News Updates (May 15, 2009)

Regus Drops Cisco for Polycom … Regus, a provider of rented space and service for businesses, is dropping its Cisco telepresence suites in favor of Polycom equipment. “In March 2007, just months after the system was introduced, Cisco announced that Regus would set up TelePresence suites in 50 locations around the world. Regus clients and the public would rent these rooms for virtual meetings among the Regus sites or between those suites and other Cisco TelePresence systems. But the suites were never set up. Cisco’s technology ended up being too hard to implement, and Regus was concerned about interoperability with other vendors’ videoconferencing and telepresence systems.More

Sharing Documents … David looks at document sharing tools (not email), and gets the details on TextFlow very wrong. “To get around this problem, take a look at Etherpad.com, which basically sets up a real-time Web page for your document. It assigns a random URL, and this is both good and bad. Good, because once you know the URL you can easily gain access to the document. Bad, because there isn’t any security once you know the URL, so anyone can see what you are doing. But for quick real-time joint editing, it can’t be beat. You have a chat window off to the side where you can share comments, and each author’s changes is given a different highlight color, so you can quickly see their contributions. You can also roll back to previously saved versions, which is a very nice feature if you are trying to find something that was lost in the edit stream. And, it is free. (There is a similar service from Textflow.com for $100 per user per year.)More

Stretching Tools Too Far … Craig gives some examples of people stretching office productivity tools too far, and not using the right tool for the job. Eg, “Excel as a database and reporting tool. It’s not uncommon to see spreadsheets with thousands of rows being maintained and various tricks to get summary data out of them and enable multiple users to input data into it. Isn’t that what simple end-user databases are supposed to do for you?” He concludes with “While there’s no doubt sometimes people stretch tools too far simply because they are familiar with them, it shows forethought and flexibility when new uses for a tool keep cropping up. Specialized tools can be expensive and require learning yet one more interface. Ultimately, this is just one facet of the “which tool to use?” problem I outlined previously, and it extends to most tools in the information worker toolbelt, from using e-mail for collaboration instead of a collaborative workspace to collating changes in Word docs instead of using a wiki.More

The Problem with Groups … Keith gives some examples where the tensions between an individual decision and collective genius ran amok. “The challenge of innovation is always this tension between individual creative vision, and the collective genius of the group. Neither path alone is assured of success; even a brilliant designer sometimes gets it wrong, and groups are often, famously, stupid. When everything clicks, the tension is productive; it actually drives both individuals and groups to perform better.More

Groove 2010 … More insight into the direction for Groove 2010, which is becoming SharePoint Workspace. “The name makeover is in concert with the direction the product is going. SharePoint Workspace will provide easy access to SharePoint content (or content from any server that implements the publicly documented protocols) in an effort to provide a seamless online/offline experience. SharePoint Workspace 2010 will be easier to deploy and easier to manage, and it supports a new set of scenarios to help Office and SharePoint users be more productive. It will also make it easier for IT folks to implement a consistent information strategy based on SharePoint technology throughout the organization.More

Other Items
– 2009-2010 is a big year for Microsoft shops … Windows 7, Server 2008, Office 2010, and SharePoint 2010.
– Update on Windows Mobile 6.5.
– RIM BlackBerry phones can now interact with SAP CRM.
– A review of Adobe Acrobat Pro 9 for document collaboration. Conclusion: It doesn’t work too well.
– Steve on personal knowledge management (PKM).
– Ross (from Socialtext) writes about collaborating more efficiently outside of email.

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