Category Archives for "Other"

Office Communicator 14 to become Microsoft Lync?

imageInteresting gossip from Mary Jo Foley overnight… It would seem that with the Wave 14 release of Office Communications Server and Office Communicator will bring some name and product changes. Mary Jo deduces that Live Meeting and Office Communicator are merging into a new product called Microsoft Lync that will provide a unified IM, VOIP, desktop sharing and web conferencing interface. For web conference attendees there seems to be a free-to-download Lync Attendee 2010 application already available on the Mirosoft download center.

It certainly seems some announcements are imminent as activity on the Communications Server blog has picked up recently. I look forward to hearing the details…

The Fastest, Cheapest Way to Increase the Productivity of Everyone in Your Firm

When I was a SharePoint consultant at Microsoft my clients would often ask me about the best way to improve employee productivity and company efficiency. What I told them shocked them. You see, I didn’t plug the latest Microsoft product or sing the praises of the latest version of MS Office. Instead I let them into a secret that the financial sector have known for years, but the rest of the world is still catching up with. And it’s this simple: Add a second monitor to everyone’s PC.

image

And by everyone, I mean everyone, because the people who can most benefit from this are often the ones in support roles. In law firms that means back office staff, legal secretaries, paralegals etc. who are busy researching, cutting and pasting and comparing drafts of documents.

Dual Monitor ROI

The Costs

In an ideal world everyone would have a dual head video card, but an external USB Video Adapter like this one works great as an alternative.

USB video adapter

Add to that a second monitor for each person and capital outlay is around £300 per head.

The Return

Studies show that depending on what you are doing, dual monitors increase productivity by between 9% and 50% with an average 20% productivity boost.

The Payback

So for someone on an average salary the capital investment would pay itself back in under a month. What other IT investment could possibly give you the same ROI?

Web Favourites Aug 18 2010

imageThis post is part of an occasional roundup of things that I read and found interesting. There won’t be a lot of comment from me, but hopefully you will find the links useful. Enjoy!

Interesting stuff I came across recently:

Could the Freemium model work in legal services? – I suspect most readers of this blog have already read this article. If you haven’t, I insist you go read it now. If you have read this article before, you should perhaps go back because there’s a really good discussion in the comments now.

Optimal Workloads for the Cloud – Bit of a geek post this one, but it captures beautifully in four simple graphics the kind of server demand profiles that are best suited to cloud computing. If you work in IT, this is a link worth saving.

Darwin’s Finches, 20th Century Business and APIs – An awesome slide deck drawing parallels between evolution theory, successful 20th Century business models and how you can apply those rules in a 21st Century, Web 2.0, Cloud Computing world.

Browser-based version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint Go Live

Officially joining the browser-based productivity game, Microsoft late Monday released the browser-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

The Office Web Apps, as the programs are dubbed, are slimmed down versions of the desktop counterparts, allowing for document viewing, sharing, and lightweight editing. Consumers get free access to the tools, along with 25GB of storage as part of Windows Live, while businesses can also host their own version of the Web Apps using the latest version of Sharepoint. The main catch is that using the browser-based versions require an active Internet connection.

Find the full story over at CNET News.

One of the most interesting this from a Corporate IT perspective, is that now millions of Hotmail users will have access to more modern word processing tools than they do in their work environment. What will that mean for corporate IT?

Web Favourites Jun 3 2010

June This post is part of a weekly/bi-weekly an occasional roundup of things that I read and found interesting. There won’t be a lot of comment from me, but hopefully you will find the links useful. Enjoy!

Interesting stuff I came across this week:

Twitter for Law Firms – “Law firms, unfortunately, are doing a lousy job with Twitter, every day, in growing numbers. I’ve reviewed dozens of law firm Twitter accounts, some owned by global giants and some by midsize or smaller operations, and in almost every instance I’ve come away shaking my head… A good law firm Twitter feed keeps two things in mind: (1) it’s all about the clients, and (2) it’s not all about the firm”

How to Measure the Success of Your Intranet – Intranet guru Gerry McGovern on quantifying the value of your intranet: “Focus on service. Focus on your employees’ time. Be relentless in seeking to save it. If you do you will create a great intranet. It’s as simple and as difficult as that”. Sounds like the recipe for any successful business actually.

Survey: Tesco and Marks & Spencer fail to lure legal shoppers – interesting slant in this article, and it’s headline. Read deeper and you’ll see it say “34% [of respondents] were not tempted by the big names [brands] at all”. To my mind, that’s 66% of clients who could potentially be lured away – and that’s before any of those brands has even launched or begun marketing. Mmmm.

It’s all about Values

Social Media Social media engagement is about having conversations. Conversations with customers and prospective customers wherever they happen to congregate on the web.

Shireen asked today how can you protect your brand if you allow staff to use Twitter, write blogs or use other social media?

Old style media and PR were about command and control. Create a brand and an image, employ a raft of people to craft words that fit the image, and then distribute them through mass media channels.

In the social media world of today your customers are having conversations about you in public. You can no longer control the message. But you can influence it. No policy will be able to cover all the aspects of a conversation though. Instead you need values. Values enable employees to make smart decisions by themselves about how to engage.

Don’t Zappos values say everything staff need to know about how to engage with people on social media? Microsoft’s blog policy is famously two words: Blog Smart. It’s about empowering staff to make smart decisions based on company values.

Instead of creating a bunch of command and control rules that nobody reads, think about the values that embody your company and how you can use them to enable staff to make decisions by themselves, engage customers, and win new business.

What do you think? Any other ideas to add?

