» Archive for the 'Sachin Anand' Category

From the “You Can’t Ever Have Too Much E-mail” Department

Friday, December 19th, 2008 by Sachin Anand

Google has introduced a new feature to Gmail users, including those using Google’s enterprise e-mail offering.  We’ll let them tell you about it first.

From the Google Lab blog:
“When we’re working on features for Gmail, the email etiquette on the team is to reply all so everyone involved is kept in the loop.  Mark was an intern here this past summer who got frustrated when he’d reply to an e-mail only to realize that he forgot to reply all and had to resend the message.  Thus, this Labs feature, which makes reply all your default selection.”

Regular readers of this space know why using reply-to-all is a really bad idea as do members of the LifeHacker discussion forum.  To wit:

“Oh god, I hope people at my office don’t find out about the reply-all default preference.  I already get so, so many unnecessarily “reply-all”-ed e-mails it’s not even funny.”

“I have always hated reply-all, and now it can be a default?  *I feel cold* ”

“Reply All… that brings back some fun memories from my days in Cubeland.  I always enjoyed the 4 pages of quoted conversation, preceded by “Me too.”

“Setting Reply-to-All as the default should come with a big warning dialog advising the user that replying to all too many times can result serious injury or death, or at the very least, the recipients wishing these things upon you.  Or maybe you should have to pass an e-mail etiquette test before being able to change the setting.”

Sachin Anand is a senior analyst at Basex.

How to Connect Your Enterprise

Friday, November 2nd, 2007 by Sachin Anand

Last week at LiveLinkUp 2007, Open Text announced Enterprise Connect, a solution aimed at improving the user experience in enterprise content management.  Based on .Net and Web services architecture, Enterprise Connect aims at simplifying the knowledge worker’s life.

Enterprise Connect allows knowledge workers to work with content through customizable business views from within familiar desktop applications, such as Microsoft Office and Microsoft Outlook.  Further, advanced application assembly is possible by knowledge workers who do not have significant programming experience.  By integrating all applications, solutions, and processes under a single user interface, Enterprise Connect provides knowledge workers with the tools to build what Basex refers to as Collaborative Business Environments by following the principle of the One Environment Rule (where the knowledge worker is able to work with all applications in one overarching environment).  Open Text created Enterprise Connect with the typical knowledge worker in mind, adopting a tagline of “Easy to Learn, Hard to Forget.”

Much of our research on knowledge worker productivity and work preferences has shown that workers generally have a desire to manage their own workspace and customize tools in order to improve their efficiency and productivity.  Managing these knowledge worker preferences and work tendencies is a challenge for managers because of the security implications of giving the knowledge worker independence in managing their own software.  Enterprise Connect is a method of allowing the knowledge worker to customize the tools but within the security of Livelink ECM10.  With version 1 of Enterprise Connect to be released in December, the impact of Enterprise Connect upon Open Text customers will be worth watching.

Sachin Anand is an analyst at Basex.

Open Text Adopts the One Environment Rule

Friday, November 17th, 2006 by Sachin Anand

This week at its annual user conference, LiveLinkUp (which I am attending), Open Text unveiled Livelink ECM 10.  Livelink ECM 10 is Open Text’s strongest move yet into supplying the tools necessary for enterprise customers to build Collaborative Business Environments that will make their knowledge workers more productive.

In compliance with the One Environment Rule (simply put, users remain in one overarching environment for their work), Livelink ECM 10 seems to have been designed from the ground up to ensure that content management is not treated as a function that is separate and distinct from other Collaborative Business Knowledge tools.

The advances present in Livelink ECM 10 lead a path towards Enterprise Transparency.  Enterprise Transparency, in the ECM world, represents the change of content management from a static process to a dynamic process that can be leveraged for business advantage by providing knowledge workers centralized tools from which they can make their decisions.

Features include Enterprise Library Services, which include integrated archival, metadata management, enterprise records management, and search capabilities.  Users can also manage the metadata and lifecycle of content stored in enterprise applications from Microsoft, SAP, and Oracle, among others, as well as business content stored in Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003, e-mail, file systems, and other repositories.  Knowledge workers can access business content in ERP systems, such as customer information, from Microsoft Office Outlook, providing a unified view of structured and unstructured business content.

Livelink ECM 10 allows companies to build and deploy solutions on any Basic Content Services offering such as SharePoint Portal Server 2003, while managing the enterprise-wide retention of the mission-critical business content with Enterprise Library Services.

