Tag Archives: social

Why does every app have to be social?

Apple iPhone 4

Mobile application design is hard. For websites, we have well-established graphic rules. For PC screens, the tolerance for interface mishaps is fairly broad. Mobile apps are the opposite: there is less space, every pixel counts. Try shrinking a tablet app screen down to smartphone size: homothecy (linear reduction) rarely works. This is the reason we often see fine iPad applications turn into flunked smartphone ones. It sometimes takes a while for a successful iPad app turn in to a well-adapted iPhone one: Flipboard, Zite and Bloomberg Businessweek were wise enough to take as much time as needed to roll out great apps for the small screen.

When designers (and marketeers) perform user tests for a small-screen app, they realise their design will have to adjust to many circumstances and constraints. Reading time and general use conditions change substantially from a tablet to a smartphone: while the former is definitely a lean-back device, the latter will be used in many different ways, often including uncomfortable settings – I glance at my phone in a lobby, a waiting line, in the subway, etc. All this deserves thoughtful consideration when designing an application. The same applies to advertisers: they can’t expect to capture the same level of attention when moving from tablets to the smartphones.

With this in mind, I made a quick list of mandatory features for mobile applications.

Social v "related". Today’s hype leaves no other option but making an application as "social" as possible. This being the certitude du jour, allow me to think differently.

True, some apps are inherently social: when it comes to rating a product or a service, the "crowd factor" is critical. Beyond that, it should be a matter of personal choice – an antinomic notion to today’s the "Social" diktat. When you sign up to Spotify, the default setting is to share your musical taste with your Facebook friends and to suffer theirs. I can’t stand such obligation: I quickly dumped the application and cancelled my account.

The social idea’s biggest mistake is the belief in a universal and monolithic concept everyone is supposed to be willing to embrace with a similar degree of scope and enthusiasm. That’s a geeky, super-cartesian, Zuckerberg-esque view of society. Among my friends, some like opera (the singing, not the browser), others prefer heavy metal and I’m more into jazz tunes; some are tech-minded like me, others are more inclined towards literature. When it comes to sharing news, I tend to be naturally selective about the people I send a link to: I don’t want to swamp everyone with stuff they don’t care about. I might be wrong, but this is the way I see the social cyberspace: segmented and respectful of each other.

Where am I getting with this: when I read news online, I care about what is related (ie recommended by editors) as much as what is social (recommended by the crowd). Of course, Trending, is a good indicator of what’s hot. Here is a good example on TechCrunch iPad app, by any measure a thoughtfully designed one. Its trending sidebar cleverly displays what’s hot and how it evolves:

Even better: when you dive into a story, the app will give you a better-focused "Trending" indicator on a particular company, in this example Buddy Media….

… will send you to the Crunch Base repository of people and companies:

TechCrunch’s social treatment is mostly Twitter-based. Subjects are connected to relevant tweets with the underlying story shown in a web view:

Related contents come in different flavours. Take the Bloomberg way shown in its remarkable Businessweek application. Companies mentioned in a stories can pop up in a black sidebar drawn from the Bloomberg financial app.

Similarly, ProPublica’s application uses a lateral "drawer" to display related contents in an efficient way:

These features are by no means secondary. Providing related contents or a supplement of data, such as financial of biographical information, is the best proven way to retain users.

Finally, a word about graphics. Apple and the iPad have set the bar pretty high and very few apps takes fully advantage of their graphics power. One company rises way above the crowd: Roambi, in a class in itself when it comes to visualising information. My take is, someday, most business sites will borrow from Roambi’s spectacular way of displaying graphics (part explanation of its design sophistication: the core of Roambi’s designers comes from the video game industry).

One last world about the ongoing debate between open web-apps and proprietary ones such as iOS or Android: The gap is narrowing. The FT.com, which pioneered the genre two years ago, made tremendous progress in its app. Periodically, a new release comes up with slight improvements in fluidity and ease of use. The iOS system and its software development kit remain a must for games and 3D intensive applications, but for news and data apps, HTML5 is getting closer.

One feature, though, is missing in most of these apps: the ability to use them offline. 3G coverage and cellular data transfers are more unstable than developers tend to believe; users should have more leeway in configuring their apps to download content in the background, ready for later offline use.


23snaps: A Personal Social App for Parents

Though Facebook make some people think that social networking service will be better if making it opener, personal social apps have sprung up, which indicates that social apps do not have to be open. For instance, the lover social app Pair was downloaded for 50,000 times in four days, producing 1,000,000 messages. 23snaps is also a personal social app special for the parents.

23snap is an iOS personal social app, which enables parents to catch, save and share the scenes of your child or children. 23snap is not only a sweet and pretty app, but also a platform to share and save the pictures of your babies without being commented by strangers.


Besides news, message notification and friend list, its most prominent function is “manage your child/children”. Users can choose to manage with their life partners and let grandparents, uncles and other relatives being informed.

The aim of 23snaps is to let family and friends who care about the child/children know what happened and special times. Users can update the data of age, weight and height and so on or share photos or videos on the timeline.


After you have updated the status, messages will be sent to your family and friends through iOS devices. Those who do not own iOS devices can know about your child/children by emails.

