Nokia Lumia 800 review

Thanks to Gen-i and The Leading Edge I have taken receipt of a brand new Nokia Lumia 800 handset. As a Microsoft house, I am keen to see the senior team use Windows mobiles instead of the Android ones but up until now there hasnt really been anything of quality to use. The Lumia 800 promises to work well with Sharepoint so I am giving it a test drive.

Unpacking was nice, instead of the usual lift off boxtop we pull the innards out, revealing the handset. Drilling through the packaging we get the users manual, a rubberised protective case and then to the lower level with headset, USB cable and wall charger. I like the idea of a round charger, fits MUCH better into a power board, unlike pretty much every other charger that seems intent on taking up at least 2 sockets. Searched for a battery, before realising it is already in the handset and has a partial charge. In the had, the handset feels nice, curved edges and a weight that says ‘I am here’ but not too much that suggests its a brick.
















The setup of the handset was quick and painless. Sign in with a Windows Live account and a Nokia account and you are done (or sign up for them as you go). For me the portrait keyboard is a little small, but even with my big fat male fingers it was responsive and no errors were keyed.

So onto setting up corporate email. On other handsets this has been painful, having to enter email addresses, domain logins and OWA settings. With the Lumia I entered my email address and password, it came almost straight back for my Active Directory username and password and then it started syncing, and fast! 174 Contacts were copied from the SIM in seconds and I was ready to go. I was ready to test the Sharepoint integration so connected the phone to the corporate wireless network, clicked into Office and into Sharepoint. As expected, it couldn’t load my live site as it is running SP2007, but it prompted me to open it in a browser. I did that was was really surprised at how fast it loaded and how usable it was. Flicked into a document library and opened a spreadsheet faster than I could on my laptop!

I am in the process of upgrading to Sharepoint 2010 so pointed the Lumia at the UAT site. Instantly connected and had all the sites and libraries available. One thing I did note was the look & feel goes out the window, you have a list view instead of the traditional website view as can be seen in the photo to the left. Undecided how I feel about that right now, from a navigation view it does make it easier and faster, but if I am investing in branding I want to see it.

The Marketplace seems good. I know a lot of people have said there is nothing there (well okay only 60k apps versus 500k for Android or whatever the numbers are) but quantity isn’t always a good measure. There are plenty of good free and paid-for apps available right now, and I would be almost prepared to argue that the ones there are more useful than a lot on the other two OS’s. Going to spend a bit of time today and over the weekend seeing what else this bad boy can do I think, but initial thoughts are bye-bye Android, hello Microsoft!


Cooperation makes it happen

We are now half-way through looking at how Niall Cooks 4C’s of social media can be applied in the Enterprise. Having cover the two models with low interaction (Communication and Connection) we now look at Cooperation.

So what do we mean by Cooperation?

According to Cook, applications that fall into here are high in interactivity but still pretty casual. Here we find social search, media sharing and social bookmarking and cataloguing. Its about sharing what you find useful with others and enabling colleagues to search for knowledge based on the collective search histories and bookmarking.

In an enterprise, sharing documents, pictures and video can add substantial value through the ideas they can generate. The price of storage is always dropping (floods in Thailand aside) so there is no real reason for businesses to prevent this cooperation from happening. In fact, if IT departments DON’T provide the framework, employees will circumvent them and upload the material to sites like You Tube, Flickr and Dropbox.

Social bookmarking is such a simple concept, yet when you mention it to people they initially looked puzzled then they get that ‘aha’ moment on their faces when they realise how powerful sharing links to web pages can be. So much time can be saved by staff sharing sites they find of value. I was in a meeting today and mentioned this concept and the amount of chatter it generated once the people in the room realised how often they all search for the same information and how much time would be saved by sharing pages they find.

Below is a really good video explaining the concept further, using the website as an example of social bookmarking. To see a real-world example of, check out my links page here.

So can you see a place for these tools in your business? Have you already used some? Let me know in the comments below your experiences with these and other tools to support cooperation! Hat-tip to Sesame St for the title of this post.

Someday we’ll find it, the corporate connection… the workers, the dreamers and me.

In this post we will continue looking at Niall Cook’s 4Cs. Last time we looked at ‘Communication’ and how it can be used in an Enterprise sense. Today we will look Connection. It has the same level of interaction but in a more formal setting. Here we see functions such as tagging, mash-ups and social networking. So what do all these things actually mean to a business owner or professional? What value can these consumer ‘toys’ possibly add?

