Tuesday, 28 October 2008

ICT = Internet Cooking Technology

Manufacturing software solutions resembles more and more to assembly line cooking.

What does it take to produce an easy to use communication platform for team members of a new project, coupled to an extensive document work flow and management application, a bug tracker and time-scheduler, a basic invoicing application, a mobile website for consulting information, embedded video conferencing and chat, LDAP synchronization and with possibilities for customer interaction? The project is limited in time and requires only collaboration during a period of 10 months. The budget is minimal and it should be up and running tomorrow!

Going to your kitchen you get creative with -for example- Alfresco, Scrumy, Task2gather, Assembla, Planzone, ZOHO, OOVOO, Laconica, RTM, Yuuguu, Userplane, Dipity, Getsatisfaction, Joomla, ... tying together the info with plugins or API's or embedding them in a portal solution. Taking a knife to cut away some fat, seasoning the dish with some templates or css and combining different microformats, et voilĂ : a delicious end-product.

This results is a highly configurable and flexible solution that may grow or shrink during the project ... whatever pleases the hungry client. It will be relatively easy to set up and easy to dismantle afterwards. The solution will not be expensive and perfectly fit the needs. The organization is not forced to invest in extensive courses to cope with this (assembled) product. Team members will not have a steep learning curve. Difficult tools just cut the appetite. The only requisite for end users is the ability to handle a micro-wave-oven or to boil water. There is simply no time and budget for cooking the traditional way.

In this era of focus on product-manufacturing in the long tail, this evolution (or production method) makes it easy to create fresh dishes *exactly* to the clients wishes, it's just a question of combining the wright ingredients in your meal assembly kitchen.

The "possibility of the solution" is not a criteria anymore, other criteria like speed, high touch and feel, userfriendlyness and flexibility come into play. Instant satisfaction is the criterion.

In analogy to TV-shows we may also see rockstar-like software-solution-cooks performing on gigs, producing a surprise assembly-task in front of a crowd, or producing a solution against the clock where the process is displayed on large screens. Show - cooking!

Choosing Web Tools: Best-Fit Versus Good Enough?
Get the max out of ZOHO
Google Gears, is software offered by Google that "enables more powerful web applications, by adding new features to your web browser."
... and Cooking for Engineers: Step by Step Recipes and Food for the Analytically Minded ;)

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Company communication improvement: Yammer and Present.ly


The Solution to Email Overload
In 2007, The New York Times described email as "a $650 Billion Drag on the Economy", and it's easy to see why: email inboxes are overflowing with messages tangentially relevant to the people addressed. Meanwhile, those who should see the information are omitted.
Yammer is an enterprise productivity solution that uses a publish-and-subscribe model to improve communication while reducing email overload. Yammer allows you and your employees to:
  • Publish status updates, ideas, news, links, and questions without cluttering up inboxes.
  • Subscribe to the people and topics that are relevant to you.
  • Reply to status updates and have discussions.
  • See what people are actually working on and talking about.
  • Search archived messages as a knowledge-base.
  • Find people in the directory to contact them or learn more about them.


  • no restriction on number of characters used
  • auto fill tags (for faster typing & consistency)
  • daily digest per email
  • no limit on number of users


  • slow loading time (at least slower than present.ly)
  • no attachments
  • mobile: only blackberry and iphone are supported


Members of a group should be from the same e-mail domain


Present.ly is a communication platform that, like Twitter, is designed to allow for short, frequent updates to be posted by individuals and tracked or "followed" by others. Unlike Twitter, however, Present.ly provides a secure and private way to share updates among members of a company without it being visible to the outside world.
Many times a problem that one person in a company experiences may have already been experienced and solved by another. Present.ly gives you the ability to tap the collective knowledge of your colleagues to find quick answers to difficult or time-consuming research tasks.
With Present.ly, it's easy to share images, documents, video, and audioclips with your colleagues. Whether you're looking for feedback on a new design mockup or sending out new policy documents for human resources, it's never been easier to rapidly share and communicate media in your company.
You don't always have a computer at the ready when you need to tell people what you're up to. Present.ly provides interfaces that let you keep in touch wherever you are. Use it from your computer, your mobile phone, or most any device capable of connecting to the internet.
Present.ly allows you to create groups and direct communication to and from those groups. Send messages only to members of a group or simply direct relevant news and information to the group for its information.


  • fast load times
  • attachments are allowed
  • excellent mobile application, for all platforms
  • support for Twitter API
  • elaborate email settings (but no daily digest in the free plan like Yammer )
  • not only tags, but also groups for filtering


  • 140 character restriction
  • free plan is restricted to 5 users
  • no autofill for tags (for faster typing & consistency)


Members of a group are not limited to have the same e-mail domain

Article Socialmediatoday: Enterprise Twitter heats up with Present.ly
NYT: Popularity or Income? Two Sites Fight It Out
Ross Dawson: Business models for micro-blogging in the enterprise

CO-OP: Co-op makes it easy to stay connected with your co-workers without disrupting them.
Articlebase: Tear Down That Firewall Mr. Corporate it
DIY microblog with Laconica: http://laconi.ca
An eLearning experience: Tweeting for business
Matt's Musings: Threats, risks and mitigation treatments for Twitter