If you are new parents or going to be parents, and you do not want strangers to see and comment on the pictures of your child/children, 23snaps will be a good choice.

Web CRM to Become Social, Mobile, Cloud-Based, Digital as Enterprises Look to Buy

If you have been following us here for a while, you’ll know how important customer experience management is. In fact, we spent the whole month of March looking at it. Now, Gartner is taking our lead and underling the important of CXM now and for the coming years.

Enterprises Eye CRM

OK, so that’s a bit tongue-in-cheek; Gartner has been on the customer experience management case for a while and, in a recent global survey of CIOs by Gartner’s Executive Programs, CRM moved up from the 18th most important technology to No. 8.

Not the top spot yet, but given the response Gartner has received around the survey, it could well hit that spot in the coming years.

In addition to this, according to Gartner’s 2012 CEO Survey, CEO’s are citing CRM as the most important area of investment they will be making in IT over the next five years to improve business performance.

CRM Market

To put that in perspective, the worldwide CIO survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2011, and included 2,335 CIOs representing more than US$ 321 billion in CIO IT budgets and covering 37 industries across 45 countries.

And the Gartner CEO and senior business executive survey involved more than 220 CEOs in user organizations from more than 25 countries was conducted in November and December of 2011. Qualified organizations were those with annual revenue of US$ 500 million or more.

So the companies that are looking at investing in the next five years are companies that might already be classified as successful — if you consider annual revenue of US$ 500 million successful, that is.

Effective leaders use technology to strengthen the customer experience regardless of the economic environment, and they see customers as the key factor in helping their business deliver growth and operational efficiency in 2012. They also understand that a new strategy is needed to embrace social and media trends,” said Jim Davies, research director at Gartner.

Social CRM

And this is another key finding in the research. CRM executives — at least successful ones — have to take "social" technology a lot more seriously than they have been doing in the past.

It has to move from just being another channel into being a whole new way of doing business, according to Gartner analyst Ed Thompson.

The research shows that, by 2014, enterprises that refuse to embrace social media will do as much damage to themselves as companies today do when they ignore emails and phone calls.

Our discussions with service providers and end users indicate that CRM services are shifting from a focus on point solution deployment cantered on application suites, to a ‘customer experience’ that brings together customer information, analytics, workflows, mobility and social CRM disciplines into a richer, multichannel access to capture the entire customer journey,” Thompson said.

While ignoring email may indeed be damaging, it is definitely satisfying. That aside, social media and CRM will shift the goalposts, Gartner says, in an industry that was already worth US$ 12 billion in 2011, up 13.5% from 2010, and one that is forecast to grow 7% in 2012.

CRM in the Cloud

And another element is also coming to bear creating an almost perfect story for those that insist on the "old" ways of doing business and technology — that element is SaaS and the cloud.

Gartner says that a growing number of CRM providers are building revenue through SaaS offerings with 32% of all technologies sold in the CRM market in 2011 were being offered through SaaS, which is expected to grow by 16% again this year.

Gartner analysts added that a growing percentage of this revenue is accrued through SaaS and cloud computing. In 2011, SaaS accounted for 32% of the CRM software market and is expected to grow 16% in 2012.

The result: Providers are going to have to broaden their offerings to incorporate cloud computing, social CRM, digital media and mobility, get into bed with specialist vendors that can offer specific functionalities or go the way of the Dodo bird.

In fact, Gartner says that service provides that are still focusing on traditional on-premises CRM solutions at the moment will start losing out over the next two years to more agile providers.

Prepare for a lot more on this issue as Gartner gears up for its Customer Strategies and Technologies Summit in London, UK on June 11 and 12.

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352 media group dives into small business web design

352 Media Group, whose HQ is in Gainesville and features offices in Atlanta and Tampa, as a Web development and digital marketing firm, has created a new division tailored specifically to small businesses and startups, and hopes the small business Web design services they offer will help clients lay a strong core foundation for their websites. Its director of sales and marketing for small business-focused departmet, Jan Siemaszko, said that he was excited about the opportunity to use the talent and resources. 352 Media Group’s small business division features samll business Web designers who can provide big-business results on a startup budget. It also offers atandard and ongoing search engine optimization services, as well as social media management options.

Source: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/web-development-and-digital-marketing-firm-352-media-group-dives-into-small-business-web-design-126845033.html

A New Bubble?

We all remember the Internet bubble back in 1999-2000 era. Start-ups were getting huge valuations. The joke then was – if you are 27 years old and not a millionaire, then you are a failure. All you needed was a sign-board saying “new internet company” and stand on Sand Hill Road. Several cars will stop and within hours, you should have a check worth millions as investment.

This is an exaggeration of course. Jeff Bezos of Amazon even said – we spell profit as “prophet”. Then the bubble burst one day and the debris was huge. Hundreds of B2C and B2B companies went belly up.

