / IT in Canada November/December 2011
tion of tools, including social networks such as Facebook, and micro blogging platforms such as Twitter. According to Duty, the new team resolved that “if we are really going to be serious about this, we’ve got to be more present, and really participate more in social media from a customer support standpoint.” If listening and supporting customers through the Outreach and Forum groups was a long standing tradition at Dell, it was also largely a manual process. Through the Social Media Command Centre, a recently introduced solution that tracks social media by leveraging Radian 6 customizable data mining technology, Dell has been able to improve on this approach considerably. With its new social media monitoring and engagement solution, Dell managed, Duty explained, “to develop some views of listening in the Command Centre that have helped us focus on some broad topics, some specific topics, some different individual entities – and then to map geographically where things are happening. The Command Centre has brought a systematic way of listening to customer conversations across all social media.” Essentially, the Command Centre can listen anywhere there are API’s that will allow Radian 6 to crawl, so LinkedIn in North America, Orkut in South America, Renren and Sina in Asia, in addition to Facebook and Twitter are targets for searches that have been engineered by specialists who understand Dell processes and products. While the SOS staff is more directly engaged in specific customer conversations around tech support or order management, the Ground Control Team in the Command Centre, Duty noted, “by contrast is listening for anything about Dell – is trying to listen across the social web for those big topics and conversation that have the potential to sway brand perception one way or another.” The ultimate value of the exercise, though,
is derived through the deployment of multi-disciplinary teams who supply the analytics needed to decipher the root and importance of some of the Jason Duty, director of Dell key topics that social outreach services emerge: who can work, for example, with product groups on any fixes that may be called for, and who can communicate on actions taken in an effective way. Use of the information collected in the Command Centre varies by division within Dell, however, Duty listed reduction of call centre support calls, generation of “early warning” on customer issues, the ability to predict the timing and value of next customer buys as some of the early returns on the system. If the benefits of this type of solution used as an internal tool seem clear, other vendors have leveraged similar technology to productize intelligence gained from social collaboration. HP, for example, has just announced an addition to the company’s business intelligence portfolio that aims to garner value from social media communications via a platform that helps customers derive meaning from various types of social media. Billed as a solution that connects enterprise and social information, HP’s Social Intelligence tool enables organizations to combine traditional customer data with the barrage of information that can be collected from social media – to deliver new insight from data that was formerly impervious to analysis. The key to Social Intelligence lies in its platform foundations, which HP has developed through acquisition this year of Autonomy CorContinued on page 22
From it Market dynamics
Business oversight: where does it come from, and is it here to stay?
A new generation of line-of-business managers is playing an increasingly active role in IT project management. Here’s some insight into the “who” behind this activity.
n the early days of computing, the IT department – often from the secure confines of a “glass house” – made essentially all IT decisions affecting the business computing environment. With the rise of PCs in the 1980s and 1990s, individual users gained more control over their own technology resources, though corporate systems were still the province of a group of designated experts. Today, tech-savvy individuals – people who grew up with and are comfortable with technology – are found throughout senior and mid-management ranks in all private and public sector organizations. There is a worldwide trend towards having these managers take an active role in directing large-scale IT projects that affect their business activities. In a 4Q11 survey of 346 non-IT business managers, IT in Canada’s research arm, IT Market Dynamics, looked at the extent to which this trend is playing out in Canada.
setting the table To approach this issue, IT in Canada asked non-IT business managers, “Have you at any point in the past two years acted as the business sponsor for an IT application - as the executive responsible for ensuring that IT delivered a system that met the process or informational requirements of your business or business unit?” As seen in Figure 1, a weighted total of nearly 40% of our respondents reported that they have been responsible for directing an IT project within this timeframe. The fact that small businesses are most likely to respond affirmatively isn’t surprising; after all, there are fewer managers available in small businesses, and it’s often necessary for them to wear many hats. What is really interesting, though, is that the rate of participation in larger organizations is very close to the overall average. In large enterprises, there are likely to be IT managers available to lead projects – IT managers who might well, in fact, prefer to manage system
Figure 1. Management involvement Figure 1. Management involvement directing IT projects directing IT projects “Have you at any point in the past two years acted as the business sponsor for an IT application?” 60% 50% 40% 30%
10% 0% 1‐99
N=346 Canadian non‐IT business managers, drawn from the Leger Business Panel Source: IT Market Dynamics, the research arm of IT in Canada, December 2011
Figure 2. Impact of past IT project direction experience
Figure 2. Impact of past IT project direction experience
Based on your experience, are you likely to… Be about as active in directing IT projects in the future 60%
Be less inclined to take an active role in working with IT to deliver new systems 7%
Be more active in directing IT projects in the future 33% N=134 Canadian non‐IT business managers with recent experience directing IT projects Source: IT Market Dynamics, the research arm of IT in Canada, December 2011
delivery on their own. The fact that over 35% of large enterprise respondents reported that they have acted as “the executive responsible” for IT system delivery tells us that
IT expertise is not the only skill wanted in the management of complex, business-driven Continued on page 27 November/December 2011 ITinCanada.ca / 13
By Dave Chappelle
The perils and potentials of your social media policies Small and medium businesses and enterprises juggle and struggle with policies around employees’ use of social media sites – and with how the organization is portrayed.