Lets start with tagging. We already see this in Knowledge Management (KM) systems and it has been around for a while. The internal owner of the system will create a taxonomy that is meaningful and tag these keywords onto the records to aid in the retrieval of documents, files or other items. What we quite often see though is a set of words that hold meaning for the creator and maybe a handful of other people only. The average employee doesn’t necessarily relate to the chosen tags. When we post items to say or flickr in our private lives we get to choose the tags that mean something to us right so why not in our work lives too. We are now starting to see this trend emerge in social KM systems. Known as folksonomy, its sits in tandem with the traditional ‘top-down’ taxonomy and allows users to tag records with words that mean something to them. I use SharePoint Server 2007  in my professional life and one of the big drivers for me to upgrade to SharePoint 2010 is the ability for users to create their own tags. The desire to search and locate knowledge easily based on what they relate to the item as has been a loud and constant message from the staff – I say lets move them from search and allow discovery with folksonomy tagging.

So what about mash-ups. Generally speaking a mash-up is as the name suggests a coming together of disparate or loosely-linked data sources into one that has added value. For example if I am a national sales manager I can access my sales volume from my CRM system in a number of different ways. I can also access the Statistics NZ website and get population densities across cities or regions. Both sources of information are valuable in their own right, but if I mash them together and visually show on a map the population AND the sales I can immediately see areas of opportunities or areas of concern. John Crupi over at TechNewsWorld sums up Enterprise mashups really well

Like anything that wants to have the moniker of “Web 2.0,” mashups are about the user and by the user. Mashups allow users to self-connect the proverbial data dots to create information that answers their questions.

Finally Social networking. The two words that are likely to send CEOs running to secure the firewall. When you mention Social Media, this is what people think of. Yes, this is the Facebooks and Twitters of the world. So what place do they have in an organisation? The same place they have outside it. Its all about connecting people with people and giving them a place to share ideas. Companies such as Social Text, Yammer and even Microsoft with SharePoint 2010 have created these ‘Facebook-like’ applications that sit inside an organisation, can be secured by IT policy and managed like any other Enterprise-grade platform. With them people can micro-blog, share photos, status updates and connect with like-minded colleagues.

 I  am a strong advocate for these platforms as I believe it gives a safe entrance into using the same type of technology externally for extremely risk-adverse businesses. Love to hear your thoughts on how you see them working inside an organisation, or why you think they have no place being deployed.

An interview with @telecomnz

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Richard Irvine, Online Community Communication Manager at Telecom about how they engage with consumers on Social Media. Telecom have a strong presence on Twitter and Facebook and from personal experience respond rapidly to queries and tweets involving them, as well as promoting new products and services. I was interested to understand a bit more about how they manage the different networks.

How long has the social media team been operational for?

The team has existed since 2008, and my role has been in place for just over a year.

What is the make-up of the team?
We have people from all across Telecom participating in our Online Response Team, i.e. Retail, Gen-i, Technology and Shared Services, and corporate. The wide, cross functional spread of our personnel is one of the team’s strengths.

The team currently numbers 11, with five or six currently actively participating, and the others playing more of an advisory role.

ORT members are chosen because they are experienced online and comfortable operating in that sphere. They know the protocol, acronyms and expectations of behaviour etc, both as individuals and are aware of the risks and responsibilities of speaking for Telecom online.

Do you have dedicated resource or do they all have ‘day-jobs’ too?

The sole dedicated resource is me, I’m Telecom’s Online Community Communication Manager, and I sit in the corporate media relations team. The other ORT members all have ‘day jobs’ too, and this balance is working for us at the moment.

Do you have people that just monitor Twitter and people just working FB or do they sit across all platforms?

Twitter, Facebook and Geekzone are the big three for us, and the team tend to keep an eye on one or two of those platforms each, depending on their preference, but there’s no formal allocation of platform monitoring duties.

What tools do you use to aid in the monitoring? I am aware of sites such as Social Mention, Ice Rocket, Trackur and Radian6 – do you use any of these?

We use CoTweet to manage Twitter, and Facebook and Geekzone themselves to monitor those sites, if you get me. Google alerts and RSS helps us keep across anything further. I’m not prepared to invest in anything that claims to measure sentiment, I don’t think they work just yet without human intervention. If I need to track sentiment on any campaign or issue, I do it myself.