Now after a decade, we see a bit of a bubble again. The landscape is somewhat different. There is no rush to an IPO, which was the only way to make the founders and investors very rich. Now there is a secondary market that buys stocks off the founders and early employees (and some investors as well). So we see Zynga planning to raise $500m. Groupon raised a huge amount. Kleiner Perkins which missed out on the hottest social networking companies, by focusing on green technology, decided to make up for lost time. Hence they invested $120m in Twitter and also $35m in Facebook at an astronomical valuation of $52B. It sounded like KP just wanted a check mark on its portfolio by investing in Zynga, Twitter, and Facebook. In the latter two, they have no board seat nor significant influence on the management. Everyone seems to come up with another “discount coupon” type company after the success of Groupon. While there is no technological differentiation, it’s an “early-to-market” advantage in building a brand. Zynga, a virtual gaming company, is valued around $10B, while Twitter is rumored to be values at $4B. Google was offering Groupon $6B as a purchase price.

When president Barack Obama visited the Silicon Valley last week, he had dinner with a power group of 12 leaders. Besides the leaders of Cisco, Yahoo, Apple, Oracle, and Genentech, there were the CEO’s of Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, and Google.

For an enterprise software guy like me, it is hard to understand the valuations of social networking and gaming companies. By building a huge clientele, these companies make money on advertising. However, sustainability is another issue. The original Facebook founders and investors are worth obscene amount of money, even before its IPO next year. The only company likely to go for an IPO this year seems to be Linked-In. With huge investment dollars pouring in, these companies do not feel the pressure of seeking an IPO soon. But we may see another mini-bubble building up. So caution is the keyword.

source: http://websphere.sys-con.com/node/1724486

Social Web in 2011 and Beyond


Around October 2010, Facebook, Amazon, and Zynga invested $250 million in sFund. This fund provides financing, advices, and relationship capital for new business to start up on social web. Facebook offers new business to get access to Facebook credits and other application technologies. Amazon will provide free customer service to starting businesses for a year.  This fund is intended to aid and built companies like Zynga, Playfish, and more. The social web is changing the digital economy. For example, Farmville alone brings in about $1 million per day last year. Farmville is an online farming game created by Zynga. It is mostly played by Facebook users. The game became a huge success because the game system is built and designed around the social network. When users log on Facebook or other social networks, they would notice that their neighbors had sent them gifts, and their friends had commented on the user’s gaming progress. To return the favor, they sent comments or gift back to their friends/neighbors. There are many more social gaming companies who targets social web sites to make money.

The Social Web in 2011 and Beyond – Part 1


There’s no denying that the social Web is changing the world. Every arena from business to casual communication is being intimately rearranged by collaborative technology. Subsequently, it is more important now that ever before to consider how we can successfully guide our lives into an age of total information awareness and connectivity.

The Third Wave

If you want to know how far you’ve come, just take a look at where you’ve been. According to John Doerr, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the first great wave of innovation in computing hit in the 80s when the PC was introduced, followed by the boom of the Web in the next decade. Today, the convergence of three high profile areas of interest — mobile, social and cloud computing — are creating a third tsunami of change.

From the Web of Pages to the Web of People

"We are now in a stage of the Internet where people are first class objects," elaborated Marc Davis, a Partner Architect at Microsoft. And it’s true— individual preferences and relationships matter much more than they used to.

For example, display ads and search results are now determined by a user’s Web history and location, meaning every experience on the ‘net is as unique as the person undergoing it. That two people can be looking at the same site, or querying the same term, and see entirely different results is transforming fundamentals and changing rules.

The Web of the World

And it’s not stopping there. Consider the changes that engagement, cloud computing and social networking are causing now that they’ve been granted portability. Everything that happens in real life, can now happen in digital form.

Sound crazy? Consider the numbers: The world population is closing in on 7 billion, and, according to Davis, there are 5 ½ billion mobile devices in existence. These devices know who we are and who we know, what we like, where we’ve been, where we plan to go, and when we do what we do. They are personal, ubiquitous, and, by connecting everything we know, ushering us from the Web of people straight to the Web of the world.

The Role of Entrepreneurs

This last year was one of the few times in history when entrepreneurs were behind the curve, constantly struggling with how to jailbreak data and put it under user control. Whether or not we’ll gain enough information awareness in 2011 to ease some of this frustration remains to be seen, but ultimately that’s what’s going to have to happen.

"The opportunity here is to understand and to produce the right flows of rights and  permissions and data so that this ecosystem can actually work correctly," said Davis, and though he noted that much of this is up to large corporations, entrepreneurs can do their part by creating social apps that make the data that is available easier to understand, bring together, and share.

From the Ground Up = Necessity

At this year’s announcement of the sFund, big time CEOs like Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Mark Pincus of Zynga all agreed that starting applications from scratch is an absolute necessity.

Zuckerberg, who is particularly excited about what sort of Facebook partnerships will emerge in the next five years, readily admits that his social network has no intention of adding on capabilities that aren’t an inherent part of the Facebook DNA. In other words, it’s not about creating a Swiss Army Knife all by yourself—it’s about focusing on your unique DNA of your company and designing products for easy integration with those of other companies.

Source: http://www.cmswire.com/cms/social-media/the-social-web-in-2011-and-beyond-009499.php

Top 10 IBM i Product and Technology Trends for 2011


Source: http://is.gd/iICvO

2010 has come and (mostly) gone, and the good news is the business outlook has improved. Compared to the dark days of December 2008, we are in a veritable wonderland of positivism. However, while spending is up and companies are plotting for growth, IT budgets are still guarded, and boosting operational efficiency reigns supreme. With those thoughts in mind, here are 10 IBM i product and technology predictions for 2011.