Open Text didn’t forget the knowledge worker’s interface to his work.  Livelink ECM 10 features a new rich client interface, and offers seamless access to business content from Microsoft desktop tools such as Outlook 2003, Office 2003, and Internet Explorer.

Finally, to make it easier for customers to integrate their content with Livelink, Open Text is providing published Web services APIs for Enterprise Library Services and Livelink Content Services.

Sachin Anand is an analyst at Basex.

How Do We Know We Are in a Knowledge Economy – Part II

Friday, June 23rd, 2006 by Jonathan Spira and Sachin Anand

Last week, we considered the expanding role of knowledge in today’s economy.  This week we will look at how the changing roles of capital and labor define our economy.

With workers in today’s economy increasingly working outside of factories or even the traditional Dilbertian environment, how does capital serve the ordinary worker?  It is here where the  Collaborative Business Environment (CBE) addresses the idea of working capital for the knowledge worker.  Collaborative Business Environments are the nexus of all tools used by the knowledge worker today including e-mail, discovery, and real-time communications.  In an industrial economy, buying a new machine for a factory might result in more widgets flying out the factory door, a factor known as productivity.  In the knowledge economy, productivity is a concept not as easily defined (we’ll look more at productivity in future columns).  Several very important questions arise:
-    What is the output of a knowledge worker?
-    How does one define the productivity of a knowledge worker?
-    How can this productivity be increased?

We tried in the 1980s to increase knowledge worker’s productivity by using artificial intelligence, but that’s a topic for another day.

At the dawn of the U.S. industrial age in the mid 1800s, 95% of the workforce was comprised of agrarian workers.  Today, only 1.5% of the workforce is agrarian yet our productivity in this area has been increasing at the rate of 1.94% every year since 1960.  Similarly, whereas 19.6% of the workforce in 1979 was comprised of industrial workers, the highest since 1939, our industrial output today has increased since 1985 even though knowledge workers today represent a plurality of the workforce (today the industrial workers figure is closer to 10%).  We are of course getting much more out of our factories than ever before – and why is that?  We have applied knowledge to the factory environment.  Since 1987, the number of industrial workers has decreased by 20% yet output has increased by 50%.

One thing becomes clear: while it was possible to have had a pure agrarian economy, it is next to impossible to envisage a pure knowledge economy.  Instead, the outputs of the so-called knowledge economy will interact with the agrarian and industrial elements creating more of a hybrid economy than anything else.

Given the continuously changing structure of the economy we will need to find different ways of defining such terms as output and productivity.  So what about the knowledge economy?  After all, even if we use knowledge sharing and collaboration to design a better refrigerator, eventually the refrigerator will be built in a factory.  We will build it more efficiently, it may be a better refrigerator, but nonetheless it will still be a refrigerator.

We’ll continue to look at these questions in the coming weeks – in the meantime, I need to check the fridge.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.  Sachin Anand is an analyst at Basex.

How Do We Know We Are in a Knowledge Economy?

Friday, June 16th, 2006 by Jonathan Spira and Sachin Anand

It seems that every time we pick up a newspaper or business journal, the term knowledge economy is being discussed.  But what exactly is the knowledge economy and have we in fact migrated from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy?  If so, how do we know? If not, are we somewhere on the path to a knowledge economy and if so, where along the path are we?

To answer these questions one could consider the factors of production in this changing economy, i.e. capital and labor. The Cobb-Douglas function, considered to be the basic production function in microeconomics, states that output is a function of both capital and labor.  Within this function, capital and labor have a very basic definition. Labor is defined as the workers employed in the particular area of production being analyzed, and capital is defined as the stock of goods used in the means of production, such as machines, buildings, tools, etc.  But are these measurements relevant in today’s economy?

With the structure of the U.S. economy changing from an industrial base to one that is service oriented, many might consider the new economy to be a “knowledge economy”, an economy where information is both the commodity and activity.  In today’s economy, workers are no longer restricted to a factory floor or Dilbertian cubicle.  Since workers can operate from anywhere in the world given in part the ubiquity of the Internet, the traditional roles of capital and labor have changed.  The question to ask then is, how do capital and labor function within this globalized and decentralized economy?

Since the pace of production in this new economy cannot simply be measured by the output of a factory, the focus must be shifted towards improving the capital available to the knowledge worker.  With knowledge being the output in this new economy, investments in capital should be used to improve the productivity of the knowledge worker.  Investing today should focus on streamlining the working environment of the knowledge worker to eliminate existing inefficiencies and to progress in areas where the worker already excels.

We’ll look at this very issue and continue the discussion next week.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.  Sachin Anand is an analyst at Basex.