Friday, May 25, 2012

4Square, 52 Weeks, An Asifa and Social Business

Most of you will go, what is an Asifa, more on this later.

A little over a year ago I started checking in to Shabbat on 4Square. An unusual thing to do, after all it is not a place, a company or anything tangible, it is however something which is important, to me, and something which others should know about me.

I bring this up today because although I tried to check in every week, some weeks I could not due to holidays and others I ran out of time. Huh? How do you run out of time you may ask? I point you to this post I did a while back. Still, to do something that is not work or family repeatedly is no easy task. Are there times when I wish it wasn't a holiday or Shabbat? Sure, especially when certain sports teams are playing.

But I want to focus on Social Business and what this means from a community perspective.

Last week a sect of religious people gathered, Asifa means gathering, in New York at the Mets stadium to listen to some Rabbis discuss what was to be about the downside of using the internet and social media. The descriptions going in were not against the use per se, but the way the devices and programs keep one's mind away from what is important. Namely God especially when praying and your family. He isn't wrong. Most people have a need to be wanted and desired and Social Media does this for them, in spades.

Now contrast what the Rabbis tried to express with what we try to explain to customers about "getting social". Management thinks you will just be goofing off all day, and they are partially right for early stage efforts. Maturity of the systems shows that levels out and people get their work done. Other management views are it brings more 24x7 employees, also not a great thing and a bad expectation, yet many do reply to emails or other "messages" during off hours.

What the Rabbis failed to discuss, in contrast to the better sales people I know, is the benefits that can be found from using the Internet. There are numerous websites devoted to learning, praying, education, family life and many other topics that can help everyone in Hebrew, English, Yiddish, Russian and more. This Renaissance2, so many people can learn and be part of something so much greater than before has rarely been accomplished in such a way that it is a shame to see the opportunity wasted.

Yes for every proper online webinar/class there is a Fantasy Football pool, some latest video, NSW(Not Safe for Work) sites and more. People will always push the boundaries, if not, no one could get in airplane or we would not have electricity and those were as heretical as Columbus believing the Earth was not flat.

So in my little way, by checking in on 4Squareat Shabbat or some other Holidays I try to bring that little bit more into every thing we do. It would be great to see #Shabbat trend on 4Square or Twitter but just not likely to happen. Someone suggested it could be used to encourage kids to re-engage with their religion, by mixing the gamification and religion. Very hard, given you can not use the electronics on Shabbat but just as refrigerators are now an accepted appliance used on Shabbat (it was banned) someday maybe we will have devices that allow for it.

An intriguing idea.

Here's to another year of checking in, Mayorship is nothing if no one else joins in, so if you are religious or not, think about it, you could be helping someone else in search of what it is they seek. For after all isn't Twitter and the Internet there for us to learn from and find that which we feel is unknown or hidden from us? Others may need that little push, no matter if you go to Church, Mosque or Synagogue or every SocMed conference on Earth letting people know there are other options out there is never a bad thing.

Social Business can work for everyone but you need that deeper perspective to get the most out of it for your clients and yourself.

WMI, SQL Express, Backup Exec and Zero

This post is not a technical resolution post, more a can you help with this issue post.

Have a box that was working, then some MS updates broke something on the box. Tried to reinstall Backupexec and failed on SQL Express.

Uninstalled all of it, cleaned out registry and some other bits, files, etc.. and still will nto go.
Downloaded a new SQL express and that installed okay, as did the updates.

Backupexec still will not work, tried Darren's advice about VSS the other day, still nothing.

Symantec has been working on a different problem and this was a secondary box which was to do full backups of laptop users but now is needed to work properly.

When running the WMI diags it shows issues, followed the steps to rebuild and clean but still no luck. WMI is reported as a pre-install error by Backupexec.

Any input welcome as I try other ways to get this done?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Apathy or Retribution - Silo's Part 3

Continuing on with previous posts about Silos and being an ACE or an AS we now stop to think about some reasons for the middle ground people.