here are many reasons why your organization might want to be cautious in its approach to social media. The first is that interacting on social media sites can limit productivity. While those who are always connected to Facebook refer to it as “a time sink,” even those who are not regular users can understand the appeal of parsing through “likes” and comments. “It’s something that’s never been possible before,” said Alex Sirota of Newpath Consulting. “You’re literally spying on people to learn what they think, like, and want.” A second reason for monitoring social media is that you want to know if a competitor or disappointed customer has made disparaging comments about your firm or products, as this can increase the likelihood of permanent damage to your reputation. “With small businesses there aren’t shareholders to worry about,” Sirota said. “There are only reputations. A bad review can drop business by 50%. Then other people pile on and the business is suddenly getting punished in the public space. Unless you engage constructively, show alternatives, and respond to complaints in a productive way that can potentially bring you new customers, you can lose your business reputation.” Medium and larger sized businesses have additional social media exposure, in the form of comments from employees. Often, this type of behaviour is dealt with harshly; some individuals have endured public firings because they posted company related information on Facebook. “Enterprises are afraid of it too, because if someone is disgruntled, social media is a way to break open the door,” said Sirota. “It’s easy to let loose in a public forum. So for an en-
terprise it’s very dangerous to let employees go to social media sites.” Given the risks, the tendency is to prohibit employee use of all social media... and to ignore its potential for help or harm. “What we see is a binary on-off switch policy on social media – clients either allow it or don’t,” said Fiaaz Walji, Canadian country manager for Websense. “Then we explain to them Facebook is not a website. It is a platform. Facebook has gambling and games and all kinds of other things. JC Penney has its catalogue on Facebook.” Websense allows its users to go to Facebook, although they can’t look at Farmville or anything Websense has designated as inappropriate content. They can, however, see corporate information. Another obvious danger of social media sites is of the potential for downloading malware. Criminals create fake profiles on social networking sites, hiding malicious content within Twitter posts and Facebook links. When an employee clicks on those links, an entire corporate environment can be compromised. “I can go to Craigslist right now and post an ad for a condo for sale for $500,” Walji said. “By the time you’ve clicked on it, my ad is down and you’re infected. You may think you’ve blocked it, but you’re wrong. We have partnered with Facebook so you can protect yourself from downloading certain URLs if they’re not allowed in our database.” Saying yes or no to social media also depends on your IT budget. “Some organizations are managing different point solutions and putting fingers in dikes to manage security posture,”
Walji said. “Some vendors overstate their capabilities. That’s where partners have to step in. Look at the budgets, resources you have, and find the best Alex Sirota, Newpath product that meets Consulting your TCO, handles modern malware, and doesn’t overtax your resources.” In its work, Websense focuses on content: “It doesn’t matter if you want to prevent use of copy and paste, Gmail, USB access – we can do that based on policies,” Walji said. “You don’t have to focus on point solutions.” On the plus side, social media is often sold as a magic potion for building businesses. There are hundreds if not thousands of people selling themselves as social media experts. They all claim to be able to teach you how to gather untold wealth by touting your goods and services on social media sites. “Small businesses have to be very careful,” said Sirota. “You can easily blow your brains out. It’s like websites back in the 90s – people thought customers would be flocking to their websites. How do you set yourself apart? How do you listen better? It’s not about you – it’s about how you use it. If you temper your social media efforts with messages and noise, you won’t be successful. You have to create some kind of signal that’s unique to your business. You have to leverage the technology to reach your prospects and existing clients with something that resonates with them.” In his opinion, it’s difficult for businesses Continued on page 25
14 / IT in Canada November/December 2011
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In the Middle
By Chris Rogers
From left to right: Mary Ann Yule, general manager, CDW Canada; Dan Forbes, vice president, Westcon Canada; Heather Schaan, director of marketing and business development, Microserve; Greg Tobin, general manager, D&H Canada; Paul Gragtmans, principal, ET Group; Paul Doo, chairman, Telemerge
More than video: the evolving reality of collaboration solutions
Collaboration is moving from a fixed corporate IT approach to service delivery to a more fluid model encompassing many hot IT trends.
erhaps more than any other hot solution area in IT, collaboration has been affected by the popular trends in IT and the consumer space. Cloud implementations, SaaS offerings and the BYOD vogue are all changing how users collaborate. Having a well thought out collaboration solution is now an essential qualifier for business success. As this month’s In The Middle respondents demonstrate, the pitch for collaboration and UC solutions has moved well beyond the travel reduction/cost saving story. The technology is no longer simply about video, calendar and email; it is about line of business applications, increased productivity and improved communications. The tangible benefits for users still start with cost savings but are now moving
16 / IT in Canada November/December 2011
more noticeably towards improved decision making and achievement of competitive advantage.
Q: Which of these best describes your customers’ approach to collaboration in 2011, and what (if any) changes are you expecting to see in 2012? Discrete and important investment area, critical component of most new applications, ‘nice to have’ bolt-on to existing systems, or not really a priority at this time. Mary Ann Yule, CDW Canada: More and more, customers are viewing advanced collaboration applications as a critical component of their business models and their future IT planning. Consequently, collaboration is definitely a component of their
investment plans. In 2012, we expect this trend to escalate as more of our customers find ways to turn a high level of collaboration into a real competitive advantage. Heather Schaan, Microserve: I expect to see organizations become savvier regarding their investments in collaboration as we have more experiences to learn from in terms of what pays off, as well as increased integration between collaboration systems, adoption of cloud-based components, and use of social media platforms. Dan Forbes, Westcon Canada: While I would say most view collaboration as a nice-to-have or bolt-on to existing systems, this is changing as we enter 2012. During the coming year, we’ll see it become more
In the Middle
a priority as traditional providers of unified communications and converged networks enable services on the IP infrastructures they previously sold and installed. Paul Gragtmans, ET Group: Our customers are coming to the realization that collaboration is a critical part of the future success of their organization. We are at an inflection point for change. How does your company deal with the exponential changes happening all around them? Innovation in many different ways. Innovation through collaboration.
be key to the direction of cloud-based collaboration. For example, companies need to develop a defined collaboration strategy, and share it with employees to gain their buy-in and adoption. They also need to share more basic information to enable smoother collaboration [such as] ensuring calendars are kept current and team calendars are enabled, or taking advantage of document versioning that collaboration software offers. A big productivity benefit of collaboration is the ability of co-workers to always be on the same page.
“We are at an inflection point for change,” – Paul Gragtmans, ET Group Q: Cloud-based systems, ranging from hosted SharePoint and VoIP to online productivity suites, have the potential to expand collaboration initiatives. Are you seeing your customers connecting cloud and collaboration - and if so, can you give us a practical example of how you’ve seen cloud used to support collaboration? Mary Ann Yule: Cloud-based versions of popular collaboration applications seem to be gaining a lot of traction, but how companies leverage the opportunities will
change in 2012, though clients are watching for a solid development of seamless UC in the cloud. Paul Gragtmans: We are not seeing any models that are 100% cloud, given that meeting rooms make up a portion of a collaborative ecosystem and they represent a physical aspect, with end-point technology that enables the collaboration, in those meeting rooms. However, there are a number of ways to move significant pieces of the collaborative ecosystem to the cloud, e.g. virtual meeting rooms, web conferencing, outsourced infrastructure and managed services.
