Last month, I had the chance to site visit Thomson Reuters office, in Sydney, Australia. It’s an intriguing experience for me as I had the opportunity to see how they harnessed social networking tools and used state-of-an-art technologies in their organisation. Special thanks to Edward Davies, a specialist editor of Reuters News, who was willing to show me around their work flow process environment. Generally, Thomson Reuters is an information company where it provides world news express services to financial and government sectors including broadcasters like RTB.
Thomson Reuters uses a dynamic mashups referred as “Badges” embedded in their website. It were developed using the Presto product from vendor JackBe. It includes user’s published research and demographic citation views. In addition, ResearcherID Badges were designed to be easily embedded in a user’s personal blog or Web site and to be emailed to peers. Each Badge, when embedded in a personal blog, provides a dynamic preview of the researcher’s data to the community. Clicking on the Badge takes the visitor directly to that researcher’s page within the ResearcherID site. Thomson Reuters also included two other mashup-based widgets for the members of ResearcherID: the Collaboration Network, a graphical cross-reference of the researcher’s professional collaborators, and the Citing Articles Network, a map-based view of independent references to the researcher’s publications. The mashups were a successful addition to the ResearcherID community. Within weeks and with little direct promotion or advertising to its community, hundreds of independent professional blogs and Web sites had Badges in them, all linking back to ResearcherID. The mashup-driven Badges allowed the community members to become the extended “sales team” that pushed the community’s reach well beyond the formal boundaries of the community portal. Moreover, Thomson Reuters recently has been using twitter, a micro blogging as part of their social networks tool for posting up-to-date news on the Australian politics agenda. Not to mention others like Skype! (If you manage to hear that oblivious unique melody from the video shown above.)
Some of the benefits gained by Thomson Reuters are such as:
- The mashup-driven “Badges” allowed the community members to become the extended “sales team” that pushed the community’s reach well beyond the formal boundaries of the community portal. Within weeks and with little direct promotion or advertising to its community, hundreds of independent professional blogs and Web sites had Badges in them, all linking back to ResearcherID.
- The news messages reach everybody globally. By using social media, it allows addressing those segments that are difficult to reach with traditional media (e.g. the journal), as for the Gen-Y generations.
- Its also allows reaching segmented groups with specific, direct messages (e.g. companies, political leaderships and its followers, etc.)
- Social media brings everyone “where the people are” together. It involves the citizens in the city projects and makes talking to the government less intimidating. Consequently, the public’s interest in politics, making the decision-making process itself a part of the public arena and letting citizens interact.
- Social media such as twitter; costs less. Hence, it can be used to create a good vibe during a specific events.
Despite these findings, there are also some pitfalls that might trigger such as:
- Using social media broadens its communication toolbox. Hence, it requires Thomson Reuters to plan ahead, thinking about its goals, target audience and tone of voice.
- One of its biggest challenges is probably maintaining a consistent online corporate identity as Thomson Reuters is allowed to speak for the city, how and at any given time?
- Lastly, social media is not the only tool use for communication. There are still a lot of people who have no computers and/or internet access, and thus rely on the traditional media to receive information. Consequently, Thomson Reuters needs to consider other kind of platforms to leverage its long tail.
JackBe (2007). Case Studies:Thomson Scientific Expands their Research Community through Mashups. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
Spoelders, S. (2010). Government & Social Media : « Government 2.0 ». Retrieved August 30, 2010.
Thomson Reuters (2010). ReutersOz. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
Thomson Reuters (2010). Thomson Reuters Australia – Legal, Tax & Accounting – Lawbook Co, cvMail, PowerTax, Sweet & Maxwell, and more… Retrieved August 30, 2010.