Cloud Computing and Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS and cloud computing may be the long-term savior of the IBM i platform. Many big ISVs that struggle to sell an IBM i package to customers that would prefer a "modern" Windows or Linux system are having success selling access to their IBM i-based applications through the SaaS delivery method. The key, of course, is having a modern Web interface; few organizations will shell out for a 5250-based SaaS accounting or inventory tracking product. Cloud computing, with its emphasis on massive data centers and dynamic movement of workloads, is still not an IBM i stronghold. Cloud platform providers like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, run their cloud operations on standards-based X64 gear. But several companies in this space have business plans for selling generic access to IBM i resources. And considering the IBM i platform’s advanced virtualization capabilities, tremendous scalability, and superior manageability, it is an idea worth pursuing.

Web 2.0, AJAX, and Application Modernization Development

AJAX and Web 2.0 development burst onto the stage in early 2005, when Google unveiled its free and unflinchingly awesome (for map geeks, anyway) Google Maps product. Since then, the rush has been on to build increasingly sophisticated GUIs that offer more functionality and a much improved experience over old style Web interfaces, which reloaded every time a button or a box on the screen was touched. The Web 2.0 trend has not bypassed IBM i application developers, who have a handful of third-party products to choose from. Many of these IBM i-focused Web 2.0 tools use the popular EXT or Dojo JavaScript libraries, which have prebuilt Web 2.0 functionality. Expect even more JavaScript and functionality in 2011 from IBM (which has adopted Dojo with its free EGL Community Edition tool), as well as third-party players. While a slick Web-based GUI is not the end-all, be-all for application modernization, it’s the driving force behind many companies’ decisions to overhaul their apps. IBM finally gave IBM i customers something that resembles a native GUI with Rational Open Access: RPG Edition in IBM i 7.1. The feedback from vendors and customers has been somewhat mixed. The biggest complaint seems to be the fee that IBM charges. There isn’t even a free trial download, which is a shame. If IBM nixed the fee and shipped Open Access with IBM i 7.1, it would spur customer adoption, resulting in better-looking IBM i applications and customer goodwill.

Business Intelligence and BPM

As the tip of the IT spear, business intelligence is a perennial contender in end-of-year, top-technology lists like this. After all, if each of your competitors this year adopted the same new BI and reporting solutions that were intended to give your business an edge, how are you going to differentiate your business next year? One obvious way: Buy the latest and greatest BI products in 2011, and use them to their fullest extent to better your business. The BI juggernauts (like IBM-Cognos, SAP-BusinessObjects-SPSS, Oracle-Microfocus-Hyperion, and smaller players like Microstrategy, Information Builders, Actuate, and SAS) spend lavishly on product development to keep their products on the cutting edge of innovation and in the minds of decision-makers. Expect some good deals in 2011 as the big dogs move to fend off attacks from successful upstarts like QlikTech, which went public in 2010 and is on a roll, and open source providers like JasperSoft, and Pentaho, and the Eclipse BIRT project. Look for Business Performance Management (BPM) products that offer features such as key performance indicators (KPIs) and Web-based dashboards to become more popular. IBM i-specific BI players like New Generation Software, SEQUEL Software, and mrc will continue to appeal to organizations that want to run or build BI for IBM i servers. And then of course there is DB2 Web Query, the Query/400 replacement that IBM says is selling quite well.

Free and Commercial Open Source Software

Commercial open source has become a huge, market-moving force in the IT world, and the trend is not bypassing the IBM i environment any more. While the early days of open source were characterized by programmer-enthusiasts (think Linus Torvalds and his Linux devotees), today’s open source landscape is covered with successful business plans and widespread adoption of open source software, which has gotten the attention of conservative IBM i types. Every Power Systems server ships with some open source, including the Apache Web server, and all of IBM’s development tools are based on the open source Eclipse project. Zend Technologies develops its successful PHP tools for IBM i in an open source manner. The open source MySQL database (now controlled by Oracle) is the only database that IBM recognized for this platform other than DB2/400. Commercial open source endeavors that have found success on the IBM i platform include SugarCRM, Talend, and JasperSoft. The free and open source delivery model is now being adopted by IBM i ISVs, such as CNX, which decided to give away copies of its Web 2.0 development tool Valence earlier this year. Then there’s the Renaissance Framework, an open source collection of tools for developing CGIDEV2-based Web applications distributed by CoralTree Systems. IBM also went open source this year with its EGL Community Edition software, which can be used to create a range of applications for IBM i. Other open source projects that IBM i shops will be hearing from in the future include MuleSoft, which develops an enterprise service bus (ESB); systems management software developer GroundWork Open Source, which bundles other open source components, like Ganglia and Nagios. And hopefully there will be some surprises in IBM i open source next year.

Document Management and CMS

With their well-documented return on investment (ROI) and environmental friendliness, document management technology will continue to sell well during a period of slow economic growth and heightened green consciousness. At the low-end, products that merge IBM i spool files with electronic document overlays for printing on cheap PCL laser printers will continue to do well. Many of these products will also automatically convert documents to PDF, and distribute via e-mail or archive to an IBM i or Windows hard drive. On the high end, document management will continue to blur lines with more sophisticated content management systems (CMS), such as those from IntelliChief, ACOM Solutions, RJS Software Systems, Vanguard Systems, Real Vision Software, and others. These CMS and workflow products are creating the virtual desktops where companies can work on electronic documents.