“A big productivity benefit of collaboration is the ability of co-workers to always be on the same page,” – Mary Ann Yule, CDW Canada Paul Doo, Telemerge: In the video collaboration space, we are definitely experiencing interest with clients [looking] to integrate our network services and helpdesk services by way of “hybrid cloud” solutions – [using this] as an efficient “bolt on” way to add value and functionality to the core enterprise network. We see significant growth in this area as a “low lift” for the enterprise. We don’t see significant
Heather Schaan: A cloud-based system often represents faster time to deploy, lower cost of entry, and reduces strain on operational resources. I’ve seen several examples of organizations successfully get up, run with and benefit from SaaS-based systems relating to collaboration that were not supported by their internal IT shops, much faster and less expensively than they could have with an in-house implementation. November/December 2011 ITinCanada.ca / 17
iN thE MiddLE Q: another interesting connection is the link between mobility and collaboration. do your customers consider cellular/mobile phones to be integral to their corporate communications systems, or are mobile or cell phones viewed more as individual devices that are not integrated into their corporate communications systems? Greg Tobin, D&H Canada: We’re seeing that the corporate-connected smartphones (ex. Android, Blackberry, iPhone) have become an extension of the corporate notebook in the networking structure and an indispensable part of collaborative technology. Other devices are vying now to establish a place in that hierarchy between
Certainly, there will be challenges that come with a shift to a more mobile world, such as how to maximize the productivity and accessibility of remote workers while ensuring data security, and how to deal with the many, many devices available to employees. But there are collaboration solutions that help do this, and many more are on the horizon. Heather Schaan: We’re now seeing more of task integration, unified voicemail, mobile devices set up to run off corporate wireless networks, and perhaps most significantly, mobile versions of line of business applications designed specifically to run on smart phones.
“A cloud-bAsed system often represents fAster time to deploy, lower cost of entry, And reduces strAin on operAtionAl resources,” – Heather Schaan, Microserve
the smartphone and the network-attached laptop, including the tablet, which is encroaching in this space. Dan Forbes: Cellular integration and fixed mobile convergence is truly “The Next Big Thing,” and we consider it to be the next wave of unified communications. We believe it is highly relevant to all our partners, and should be a prime area of growing investment for many in the short-term. Mobility is key to effective collaboration in many ways, and there is an inevitable shift away from a fixed, location-centric work environment to a dispersed mobile world. But the devices themselves are just one part of it. The big winners will be the companies that leverage those devices most effectively to implement a truly collaborative work environment across a wide range of devices, operating systems, architectures and mobile devices. New collaboration applications are making this simpler. We are seeing more solutions that enable full unified communications from any workspace, with a consistent experience across devices including PCs, tablets and smart phones. 18 / IT in Canada November/December 2011
ROI around travel expense reduction. The mood is now about what technology delivers on the corporate UC strategy. For example, we are invited from the video perspective to work with the client to develop the video collaboration roadmap two to five
“cellulAr integrAtion And fiXed mobile convergence is truly “the neXt big thing,” And we consider it to be the neXt wAve of unified communicAtions.” – Dan Forbes, Westcon Canada
Q: No matter how great collaboration technology is, it’s only really effective if its use is aligned with business process and organizational structure. do you find customers are using collaborative technologies to help reshape corporate workﬂow and/or the way they organize their workforce, and can you talk about how these changes might impact their approach in the future? Paul Gragtmans: Collaboration is 75% change management and business processes challenge and 25% technology challenge. If you can successfully accelerate collaboration in your organization, you will move from enhancing communication, to speeding problem solving, accelerating innovation, and finally, to transforming what you do and how you do it. Paul Doo: Conversations we have within the C-suite now go beyond the traditional
years out. The end-user is now driving the enterprise to deliver fast, efficient, well supported, collaborative technology. Dan Forbes: Corporate communication behaviour is directly related to the manner in which we behave as customers — it just moves at a slower pace. Our personal experiences have been reshaped by consumerbased collaborative technology, and we are beginning to see those changes manifest themselves in corporate culture. If an organization is catering to the technology comfort level of their current workforce/ suppliers/customers, they’re going to have to overcome a considerable gap in the shift in any one of those areas. We’re in an era where the user defines the manner in which they connect – and what they need to access. This is a 180 degree shift from the regimented approach used in corporate IT – with appropriate policy where necessary, of course.
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DFAIT’s Virtual G20
DFAIT e-communications team builds “dead simple” collaboration for international summit delegates.