Wikipedia (2010). Thomson Reuters. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
The term “Gov 2.0” is also known as e-Government (Wikipedia, 2010). According to the Australian Government 2.0 Taskforce (2010), “Government 2.0 may be understood as the application of tools and approaches associated with collaborative web or ‘Web 2.0’ as it has been dubbed. These tools are potentially transformative of the way governments operate”. Meanwhile, Australia’s Google Group states “Government 2.0 is not specifically about social networking or technology. It represents a fundamental shift in the implementation of government – toward an open, collaborative, cooperative arrangement where there is (wherever possible) open consultation, open data, shared knowledge, mutual acknowledgment of expertise, mutual respect for shared values and an understanding of how to agree to disagree. Technology and social tools are an important part of this change but are essentially [just] an enabler in this process”. Overall, Gov 2.0 is all about engagement!
Gov 2.0 is the prime mover for Information Communication Technology (ICT) development for government sectors. It has been realised that providing citizen-centric services means a lot more than just creating a websites. Simultaneously, improving business process is equally important, if not a pre-requisite before making services online. Considering the ever increasing dependency of ICT in our daily lives, we believe passionately that citizen-centric services should be a driver of change, not only for the civil service but also for all social community. That being said, it is imperative for the government to study ways and means of effecting changes in organisational culture and business processes as well as the desired transition of attitude and mindset amongst the community as a whole. The success of the e-Government initiative is largely dependent on the positive interaction amongst stakeholders, namely Government, industry and people. Therefore, stakeholders must adopt a forward-looking and problem-solving mindset to achieve the goal of providing meaningful services for all (Ismail, 2009).
Several government departments who have already started adopting social technologies are such as:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) adopted the Geospatial Innovation
A website named recovery.gov, has been supported by USDA aimed at providing information about spending and impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This demanded thinking that was big and fast as the schedule to deliver a common language for nationwide change within two months. It was considered critical to build confidence quickly in the economy by tracking spending from the very highest levels of government all they way through to the beneficiary, as well as enabling feedback.
No more than four people from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) of the Geospatial Service and Technology Center in Salt Lake City, looked at source data systems, “geocoded” that data, and used a Web-based mapping application to rapidly deploy base-map-enabled views of recovery spending by geographic locality, right down to the level of individual zip codes. The Chief Information Officer’s office for the National Information Technology Center partnered with the USFS to host the solution on scalable infrastructure, and to connect different social media tools for constituent crowdsourcing collaboration.
In a shortest reporting period, the recovery.gov website and blog averaged more than 336,000 unique user interactions. This example shows how innovation in government is possible by taking very diverse needs from a variety of different stakeholders and quickly peeling back the layers of bureaucracy to reveal the public value chain — from policy decision, through government organizations to citizens. After this first phase, an Enterprise Geospatial Management Office (EGMO) was created to extend, expand and enhance the use of geo-enabled business solutions and leverage this new model for place-based policy planning and programming. The EGMO exploits the ability to see the essential connections between policy, data and services and really understanding the relationship between context and problem and the proposed solutions, which is where the geo-dimensionality analysis excels. The main driver was the urgency created by presidential administration commitments to make federal governance transparent, accountable and participatory to the public.
Natural Resources Canada go for Wiki to success
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) focuses on forestry, minerals and metals, energy, and earth sciences. These are actually managed by four very different organizations that were given the goal of integrating knowledge and working more collaboratively. There was a strong push for this from a deputy minister as well as a good deal of grassroots activity. In response, two and a half years ago, NRCan started a wiki for its department internally, which has 5,200 employees across Canada. Today, the Wiki has about 3,000 active contributors and between eight million and nine million page views. It has become a very rich source of knowledge for natural resource information. So far, the wiki is purely internal-facing, and NRCan has not faced the challenge of letting Canadians contribute to it. However, it has become a foundational tool for the department and is used in many different ways, significantly changing the way NRCan works.
During the first year and a half, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) attended a number of meetings and presentations to market the wiki internally and to push people to use it. Shortly, it was recognized that there was no longer a need to push, as a growing internal community took over control of the wiki, ensuring that it would be used further within the department. Now, employees market it to each other and management is standing back and working on implementing additional tools. NRCan also actively uses blogs as a way to share information about ongoing work, and has launched its own version of Facebook and Twitter. It provides an effective knowledge sharing platform for science information and had considerable uptake within the first few days after launch. Employees also use SharePoint quite extensively and are about to extend the reach of an Autonomy search engine to search across the wiki, blogs and SharePoint implementations.
