Content on the Fly

By reading the first three or four post on this page, you can get a pretty clear idea of what my blog is about. If you read on and explore a bit, you’ll start to understand what I do and how I do it. If you explore further you’ll discover where I get my ideas from, who I interact with, how I learn and what I read. This blog, albeit fairly young, is a window to understanding how I live, work and play and has become for many a source of valuable information and sometimes even inspiration.

Blogging, for me, is life on the the fly. Quick, energetic bursts of information and aggregation that help me tell my story but also organise my thoughts and open up collaborative opportunities with like-minded beings. It is this emergent dynamic that drives my enthusiasm for the integration (important term) of social software tools in the enterprise.

According to a recent McKinsey report, up to 40% of business is ‘ad hoc’ – unprescriptive, intuitive, mobile, fluid – or as McKinsey terms it “Tacit business interaction”. For those of you who, like me, really liked the sound of ‘tacit’ upon first hearing the term but had no clue what it meant, tacit (and in this case specifically tacit knowledge) is defined in Wikipedia as such:

By definition, tacit knowledge is not easily shared. One of Polanyi’s famous aphorisms is: “We know more than we can tell.” Tacit knowledge consists often of habits and culture that we do not recognize in ourselves. In the field of knowledge management the concept of tacit knowledge refers to a knowledge which is only known to you and hard to share with someone else, which is the opposite from the concept of explicit knowledge.

It is with this in mind that the likes of Rod Boothby and Dion Hinchcliffe are pioneering new thinking with regards to the possible benefits of using social software to help facilitate, validate and measure the tacit component of modern business (which traditionally gets lost in emails, documents splashed over numerous shared folders and dodgy intranets). (thanks Dave) recently released and editorial titled The Birth of Enterprise 2.0 in which they explore some of the pro’s and con’s of integrating social software into existing enterprise software architecture (I think it’s all about integration and not replacement).

I’m convinced there is enormous value in the concept of ‘Enterprise 2.0’, once we get past the hype. There is an element of fear we need to overcome and the overwhelming reality that a stack of money has been spent on software that has not delivered on it’s promise(s).

From the article:

Enterprise 2.0 is more than just Web 2.0 for business. Enterprise computing is far more complex than personal computing. It includes legacy environments, innumerable vendors, mismatched data sources, stringent regulations and far flung users. While Web 2.0 can deliver genuine advantages for both business users and consumers, the real “Enterprise 2.0” will encompass a far broader and more complex vision.

Enterprise 2.0 is the synergy of a new set of technologies, development models and delivery methods that are used to develop business software and deliver it to users.

Interesting and exciting times…

  • atw

    Mike, I’m curious to know what your views are on site aggregators and splogs.

    I’m not a techie like most of your gang of readers but I’ve posted my thoughts on a recent incident in ZA here.

    What do you think?

  • Patina Reprimand

    Maybe you should give humility a whirl – although that may not work for you.

  • Martin

    I have always wondered how meaningless and inherently incorrect concepts and buzzwords make it so big in the world. Now I know – it is because of people like you – who, in this case, clearly do not have any real understanding of enterprise architecture and development! It takes more than reading a couple of blogs or books, doing some postings, revelling in self-importance and presenting your over-simplified and totally misguided view to businesses who trust you by default because they do not know of better. You are the reason business embark on knee-jerk tech strategies – just to have wasted millions and people’s careers in the process – by which time you have long departed and your wake of clue-repellent destruction is still causing havoc.

  • Thanks for your input Martin. If you take a really close look at my post, you notice phrases like “integration”, “emergent”, “pioneering”, “once we get past the hype”. I’m trying to communicate, together with my admission that I’m not always the sharpest knife in the rack, that this is NOT necessarily the next big thing. It is what I see and how I interpret it.

    Also, saying that my clients do not know better is a pretty strong statement, given who they are.

    Tell us more about what you do and how you can ‘put me in the picture’?

  • Martin

    No thanks. I have nothing more to say to you as I can see you completely missed my point. The future will show that my statements are correct because it is a re-hash of the past.