Data and Network Security

IBM i servers are blessed with superior out-of-the-box security compared to Windows and Linux, but no platform can be completely immune from the rapidly evolving cyber threats. Like business intelligence, security is another product category that never stays still for long, and 2011 aims to be another banner year for bunker-building. If 2010 is any indication, next year you will continue to hear a lot about the latest advances in encryption, tokenization, data masking, compliance, and strong user-profile management. IBM has made implementing encryption easier with DB2 Field Procedures in IBM i 7.1, but so far only two IBM i security software vendors–Linoma Software and Townsend Security (formerly Patrick Townsend Security Solutions)–have announced plans to support it. Expect to see more vendors support Field Proc in 2011. You can also expect to see more powerful and easy to use security information and event management (SIEM) software, as organizations struggle to absorb and react to security alerts. IBM i shops that process credit cards will also devote a fair amount of time to PCI, but luckily, PCI version 2.0, which was unveiled in October, doesn’t appear to impose a big new compliance burden on IT mangers and auditors. Cloud computing and SaaS providers, however, will be burdened with security concerns and the perception that customers’ data is not safe. Organized crime will continue to find ways to exploit and profit from weak network and data security policies and procedures.

Hosted DR/HA, and D2D

One of the most widely adopted cloud applications in the IBM i community may be data vaulting and hosted disaster recovery (DR) services. By sending their data over the wire to companies like Vault400 and SafeData (which was recently acquired by Data Storage Corp.), IBM i shops are getting rid of their tape drives and tape-based backup processes, while keeping data safe from outages and disaster. The Seagate subsidiary i365 (formerly EVault) is making a business out of licensing its data vaulting technology to data center operators, who in turn offer vaulting services to customers–a franchise model that appears to be spreading rapidly. More IBM i shops are also expected to invest more in hosted DR and high availability (HA) services next year. Vision Solutions and Maxava both have data center partners who offer their DR and HA software to customers through a hosted model; SunGard Availability Services and IBM BCRS will also do well at the higher end of the market. The disk to disk (D2D) and virtual tape library (VTL) appliance market should also expand next year, as IBM i shops look for all-in-one devices that can satisfy backup, encryption, replication, and data de-duplication requirements. This market is expanding; ExaGrid added IBM i and DB2/400 support to its disk-to-disk (D2D) appliance just three months ago. Other D2D vendors supporting IBM i and DB2/400 data include Unitrends , and Crossroads Systems , EMC, LaserVault, Tributary Systems (which acquired D2D product from Gresham Storage Solutions), and Quantum.

Mobile Development

The easiest prediction is this: Tremendous momentum behind smart phones will build in 2011. But here’s what you might not know: IBM i developers will venture into the space like never before. Today’s super powerful and capable smart phones–like the iPhone, the Android phones, Blackberrys, and even Windows Mobile 7 phones–have allowed mobile applications to live up to the hype that started over a decade ago. The crucial difference is, instead of writing mobile applications with limiting technology like wireless application protocol (WAP), mobile applications today are simply normal Web apps, with their screens tweaked slightly to fit onto smaller devices. Since IBM i developers are already moving toward Web interfaces with their RPG, COBOL, and Java apps, it’s a relatively minor leap to make those interfaces available on a smart phone. Tool makers like looksoftware, LANSA, and mrc are leaders in enabling mobile app development on IBM i. Application vendors that have embraced mobile app development include VAI, Jack Henry and Associates, and Kronos. IBM is also enabling mobile apps with its Lotus line.

Social Media

Ten years ago, if you had heard the term "social networking," you may have thought it meant meeting at the local Elks Lodge, or perhaps gossiping at the water cooler. Today, the phenomenon threatens to rewrite the rules of the Internet, and has spurred a so-called "third wave" of Web innovation (and possibly Dot Com Crash 2.0, according to some). But there’s a reason that Facebook is valued at $35 billion: it delivers hundreds of millions of eyeballs to advertisers every day. Social networking sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, and others also present new opportunities for developers of business software, although exactly how social media is best utilized remains to be seen. IBM is driving social networking hooks into its Cognos and Lotus Notes product lines, while SIEM vendor Q1 Labs now scrolls social media websites for sensitive information. The best social media opportunities may reside in more people-oriented applications, such as CRM. To that end, both Salesforce.com and SugarCRM are making use of social media.

Licensing and Updates

There are big changes afoot in how business customers buy and use software. Companies are more hesitant than ever to plop down a big chunk of change for a perpetual license to a product they may ditch in three years. Instead, subscription-based pricing, where a customer pays in, say, 12-month increments, are becoming more popular. Advantages of this approach include diluting the customer’s risk that they won’t need the software in a few years, and bringing more recurring revenue to the software vendor. It also paves the way to the day when software is treated more like a service than a digital commodity (which is another reason vendors push service oriented product architectures). Vendors are also being forced to adapt to customers that install updates less frequently than in the past, which is a result of smaller downtime windows and fear of disrupting the stuff that works. In response to this, vendors are making updates to products–bug fixes, tweaks, and new features–available in a more a-la-carte fashion. The classic product cycle, which sees one or two minor point releases every year and a major new version every couple of years, is another vestige of the way things once were. Instead, quicker release cycles and more customer feedback–hallmarks of the agile development method that is taking hold–will become the norm. IBM i customers and vendors are on the trailing edge of licensing, update, and development trends, but these forces will become stronger in this community in 2011.