This has been a cultural shift, more than a technology change, to address a critical business. NRCan now uses communities of practice very effectively. For example, there is a Video Community of Practice in which about 60 employees with common interest in all aspects of video technology get together and share their expertise on departmental video initiatives. This is saving considerable money that would otherwise have been spent on contracting for video services. So far, NRCan has not performed any formal measurements, besides keeping track of statistics. However, it does not appear that there has been any dramatic decrease of e-mail use. A challenge with measurement is the lack of a baseline for comparison.
According to Ernst and Young (2010, p.10), “For 2010, regulation and compliance has resumed its place as the number 1 threat across a spectrum of sectors and remained one of the most prominent risk” (as shown in figure 1). These are the vital aspect that need to be considered by NRCan and USDA since it can be a pitfall for them if neglected.
Alexander, P. (2009). Engage: Getting on with Government 2.0: Draft report for comment. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
Ernst & Young (2010). The Ernst & Young Business Risk Report 2010: The top 10 risks for global business, A sector-wide view of the risks facing business across the globe: Oxford Analytica.
Ismail, E. A. (2009). The E-Government Strategic Plan 2009-2014 Brunei Darussalam. Retrieved August 25, 2010, from http://www.egnc.gov.bn/download/Documents/e_government_strategic_plan_2009_2014.pdf
Maio, A. D. (2009). Five cases discussed by government panelists at the Gartner Orlando Symposium shed light on some critical success factors and provide useful hints to implement, develop or sustain innovation in government. Gartner Industry Research.
Wikipedia (2010). e-Government. Retrieved August 31, 2010.
August 20MY ORGANISATION OF INB(N)346
It’s intriguing to see how organisation of INB(N)346 innovate ways to improve collaboration and information sharing among peers, which differs from traditional approach in the past. They are implementing the “architecture of participation”, where user contribution becomes the platform provider. Hence, this change things in intuitive way as it provides opportunities for them to participate cum learning anywhere at any time.
However, there are some risks I had found within the INB(N)346 organisation.
Participation inequality in social community environment causes unbalanced participation. With the spread usage of social networking tools like forum, twitter (#346class10, #web2Tutor and #DrJasonWatson) and blogging, which is much more interactive, the 90-9-1 principle still applies across in this organisation. That means only 1% of users are actual content creators (These people are the information or opinion giver as they provide content for discussion), while 9% are commenters and modifiers, and the remaining 90% are simply readers or consumers (these people are the information seeker, the opposite of information giver). This can be seen in Enterprise 2.0 Forum, where although there are 11 members who had join this forum, only 1 member is the web master and IT Administrator, 3-4 members are Prosumers; willing to share their thoughts and participate actively in the forum and the rest of the members are simply readers or just consumers. It is hope that more members of INB(N)346 organisation could join this insightful forum. Although it is very important to have the right information for this organisation, it is also important for the community within this organisation to recognise when more content is needed.
By having to blog, the organisation can have their say immediately as it provides a platform for everybody. Hence, this might not always a good thing! Usually, blogs allow expert opinion to be disseminated without the long delays and tedious process of traditional publication methods. The reward comes from recognition.
Most people blog quite extensively through Twitter or personal blogs. Contrary to these findings, the INB(N)346 organisation have to be very careful of posting inflammatory information on twitter. This is because once it is recorded, it goes out immediately in the form of viral network causing difficulties dealing with censorship. Hence, person who have negative roles must be kept at minimum such as:
- Aggressor person who seek to enhance their own status and defame others by criticizing almost everything in the blog’s comment or blaming others when things get rough in the comment discussion or twitter.
- Joker person who characterized by clowning, mimicking or generally disrupting by making a joke of everything posted in the blog.
- Monopolizer person who need to comment all the time in the blog. Usually, they are “Mavens” trying to make the impression that they are well read, knowledgeable and of value to the community of the organisation. They should, of course, be encouraged when their comments are helpful. However, when their comments are not helpful, the organisation need to draw others into the blog discussion.
