I have been experimenting with a few Web 2.0 tools at work over the last few months. We are working on a big BPM/SOA initiative and are trying to find better ways to communicate what we are doing to a very large audience. Email is becoming more and more useless everyday as a tool for information sharing. We are using a combination of Blogs and a Wiki to improve collaboration and knowledge sharing. We are also formalizing our SOA governance processes. A small team of about eight people are working on defining and publishing certain processes and standards. This effort requires a great deal of collaboration and in an effort to "eat our dog food" we will rely solely on our Web 2.0 tools to carry out the collaboration. No email allowed on this initiative!!!
After reading many interesting blogs recently and seeing how other companies like IBM are starting to leverage these tools, I am going to take my experiment to the next level. Up next, Twitter. When I first heard about Twitter a year ago, I couldn't understand how it would be useful for me at work. I could see the momentum building as more and more people starting signing up for this free service which led me to believe that it would eventually find its way into corporations.
In my role as the chief architect, I am often working on various projects or research efforts that most people in IT do not have much visibility into. Most people in applications development work on a specific group of applications and don't have the luxury of time to see what's going on outside their world. At the same time, the architecture team is constantly getting feedback that we need to communicate more. We spend a lot of time presenting at team meetings trying to keep the company updated. The blogs have been extremely helpful getting information out. I think Twitter can be a great tool for "quick hit" communications. For example, in two weeks, we have the guys at Zapthink running their SOA Architect Bootcamp at our office for four days (register here). As I come across some good nuggets of information I could "Tweet" them and they will show up on my sidebar of my blog. After a full day session I can then provide a more detailed summary on my blog.
Here is another use case. Let's say that I am going to a board meeting to present a business case for the next significant SOA project. In the meeting I get the thumbs up to move forward. For the next three hours, I will sit through other presentations and attend two other meetings. I quickly pull out my iPhone and Tweet the news that the project is approved. Upon receiving the news, my project manager can then start moving forward.
I recently listed a number of events that I am attending and participating in. As I encounter interesting facts or viewpoints during these presentations, I can share them back at corporate via Twitter.
Think about all of the notes and action items that you write down in the old notebook that you tout around with you all day. Many of those notes could also be handled through Twitter. Having all of that information online and searchable is much better then thumbing through my coffee stained notebook, especially with my bad handwriting!
The use cases are endless. I am going to start experimenting with this next week and will share my lessons learned shortly after. I am also going to start researching different open source tools that provide similar functionality as Facebook. If you know of some good ones, please pass them on. I am also going to look at how Serena adopted Facebook as their intranet and see if that is something that could work for us.
Stay tuned for more on these experiments in the near future.
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