  • Innocent Bystander

    Thank you Martin for bringing some sense to this blog! It is beyond me how you (Mike) can be giving the companies in your resume advice on Enterprise Software Architecture when you say you’ve never written a line of code in your life? Evidently companies have quickly forgotten the pain of jumping on the marketing bandwagon and making knee jerk tech decisions (I assume your rehash of the past statement refers to the dot bomb?)! Coining buzzwords that you, by default, become the leading thinker in…? No wonder they trashed your post on Wikipedia! Next thing you’re going to want to coin Church 2.0… nope, wait, some other money grabbing smurf got there before you…

  • shifty mainboy

    I have read all your comments and can like to add that i have little or no understanding of what you guys are on about but i will say this….AAAAHHHH MIKE you just got DISSSED, bitchslapped and pumped by the big boys…how does it feel slim? Take a bite of humble pie and taste that shit YEAH….and in closing I’d like to add that you can now take innocent bystanders member out of your mouth biaatch!! PEACE

  • Martin

    shifty that is a bit rough man

  • So, Martin, you’re clearly perturbed at how Mike, and generally people like him, are hurting the “architecture” industry. I can only assume you are content to let him carry on in his merry ways as you have not suggested any direction that Mike should take in correcting his approach.

    Your criticism is particualry scathing, but is also baseless at the same time unless you substantiate it by claryfing a little where you believe Mike to be wrong.

  • rafiq

    Don’t forget to say thank you for the comments mike ;)

  • Thanks for the defense Aiden, but these guys have a point. What business does a wet-behind-the-ears loud-mouthed entrepreneur have telling big, smart corporations about software? Well, I don’t.

    But then that’s not what I sell. I don’t sell portals, or workflow solutions, and I don’t represent any vendors. I translate value from emerging trends and technologies, and offer companies the opportunity to AUGMENT or COMPLIMENT existing enterprise architecture with those possibilities. Then I get them in touch with the really smart people – like you Mark – who build it for them. I just happen to be pretty good at that.

    Is that a crime?

  • Hey Innocent Bystander. I’ll assume that you thanking Martin for bringing sense to this blog implies you’ve been reading it for some time – thanks for that.

    Marketing speak you say? Your URL is Come on. Where’s all your profound knowledge and input? At the very least I’m sticking my neck out, even if it gets sliced off.

    Also mate, criticising someone’s faith is a pretty dubious way of getting your point across. Criticise my business, yes, but that’s a tad low. Then again, if ‘shift mainboy’ is on your side, it all kinda makes sense.

    Thanks for your contribution.

  • Defense? Phwah, you wish mainboy. All I’m interested in is Martin stepping up to the plate.

  • Max

    For goodness sake. Surely we’ve realised by now in the greater span of human evolution that if an idea doesn’t work, it WILL just dwindle.
    Nature runs new iterations of new and improved methods of dealing with threats and opportunities through tweaking the genetic code constantly.

    We’re doing the same thing with every aspect of our frontiers, whether they be technological, medical, social, music, political. We have a *growth imperative* and without those brave enough to experiment we’d still be in caves.
    I frankly don’t give a toss if big corporates use their millions to fund ideas that may or may not prove to be the new working paradigm. Economic models are built for testing and collapsing new ideas without seriously threatening the livelihood of those with the $$ to seriously invest in what MAY prove to be their strategic advange that provides solid margins long term.
    They HAVE to try, within an ever accelerating global marketplace, it CANNOT remain business as ususual. Particularly for the developed nations given the trajectory of China and India, who are evolving rapidly beyond volume manufacturing and distribution.
    The industrial model, with it’s treatment of staff as liabilities rather than assets – to be wrung out and spat out the other side of their usefulness with a handshake, retirement package (if you’re lucky) and a sneaking feeling of meaninglessness on the other side – has well served the individual how?

    “People are more violently opposed to fur than leather, because it’s safer to pick on rich women than biker gangs”
    … your passionate voices would be better served taking on those who are worthy of your rage and vitriol.
    Those who manipulate us out of our freedoms through bullying belligerence & bad behaviour, and frankly are jeopardising millions of lives through their greed and indifference. We tolerate such revolting hypocrisy from those in power and industry in South Africa, because we squabble impotently among ourselves, Instead should we not find those brave enough to lead the charge, and celebrate their battering-ram determinism.

    Sadly, apartheid didn’t just kill the courage of the those it intended to crush.