Do you have ROI goals or targets to meet, and if so how do you define them?

No formal ROI targets have been set yet. We feel our level of investment has paid off so far in reputation and issue management terms, everything else is a bonus. That’s not to say this won’t change in the future.

For me there are a couple of interesting points out of this interview.

Firstly they have a cross-functional team working part-time on the ORT. This is a really good idea as it allows internal experts to answer questions that are in their sphere of knowledge directly, meaning faster responses back to the customer.

They focus on the key platforms that their customers use and then let technology alert them to anything else that may be happening. A focussed approach again allows prompt attention to queries. And they are where their customers are!

No ROI targets. In my mind is the biggy. It would appear as though they have succeeded in getting their heads around the fact it isn’t just about revenue, that brand reputation and customer satisfaction is just as, if not more so, important.

Enterprise 2.0 – Beam me up Scotty!

So in the last few posts we have looked at (primarily) externally facing social media tools that businesses can use. Now I would like to explore internal social media platforms, that is software that is behind the corporate firewall. As we journey through these internal applications I will relate them back to the 4Cs that Niall Cook describes in his book ‘Enterprise 2.0‘ – Communication, Connection, Cooperation and Collaboration. Before we begin though, I came across an interesting pyramid description of  social media and Enterprise 2.0 in a book called ‘The Executives Guide to Enterprise Social Media Strategy“:

Social networking: Humans sharing knowledge with other humans outside of their immediate pair-bond families

Social computing: Systems of hardware, software and firmware that enable social networking in a digital environment

Social media: Platforms specifically designed to make social computing available to anyone with a device capable of connecting to the Internet

Enterprise 2.0: A term coined by Andrew McAfee, a professor at the Harvard School of Business, to describe the impact of social networking, social computing, and social media on business organisations

For me this really highlights how the underlying process of humans communicating is still there in the digital age, only now it is done over the medium of the Internet.

In this post we will focus on the category of ‘Communication’. On Cooks technology framework communication software sits in the lower left quadrant – low interaction and low formality. Platforms such as social presence, blogs, Instant Messaging (IM), virtual worlds and discussion forums all sit here. So what value can these different software platforms add? There are as many answers as there are organisations. For some social presence or the ability to see if your colleagues are free or busy will add no value at all, for others it will be a game-changer. Same applies to blogs, to IM, to forums and virtual worlds.

In a previous post I commented on Virtual Worlds and their application in business so I will not re-hash it here. In my opinion, the key platforms are blogs and discussion forums for the majority of organisations and can offer the biggest bang for your buck. Social presence and IM is useful if you operate in a business with multiple offices and/or across time zones as it can be a real time-saver (who hasn’t played phone tag with a colleague!)

Lets start by looking at blogs.  Simply put, a blog is, well this. It is an online log of thoughts, ideas and suggestions. You are reading my blog because (hopefully) you are interested in what I have to say and have the opportunity to comment on it. In an enterprise setting it means I can communicate with those that are interested, and those that aren’t interested are not spammed. It also allows two-way conversations to take place based on the message/s being sent. To give a real-world example the company I work for has a fortnightly internal email newsletter that is sent to around 900 staff. It is created by one person (the Communications Manager) and has brief articles about things that have been happening in the business. Starting last week there is now a CEO’s report section where he gives a top-level view of what he has been up to over the past couple of weeks. This is all good stuff but I wonder if more value can be added by allowing two-way communication about some of the points he raised. If it were a blog posting instead of a static email message then staff would at least have an opportunity to contribute directly and interact on another level with both him and other colleagues.

Forums are similar to blogs insofar as they actively promote users to comment on and discuss the topic at hand. It creates a virtual water cooler if you like, a place where people can do what people to best, communicate. The key difference being on a forum a single point of view or discussion topic is raised by anyone and the ensuing dialog is generally about that alone. This from Wikipedia A discussion forum is hierarchical or tree-like in structure: a forum can contain a number of subforums, each of which may have several topics. Within a forum’s topic, each new discussion started is called a thread, and can be replied to by as many people as so wish.

So which is the better tool in the Enterprise? The answer is which ever suits your needs best. Probably both maybe? Has anyone had first-hand experience in a business environment with either or both and would like to share those experiences? Drop me a note below, love to hear your experiences. And as always, if you like this post, please take a quick moment to share it with your network.