anada enjoyed the rare privilege this past year of hosting two international summits. Support for the G20 and G8 international conferences held in Ontario over the summer of 2010 was provided by the Summits Management Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), which was tasked with delivering summit communications requirements, including a collaboration system to address the needs of delegates. Tyler Knowlton, chief strategist on innovation to the Assistant Deputy Minister Asia and Chief Trade Commissioner at DFAIT, who was brought on board to develop social media and engagement strategy for the summits, described his group’s mandate as education and engagement of Canadians in the policy process. In late 2009, however, the “e-communications team” was also approached by the Canadian Summit Sherpa with a request to a build an information transfer system that would be more “elegant” than email lists for 30 to 40 senior policy makers as email was prone to duplication of addresses, bounce backs, out-of-office notifications, spam, viruses – and not terribly secure. Building collaboration through collaboration: Dubbed the “Virtual G20,” the social media platform created by Knowlton’s small team of three to facilitate communications between conference participants was conceived in close co-operation with DFAIT policy staff to ensure the solution addressed real information needs of delegates. Knowlton explained, “We needed to learn what the nuances were at this level of policy exchange.” The team learned, for example, that open collaboration on the same document that might be useful in other contexts, was “100% not appropriate” for a group of international policy makers. Needs assessment was critical: 20 / IT in Canada November/December 2011
according to Knowlton, “the initial process of working with our policy colleagues was the most important part of the project.” Time to implement was a critical factor in DFAIT’s choice of technology supplier for the Virtual G20 project, which began in January 2010 and launched at the end of March. Other vendor selection criteria that Knowlton pointed to were “an appropriate server, with appropriate physical and software security” as well as the ability to provide support in 20 different countries. For this solution, Knowlton’s team chose to work with Open Text, with the support of DFAIT’s IT department, which was able to evaluate the software, networking and security capabilities in Open Text’s content management offerings. Essentially, DFAIT built the Virtual G20 through an out-of-the-box solution from Open Text – the Social Workplace. Interestingly, though there was some enhancement of security for the software (and additional requirements around physical access to the servers) and some branding, the unique needs of the delegate community identified through needs assessment called more for scale back (though not removal) on some of the rich feature sets available in the tool to allow greater focus on secure, organized document exchange capabilities. Key features of the solution included version control and the ability to segregate communities, in the case of need for bilateral negotiations. To educate delegates on the system attributes, the e-communications team set up an “Internet café” at the first summit meeting to register users, to take profile photographs and to demonstrate use of the platform. Post launch, the team identified “power users” of the system who could inspire and lead colleagues who were less tech savvy. As Knowlton explained, adoption of the system was largely dependent on job function:
Tyler Knowlton, innovation strategist at DFAIT
while senior diplomats were more likely to view the system to monitor documents or meeting status, administrative staff proved to be heavier users. To encourage participation, DFAIT worked with the solution to make it “dead simple” and to ensure tech support in all languages, capabilities that Open Text was able to provide through its broad international presence (though headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario 95% of the company’s business is outside Canada). Measuring success: No calls for tech support were received – one measure of the success of the tool – all countries participated, and DFAIT’s post summit survey revealed high levels of satisfaction with the Virtual G20 user experience. Since the summits and lead up collaboration were finite events, the solution was hosted by Open Text. According to Knowlton, another reason that the government chose an outside organization for solution hosting was to encourage the system “to live on beyond the Canadian presidency of the summits.” For Open Text and for Canada, continued international use of the system would have obvious showcase benefits, demonstrating Canadian leadership in the development and implementation of collaboration solutions. So far, negotiations with France, which holds the next presidency, have proved less than fruitful; however talks with Mexico, which will host the following summit, are on track to feature Canadian innovation.
By Robert Janelle
Global music agency collaborates and cuts costs with phone system upgrade Looking to move past an aging Nortel phone system, The Agency Group looked to Avaya and gained many new features
ackground: The Agency Group is a global music agency with offices in Toronto, New York City, Los Angeles, London, England and Malmo, Sweden. The agency represents a roster of more than 100 bands and musicians including Nickleback, The Black Keys and Pink Floyd. International reach and thousands of people to stay in touch with mean that communication is key to The Agency Group. For example, a U.S.-based band planning a European tour would need their American agent to stay in close contact with the U.K. office, explained Agency Group IT director Howie Gold. To service this need, staff members at the Toronto office recently embarked on a project to upgrade the company’s aging communication infrastructure, which had been built on Nortel equipment. Support for the infrastructure was coming to an end as a result of the Canadian telecom company’s bankruptcy and subsequent liquidation in 2009. The hardware provided a limit of 12 Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunks and the office required more in order to support conference calls with a greater number of participants. Technology: When it came time to upgrade the communication system in September 2010, The Agency Group looked to Avaya, the New Jersey-based firm that purchased Nortel’s enterprise solutions business. After connecting with Telanet, an IT and communication solution provider based in Toronto, the agency chose Avaya’s IP Office 7.0 solution. IP Office is a modular Internet Protocol phone system that provides VoIP
and enhanced communication features, such as voice software that users can install on their laptops and use to stay in touch anywhere they can get an Internet connection, speech-to-text functionality that transcribes voicemails to e-mail, as well as a built-in conference call system that allows up to two groups of 64 users to conference at once. Even with these additional features, IP Office was compatible with much of The Agency Group’s legacy Nortel hardware, including the Nortel T-Series desk phones that were in use across the company. Management and delivery; Delivery of the new system was handled by Telanet in conjunction with Avaya. According to Dan Silverman, president of Telanet, the process began with setting up the system in a lab to make sure it would work to The Agency Group’s satisfaction before bringing it to the Toronto office to ensure compatibility and work through any potential glitches in advance. From there, the transition went smoothly as the new system was installed over the course of an evening in the off hours and running by the next business day in early January 2011. When executives from the U.K. office visited the Toronto office a month later and saw the new system in action, they were quick to order one for London as well, sending Silverman across the ocean. There, he said, it took a day and a half to get the new IP telephony system up and running. According to Silverman and Gold, users took to the new system quickly. “I was surprised at how little training was needed,” said Silverman.
Business benefits: Using VoIP for about a quarter of the company’s phone calls has led to a significant reduction in costs, especially when the North American offices communicate with the European offices. According to Gold, prior to the switch, the agency paid eight cents per minute on overseas calls and has since reduced that to 0.7 cents per minute. “You get much more accomplished without that ticking clock in the background when you’re on an overseas call,” said Gold. Furthermore, being able to keep the existing Nortel desk phones allowed the agency to save approximately 40 per cent in making the transition, according to an estimate from Avaya. “It reassured us for future-proofing our technology,” said Gold. “It was a good choice and our migration was much simpler.” Meanwhile, traveling employees have seen even more significant savings by running Avaya’s IP SoftPhone on their laptops. In one instance, an executive traveling to China on business saw many other business travelers rack up $2,000 to $3,000 mobile phone bills while all of his calls were free via the softphone and the hotel’s Wi-Fi connection. Additionally, IP Office’s built-in conference call system has led to more users collaborating. Prior to the new phone system, The Agency Group used external conference call services, which required scheduling, dial-in codes and a charge per user. Now, said Gold, users make ad-hoc calls on a whim. “People are more apt to use it,” he said, explaining that it has led to more collaboration and an increase in productivity across the organization. November/December 2011 ITinCanada.ca / 21
Networking & Communications
Continued from page 10
there’s this immediate ramp-up of enthusiasm and adoption, and within a few weeks or a few months it drops off radically again, and you end up with this small, hardcore group of users.” In many cases the drop-off results from the organization’s failure to pin the social media software to an identified business requirement. “After a few weeks people ask, ‘Is this helping me do my job? Is it helping me get home any earlier?’ Not really. It’s taking time. I have all this work I’m supposed to do, and now you want me to blog too? Why? You have to answer that question.” IBM’s Schiltroth provided a slightly different perspective, pointing out that organizations may need to adjust their measures of success to truly understand the impact of social software. Schiltroth said he’s heard that only 15% of users accessing collaboration software are actively engaged in posting, comment-
ing and participating – but that certainly doesn’t mean the other 85% isn’t using the technology.