  • Max

    oh sheesh.. that was as long as the post itself!
    PS. wasn’t saying you’re like a fur clad socialite Mike ..funny analogy sorry.. just came out :-P

  • Gabi

    If Mikes ‘opinion’ upsets you guys so much why are you wasting your limited bandwidth by visiting his sight. You techie geeks are all the same – especially those of you who have nothing better to do then slant other people. You guys claim to write lines of code – VISUAL BASIC doesnt count assholes!

  • Two things:
    1. The critical camp: If you met Mike you would realise that he is deeply knowledgable and passionate about his work. He also happens to be very good at it.

    2. Mike: alot of this flaming comes down to a distrust of the entire communications industry among some purely technically oriented people. Form and Function HAVE to work together if business is to be successful – some people just haven’t cottoned onto that yet. (Sorry for them!)

  • Peter

    There is a fairly strong perception amongst programmers and developers that people who don’t code “don’t get it” and that they are the only people who know anything about software. This is the reason why most Open Source software (historically-this is improving) has an unfriendly interface – because interaction designers aren’t considered necessary by ‘real programmers’. Coders are quite happy to use command line interfaces because they are fast,efficient etc. which is all true- but doesn’t get the job done for the majority of people.

    The same holds here I suppose. If the CEO of MegaHumungoCorp was a programmer, than what Martin was saying might hold water. But she isn’t. So Mike, who isn’t a programmer either, possibly has something more to say to MegaHumgoCorp than a programmer would- and isn’t pushing any particular application either, because he didn’t write any of them.

    Last thought- I suppose if Martin is right, then we should apply this logic in other fields of our life- only Formula One drivers are entitled to opinions about cars, only fashion designers are entitled to opinions about clothes?

  • Innocent Bystander

    Sorry, been otherwise preoccupied…Jeez…talk about a response! I can’t believe actually resolved!! I was being facetious – that is not a domain of mine, so don’t go spamming it now you hear… Oh, and a quick look at your logs will most likely reveal that mainboy something-or-other is not a “friend” of mine as you so eloquently put it.

    On a more serious note, apologies if I offended you, that was not my intention. From Peter’s last paragraph, ‘Formula One drivers are entitled to opinions about…’ …Formula One cars! Motorists are entitled to opinions about cars! Enterprise Software Architecture is not trivial and something a BSc Hons Computer Science grad might be lucky enough to write a thesis on for their Masters – and I can tell you VB is not in the curriculum for the first 4 years!

    Mike, you are correct, I have spent a bit of time reading through your blog – I would feel incredibly guilty had I not, yet still voiced a strong opinion. I am sceptical about buzzwords, especially when they have such strong technological connotations. If you are really interested in adding value to organisations, join forces with an experienced Software Engineer (you mentioned a Mark or something?). Your strongest opposition will come from techies, and you need to be able to weigh up your entrepreneurial instincts with a reality check from your Software Engineer partner in ‘crime’ ;) I think if you focus on the value proposition and not on the buzzwords, you will be successful on all fronts.

    Use it, don’t use it, good luck either way…

  • Thanks for the response Innocent Bystander. Incidentally, I continue to learn from a tight network of trusted, skilled developers and architects in South Africa and across the globe – they continually tell me to shut up and behave!

    But, having said that, I’m not going to apologise for exploring. Since the Enterprise 2.0 article was reinstated in Wikipedia last week we (us buzz-word purveyors, the CEO’s, Harvard Business School professors and others who worked on it) are doing our best to translate real value from the hype and offer it to the modern enterprise as an OPTIONAL augmentation tool.

    This whole journey is one of collective discovery. My blog is not an authoritative source – it does not claim to be. It’s an exploratory thought repository and aggregation tool for my most trusted resources.

  • Roger Saner

    Here’s my 2 cents: I’m a programmer (web developer) who works with Mike. Mike works with the clients doing the value proposition stuff and pulls me in to do the web development stuff. I’m able to grasp things on a technical level very quickly and very well. BUT I can’t approach the depth of communication which Mike has with our clients. When they ask questions we need someone who’s able to communicate the value of what we’re doing rather then the “correct” technical answer.

    So I hope Mike never becomes a programmer – he’s valuable enough where he is!

  • Roger Saner

    Innocent Bystander linked to a post on Church 2.0 which was written by, to quote her, “a money-grabbing smurf.” All this means is that you haven’t bothered to read that post! What, did you simply google “church 2.0” and posted the first result which came up?

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  • rafiq

    My 2.0 trackback cents

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