Nevertheless, with reference to my past research experience in Human-Computer Interface (HCI), I also learned that they are such a group who are Abilene Paradox (the Chameleon effect), the Spiral of Silence and the Core Group Theory (Dix, Finlay, Abowd & Beale, 2004). All these have to be noted and taken into account when conducting in INB(N)346 organisation.
In conclusion, the INB(N)346 organisation must empowered everyone to participate by trusting each other as they are the brand! They should also learn from their mistakes by experimenting a lot of new social network tools that are available. They need to build culture for participation by implementing community-developed guidelines inside the INB(N)346 organisation.
Dix, A., Finlay, J. E., Abowd, G. D., & Beale, R. (2004). Human-Computer Interaction (3rd ed.). London: Pearson, Prentice Hall.
Meredith, J. R., & Samuel J. Mantel, J. (1995). Project Management: A Managerial Approach (3rd ed.). USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
O’Reilly (2005). What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software: O’Reilly Media.
Thomas, S. (2006). Web 2.0, Library 2.0 and the future for Library Systems. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
What better way for me to start talking about my own REAL organisation! Radio Television Brunei (RTB) was born in 1957. Half a century later it has come a long way from those pioneering days. Of course, back then, RTB was only about Radio, but it was proud of its transmission of TV in full color being added to the organization’s repertoire in 1975. The arrival of television in 1975 not only provided a wide range of new opportunities for new services, but also related challenges in terms of developing or acquiring technical and production abilities using Information Technology capabilities. As a government owned broadcasting station, Radio Television Brunei is one of the key means of communication between His Majesty’s Government and the people of Brunei Darussalam. Therefore, this media communication is a prime mission of RTB.
The impact of social media in the 21st century has arrived with a need to address the challenges of the globalisation, information and communication technology age. In the era of digitalisation, RTB felt the impact of digital technology in all walks of life. The trends of broadcasting and IT industry are changing very fast due to the development and convergence of digital technology. Consequently, RTB’s mission changed to: “To inform, to entertain, to educate, to inspire and to interact anytime, anywhere and in any way”. Digital television using broadcasting 2.0 technology has transformed television viewing experience from the existing analog TV. It provides a better picture, higher picture resolution and improved sound quality. Thus, RTB offers multiple programming choices, new features and interactive capabilities such as:
- Video on Demand (VoD); new subscribed services on movies for viewers who demand for “What I want to watch, When I want to watch”. RTB delivers true VoD to subscribers by allowing them to watch any pre-loaded program at anytime from anywhere. It also delivers thousands of hours of VOD content to their users.
- By leveraging the software above level of a single device, TV Mobile allows RTB to broadcast contents to hand-sets such as mobile phones, Smartphones, netbooks and other digital devices. This is a natural extension of services on the ubiquitous mobile phones. It is where videos are interactively accessible anywhere. It offers services that build up communities and brand awareness. For instance, users can take part in a community chat with themed rooms. All of this is made possible by implementing Digital Video Broadcasting – Handheld (DVB-H).
In radio stations, IT is widely used by deejays for monitoring and playing music, dedications and greetings. They can now interact with their fans and listeners much more closely through social networking web applications such as Facebook, Twitter, MSN live chat and many others. By listening to live Netradio (audio streaming services), the digital divide is reduced by allowing everyone to listen to radio over the internet. With new technology such as Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) radio, listeners can get more information, record it and playback it as a podcast. With internet, RTBCity brings one step forward the new era of internet broadcasting by providing a superior experience and delivering web information services and new entertainment experiences to audiences. Streaming media across intranet (used by RTB staff as shown in Figure 1) and extranet frameworks is widely used as a mode of ‘Broadcasting 2.0’.
