“May You Live in Interesting Times” – The Impact of Cloud Computing

Changing of the Guard
Changing of the Guard

Kylie Fowler is a regular columnist for The ITSM Review, see previous articles from Kylie here.

It’s not often that most people get to experience a true paradigm shift, even in IT where change is endemic and part of the lifeblood of the industry. However there is no doubt that cloud computing and the commoditization of processor power and storage represent a true metamorphosis in the way we think about and structure IT services.

Cloud computing is actually the next step in a long series of IT developments which have promoted the decentralization of computing in businesses. The gradual decentralization of corporate IT can be tracked from highly centralized mainframes with their bespoke software, through the development of client server computing, the commoditization of software and finally, with cloud computing, the commoditization of processor power. This shift will have dramatic implications for how and where IT professionals will carry out their roles in future,

Right back at the beginning of corporate IT (in the dark ages known as the 1970s) computing power was served up from giant mainframes to users sitting at dumb terminals who carried out business functions using highly centralized in-house applications. Believe it or not, some of these old systems, developed on punch cards by engineers are still in use today, generally because they are too expensive to redevelop on a more modern platform, or the risks of doing so are too high.

The first steps towards the decentralization of IT came in the next era of computing, the one most of us are familiar with – the era of client-server computing. Significantly lower processor costs mean that processor power can be co-located with users (although largely separated from storage to ensure data security), while large clusters of servers provide basic services such as network access and email. For most businesses, day to day IT operations are still architected, managed and controlled within the organisation, albeit on highly commoditised hardware. In contrast, software has been largely commoditised, with powerful software publishers selling software for use under license. Complex applications are still modified in-house to meet corporate needs, but the underlying intellectual property is owned by the software vendor. This is the era of Microsoft, Oracle and SAP.

However we’re gradually moving into a new era, where the configuration and day to day management of hardware, software and the actual processing of bits and bytes are moving out of the corporation altogether. More and more organisations are asking themselves whether it is really cost effective to host basic services like email or word processing or spreadsheet analysis in-house when high quality services are available on-line for minimal cost.

Don’t get me wrong, there will always be servers and desktops and laptops, just as there are still mainframes, while large organisations may decide to develop private clouds to take advantage of economies of scale while reducing the risks inherent in trusting data to a third party, but the paradigm shift, the change in the computing world view that we are experiencing at the moment, is every bit as profound as the shift from mainframes to client-server computing was 20 years ago.

So what will the impact of this paradigm shift be for real people like you and me? Here are some of my predictions.

Service Operations will migrate out of the business

The essence of cloud computing is that what we have traditionally thought of as ‘IT’ has become a commodity. Most companies will no longer find they have a requirement for staff who can build a PC or a server as this requirement will have either been outsourced, virtualized or hosted on the cloud. But as is the case for mainframes, there will always be the odd niche where techies will thrive, so don’t despair!

Despite the growing importance of the actual connection to the cloud, network operation skills will also be outsourced, despite the fact that a secure, robust network to access cloud services will be even more critical than it is now.

Service Strategy and Service Design will become the core competence of IT Departments

The main business of IT is providing services that meet the needs of the business, but the new world of the cloud means most of those services will actually be provided by external companies. Logically, then, the core function of an IT department will be to decide HOW to provide the services to the business. Questions for Service Strategists and Designers will include: Which services do we put on the cloud, and which do we keep in house?  How will we ensure there is a seamless blend between the two? Which services should be provided as a unit, and which can be provided be different suppliers? How do we manage our suppliers to ensure they work together to ensure effective provision of all the services we need?

