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Issue of August 2005 
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Moving to an activity-centric approach

Frank Luksic, Director, Workplace Portal & Collaboration Software, IBM Software Group, Asia Pacific, says that enterprise users should move from a mail-centric approach of workplace productivity to an activity-centric approach for greater efficiency. by Soutiman Das Gupta

Frank Luksic

How can workplace collaboration help enterprise users?

Customers have repeatedly told us that they no longer want to buy ‘one size fits all’ software. They prefer tailored software to meet the specific needs of their industry, based on the individual roles of their employees.

Workplace collaboration can help the enterprise user in several ways. The collaboration services include capabilities such as e-mail, scheduling, presence awareness, instant messaging, learning, team spaces, Web conferencing and Web content management.

It accelerates collaborative business processes by bringing the right information together with people who can answer questions immediately. This boosts revenue because employees and partners can be trained more often for a lesser cost in selling new products or services.

Do most enterprise users at the workplace have a mail-centric approach to productivity?

Many enterprise users have a mail-centric approach to work. Users prefer to work out of their mailboxes, and their personal productivity and communication revolves around the mail system.

This behaviour is primarily because of the inability of most tools that exist today to provide efficient features. Workplace collaboration tools should provide a single unified environment so that users can move from a mail-centric approach to an activity-centric approach.

What is an activity-centric approach and how does it improve efficiency?

In comparison to today’s e-mail-centric model, where users’ home state is their inbox, the next major Notes client will expand beyond the constraints of e-mail and provide the functionality and tools that map to a user’s specific activities and projects. This delivers a new, more productive user experience.

An activity-centric approach to the workplace will help improve productivity by giving people the right capabilities in the context of their role and the business activity they are working on. With this approach, you organise collaboration around the way work is being done, rather than around the technologies that are being used to do the work.

Most work will be done nowadays and in the future with the help of integration, and activity-centric computing will allow individuals to access all the collaborated information that has occurred for a specific activity. In this way, users can look at each of their activities in a collaborative environment which will be integrated by software.

This single, integrated collaboration environment will provide the flexibility to deploy one, two or more capabilities in any combination with administration and policy management easily controlled from one place.

Does this approach help CIOs?

CIOs can use a single product to give users the tools they need for their role in the organisation, and that can be easily changed or adapted, all from an easy-to-manage infrastructure.

The activity-centric environment provides a choice of client experiences ranging from a standard browser to an optional full rich client based on a network-centric approach that provides administrators a security-rich deployment model without having to touch the desktop. With a single administration and policy-based management model, managing end-users’ desktops is simplified, resulting in improved business productivity and reduced costs.

What is the licensing policy of IBM’s collaborative workplace product, and what’s your marketshare?

The licensing policy for IBM’s Workplace Services Express is on a server/CPU basis, and is based on the number of users. IBM has the power of one architectural model, one programming model and one consistent tool, all standards based, so we can better meet the organisation’s needs. In terms of marketshare, there are categories such as the portal where we have twice the marketshare of our nearest competitor. However, in 90 percent of the relevant categories we are the market leaders.

 
     
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