“What we see in IBM is that everyone uses it,” Schiltroth said. “It’s a matter of do they contribute, or do they just read and download?” IBM’s internal social media system hosts 50,000 wikis, and sees many more wiki visits – 200,000 visitors per month. It has 20,000 active blogs drawing 100,000 visitors per month. So it’s possible that a low user participation rate doesn’t equate with project failure. It’s clear, though, that organizations need to ensure they’re pinning their social software implementations to business requirements – especially if they mean to answer the question that Walters believes employees are bound to ask: why are we installing this technology? “And the answer can’t be, ‘Because social is good,’” he said.
Skills Service Delivery
Continued from page 12
poration. IDOL 10, the latest version of Autonomy software, allows computers to extract contextual meaning from any media (email, text messages, tweets, Srini Koushik, VP blogs, video, audio strategic enterprise files, etc.) and placservices at HP es information in a single access layer or repository for simplified management, to enable customers to make sense of unstructured data. By integrating this functionality with Vertica technology (also acquired this spring), an analytics data base with “extreme capability” for dealing with real time structured data, HP has created a single platform for intelligent management of data that Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch explained is now diverse, that rarely matches, is multi-layered and has dynamic meaning that is relative. According to Srini Koushik, VP strategic 22 / IT in Canada November/December 2011
enterprise services at HP, the Social Intelligence tool is remarkable for its capacity to listen through IDOL connectors to all forms of social media, for its skill at eliciting meaning through data correlation, but also for its ability to make sentiment analysis relevant in an enterprise setting by sending the right information to the right person. For Koushik, executing quickly on knowledge is critical: “The best use of social media is in service recovery scenarios – something has gone wrong, and someone is complaining about it. This stuff can turn around very quickly.” But many companies lack or can’t afford the consulting expertise needed to become actively and intelligently involved in the conversation. This is where HP steps in, with an offering that Koushik believes differentiates HP from its competition: “We are not building – we actually have a practice called enterprise information systems and one of our offerings is Social Intelligence. We are able to use the Autonomy and Vertica tools, but even more
importantly, we have teams located in four centres across the globe made up of mathematicians and statisticians. They provide the ‘secret sauce’ that allows you to correlate the massive amounts of unstructured data that will be coming in.” In Koushik’s view, the mathematical or statistical models that allow a company to proactively see what the results will be if a particular action is taken “is a piece that is never talked about,” but one that is absolutely necessary to creation of a solution (rather than tool) that compliments technology with the organizational change management needed to make good use of new insights. For Koushik, solutions represent the essential recipe for delivering business outcomes in HP targeted areas: compliance management, service recovery (including brand management), and industries that rely on real time data streams. In the highly competitive markets of today, Koushik notes, “the ones who are winning are the ones who are using analytics.”
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From the Inquiry Desk
By Chris Rogers
The IT in Canada inquiry desk trains its lens on easy to use cloud-enabled collaboration apps that are beginning to compete with email, the reigning defacto collaboration platform.
What kinds of apps are available to small businesses that may not have large budgets for collaboration tools?”
In today’s workplace, it’s expected that workers will collaborate from where ever they are. Most still use email as their primary collaboration tool, but there are many good cloud-based collaboration apps out there that make working together much easier than it often can be when users send email attachments. Choosing from the plethora of collaboration solutions available to users may seem daunting at first, but there are a few that should be easy to integrate into anyone’s workflow. IT in Canada even uses some of these apps to keep editors in touch while on the road and in the office. Most of the apps presented here have premium offerings but all of them offer free basic services. Also, every app is crossplatform. These are solutions that either run in-browser or offer desktop apps on multiple operating systems.
Twitter Part of what makes Twitter such a great collaboration app is its pervasiveness and ease of use. The service is leveraged at many industry conferences to get people talking
and collaborating. Search on Twitter for the relevant hashtag, and it’s easy to jump into a conversation or for someone else to comment on your thoughts. The hashtag phenomenon is not limited to use by large gatherings of people: Twitter monitors which hashtags or terms are trending and breaks them out by region so that users know what everyone around them is talking about. For off the record discussions, Twitter’s direct messages option allows users to take conversations private. Use For: Large-scale trackable conversations and quick messaging.
Skype Skype, which was acquired by Microsoft earlier in 2011, is one of the original video collaboration apps. Although the service has evolved significantly over the years, it is still very easy to set up and use for quick video calls. The premium service even offers video conference calls. Microsoft has plans to integrate much of Skype’s technology into its own Lync collaboration software, but the basic Skype platform remains free for users. Although Skype is known for its video
Large-scale conversations are easy to track and follow in Twitter.
calling features, it is also a capable instant messaging and voice calling platform. Skype also allows users to freely share their screens with one another. Use For: Video conferencing and screen sharing.
Google Docs helps users collaborate on office documents without ever sending an attachment. 24 / IT in Canada November/December 2011
Google Docs has faced increased competition recently from Microsoft’s Office 365 on the premium side, but for users looking for an easy cloud-based office collaboration solution that remains free in its basic form, Google Docs is one of the best options. Google Docs provides users with access to a suite of office applications including word processor, spreadsheet, presentation and form creation tools. Collaboration is
From the Inquiry Desk achieved by sharing documents with other users. When a user is signed in, they can see all of their private and shared documents. Users can set different read/write privileges depending on how they want to collaborate. Documents are saved to a cloud system so they are always available, no matter what
device they are accessed from. Collaboration is further addressed though a range of Google apps available within the platform such as Gmail and calendar. Use For: Office document editing and sharing.
DropBox lets users share any types of files.