The social Web in 2010: The emerging standards and technologies to watch


Source: http://is.gd/i4Xod

The emergence of Facebook, Twitter, and the rest of the social Web as a global force in the last several years has done a great deal to highlight their potential to fundamentally alter the way we communicate and collaborate both at home and in business. However, despite the movement of social computing into our daily lives we’re all clearly on a long journey together as the technologies themselves emerge from infancy.

The state-of-the-art today when it comes to the social computing environments that surround us now — in our browsers, mobile devices, and elsewhere — underscores how much more we have left to do to make these new modes of digital conversation and discourse become mature, efficient, safe, and truly useful.

Fortunately the Web doesn’t stand still and a great deal of research and development continues to go into evolving the mechanics of today’s online social universe. There are presently many new efforts under way to refine and improve the world of social media, some of which we’ll explore here and many which are just beginning.

The consumer Web continues to drive social business

While some advances in social media are happening in the enterprise space as well, the real story continues to be the Web as it continues to forge quickly ahead in terms of sheer innovation and raw output to shape the latest developments in social computing.

Naturally, we’ll likely see some of these attempts fall by the wayside in the relentlessly Darwinian environment of the Internet. We’ll also see many of them succeed because of their broad engagement with the Web community, apparent utility, and subsequent widespread adoption.

As for 2010, it’s shaping up to be a year of general improvement in the business and technology industries hard hit by recession, the impact of which has seemed to hold back new investment and experimentation in social technologies, many of which are funded by staff participation from Internet firms. But it’s now looking to be a banner year for significant advances in social software standards and technologies, many of them to address well-known shortcomings and inconveniences in today’s Web 2.0 landscape.

The Social Web Challenges of 2010: A List

What are the challenges with the social Web today? For one, its very size is now an issue. The social Web has virtually exploded over the last three years, going from tens of millions of users to many hundreds of millions of users.

It has also entered the late majority of the mainstream population, meaning that many of the ways that it works will not be as accessible to those least familiar with it. But the “social Web” has practically just become “the Web” at this point. Social computing is now something that most people do at least in some form on an almost daily basis. Along the way we’ve all learned some of the shortcomings of today’s social tools and environments. Indeed, the very success of this mode of online interaction has begun to pose its own issues. In a nutshell, these issues are:

    * Fragmentation of conversation. The blogosphere is a case in point with its highly decentralized nature that breaks up discussion into a series of links that have to be chased down. The decentralization is good in many cases but we’re also learning it can hurt consumption and participation. This is the same with competing activity streams in various social networks. While the focus perhaps should instead be on the conversations themselves and integrating them across whatever platforms within which they are taking place, the view today is instead still too much on individual tools and channels. Up until now linking, syndication, and shared comment services have been used to connect the dots on distributed conversations but the practical usefulness of these approaches has been reached in many cases. The time is right to use the model of the Web to make it easier to put a conversation or collaborative activity into central focus, no matter where the underlying inputs come from. This is something that Google is attempting to do with its Wave format and remains an approach to watch.

    * Disconnects between older and newer generations of social media. The latest new social media platforms — particularly the large social network services — are highly centralized compared to their much more distributed antecedents such as blogs and wikis. There are great differences between the way information flows from these services across the Web, how identity is established between them (and verified or not), and whether the embedded application models are standardized or not (Facebook brings real app standardization to the table and the ability to tap deeply into social data for example, while blogs/wikis don’t offer much of either), to name a couple of key ssues. These disconnects lead to unnecessary barriers to participation, reach, investment, and ultimately value.

    * Lack of control of identity, contacts, and data. This has been a subject of debate for years and it’s still fairly difficult to export contacts from many social networking platforms. At the same time it’s been getting easier and easier to use the identity of choice at your favorite social media site to establish an identity and log in using OpenID or Facebook Connect. Data portability itself, outside of social graph information, is slowly improving with many online services supporting OAuth and other means of 3rd party data access such as open APIs, but there’s a long way to go as we’ll see before we have full flexibility and control of our online identity and data. This has various implications for businesses that want to engage more fully in the social Web ranging from the ability to establish a unified social identity to having positive control over their own data.

    * A better social Web on mobile devices. While this area has improved enormously in the last few years with a virtual parade of mobile applications aimed at the social space (particularly on the iPhone and Android), both existing applications as well as more mobile-focused social networking services such as FourSquare and BrightKite are attempting to make mobile a far more meaningful social experience. But there’s lots more to do here before the mobile social Web catches up to the browser-based experience.

    * Poor integration between social media and location services. Again, while there’s already some location awareness in social networking services today, there’s a long way to go before it’s integrated meaningfully into the social experience to provide real utility. While geolocation services are just now getting into the browser (see Mozilla’s geolocation features for Firefox for an example) and the basic infrastructure being put in place, little critical mass has been achieved despite serious bids from major vendors in the past. There are many potentially useful consumer and business applications that can be created on the intersection of social and location (at hoc meeting organization app, delivery ETA tracking, etc.) , and with a few more fundamentals in place we’ll start seeing more meaningful integration with social media.