Virtually there

So I was pondering the realm of the 3D Web, virtual worlds and the like the other day and wondering how far they had come over the last 10 years or so. I remember when Second Life (SL) was first launched in 1999, and how it magically transformed the humble text chat sessions into something akin to being in your own movie. I was working in the Market Research industry and was curious to see what options were up and coming for consumer engagement and if there were smarter ways to conduct research – to put it in context I am talking about a time before web surveys were mainstream and 99% of research was done on the telephone or face-to-face. For me, having a virtual world where consumers and brands could connect from anywhere on the planet was amazing and opened up new opportunities to find out what consumers thought of products before they were created in real life.

There were two European market research agencies at the time experimenting with surveys in this medium. I vividly recall in one instance being interviewed by a rock that came to life to talk about my in-world experiences! Novelty factor aside, the ability to show 3D models and mock-ups of new products or see an ad concept on the screen allowed a researcher new avenues to explore. From a learning perspective having the ability to join in a seminar where there was a ‘real’ person on screen showing a new software package or piece of hardware was (almost) priceless, again you have to remember this was before video conferencing and webinars were widely used.

Having this experience over 10 years ago I was fascinated to see how far things had progressed and what new opportunities were available. Surely the worlds would be almost photo-realistic, more engaging and it would be easy to pull in external files to share & collaborate on.

What a disappointment.

Yes it was still impressive and you could talk to people but it seemed to be stuck in a time loop. The quality of the environment doesn’t appear to have changed much, maybe Linden Labs were so far ahead of the game when they made it that this is as good as it gets with current technology. Movement is still keyboard & mouse driven with predefined avatar motions used that are, to be honest, clunky at best.  I am hoping that with the release of Kinect for Windows that we will see more realistic movements and the interface will become well,  ourselves.

When this happens I think the purpose and functionality will change and we may see it adopted more. There is fortunately some research already being conducted into interfacing the Kinect sensor with SL (examples here and here) which can only lead to more immersive and collaborative platforms right? One business-focussed virtual world that I have recently discovered is the Avaya webalive platform. For me this seems a nice mix of Second Life & other virtual worlds and business necessities such as file sharing. It can be easily customised to fit the corporate brand and uses VoIP and text chat. I do wonder though the value of using something like that as opposed to say, Microsoft Lync, Cisco Telepresence or Citrix Goto Meeting.

I am not a gamer, never have been and not likely to be in the foreseeable future which is why I think I struggle to see how this medium adds more value than the aforementioned web collaboration tools, or even the humble wiki or document sharing sites. Saying that, the Gen Y generation who grew up with this type of gaming environment would probably adopt it more readily and find value where I can’t. There is no doubt that virtual worlds can support collaboration. My question though is it more gimmick than genuine business tool? Would you use it in your daily business life to collaborate and communicate with a customer or supplier?

Let me know your thoughts.

Risky Business?

No, this is not a posting about Tom Cruise in a 1980’s movie but about the perceived risks in implementing social media in the enterprise. So what are the risks that people think of when social media implementation is suggested? The main issues as I seem them can be categorised into a couple of over-arching themes, but far & away the biggest risk I hear about is staff abusing it and wasting time.

Security, Loss of (perceived) control, reputation management and productivity are the key risk areas that business owners raise as the reason why they are not embracing social media. Are they real risks, or just managers being overly conservative? I think it is a mix of both, certainly there is a general misunderstanding of what social media is and what it isn’t. I conducted a very unscientific poll of my co-workers and posed the question ‘What is social media?’. Over half said it is sites like Facebook and Twitter. A couple said it is websites that let people communicate and share news. One person did say it is Web 2.0 and it is sites that allow collaboration and communication – in fairness he has been at a Social Media for Business seminar recently.

So if the majority think social media is Facebook is it any wonder that people are adverse to implementing?

I am not going to go over all the risks in this post, The 2.0 Adoption Council have a really good presentation over on SlideShare that goes through the issues mentioned above and other issues and offers up some suggestions on ways to counter the risks.

Perhaps the way to bypass a lot of these objections is to stop referring to it as ‘social media’ with the negative connotations it brings. Maybe it is time to focus on the business value the underlying platform can bring instead.

Let me know your thoughts below.

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