DropBox The original cloud service, cloud storage, has nearly been perfected with DropBox. There are too many competitors in this space to count – the other big names are Box.net, SugarSync and Carbonite – but for users looking for a free collaboration and sharing app that is easy to set up and use with team members, DropBox is hard to beat. This service can be used through a browser or though a desktop app, and there are mobile apps for almost every platform. Many of the mobile apps that produce text documents or the like have already integrated the service into their existing platforms, so it is likely that many users already have a DropBox account. If that’s the case, collaboration is enabled simply by sharing specific files or folders with other users. Other documents in a user’s DropBox remain private. Use For: Sharing any type of file between colleagues.
Personal Technology Continued from page 14
to act in Facebook and Twitter because those sites are for and about people. “Facebook is a waste of time, I find,” Sirota said. “If a small business considers Fiaaz Walji, Websense itself a corporation, they put up a page and expect people to find it, like a website. People aren’t going to find it without a conversation.” Sirota also isn’t excited about using LinkedIn, although he acknowledges its potential. “LinkedIn is horrible. It’s not a place to host a business. It could be a really good thing for small business, because it’s already a vetted forum. I don’t think people have figured out how to create a social media platform around building a business. The technology doesn’t support it. They don’t
facilitate the discussion of ideas.” He’d like to be able to use LinkedIn to broaden the scope and build his mailing list. Yet LinkedIn doesn’t allow businesses to prospect on its site. “Recruiters are allowed to look for candidates, but I’m recruiting new clients,” Sirota said. “So why can’t I recruit clients on LinkedIn? They could create a really awesome prospecting solution. For some reason they don’t. Right now the best you can do is listen and offer help. You can delve into a vertical market you’re in on LinkedIn, and find out what the trends are. If you listen well and contribute, you might get new clients.” Walji noted that the Websense HR department uses LinkedIn to hire talent, especially to find qualified security professionals who may not realize the existence of other employment options. Which brings us to one more aspect of
setting social media policies: your employees might not agree with you. Sure, it’s your company. And you’re entitled to run it the way you want. So go ahead and set strict policies on social media use. You must acknowledge, however, that the workforce is changing. And your strict policies may drive the talented away. Walji cited a survey statistic explaining that two out of five college students were willing to take a lower paying job if the company allowed them to bring their own devices, and if the position offered greater access to social media. Obviously the survey offered no indication of how well that percentage of employee candidates who favour constant social media use will actually perform on the job. As with social media itself, so too with related data: you will find both perils and opportunities, and limited guidance on how to structure policies to avoid the pitfalls along the path. November/December 2011 ITinCanada.ca / 25
By Mary Allen
Extending Adobe Refined Data is transforming the Adobe Connect platform to create innovative custom solutions – and new opportunity for the creator.
ackground: Refined Data Solutions Inc. is a Richmond Hill, Ont. based ISV that began life as a provider of software solutions for environmental, health and safety. As a means of facilitating communications within its own operations, the company adopted Adobe collaboration technology, and several years back began to resell Adobe products. Since then, Refined Data has used the platform as an innovation staging ground for the development of new products in the areas of risk management, learning management, event management, web and teleconferencing. Through integration of Adobe technology with its own creative IP, Refined Data has built an international reputation and considerable new business for an expanded product suite. A quick web search on web conferencing systems produces well over 40 solutions. This plethora of conferencing solutions has led to what Refined Data CEO Terry Shane described as the commoditization of this solution space: as an Adobe reseller, Shane asked, “How was this small Canadian company, north of Toronto, going to make itself known on the world stage?” Technology approach: Shane’s answer was to build apps within Adobe Connect, transforming product into platform, to differentiate from other resellers and expand Refined Data’s own solution portfolio. According to Shane, “Adobe Connect is a platform on which you can build applications to do almost anything you want,” a characteristic that has enabled the company to execute on its corporate motto: “If you can dream it, we can build it.” The company’s customization work has been made possible through Adobe’s open architecture and APIs and through extensibility that Adobe has built into the Connect platform. Through software “extensions”, Adobe partners have added functionality to Adobe offerings through custom app integra-
26 / IT in Canada November/December 2011
Terry Shane, president, Refined Data Solutions Inc.
tion, through integration of mobile apps and through the development of custom pods. Designed to allow customers to assemble a solution that meets their specific needs (and to avoid paying for what they don’t need!), Adobe pods provide extended functionality to Adobe web conferencing in tools that run the gamut from a carbon footprint savings calculator that counts savings achieved through online meetings to Hands Up, a pod that enhances interaction between conference participants – two examples from the Refined Data repertoire. In some instances, Refined Data has also built bridges to customers’ back end systems to allow the integration of data collected through use of these solutions in other non-Adobe applications – the feed of carbon data, for example, into a customer database to track overall carbon footprint. Custom creative: The output from Refined Data’s development activity consists of offthe-shelf products, pods that have been incorporated into the Adobe product suite, as well as customized solutions that have been tailored to meet specific customer needs. A good example of this custom integration is the company’s recently announced solution that enables remote participation in sessions of the United Nations. According to Shane, traditional physical sessions of the UN have always favoured developed nations with generous travel budgets, but since Refined Data’s new telephony solution provides dial in from anywhere, the playing field for all delegates (as well as outside experts) has been levelled. The solution features
advanced translation switching capabilities, which allow users to speak or listen in on any one of six supported languages by specifying language in/output preferences. Working with the Adobe Connect platform, Refined Data integrated software from a Californiabased audio supplier, ZipDX, and developed apps to control inputs and outputs and audio channel switching. Benefits: For customers, Refined Data’s customization of the Adobe collaboration platform means greater functionality and productivity for users. In some cases, adoption of a pod can introduce significant savings – Refined Data’s rPhone flat rate telephony bridge, for example, provides audio conferencing at a rate that is very competitive vis-à-vis that offered by traditional telecom providers. For Refined Data, adoption of the Adobe platform has served as a source of new business opportunity. According to Shane, the company has been able to service clients in the U.S., Australia, South America and Europe “with more effectiveness than if we were physically there” through deployment of Adobe within its own operations. The company has also become the world’s leading developer of applications for the Adobe Connect platform: its work, Shane claims, “was critical in a couple of major deals that Adobe has done which would not have been possible without the customization that we have done.” Through its expertise in developing custom solutions that can’t be found in Adobe out of the box, Shane’s group has secured business across the globe – approximately 95% of Refined Data’s business is now outside Canada – and interestingly, business that may be repeatable. The collaboration pod built for the UN, for example, is now under consideration by the European Union, and Shane can envision use in Canadian government forums where there is simultaneous translation, or in multinational corporations with operations that span the globe.