The two extremes, one side uses everything and shares like beer on tap overflowing a glass and the other shares nothing and could care less. They both work in their own way and should be respected for they have made a decision.
Most of the world however, or 95% of it, if I can warp an old statistics class idea, is in the middle. Not committing to do or not to do or even try. Yoda would not be pleased. Mostly they are paralyzed by the fear of retribution should they go up against something or someone they do not believe in or trust. they may also be stuck in the land of apathy, uncaring too much of the information because it does not touch their little world (mini fiefdoms).

So now that you got here, how do you get these people to go to the other side without paying the ferryman?

 In a post from October, I wrote this:

Stop Using the F, S and C words to Explain Connections

What I did not touch on was the need for people to belong and feel connected to others emotionally which is why they may use Facebook or Linkedin. That emotional need does not exist in business for most people. It's their job and unless they are 100% into their job and company the same need isn't there, thus the apathy. And also they rightly presume this may be used against them, thus the retribution.

Now compare this to a person who blogs about the issues within an educational organization who is trying to reach out to people who are affected by the decisions and yet the same people do not want to speak out or comment for fear of retribution by the community at large.

Now how do you as a sales person help your vendor sell their social business solution into a company? We have seen installations get tossed aside because of lack of usage. We have read about solutions that served them well for years to be tossed for something new. We have even seen some people choose to turn off some options because they want to force employees to think differently, the cold turkey method.

Buy-in from employees comes when they see their leadership making the effort and leading the way and showing the benefits to the company which in turn benefits the employees, or it should. Only in this way can you stave off the apathetic and assuage the fear of retribution.
It is not an easy process to accomplish and  it takes time to spread this across, especially if your company has been full of Silos and fiefdoms for some time.

A Manager’s Guide to Resolving Conflicts in Collaborative Networks

Found this while searching on some other topics. It is an excellent paper, from 2007 which describes some of the obstacles we will face as we strive to a collaborative social business. The document is from the IBM Center for The Business of Government.

Indeed the authors: Rosemary O’Leary, Distinguished Professor of Public Administration
Maxwell Advisory Board Endowed Chair, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Lisa Blomgren Bingham, Keller-Runden Professor of Public Service, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University-Bloomington

do an excellent job of the pros and cons to this topic.

Here is just one nugget from the paper:

Interesting reading, some basic sales 101 but the outlines of steps to follow for different sections could be a course in its own for those who just can not get their head around everything still.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Accidental Silo Structure

In the Silo's Happen  previous post I started to discuss the Accidental Silo Structure. I can't use the acronym since it will get blocked by some systems, so I will use the term AS.

If you have an AS, what do you do? Do you realize that you look like an AS? Do you think that you look like an Accessible Collaborative Enterprise (ACE)?

How do you know? What can you do to test for which side you are on?

Keeping in mind that some companies are ACE on the inside but AS on the outside and vice versa we need a litmus test for the sales teams to better understand where the customer sits on this spectrum.

As a Sales person, have you looked for these from the outside:

1) Listened to or watched a webinar or conference call between the client and their constituents, be they business patrners, vendors, customers? Have you noticed if they have an open meeting? Do they let you see everyone on the call? Can you chat with anyone or only the presenter?

2) If you read their blogs on their company website, are they up to date, even within 30 days?

3) Do they run a twitter feed that searches on the company name? Do they show they even are active on twitter at all?

4) Can you comment on their blogs without a "waitingfor approval to post your comments" line?

5) Have you noticed if there is anything other than a phone number or email address for connecting with the organization?

None of these individually rule them out, especially #5 which I use as a simple test. Similarly to the Van Halen brown M&M's contract rider, somethings go a long way to tell you about the organization.

Now what about the inside? Not so hard as you might think:

1) What does the company use to disseminate information? Is email still #1?

2) Does the company use a standard Instant Messenger solution? I don't care which one but a company wide solution?

3) If the company runs Jive, Lotus Notes Applications, IBM Quickr places, IBM Connections, Sharepoint or whatever are they actively using it and managing it? Or are there a million silo places inside each that make it seem like a needle in a haystack to find what you want?

4) When you take a meeting with the it only them in the room with you?

5) If you know the backgroound of management, do they come from organizations that are open and sharing and social or cold, dark and closed?

#5 is not meant as a failure. However, it implies that the people, who may in their own way be open and caring, ACEs actually, have a background from a place that acts like an AS. In other words, they may know better, but their mind says "this is how we did it before".