Service Transition will be vital for keeping suppliers on their toes

One of the biggest risks inherent in cloud computing is the danger of being locked into poorly performing, costly services which are either too risky or too expensive to escape. Service transition skills will be critical in keeping suppliers on their toes by giving management the confidence that it is possible to walk away if the service isn’t up to scratch while ensuring that new services are up and running as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Peripheral skills will move to the core

Areas which are currently considered peripheral to the operation of an IT organisation will become more prominent. The ability of Strategic Procurement to negotiate contracts that create value and minimise costs and risks will determine whether IT brings competitive advantage to the business, or, at the opposite extreme, becomes a costly white elephant that reduces productivity. IT Vendor and Asset Management will focus on ensuring the business achieves the value it expects from its Service Providers and will manage the fall-out when things go wrong, while Information Security will become more akin to Business Risk Management, assessing information risks and ensuring safeguards are in place to protect the organisation’s reputation.

How to survive the coming change?

The move to cloud computing resembles the slow grind of tectonic plates rather than a sudden tsunami devouring everything in its path. As with the movement of the continents, the shift to cloud computing will be slow but both inevitable and unstoppable. There will be the odd earthquake, of course, devastating for those on the fault line, but many people will find it has no major effect on their careers, and in some instances, may even enhance them.

IT folk are inured to change, but it has to be said that many of us lack flexibility. Be willing to shift sideways, or into a different industry (or onto the cloud itself) and be open to alternative ways of using your existing skills – perhaps move into consultancy or (shudder) sales. Broaden your skills base and see continuous professional development as a fundamental part of your working life – on a par with your morning commute or annual review.

Develop your soft skills, particularly communication. It’s hard to be a consultant, for instance, helping organisations change, unless you can communicate effectively and work with a wide range of people on many different levels.

Make it your business to understand the business. IT exists only because it offers businesses competitive advantage. The higher the competitive advantage provided by IT, the higher the rate of investment – you just need to compare the level of investment between the Finance and Construction industries to see clear evidence of that! Understand how IT offers your business competitive advantage and make sure your work supports this. If the business asks you to change because you are no longer helping it succeed, then change!

Find a niche. There are still jobs out there supporting mainframes, and there will always be jobs maintaining server based in-house applications. The jobs will be limited, but if you find a niche or have an obscure skill that a particular company can’t survive without, then the rest of your career could be very comfortable indeed. But don’t forget to be flexible! If your bosses out-source 90% of the niche jobs to India, it will be your ability to manage the outsourcer effectively that means you keep your job!

Kylie Fowler

It’s an exciting time to be working in IT, and although some people will suffer from the shift to the cloud, I am optimistic that the old Chinese proverb ‘may you live in interesting times’ will turn out to be a blessing rather than a curse for most IT professionals.

Note: if you are interested in reading more about the impact of the shift to the cloud, the Silicon.com website has an extensive special feature on the impact of the cloud which can be accessed at the link below.

http://www.silicon.com/special-features/cloud-security/

Kylie Fowler is a regular columnist for The ITSM Review, see previous articles from Kylie here.

Is Your Approach to ITSM Working? – An Alternative to Rip and Replace

Integration as an Alternative to Rip and Replace

Ben Cody of Serena Software contributed this article.  If you would like to guest post on The ITSM Review please contact us.

When I speak to organisations about their approach to IT Service Management (ITSM), there is no doubt that there is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction. From exorbitant upgrade quotes on ITSM solutions, frustration at not getting the reports that they want from the systems themselves, or just simply not being easy to use, organisations using ITSM solutions don’t seem to be happy.

These IT organisations are often looking for ways to transform their operations and be more service-oriented. However, they are finding that their own ITSM systems and processes severely impede their efforts to meet this goal. Far too often, providing services outside of the “break-fix” realm seem to be beyond them. In a recent study conducted by Forrester Research and itSMF USA, one out of every five ITSM professionals surveyed said they were ready and working to switch ITSM solutions.

This internal frustration can also be felt within the wider business: if the ITSM system is difficult for the professionals that live with it every day, then the rest of the organisation stand even less of a chance of getting what they want. If you find yourself nodding at this point, then it appears that you have two options open: either consider a system upgrade, or a wholesale shift to a new solution. Both can provide opportunities to improve service, but also have their own drawbacks.