Figure 1: Screenshot of Microsoft Sharepoint being used in RTB
Source: RTB, 2010
As RTB move towards the future, there are numerous legal risk issues ahead to be solved if it is to remain an important player in the fields of broadcasting in Brunei Darussalam. One good example is the concern on the licensing issues that are associated with the use of social media technologies and these have not yet been resolved due to technological convergence and globalisation. In addition, content protection is also an another important issue. Today, it’s much easier to copy digital content and reproduce several copies without any loss of quality. Hence, content piracy is never been more easier. As a result, most content copyright owners are very reluctant to sell content to RTB who do not have adequate content protection facilities in place. One way to mitigate this risk is by enforcing on copyright laws and intellectual property rights.
The advantages of broadcast 2.0 are massive as it promises many new and exciting opportunities. It will be one result of the transition to Enterprise 2.0; this is in part because of the influence of new media in the lives of all people and following on from an expansion in the range of opportunities for the people to utilize their leisure time. It is, in fact, the changes within society in the more globalised world of the 21st century. The younger generation (Gen-Y) now expects personal and functional IP interactivity for e-mail, social networking, transactions, learning and entertainment. Communication is no longer hard-wired to and from homes, kiosks, businesses, workplaces and institution because communication has become more mobile and personal. Effective multimedia is dependent on the same core components as broadcasting. Therefore, RTB have a natural and substantial competitive advantage in the production of new interactive media.
Converging media is leaving behind broadcasters. The challenges are how to capitalize on the convergence and integrate the multimedia and interactive capabilities of the internet which has fuelled consumer expectations. The broadcast schedulers and content producers must meet these challenges by adopting and adapting many of the techniques and technologies used in the internet powerhouse through harnessing collective intelligence from the social network community (O’Reilly, 2005). Broadcasting and IT have evolved from totally different approaches. Broadcasters target mass audiences, while IT interacts on a personal basis and requires sophisticated computers. However, the reality is that the internet has combined these two industries and merged them into the telecommunication genre so as to meet consumer demand for creative services and functionality for digital media devices.
Burrows, M. (2010). Understanding and managing legal risks online. [Lecture Notes].
O’Reilly, T. 2005. What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software. O’Reilly Media.
Radio Television Brunei. (2010). RTBCity. Retrieved August 16, 2010.
August 12ENTERPRISE 2.0 STRATEGIES DEMYSTIFIED
The best thing with Enterprise 2.0, is about flexibility and collaboration. Collaborators are the one running the show NOT the IT administrators or web masters in organisations. One way of having an Enterprise strategy, is by having a mashups in our blog or sites. It is an empowering technology and evolutionary, NOT revolutionary. According to Ogrinz (2009), user demand for web 2.0 technologies within existing corporate infrastructure, which act as a catalyst for Enterprise 2.0. This week, I had discovered two interesting Enteprise organisations, which I considered to be part of my case study – AFNI and DIA.
1st CASE STUDY – AFNI
AFNI is a leading outsourcer of customer service, insurance services, and receivables management operating 12 call centers across USA and employing more than 3,000 call center agents and 500 enterprises, each of which has a unique set of applications and business processes. The risk currently faced is their customer data management, which is scattered across multiple apps. They wasted plenty of times searching through applications and constantly toggle back and forth betweeen it to resolve customer issues. To make matter worst, most apps are owned and control by their clients. Afni’s IT organisation has little or no control over the apps and no access to their source code (AFNI, 2010).
According to Ogrinz (2009), to overcome these risks, they have implement Enterprise 2.0 framework. Their mission is simple yet challenging – to improve productivity, reduce average handling times, increase first call resolution rates, simplify training for agents and finally ensure they comply with customer’s requirements. Afni choose the OpenSpan platform to build a series of mashups for its contact center agents. The mashup auto-populates customer data for each customer support call, thus provides agents with a 360-degree view of the customer and eliminates the need for them to navigate through a series of apps. The user interfaces generated by the systems were constructed to match the business process or specific call flow (OpenSpan, 2010). To demonstrate this, an agent needs to follow the natural flow of the screen from top to bottom. Input fields are colour coordinated to alert agents. If agents require further information not available from their screen, they can click on a link in the mashup and open up the relevant application. Each step of agent activity is being tracked and logged to ensure compliance with client needs and to resolve any traffics that can affect system performances, if found any.
