» Archive for April, 2007

A Day in the Life

Friday, April 27th, 2007 by Jonathan Spira

It seems that a lot of people are curious as to what analysts do; I get asked this rather frequently when I tell someone I’m an analyst.  Many, including readers of this column, see only one or two aspects of us here at Basex, such as Basex:TechWatch, our published reports, or perhaps my syndicated column.

My day is fairly typical of that of my colleagues at Basex and probably not that different compared to other knowledge workers.  Before breakfast, I’ve scanned the news on multiple Web sites as well as my RSS reader.  I also glance at my e-mail inbox to see if there is anything urgent or important.  Breakfast includes the New York Times and Wall Street Journal with the German radio station Bayern 4 in the background.   No e-mail there; there’s nothing worse than an egg splattered ThinkPad.

The day continues…

9 h    Reading (news and e-mail)
10 h    Informal meeting with two colleagues about a report
10.30    Read today’s critical news releases
11 h    Attend briefing (collaboration vendor)
noon    Attend IT vendor analyst conference call
13 h    Internal conference reviewing a report we are writing
14 h    I take my lunch minute
14.15    Writing (in this case, a section on the problems of managing knowledge workers)
15 h    Attend briefing (search vendor)
16 h    Conference call with end-user client (subject is their need for federated search)
17 h     Out of office (one hour outside bicycling)
18 h    Research for upcoming study
19 h    Interview of end-user for upcoming report
20 h    Pause
22 h    Review of a colleague’s report (we don’t write by committee but everything we write gets reviewed by several colleagues before it goes out in report form)
23 h    Write one of my columns
0 h    Scan news of the world, including Süddeutsche Zeitung, New York Times, Le Figaro, Der Standard, and Google news feeds.

The tools I use most often are my Lotus Notes client (for e-mail, writing via our authoring system, reading some news and news releases), Lotus Sametime 7.5, both for quick questions and meetings, and my Firefox browser.

What’s your day like and which tools do you use?  Let me know at jbstools@basex.com

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.

Studying Information Overload

Friday, April 20th, 2007 by Jonathan Spira

The greatest benefit to be derived from any Collaborative Business Environment – indeed, the benefit driving all the others – is an increase in productivity both by the individual knowledge workers as well as by the workgroup and organization.  We now have many tools that allow us to do everything faster.

But are the tools of the knowledge economy making us more productive?  The answer is far more complicated than a simple yes or no.

Yes, it is true that a single knowledge worker can find information, create and format documents, participate in text and voice meetings, invoke presence management – all without leaving a single device (usually a laptop or desktop computer).

Over the past decade, virtually every tool that a knowledge worker touches has been updated and replaced.  Unfortunately, shiny new tools are not always sufficient.  Management practices have failed to keep up with the changes that are necessary to compete successfully in the knowledge economy.

So what is the answer?

In some respects, we’ve outsmarted ourselves.  All of the technologies we know and love propel us forward and hold us back at the same time.

This makes managers nervous.

To get closer to an answer, Basex is launching a Multi-Client Study on Information Overload Strategies, a study that will look at dozens of companies and how they are coping.  You can download the Prospectus here.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.

It’s 10 p.m. Do You Know Where Your E-mail Is?

Friday, April 13th, 2007 by Jonathan Spira

E-mail Practices in the News.

Although we often hear complaints of “too much e-mail” (a topic perhaps for another day), in the news this week, the topic of e-mail was in the headlines after it was revealed that White House officials under President Bush may have improperly used their Republican National Committee (RNC) e-mail accounts to conduct official government business.

Why is this a problem?  After all, many people think nothing of using their personal Gmail or Hotmail e-mail accounts for work-related purposes.

They should think again.

Knowledge workers who use personal e-mail accounts for company business are possibly violating their company’s usage policies but are also placing valuable knowledge in a container that will not be accessible to anyone months down the road.

By using non-governmental e-mail for government business, some communications that are required to be preserved under federal law may have been lost – a fact the White House acknowledged yesterday.

Deputy Press Secretary Scott Stanzel advised that the administration has begun its own inquiry and that the policy governing the use of RNC and other political e-mail accounts was somewhat vague.  He also acknowledged that the White House had not been aggressive enough in monitoring the use of such e-mail systems and that some people who had RNC accounts did not follow official policy close enough.

“Some official emails have potentially been lost,” said Stanzel, although he added that the president had instructed the White House counsel’s office to attempt to retrieve lost e-mail messages.

Basex has had a very clear e-mail usage policy for well over a decade.  One tenet of the policy is that only Basex e-mail is to be used for Basex business.  We view e-mail messages as a treasure, a resource that holds knowledge that may very well need to be retrieved years later.  Our policy predates the current trend of retaining e-mail for governance and compliance purposes.  It was just common sense back then and it remains so today.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.

May We Have Some Volunteers From Our Studio Audience, Please?

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007 by Jonathan Spira

The New Workplace – The Way We Work Lab will be open at the Penn Club on Monday, April 16.  This event is being held in conjunction with the ABC news magazine 20/20.  If you would like to spend an hour or so in the lab, you can do so at no cost and we’ll even ply you with snacks and refreshments.

We’re going to be documenting the way different knowledge workers work and this will be televised on 20/20 in May.

If you can join us, please click here and provide us with your details as well as a time-of-day preference.

We’ll get back to you to confirm your participation time.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled issue of Basex:TechWatch.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.