Moving up to the latest version of your existing ITSM solution can provide an opportunity to change processes, or look at opportunities to improve service. However, the cost of upgrading an existing service desk implementation or retrofitting it to meet demands for new services can sometimes outweigh the cost of replacing it. In this case, it’s time to analyse the overall cost and whether it is time to make a switch.

No need to rip and replace?

As part of this process, there may be some middle ground available. If you can live with your existing service desk tools for now, then one approach to consider is augmenting them with solutions for the wider management of ITSM.

At the heart of this approach is the requirement to look at the processes involved for managing ITSM: do they meet the needs of the service desk team, the wider IT function and the overall business? For example, the service desk analysts might be getting on fine with the tools that they have, but end-users could still be left in the dark on status requests and progress of work. In this case, improving the process management side would involve building out the business users’ single point of contact with your IT organisation.

By delivering a sleek unified service request portal, your IT team can not only provide your employees with a means to gain instant status updates on their requests but it also provides a way to showcase the breadth of IT and business services that you have to offer. Not only would this improve the face of IT to the business, it could also be used to build in some self-service elements around common tasks as well, reducing calls to the service desk and therefore cost.

At the same time, this approach also provides you with a process management platform to automate and deliver additional IT services that build on the service desk. This will go a long way in improving business satisfaction with IT. As all requests are funnelled through a common demand management framework, it is easy to have a single view of all work requests, for your IT managers to quickly spot resourcing issues, and for your executives to effectively track your IT organisation’s performance against Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

What this really points to is that ITSM has to show the same level of understanding around business process and requirements that the rest of IT has built up. Rather than focusing inward and just making sure that the ITSM basics are covered, consider establishing greater automation and orchestration across the IT service delivery process life-cycle, wider IT functions and business processes involved, as the value delivered by undertaking this is far greater than sticking with your existing approach.

Evaluating ITSM solutions? Questions to ask

Here’s a ten-point checklist to consider while evaluating alternative ITSM solutions:

Ben Cody, Serena Software
Ben Cody, Serena Software
  1. Does the solution come with pre-packaged ITIL v3 verified processes?
  2. Does it provide you with the flexibility to change or add processes to match how you actually deliver IT and business services – without having to bring in an army of vendor consultants to make those changes?
  3.  Can it integrate ITSM processes and deliver full visibility into the status of issues and workloads through dashboards and configurable reports?
  4.  Does it include an integrated Configuration Management Database (CMDB) so as to deliver contextual information that can speed incident and problem investigation?
  5.  Does it provide intuitive forms and screens that improve user satisfaction and agent productivity?
  6. Can services be easily categorised and presented to your users in a single view?
  7. Is there a central portal that funnels all business requests in to IT, including development and operations?
  8. Does the solution deliver stellar self-service capabilities?
  9. Does it provide a robust process management foundation that can be leveraged to automate and streamline other core IT processes and services?
  10. Do you have the flexibility to deploy the solution on premises as well as in the Cloud?

Ben Cody of Serena Software contributed this article.  If you would like to guest post on The ITSM Review please contact us.

Rapportive – Adding Social Context to Email

The Rapportive Panel within Gmail

Strictly speaking, this technology is probably best described as ‘Social CRM’ rather than ‘ITSM’ but it’s a great example of pulling social feeds into a web service.

In a nutshell – you get a social summary of the person you are emailing.

The more information and context I have about my customer, user, reader, business partner – the better service I can provide.

If you are thinking about adding social data into your ITSM environment, or even questioning the value – then perhaps the items below will provide some food for thought.

I’m a big fan of Rapportive; the list below provides a quick summary of the strengths:

Blindingly Easy

First of all, the technical stuff. It’s a Gmail add-on delivered via a Chrome plugin. It’s very easy to install and use, these things needn’t be difficult. The Rapportive panel replaces what were previously adverts within Gmail. In the interests of privacy I’ve used my own details (right).

Within My Workflow

You don’t need to leave your workspace to lookup anything. Everything you need is presented within the workspace you are working in without any hassle or additional windows or clicks. Just like pulling the pertinent details from an asset register into an incident record – I get to see the headlines and dig out into further detail if I need it.