Some of the mashup patterns being implemented are:
- Accessibility. Without it, Afni agents would be forced to learn and interact with a wide range of client
- Content aggregation. Afni agents spend less time navigating and toggling beween apps, thus spending more time serving customers.
- Usability enhancer. The agents simply need to follow the workflow process where fields are colour-coded to notify them which steps need to be completed
- Content migration. The mashups automates this process which is applied to relevant client apps behind the scenes and without any direct involvement by the agent.
- Integration. Call notes are logged automatically to capture agent activities and customer data. The audit trail helps Afni to comply with client requirements and identify traffics if found any by Afni’s quality teams.
- Workflow. Afni is able to modify the mashup’s user interface to support new client policies without affecting client application (Ogrinz, 2009).
The benefits gain after implementing Enterprise 2.0 are:
- Afni can spend more time resolving customer issues as they are able to resolve customer issues more quickly and improved first-call resolution rates.
- Afni has improved customer satisfaction when support call times are reduced with a higher percentage of support cases are resolved on the first call.
- Their client’s customers receive a better overall quality of service because they achieved mandated policy and compliance requirements in a timely and efficient manner.
- Afni has improved its ability to respond quickly to its client’s needs like policy changes (Ogrinz, 2009).
2nd CASE STUDY – DIA (Defense Intelligene Agency)
DIA provides military intelligence to the Department of Defense and the intelligence community in support of U.S. military planning and operations and weapon systems acquisition. Their vision is stated as “integration of highly skilled intelligence professionals with leading edge technology to discover information and create knowledge that provides warning, identifies opportunities, and delivers overwhelming advantage to our warfighters, defense planners, and defense and national security policymakers.” Their major risk is to isolate vital information from a vast array of sources. The video below briefly describes what they do in the real world (DIA, 2010).
By implementing Enterprise 2.0 framework, DIA has applied mashups to the military intelligence gathering as part of their web 2.0 project in a government sector to improve the speed, timeliness and accuracy of the organisation’s situational awareness. They used a mashup called “Overwatch” which is a dashboard app that acts as a “virtual operating center”. It integrates a wide range of intelligence sources into a single browser-based dashboard including DIA’s public-key infrastructure (PKI) framework. To implement it, DIA uses JackBe’s Presto product which connects to several services within DIA’s network and acts as means of communication between analysts and services. Later, the analysts is able to view these data sources regardless of any tools like SOA, SQL, RSS and many others (JackBe, 2007).
Some of the mashup patterns that benefited the analysts are:
- Alerter that provides alerts based on specific conditions being set.
- Filter that can be personalized to extract important information from a vast content.
- Leading Indicator for monitoring multiple message feeds to make situational assessments.
- Reality Mining use to detect common usage patterns based on the analyzers.
- Time Series provides intuitive time-based analysis.
- API Enabler allows sharing mashup data so others can consume and customize the data.
- Super Search using search engines to interact other internal and external data.
- Dashboard that is easy to use.
- Location Mapping for rapid geospatial tagging (Ogrinz, 2009).
The benefits gain after implementing Enterprise 2.0 are:
- The Overwatch program has become an important tool that allows analysts to track information resources around the world in real time.
- DIA win several awards for their project work on Overwatch.
- Overwatch continues its evolution today with continued integration of existing and emerging technologies within the DIA, including the DIA’s security and services infrastructures (Ogrinz, 2009).
AFNI (2010). Contact center solutions and Receivables Management Services. Retrieved August 12, 2010.
D. I. A(2010). Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Retrieved August 12, 2010.
JackBe (2007). Enterprise Mashup Solutions. Retrieved August 12, 2010.
Ogrinz, M. (2009). Mashup Patterns: Designs and Examples for the Modern Enterprise. Indiana: Addison-Wesley Professional.
OpenSpan (2010). User Process Management, Process Improvement. Retrieved August 12, 2010.