Info/Context Continued from page 13
Fig 3a. IT Project direction: Fig 3b. IT Project direction: Fig 3c. IT Project direct IT project direction: IT project direction: Manager’s level/title Manager’s purchase authority Manager’s department Manager’s level/title Manager’s purchase auth
IT project direction: Manager’s department
Business owner, partner or director of a business
C level executive (CEO, COO, CFO, CMO, etc)
Final decision maker for the entire business/ organization Final decision maker for a division or department
Marketing EVP or VP level executive
Part of a committee/ group that has final approval
Director level or other senior manager
Manager 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50%
N=346 Canadian non‐IT business managers Source: IT Market Dynamics, December 2011
projects; the ability to connect IT capabilities with a detailed understanding of business processes and requirements is also a critical requirement.
The experience – would you do it again? “Experience is a great teacher,” but sometimes it teaches us that we have an appetite for further activity in a given area, while in other cases, it teaches us that our time is best spent in other pursuits. In our survey, we asked (non-IT) respondents who reported recent IT project management experience, “Based on your experience, are you likely to a) be more active in directing IT projects in the future, adding a greater degree of requirement definition and project oversight than in the past; b) be about as active in directing IT projects in the future, adding about the same degree of requirement definition and project oversight as in the past; or c), be less inclined to take an active role in working with IT to deliver new systems? Responses to this question carry a message for IT professionals: those that have worked with business leaders on past projects should be prepared to get used to business unit involvement in projects. Figure 2 shows that non-IT executives with project experience
I am part of a team that has influence on the final approval 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50%
N=346 Canadian non‐IT business managers Source: IT Market Dynamics, December 2011
are likely to engage again, and at a deeper level, in the future. One-third of respondents who have provided business direction for IT projects in the past two years believe that they will be more active in the future, and 60% will maintain current involvement levels, versus just 7% who will be less inclined to direct future projects as a result of their experience. Add the “ripple effect” of the larger group influencing peers to follow in their footsteps, and it isn’t difficult to envision substantially greater business involvement in IT project management over the next few years.
Who’s coming to the meetings? If it’s true that we will see greater management involvement in IT project oversight in the months and years to come, IT management will want to know: which managers are most likely to be sitting at the table? The ITMD survey identified several characteristics that help define respondents with recent IT project direction experience. Here’s what we learned: • Management can be drawn from any affected department – our data shows that more than 40% of respondents in each of administration, finance/accounting and marketing have been involved directing IT projects within the past two years. Sales
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% N=346 Canadian non‐IT business managers Source: IT Market Dynamics, December 2011
and (especially) HR are less likely sources of management oversight. • The manager at the table is likely to have a senior title – more than 40% of business owners, EVPs/VPs, and directors surveyed, and an even 50% of C-level executives responding to this survey, report that they have served as business managers for IT projects. Lower-level managers are much less likely to fill this role. • The manager at the table is likely to have the ability to sign cheques – when we look at respondents by purchase authority, we find that nearly half of those who describe themselves as the final decision makers for their organizations have directed IT projects within the past two years. Looking across these pages, we see a pattern emerging from these graphics. Non-IT management is willing to roll up their sleeves and play an active role in directing IT projects; those that do it tend to be more rather than less senior, and are often even more willing to direct IT initiatives once they’ve developed some experience. Taken together, the facts speak clearly: IT management needs to make a seat at the table for business executives, and should understand that these executives bring organizational clout and a desire to not only “be engaged,” but to “stay engaged.” November/December 2011 ITinCanada.ca / 27
NEW iN soCiaL
perspective And invective from the it in canada forum
The IT in Canada IT Forum is Canada’s most active source of IT-focused social content. Here’s a sampling of what’s new/active, as of Nov. 25, 2:37 p.m. sociAl engineering spAm Almost got me Posted: two weeks, two days ago...Started by: DaveChappelle… Forum: Security... Views: 413... Replies: 1 Even those of us who are more aware of malware dangers can still fall prey to the “right” social engineering ploy when the message arrives at the “right” time. Got this today from postal.service at usps. com: Hello! Unfortunately we failed to deliver the postal package you have sent on the 19th of September in time because the recipient’s address is erroneous. Please print out the shipment label attached and collect the package at our office. United States Postal Service Five reasons I believe the message to be spam... 1. The cheeriness of that impersonal salutation, especially the exclamation mark 2. I’m positive the address of the package I’d sent was accurate. 3. Printing off a label is an excellent way to infect a Windows system. HP printer software is a popular malware vector. And Adobe Reader is the most popular. 28 / IT in Canada November/December 2011
4. The generic USPS signature, instead of “Postal Inspector Clouseau, or Gadget, or Whoever” 5. It arrived at both my IT in Canada and Wordsmithville email addresses. To my knowledge USPS has neither. Normally, I’d delete this instantly as spam. Thing is, this one came close to getting me to open it. You see, on Sept. 19 I’d asked a friend to ship a video camera for me while he was in the U.S. It wasn’t the model I’d ordered. For some reason my friend ignored private shippers and bought the cheapest postage, without a tracking number. And so I bought a Kodak video camera for a dishonest USPS employee. When this message arrived my first thought was, “I might get my money back after all.” Fat chance. While we all know spammers are playing a numbers game, it’s these odd possibilities
that allow the numbers game to work in spammers’ favour. Replies: •Another common scam that might easily snag a small business is the “failed transaction” or failed funds transfer spam I’ve been seeing a lot of lately. Financial institutions do not notify people of such events by email!