Automatic

I’ve worked with tools in the past that require you to link every single person to their social details manually. Rapportive just does it automatically, if I get an email out of the blue from someone new it automatically just grabs everything I need right within the email window. It’s awesome.

Social Context

This is the most important bit – my email conversation is enhanced by social context and relevance. For the person I am corresponding with I can see their photo, job title, last few tweets, Facebook updates and other social accounts. It’s great information to have at hand when responding to someone new and saves time hunting around LinkedIn. This gives a much richer experience than just seeing some boring corporate auto-signature.

Social Analytics

Click to Enlarge

This is where things get really smart. I can also connect Rapportive to other web services accounts and it will cross-reference email addresses with those services.

For example I use MailChimp for my email newsletter so when I receive an email support request, query or business enquiry from someone via email Rapportive will tell me:

  • Whether that person is already on my newsletter list and
  • Which articles they clicked on within the newsletter

This is a huge advantage when responding.  For example I will respond differently to someone that has subscribed to my newsletter for a year and read last month’s update compared to someone new.

Zero Lag Time

Finally, somebody else can worry about the computing power. Between them Gmail and Rapportive can worry about that. When I’ve used social CRM plug-ins locally (such as Xobni or Plaxo for Outlook) they tend to be compute hungry and slow down the email experience. Rapportive has its moments when it temporarily goes offline but it does not stop me from processing email.

The Right Price

It’s free.

Further info at www.rapportive.com

Event Listing: Proactive Problem Management, itSMF UK, 8th Feb, London

Chelsea Football Club
Chelsea Football Club

What?

itSMF UK Seminar – Proactive Problem Management

“Problem management is often the most under used process, and is described by some as the “If we only have the time” process. In reality it is a process that if used correctly adds real value to the business, and supports all of the other service management processes. To get there, there is a need to invest both time and resource – the very things that problem managers have little of.

“This seminar is targeted at problem managers who want to improve their approach and understanding of problem management by adopting a more proactive focus in order to deliver more successful outcomes”

When?

  • Wednesday 8th February 2012, 9am – 4pm

Where?

Who?

  • itSMF UK

Agenda

  • ‘Incident, problem and availability management – the new holy trinity’ Vawns Guest, Pink Elephant
  • ‘IT service delivery from a third party – jumping from reactive to proactive’ Mike Evans, ITS & Rich Starkey, Oasis Healthcare
  • ‘Are you communicating problems or having problems communicating?’ John Griffiths, Fox IT
  • ‘Is the cloud a ‘problem’ for problem management?’ David D’Agostino, Service-Now.com

Further Info…

2011 – The Year When Irresistible Force Met Immovable Object

Kylie Fowler is a regular columnist for The ITAM Review (see tag: Kylie Fowler). Here Kylie writes her first article for The ITSM Review.

As we blithely march into the bold new world that is 2012, I’d like to take a pause to take a look back at 2011, which I would contend is one of the most momentous years in corporate computing.

Why? Because 2011 was the year of an extraordinarily swift paradigm shift, triggered by the introduction of the irresistible, mesmerizing gadget that is Apple’s iPad into Corporate Boardrooms everywhere and enabled by the same virtualization technology that is supporting the shift to the cloud.

But a simple change in technology is not in itself a paradigm shift, nor is Apple’s iPad particularly revolutionary, although it feels that way to users – after all, laptops and 3G cards have been around for years. The paradigm shift is that in 2011 IT Departments have surrendered control over their end user technology, and don’t really expect to be in the driving seat ever again!

All the ingredients for this change have been in place for several years now, but CIOs and their asset managers have been resisting the change on the grounds of information security and cost. It took the sudden demand en masse for iPads in the C-suite to break the chains of control over end user technology and shift thinking away from command and control of individual devices to the technology free-for-all that we will enjoy in 2012 and beyond.

What are the ingredients that have both demanded and enabled this change?