    * Difficulty of coherently engaging in social activity across many channels. Tired of the day-long round-robin between your e-mail, SMS, Twitter, Facebook, and any other services you use to keep up with what’s going on? You’re not the only one. While aggregation services such as Friendfeed potentially cut down on the manual effort of using the social Web, it’s still not mainstream despite being a good example of what’s possible. Notably it’s often the big (and closed) social silos that are causing the problem.

    * Coping with and getting value from the expanding information volume of social media. We’re all learning how to deal with the firehose of information that flows out of social media on a minute-by-minute basis. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that this flow of transparent and open information is actually good and often useful and creates important conversations. But the simple fact is that much of it isn’t meant for non-stop, instantaneous consumption; it simply isn’t practical. Rather, social media leaves behind artifacts and information that we can find and use later when we need them. But at the moment the process of sorting through, aggregating, and filtering the vast volume of information cascading through social media today remains a real and growing challenge. I also began to get the first real reports that this is happening in the enterprise last year as social media begins to grow there as well.

Fortunately, many of these issues are widely recognized by the Web development community and there are a number of efforts aimed at addressing these, many of which will see real world deployment in consumer tools near you in 2010 and will then begin flowing into businesses as well.

Four aspects of social Web evolution

So what kind of emerging standards and technologies are we seeing that can help address these issues? It turns out that there are quite a number of interesting efforts or new takes on existing efforts worth examining right now. These include:

   1. Open activity streams. The central artifact of social media has become the activity stream, whether this is the familiar Facebook news feed, Twitter stream, or the classical reverse chronological list of blog entries or wiki modifications. The problem is that there are too many streams to interact with these days and they are too distributed to perceive and interact with directly. They also come in many different types from syndication formats like RSS and Atom to custom API streams. End users don’t care about the technical details anyway, so there has been some interesting work on standards for social activity streams and activity stream aggregation. The standard to watch is activity strea.ms which has already been adopted by Facebook, MySpace, Windows Live, and Opera and many others with Google and Yahoo! close behind. Some are likening this to when different phone systems or e-mail providers allowed their respective populations to communicate with each other.

      Once standards are put in place by providers (and release officially in their tools and platforms), activity streams can be more easily accessed for both browsing and posting using well defined APIs, thereby directly enabling unified 3rd party experiences across different social channels. Activity stream aggregators like Friendfeed or social dashboards such as Tweetdeck can then offer a single social front-end that holds the promise to reduce the friction of using today’s proliferating channels of social media. This could also address some of the disconnect between older and newer social media platforms I outlined above. The bad news? Standardizing activity streams might not create a unified experience across popular social networking application formats such as those between Facebook apps and OpenSocial. In other words, social media data flow will likely be open and standardized soon, but not the social applications themselves, keeping the walled gardens up between social apps for the time being. For now, smart consumers and businesses will insist on open activity streams in 2010.

   2. Portable identity, contacts, and data. Having a single, chosen online identity has become the holy grail of the social Web in some circles for years now. Fortunately, it’s fast become a reality, whether that’s for logging in to Web sites (the approaches include OpenID, Facebook Connect, and Google Accounts) or for directly accessing the data that you own at a site (OAuth and OAuth WRAP). All of these approaches made major headway in 2009 and are poised for mainstream use in 2010. For those building Web sites or using social media tools, these standards will be the stamp of approval. The social graph is also becoming more portable and despite fairly unsuccessful attempts to standardize this up until now new attempts such as Portable Contacts may have more success this year with backing from Google and influential figures from the open Web community including Chris Messina and Joseph Smarr. There are also efforts emerging, such as WebFinger, to make metadata about people more open and easily obtainable instead of relying on profile pages on proprietary social networking services or poorly supported microformats. A few semi-proprietary yet popular social metadata services have thrived as well and will continue to be grow in importance this year. A good example is the Gravatar service, which lets users define how their user profile picture looks, and is then pulled in from whatever social media tools they interact with later on. This gives users one single place to control their visual representation across the Web.

   3. Better social and location capabilities added to the core of mobile devices. Social APIs in mobile devices that understand the Web (and things like Portable Contacts) have not yet emerged in the iPhone or Android SDKs other than some local address book access. For now, individual applications must connect to social media on the Web and access activity streams and contacts only if they are socially savvy. A few, such as FourSquare, are doing some impressive things but the industry currently lacks the critical mass of a major mobile vendor putting intelligent social capabilities into the device APIs itself, thus making most mobile apps non-social today. For now, there are some innovative examples of mobile social solutions including Bu.mp for easy contact exchange and Loopt for socially-powered mobile discovery. As for location, while initiatives such as Yahoo’s Fire Eagle and especially Google Latitude have made some headway in fueling location services in mobile apps, there’s still a long way to go yet before location is ambient enough to make a big impact on the social side. Emerging to fill the gap this year are open source projects such as PhoneGap, which offer consistent location-aware capabilities across the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry.