Consumerisation of IT

Clippy

Sadly I am old enough to remember when you would walk into your average corporate and be wowed by the latest technology.

When today’s Net Generation graduates walk into your firm they will probably find that they have more computing power in their home PC than the one on their desk. In some cases they may even have more computing power in their pocket!

For the last decade IT departments have been driven by lowering costs, reducing risk and delivering a “good enough” experience. But as Jason writes, today’s graduates are not about to accept this.

Some of today’s smartest graduates are choosing to forgo corporate careers for entrepreneurial endeavours. And who can blame them. With just a laptop, an internet connection, and free or low cost consumer-focussed software from the web, sole traders and small businesses can appear much larger than they are, and effectively compete with the big players all at much lower cost.

How can Corporate IT Compete?

First realise that IT is no longer just about cost reduction and lower risk, but also customer service and staff retention.

Look at delivering value to the business across a wider range of metrics: increased revenues, increased customer satisfaction and increased profit per customer. Look at how your IT systems can help the business in terms of new talent recruitment and retention.

What you can do:

  1. Enable staff to work flexibly, from home, from the coffee shop, and yes, even the office. Remove the need for employees to be physically at their desk during office hours.
  2. Provide tools that make it easy to find expertise and knowledge – tools that mimic the consumer tools they are used to: blogs, wikis and personal sites not dissimilar to LinkedIn or Facebook.
  3. Provide tools that enable staff to connect in real time, from any location via audio, video and IM.
  4. Deliver on-demand self-paced training materials through short snippets such as podcasts that can be easily integrated into hectic lives. Enable staff to upload their own best practices and ideas and use social computing techniques to enable the best content to bubble-up to the top.
  5. Provide corporate-class social computing tools to enable Net Gen recruits to express themselves in a way that is natural to them.
  6. Enable staff to stay connected, wherever they may be from the device of their choice. Let staff select their own IT equipment and use virtualization technology to stay in control of corporate assets and security.
  7. Provide platforms for staff and customers to communicate and meet customer expectations for rich online experiences that help create a sense of community.

Related information:

Web Favourites Apr 12 2010

image This post is part of a weekly/bi-weekly roundup of things that I read and found interesting. There won’t be a lot of comment from me, but hopefully you will find the links useful. Enjoy!

Interesting stuff I came across this week:

Who will invest in Law Firms; Not Private Equity it Seems – Law firm partners needn’t think about a golden goodbye just yet. According to Richard Susskind, private equity don’t want the hassle of managing law firms based around the billable hour, so instead their money is headed towards legal process outsourcers and fixed-fee lawyer boutiques.

The Collapse of Complex Business ModelsClay Shirky on what happens when business models stop adding client value and just add cost. Be sure to read the ATT anecdote about a third of the way through. The ATT approach precisely reflects what I am hearing from one law firm after another that tell me they don’t want to do commodity, process driven work. Shirky concludes “When ecosystems change and inflexible institutions collapse, their members disperse, abandoning old beliefs, trying new things… it is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future”

SharePoint 2010, Office 2010 Launch Date Confirmed

Ofice 2010 Logo Microsoft have confirmed that the launch date for SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 will be 12 May 2010. This is the date that business customers will be able to buy the product, with consumers getting to buy the product around a month later.

I have been running the Office 2010 Beta for around a six months now, and I have to say it is without doubt the most stable Beta I have ever used. I don’t think I can recall a crash that was due to a fault in Office itself, and that probably makes this Beta more stable than the likes of Office 2000 and Office XP that many folk are still using.

This launch also marks a significant, and potentially high-risk, change of strategy for Microsoft, seeing them tackle the threat of free alternatives with their own free editions and fully embrace cloud computing:Excel Web App

  • Free, browser-based versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint will be available to anyone with a hotmail account. These will be called the Office Web Apps. These web apps will also be available to businesses to run internally as an extension of SharePoint 2010.
  • A free cut-down version of the Office client suite will be bundled with new PCs as Microsoft Works is discontinued. This will be called Microsoft Office Starter 2010.
  • SharePoint 2010 embraces multi-tenancy enabling it to be used much more cost efficiently as a cloud-hosted collaboration platform.
  • The addition of SharePoint Workspace – a client application enabling you to take SharePoint sites offline and continue working when out of the office and disconnected from the web.

Web Favourites Mar 18 2010

Spring Daffodils It’s been a little while since our last post. We’ve been heads-down at Connectegrity HQ for the last few weeks and the blog has taken a bit of a back seat. But as Winter has turned to Spring, we are back now with the latest roundup of things that we’ve read and found interesting. Enjoy!

Interesting stuff I came across this week:

Rolling out Social Tools In Law Firms – The first of what promises to be a great series of posts on social computing in legal sector. I really liked Steve’s “tight-loose” approach to emergent collaboration: “There are some things you need to grip tightly… but then leave many areas loose and flexible so people experiment and try things out to see what works for them. You don’t always know how it’s going to be used and you can be pleasantly surprised with how creative people can be.  Very quickly you find that some good practices start to emerge which become the standard way of working”

“Alternative” Pricing in a Billable Hour World – Interesting take on how to quote and manage a fixed price for a piece of work.

Procter & Gamble tries a bring-your-laptop-to-work program – How the NetGen is changing workplace culture: P&G can afford to buy its employees laptops. But it is instead letting several hundred of its workers use their own laptops*.

* Interestingly this article has been edited since I first read it – the original piece also talked about potential culture clashes between Baby Boom and NetGen employees as the NetGen-ers worked flexibly using laptops, wifi and mobile phones from sofas, coffee bars etc.