Consumer technology is now more powerful than corporate PCs

Corporate End User technology choices used to be driven by a need to process data effectively (ever more complex software required ever more processing power) and store secure data securely while minimizing costs. The outcome was that corporate desktop computers had highly standardized hardware and software (to minimise support overheads) were tightly controlled (to ensure data security) and were generally more powerful than the PCs most employees had at home.

However a combination of cheaper processing power, the rise of visually sophisticated computer games and fast home broadband meant that even 5 years ago the majority of new home PCs provided a far sleeker user experience than clunky work machines that were optimised for spreadsheets.

For several  years now End Users have been frustrated that the technology they used at home was so much better than the technology they had available at work, but they were unable to do anything about it until Senior Executives ignored IT concerns about data security and demanded they be allowed to use iPads.

Smartphones have made technology personal and very, very sexy

Through the technology dark ages (aka the 1960s and 1970s) and into the noughties, personal prestige and social status was signaled by the car you drove, or, for a woman, by the type of car your boyfriend drove!

Modern technology (and feminine emancipation!) means that this role has been largely taken over by the mobile phone. Everyone has one and they come in myriad shapes and sizes. Some are expensive, some are cheap, but they all make a statement about who we are, whether we like it or not.

Smart phones take this personalization a step further. They are a filofax plus – calendar, contacts, games, photos, music, TV shows, books, everything that makes us an individual has a place in our smartphones, and it won’t stop there – watch out for the introduction of mobile money into the developed world very soon.

The laptop and blackberry of a corporate road warrior used to signal superior status, but the flexibility, personality and sheer fun of a modern smartphone has completely up-staged these more staid corporate badges. Again, credit goes to Messrs Jobs and Ive for making smartphones irresistible.

Virtualisation Technology allows IT to control only the things it needs to

Virtualisation technologies have also been around for years. However the old command and control mindset meant that the vision being sold was one of ‘thin clients’ reminiscent of the dumb terminals of the mainframe era. The thin client concept gave IT even more control over the end user experience, dictating exactly what end users could see and do on their computers, wiping the slate clean every night and recreating a pure, unsullied desktop every morning. Great for call centre workers in daily contact with sensitive data, not so much fun – or necessary – for the rest of us.

The real power of virtualization comes with the combination of a virtual private network (VPN) and a virtual desktop to allow users to access the applications and data they need from any machine while letting them install games, photos, and music to their hearts content.

Of course this creates risks in itself – how do you prove the software on an unlocked machine is legal? What if an employee downloads something illegal onto their machine? To deal with this problem, many firms are allowing themselves to lose control even further and are contemplating requiring employees to purchase their own IT equipment – the ‘bring your own device’ (BOYD) revolution.

Corporate content will be delivered in a strictly controlled way over the VPN, while the computer itself, the hard drive, the processor etc belongs purely to the user.

But does this really amount to a paradigm shift? And has it really occurred in the space of just one year, 2011?

I would argue yes.

The traditional way of approaching end user computing was for IT departments to hoard control and maintain a certain mystique around the technology they commanded. This article published in February 2011 in ITPro epitomizes the old command and control approach as it discusses how to secure mobile devices, while this article, published in October 2011 on the same website positively urges IT Departments to forgo control and embrace diversity through BYOD while ensuring data is secure through the use of virtualization technologies.

Kylie Fowler
IT Departments, and indeed end users themselves, will be nervous about BYOD for several years to come. Support issues have the potential to cause major headaches, and although it is easy to say that hardware support is the end user’s problem, anyone telling that to a C-Suite Executive who can’t work because her computer has broken down will find their career cut nastily short! Adoption of BYOD may be slow and piecemeal in conservative industries and companies, but I have little doubt the revolution will happen.

So 2011 is the year in which the irresistible force of consumer demand met the seemingly immovable object that is IT Departments’ ownership over end user technology and IT Departments realised they can, and indeed must, cede control.

A momentous year indeed!

I'm not saying my opinion is better than yours, but I do have a klout score over 60

Learning to play nicely

This article has been contributed by Chris Dancy of ServiceNow.