whAt switching to encrypted seArch meAns Posted: three weeks, two days ago...Started by: jamesburchill… Forum: IT Bulletin: Insights for SMBs...Views: 591... Replies: 4 Google announced in mid-October that it was switching to encrypted search by default for Google users who are logged in when searching. The move comes with a lot of controversy and will change a few things for search engine optimization marketers. The impact will be mainly on marketers
Our employees are well-‐trained to avoid social engineering 0%
N=300 non-‐IT managers, surveyed via the Leger Business Panel, 4Q11 Source: IT Market Dynamics, the research arm of IT in Canada
NEW iN soCiaL
who use incoming search data to analyze how organic searches are impacting their visitor rates. This means that nearly every SEO marketer will see a big change in their incoming data stream for popular search analytics software (including Google’s own, which is the most-used). Unless someone who is logged into Google (say they use Gmail and leave themselves logged in on their browser while surfing) specifically opts out of the encryption (not likely), then their information will not be passed to analysis software when they search Google.com and click through to a website. The only exception will be when they click on a paid advertisement through the Google AdWords program. Internet marketers know that there are many ways to get website exposure. One of the most long-term, powerful, and cheapest is SEO – search-engine optimization. SEO, however, is a long hard road and requires a lot of effort and continued analysis of how your marketing is performing and what needs to change. That analysis just took a big blow because an estimated 10% of users will not be giving data when they arrive at a marketer’s website of interest. Google says that this change is to better protect its users’ privacy, but since there was no way before this to tie a specific user to
a specific website visit, that claim seems a little dubious to many. Whether logged into Google or not, a user is just another visitor on a website’s log and no personal data beyond an IP address is shared. So those who are questioning Google’s motives have good reason. So is there another reason? Well, the most likely is that Google is moving to limit the amount of data that is given away for free – especially to websites that “spam” target keywords in order to game Google’s search algorithms. Whether or not this will help is questionable, but it is one way that the search giant had to control the information being given to those website owners. The trouble is, a lot of legitimate SEO marketers are also going to take a blow because of this. Given the fluid nature of the business, however, I suspect that most will adapt and survive. Replies: • So won’t Google analytics still be able to gather this data for you since Google controls that platform? I could see them charging for a business version of Google Analytics. • Apparently it depends! But like you, I suspect they’re positioning for a paid version. But wait ... wouldn’t that undermine their current position of making this change for
“privacy” reasons? • Doesn’t matter what Google does, if this article (“Apple SIRI will Eat Google’s lunch”) or drink its milkshake or whatever, is true. • There are other, possibly more important privacy issues attached to this. Google can still see and identify the search, whence it came, and where the searcher goes. That suggests (surprise) that it intends to make commercial use of the information itself, to serve ads for example. It does something similar in Gmail, scanning messages and serving ads according to their content; users “agree” to this in the ToS. In other words, it’s not about privacy as much as it’s about business advantage.
If you want to check out the IT Forum yourself, you can find it at www.itforumexchange.com (or simply by clicking on the Forums link at the top any page on IT in Canada, www.itincanada.ca). While you’re there, why don’t you register (it’s free) and join the debate?
November/December 2011 ITinCanada.ca / 29
By Michael O’Neil
Aligning storage management with burgeoning requirements HDS Canada regional vice president Barry Morrison shares his insights on data growth, its implication for IT management strategies, and the connection between collaboration and the cloud.
duplication deployed by your Canadian customers?
ontext: Barry Morrison, regional vice president of Hitachi Data Systems Canada has a background that includes work with EDS and former Canadian channel giant GE Capital. Morrison recently took time to talk with IT in Canada CCO Michael O’Neil about how buyers budget for (and look for returns on) IT-enabled innovation, and how mobility is changing the ways in which IT delivers service to internal and external customers.
Michael O’Neil: When we look at IT industry statistics, we see incredible growth in the total volume of data that business operations collect, and much lower growth rates in storage spending. What do you see driving storage demand, and how do your customers match budgets to these requirements? Barry Morrison: I see storage growth starting to accelerate. We think corporate storage is going to grow by about 42 times over the next 10 years. We’re not going to be talking petabytes, we’re going to be talking exabytes. When I joined Hitachi, we were looking for the first petabyte account. Now, most of our accounts are multi-petabytes and growing. The issue is how we manage and control that storage, and how we simplify it and reduce the CAPEX/OPEX around that. [One approach is] automated dynamic tiering, where you move data into lower cost tiers: tier one could be solid state high performance; tier two, storage for core applications; through to tier five, which could be where you send your archive data.
O’Neil: It seems to me that we’re also seeing a trend towards outsourcing storage to the cloud. Do you have a sense as to 30 / IT in Canada November/December 2011
Morrison: Data de-duplication is really about data efficiency and utilization. In general, there have been way too many copies of certain data. Data de-duplication compresses this data, shrinking the amount of disk use within an environment. I see a lot of customers using it as a method to shrink their backup and their archives. I think there is good use for it today in that way. On the other hand, I think the real issue is if we were using and managing our data efficiently, if we were getting 50-60% utilization, data de-duplication is probably not required. Barry Morrison, regional VP of Hitachi Data Systems Canada
how much of a typical business’s storage is owned by a third-party today? How are you seeing that trend move? Morrison: In the enterprise market, I see my customers moving very slowly and cautiously. I see the private cloud getting developed, with customers looking to find out if they can address their security concerns. In the mid-market, we’ve seen a lot more people trying these new services, whether it’s outsourcing their mail to Gmail or using other cloud-based services. [A mid-sized company’s] SLA requirements are not as stringent as those of the financial institutions, the telcos or other big corporations. O’Neil: Can you talk a little bit about data de-duplication – how it works, what it means to storage strategies and the extent to which you’re seeing data de-
O’Neil: We’re seeing far more emphasis than ever before on collaborative technologies. What do your customers have to do differently with respect to storage to effectively support collaborative apps? Morrison: Our IT departments have to understand that this [massive amount of unstructured data from video and other sources] is coming their way. They can leverage the cloud; they can put a lot of this content on archived solutions that you put in the cloud. All they really need from it is something that they can search and discover, totally independent of the application. The biggest challenge if they don’t put it in the cloud is they have to be able to manage the movement of the data, every three to five years as part of an upgrade. If you are interested in other Executive Perspective interviews, please visit our transcript library, available through the IT in Canada download site at http://tinyurl.com/wpdownloads.
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