We need to stop the historical thinking!

You must bring the problems to the executives at their level. Sometimes outsiders provide greater and deeper insight to a company than their own teams. Great leaders want this information and want to see changes made because they may be tired of their "yes" people.

Don't assume anything about your potential clients, but look for the signs, they are staring you in the face. Deal with these before you try to sell your solution and you will look like an ACE too instead of an AS.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Silos Happen? Part 1

Been a while since I posted about the competition. One reason is the competition has changed. It is no longer about this vendor versus that vendor but more insidious. It is now about Silos vs Openness.

In the past I may have painted a picture of a Silo company to look like many things but usually referred to them as Microsoft companies. Usually because Microsoft promoted the individual over the network and as an after thought provided a way to share the data. In contrast to Lotus which from the ground up was about sharing data and has been for over 20 years.

While I may have vented against the Silo companies and the people that thrive on that culture, think an evil pointy haired boss instead of just incompetent, there may be companies that have become Silo organizations purely by accident and have no idea they did it.

I was on a conference call today that sparked a number of questions and one which I am pondering in this post....can you become a Silo organization by accident?

The simple answer is of course, no. Someone or something puts other wheels in motion and before long the car is roaring down the highway with the dog's tongue hanging out the window.

As David Byrne once said, "Well, how did I get here?" This is the question. For if we can figure out this question properly, we can unravel possibly years of bad corporate culture and set you on a course of social enlightenment, beauty and enjoyment.

Most of the Social Media experts of course point out the benefits of a social enterprise. That is easy. They will tell you write a blog, post here, do this do that, but none of this will change a culture, let alone an executives mind set. Examples abound, best practices are in White Papers, but yet it does not hit home because in some cases it happened by accident over time.

To borrow a common idea, if you spent 10,000 hours being a Silo, how many hours will it take to reverse course? And if it was all by accident, now what?

Sales people will spend hours in meetings trying to gauge why an organization needs their product or will try to transform the enterprise but what if they get it wrong or are missing one key point.


No one wants to hear they are wrong or doing something seemingly proper only to find out they have been promoting a closed culture. Look around you at the businesses you frequent, the non-profits you assist, the schools your children attend. You can see the dichotomy and yet if you try to raise this awareness you may be pushed out or ignored. The reason is because management does not like to admit when they made a mistake and worse, if they are not sure how to get out of it, hate the messenger. This isn't about making the executive look bad, although usually their ego's are what makes them feel this way, when in fact they could be appreciative that someone has raised a potential problem of monumental meaning. It is about providing reasonable doubt that the companies efforts may be what is blocking their ability to embrace the cultural shift to openness.

In order to find that purpose again and revisit it, you need to ask some important questions. I suggest starting at the outer, peripheral items and work your way backwards. It is not a top down approach, but putting the executive in their own seat of a situation and having them see and feel the experience in a whole new way while trying to understand what the real purpose is behind the effort.

Walking in someone else's shoes is just the tip of the iceberg.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Firewalls Suck Time

Some days you just can't argue with simplicity. Duplicity is another story.

Junior admins remember, all is not as it appears.

While knocking off a number of issues at a client site upgrade it was reported a server was not accessible from the Domino Administration client. Funny thing is, the servers were replicating with it, no problem at all. But no clients could connect to it.

I asked the usual questions, have you verified DNS names, server document references, TCPIP references, etc.

All looked good they say. At a certain point it impedes my efforts so off I go to troubleshoot this one. Here is what I find:

1)  Server document security page has no one allowed to access the server. Similarly the admin group and server group were not listed. Security settings were all default too. I know we set them, some box has an old copy that replicated, fine, changed, still nothing.

2) Can access the server via RDP and map a drive to it, which led me to  #3

3) Windows 2008 Firewall. Damn, that was it. Although we set all the new servers to the exact same settings, this box did not have the clients cleared to be able to access the server.

REALLY!  Having been on site at some government facilities that lock down every port, protocol and driver I should have checked it first, but you know you start with the larger focus and spiral down to smaller and smaller till you nail it.

Nailed it, now on to other things.