Introduction

There are 30 million reasons to care about your Klout, but for now, don’t.  In the future (36-48 months) something like a klout score could determine your position.

If your name is not on this list please connect with Martin. The names are an arbitrary list of names of people using twitter who speak about ITSM.  For the sake of full disclosure, you could add any person on twitter to this list who is an expert in gold fish and if they had a high klout score, they would be above all the other ITSM “experts”.  To learn more about klout and the industry of influence, I encourage you to read on.

Digital Influence 2012

Do you remember when only CXO’s, Analysts and Speakers had any real sway over our organizations?  Do you remember when we paid for advice that seemed like common sense?

The marketing of digital influence is a fools game, unfortunately many people love to play games for a living.

Let us first set some parameters before we have this talk.

Yes, I am in fact, an authority on the topic of social media and online influence.  Why am I an authority?

  1. I have had the good fortune to spend four years watching every single person, organization and marketing team in the IT space joining in this social media game and succeed or just die.
  2. I don’t abuse social media (more on this later).
  3. Klout, Peer Index, Kred.ly and Empire Avenue say I am an expert, so THERE, I must be!

Yes even I laugh out loud a bit at number three.

Second, this topic is about as explosive as calamities in the catholic priesthood, and probably more so as it involves people e.g. humans.

Humans are a nasty bunch, they like to judge, list, order, measure all in the name of gaming some dissociative sycophancy they acquired while working through an oedipus complex.

Yes, I do suffer from a bit of sardonic misanthropy and it is shameful.  Daily I struggle to allow humans back into my life. Sometimes I hasten the technological singularity just so I can get back to dealing with objects that can’t be programed in objective hubris.

Finally, we need to look a bit of history on the World Wide Web to understand how we ended up here.

The Rise of the Spiders

The rise of the search engine grew out of the need to find order in the volumes of information being shared on the web.

That’s it.

Nothing else.

There were many search engines in the 1990’s.  The first WWW search engine I ever used was yahoo.

I remember be so overwhelmed by the answers that I didn’t care if they were correct or not. This feeling of euphoria with “any” solutions rather than the correct solution can only last so long.

Finally as many people were celebrating the non-event of Y2K, they returned to work and found their peers were using this site called “Google”.

Google was so cocky in it’s early days, they proudly presented users with a button labeled “I’m feeling lucky”. The “lucky” button was basically just Google’s way of taking you to the first hit you found without looking at any others.

Google had so successfully indexed pages using an algorithm called PageRank, that people were flocking to the site to find information for most of the 2000’s.

This is where our story turns a little dark.

Remember those nasty humans I mentioned above?  Well a small group of them said, “Hey, we can make money by being “Internet Search Experts” (read social marketing expert).

These Internet Search Experts quickly spawned an industry, a multi BIILLION dollar industry called SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Business spent billions handing over their websites to these gurus who hacked and cracked their way to fortune.

Many people will still argue the merits of SEO as a real skill.  Call me old fashion but I consider shoeing horses a skill, not jacking up HTML.

SEO WAS THE FIRST MAJOR PUNCH IN THE FACE THAT MARKETING, INDUSTRY ANALYSTS AND PUNDITRY TOOK IN THE FACE.

The SEO industry changed a lot of people’s lives.  Developers were now in marketing, content creators were now experts on Google rankings and blogging was about to change the game again.

Between 2005-2010, blogging, YouTube, peer networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace), read “Social Media” threw the entire SEO industry into a tailspin.

Enter 2012, close to a billion 3G enabled handsets all sharing data, experiences and information.

Just as in 2000 with the vast amounts of data that Google conquered, today’s consumers are overwhelmed with information pumped from everything around them.  The Internet of things has taken over and Google can’t keep up.

Remember those nasty humans I have mentioned twice now?  Well a small group of them have created another billion-dollar engine, this time around “Social Media”.

Information Democratization

There is a minor difference in 2012 from the SEO experts of last decade, Information democratization.

You don’t need to teach people how to share (although we should while we have a chance add digital literacy to every high school, university and corporate environment).