  4. Better distributed models for the social Web. Two good examples of this includes the advent of the increasingly widely used PubSubHubBub for faster and more efficient notification of social media updates and the Salmon Protocol which “aims to define a standard protocol for comments and annotations to swim upstream to original update sources — and spawn more commentary in a virtuous cycle.” I’d also expect to see some social capabilities emerge in Open Mashup Alliance, which itself can help bring together social capabilities very easily, both in the Web and the enterprise.

What’s missing from this picture? Unfortunately, quite a bit and this means 2010 is also going to be another year of consolidation and hard work to get the many and varied pieces of the social media world to fit together better and more easily. Of the issues I raised early on, a few will hardly be addressed this year by new social Web standards and technologies. These include the ability to support aggregating and filtering social media in a consistent way. Specifically, while some services, notably Twitter, make it fairly easy to build services that can sort through, process, and analyze the flow of social media to derive real intelligence and insight, most do not. Other areas where work needs to be done is in social media applications models 0where the great divide lies between Facebook apps and OpenSocial, neither of which may be ideal vehicles for the long term. There are others as well.

Of course, in terms of how it will impact us at home and ultimately in business, as we’ve seen with Enterprise 2.0, cloud computing, open APIs, and other major advances, the ideas in software these days are increasingly coming from the consumer world and then pushing their way into the enterprise realm. This is very much the case with the social Web. Thus, those looking to bring the latest advances into their organizations will need to track the developments above closely as many of them will appear in an enterprise social computing platform near you very soon.

5 Ways to Promote Your Business on Facebook


by blog.uprinting.com

Facebook has become an incredible online community that is a gold mine for anyone interested in advertising or creating brand awarness. Not only does Facebook have over 100 Million active users, but it has many great ways for business owners to reach these users in a legit way. Below we will talk about the core advertising methods you can dabble in on Facebook and how you can make the most of them.

1. Facebook Profiles

Creating a profile is the most basic thing you can do on Facebook and it is required if you want to do anything else such as create a group or page. Make sure you fully fill out your profile because a full profile looks a lot more interesting then an empty one. You can also add your website URL in several locations and be sure to talk about your business and plug your website URL in the appropriate spots as mentioned.

Then you should start adding friends to your profile each day. The Current limit is 5,000 friends but this may be lifted in the future. If you add 20 friends a day which would take you maybe 5 minutes in one month you will have 600 friends! From my testing you will have to type in a CAPTCHA or anti spam code for the first 10-15 friend adds, but after that it seemed to go away and it was a lot quicker to add friends. I wouldn’t not recommend adding to many friends each day because it will come off as spammy.

Now that you have your profile created and optimized you can create a Facebook group or even better a Facebook page, both of which we will go over below.

2. Facebook Groups

Groups were available before pages and are more of a place for users to discuss topics such as graphic design or cars. Its almost like a mini forums. The benefits for group owners is they are very viral and you can bulk invite all you friends to join your group. The problem is they are not indexed and not available to view unless you are a member of Facebook.

I recommend creating a Facebook group for your business, but honestly Facebook pages are really where its at and you should focus your efforts on your page instead of your group.

3. Facebook Pages

Facebook pages are all about business and have many of the same features available as groups, but with some extra key features available. The main benefit of pages is the fact that they are indexed by Google and available to view even if you are not a member so promoting the page is easy.

When creating your page make sure you use your most important keyword as the page name so that it shows as the page title, making your page more SEO friendly. Like you did with your profile, fill out your Facebook page with all relevant information about your business, website URLS and so on.

The best way to promote your page is to offer some sort of giveaway if you are not a major brand. This way you give a people a reason to become a fan of page. Once they are a fan you can send updates which is the best part of having a Facebook page for your business.

Groups may work well virally, but so do Facebook pages. Whenever some one becomes a fan of your page it shows up in their profile and looks something like this: Person’s Name, Became a fan of Your Business Name.

So if you give your page a good jump start it could really take off. The number of fans you can have has no limit and some pages have anywhere from several thousand fans to over 500 thousand fans!

So if you wanted to focus on one thing I would highly recommend creating a Facebook page, instead of a group and putting all your advertising efforts towards the Facebook page.

Some Example of Popular Facebook Pages

    * Pizza
    * Domino’s Pizza
    * Pizza Hut

4. Facebook Applications

The introduction of Facebook Applications is probably the most popular move made by Facebook to date. They released their API so developers and business owners could collaborate to create fun and cool applications that engage users. The applications created so far vary in purpose; some are fun games, some are useful and some are directly related and tied into businesses.

Many popular applications have hundreds of thousands of monthly active users and that information speaks for itself, so if you want to read more about creating applications for Facebook, I highly recommend checking out the Facebook Developers page. Once you have an application created, be sure to add it to your profile and to your Facebook group and page!

5. Facebook Ads

Facebook ads are a great way to really increase your exposure using highly targeted CPC and CPM Advertising. You can target users by age, gender, location, interests, and even attach friend-to-friend interactions about your business to your ads.

The best part is you can either advertise an external website or a Facebook page. So if you created a page earlier for your business and you are looking to build up your facebook fan page you can do so easily by driving the traffic form your advertisements directly to your page.

So join Facebook today and start working on your Facebook promotions, because if your competition is not on Facebook already, they will be soon!