Friday, 26 September 2008

7 pillars, 3 layers and a Beehive.....

Oh yes, as the bizarre title may suggest, I am combining some related themes in this posting :-)

As I noted in my last post, my colleague Carmine who has been down in San Jose at KMWorld & Intranets 2008 pointed me in the direction of Micheal Sampsons 'Working with people you can't be with' blog. So today I have been reading up on his '7 pillars of IT-enabled team productivity' (you can download the free overview here) and I noted that he had written a posting on mapping his 7 pillars model to the '3 levels of information management' a model developed by James Robertson (Step Two Designs).

So, before we delve into this, lets first layout what the 7 pillars and the 3 levels are respectively:

The 7 pillars:
1. Shared Access to team data
2. Location-Independent Access to Team Data, People and Applications.
3. Real-Time Joint Editing and Review.
4. Coordinate Schedules with Team Aware Scheduling Software.
5. Build Social Engagement through Presence, Blogs and IM.
6. Enterprise Action Management.
7. Broaden the Network through Automatic Discovery Services

The 3 levels of information needs to be considered in an enterprise Info Management strategy:
1. Corporate (information needed by all staff)
2. Divsion, team, business unit
3. Individual

So I will leave Micheal to do the mapping between the two models, but keep both of the lists above in mind, as we move onto the next related topic,
Oracle Beehive.

I have been trying to find the time to read up on Beehive since the press release from the Oracle World conference earlier this week. Beehive is Oracle's 'next generation' collaboration tool product. Beehive is a server product that uses open standard protocols and API sets to provide secure collaboration via the individuals preferred client e.g. Outlook.

So what exactly does it do, and what does this really mean ? Well its a server end collaboration system that to me takes a 'consolidating approach' that hits plenty of the buzz words for protocols and API's such as;
  • SMTP, IMAP and Push-IMAP for email messaging
  • XMPP for Instant Messaging and 'presence'
  • FTP, WebDav and JSR170 for 'content management'
  • CALDav for calendering
Add on to these a full SOAP based web services layer, the usual LDAP integration and even BPEL integration for 'workflow centric collaboration' and you can see how Beehive my start to hit a lot of peoples requirements for enterprise 'collaboration 2.0'. You can read more here on the Oracle site, with plenty of data sheets, whitepapers etc to download. This CNET coverage also includes video of the products introduction on stage at the Oracle conference.

So it strikes me that either by using any of the clients Beehive supports, including Outlook, Zimbra, Pidgin (IM client) Mozilla Thunderbird and Sunbird etc, or by cutting code and building portlets to integrate Beehive functionality into your enterprise portal, you could possibly draw together information from all 3 levels in order to satisfy at least 4 of the 7 pillars;

So obviously Beehive could facilitate the 1st pillar, providing access to shared team data, and the 2nd pillar too, which is mobile access to that same data, and this equates to the middle layer of the 3 information layers, the group, team, business unit layer. It does this through providing team workspaces.

But on the subject of workspaces, Beehive also provides a 'personal workspace' which addresses the 'individual layer'. Add to this the use of a client like Outlook or Thunderbird which inlcude an RSS reader, (or an RSS reader portlet) which could be aggregate the 'enterprise' layer through provision of pertinent data being pushed out by RSS / ATOM and we are starting to pull the threads together.

The CALDav support should address the 4th pillar, coordinating scheduling, and the built in IM and Voicemail functionality hits the 5th pillar, building social engagement through IM and presence. So it sure seems that we getting towards very sophisticated, 'collaboration 2.0' able to support both content centric and process centric collaboration.

I would love to find the time to map the 7 pillars and the 3 layers to Prof. Macafee's SLATES model of Enterprise 2.0 and then evaluate Beehive, IBM's Quickr and even EMC's CentreStage against the whole lot ! Maybe I could set this as a little 'project' for my friends at CMS Watch :-)

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