We are at the beginning of a change in the way we do everything and by 2015 we will have close to two billion people sharing just as much if not more information because of the rise in mobility.  For more information on mobility and big data, I have a slide deck here.

Phew!

Social Analytics

Wait, you still haven’t talked about klout or this “influencer list”.

Much controversy has been generated by Klout.

On one hand Klout could be a very easy way to know with a fair amount of certainty that a social object (in this case, a person) is sharing and sharing information “correctly” that is relative to your search.

On the other hand, Klout could just been seen as an arbitrary algorithm that is making some people “better” than others and lacks any real transparency.

Sound familiar?  Yes, these were the same arguments made by proponents and opponents of Google circa 2000.

Personally I understand the klout backlash; I understand the misgivings about any influence system.

For the first time in my professional history, we have the BEGINGINGS of a way to measure KNOWLEDGE WORKERS.

This scares and it SHOULD scare you (Open the FUD gates).  This should scare you more if you are in Information Technology or any type of knowledge sharing field.

We are at the beginning of being able to ascertain via algorithms, “how you share” and if you are practicing “good digital etiquette”.

This is the most revolutionary thing to happen to human kind since we became able to share books in codec form to the masses.

THIS REVOLUTION WILL BE THE SECOND AND FINAL BLOW TO THE FACE OF MARKETING, INDUSTRY ANALYSTS AND PUNDITRY.

Unfortunately hubris, greed and ego are fighting very hard to beat back the systems such as klout.

Humans don’t like to be told how to share.   Humans want to act they way they want period.  Think of the first year of school.  Kids don’t share and have to be taught, how to share and WHAT to share.  Teachers measure students “social” skills early in school to let parents know how their child is progressing, or if that same child is in America, how much to drug that child into submission.

So what does this mean to you and your klout, kred.ly, peer index or empire avenue score?

Hopefully nothing, but personally, I do hope people take more time to start acting less like children and more like “CO-operative Knowledge workers”

Klout and all the influence systems, have very little to do with how many “followers” someone has.

They are about WHAT is done with the information that is shared by a person.

This presents two very distinct problems for “Social Media Experts” and the rest of us.

  1. How do we separate out what we share so it’s relative to the people following us(our customers)?
  2. How do we know what is good ” digital etiquette “.

First, as Christopher Poole stated during a keynote, at the web 2.0 summit in 2011“It’s not ‘who you share with,’ it’s ‘who you share as,’”

Therein lies the first key to this puzzle; currently we don’t have the complex systems to sort out sharing.  So folks like myself, share as different people, multiple twitter accounts, multiple Facebook’s, etc.

I respect my audience.  This respect is real therefore; I know it is absolutely impossible to follow more than 150 people per Dunbar’s Number.

If you are following more people than 150, you are lying to yourself and those people you are following.

There is a major benefit to following everyone who follows you, you get MORE followers.

In this case QUANITY doesn’t equal quality or substance, and klout and the rest of the systems see right through you.

The second problem, How do we know what is good digital etiquette?

Again, it’s a lot like real life, you don’t steal, you don’t brag and you don’t talk needlessly.  If you really care about digital etiquette, I have three blogs you can read here.

Chris Dancy

Summary

In summary, follow less people, before you post anything to ANY social network, say to yourself, Is this of interest to anyone outside of my mother and spouse?  If that answer is no, back away from the mobile device or keyboard.

You can do this, I would not have taken time to write this piece if I didn’t believe and see first hand many knowledge workers who are starting to respect the time of their customers (followers).

You will be met with doubters, these are the same people who don’t care about, reply to all emails, klout or any digital influence system.

Deep though, in the darkness of their cube, will stare wildly watching their blog stats, their Facebook notification indicator, their likes, their YouTube views and their unread inbox count.

These are the knowledge workers of yesterday.  These people don’t care about actual klout, they are the game players who never shared and will never share without a fight.

See you on the playground, and until then be kind to each other.

This article has been contributed by Chris Dancy of ServiceNow.

Image Credit