Archive for October, 2009

Government Transparency

What do you all think about open access for Government information???? When I heard this phrase it seems bit strange for me. Isn’t it going to be a risk that government is going to take? Isn’t it mean that public get the access for internal information for confidential data? Will it be a great chance for various terrorists to get information what they want? So many questions are popping in to my mind and I really don’t understand whether it’s a good idea to go with.

I found a case study about this topic on the Centre for Policy Development web site.  It says ‘transparency’ has become a new buzzword in British politics. Prime Minister has appointed Tim Berners-Lee to help open up public access to government data collected by taxpayer-funded agencies. But the doubt here is will the government choose to open up access to all government data, even the negative stuff?

Surprisingly the South Australian state government freely choose to experiment with open access government in 2004. They introduced a strategic plan for South Australia where it had policy objectives and specific targets to be achieved in a range of social, economic and environmental areas. This strategic plan was purposefully set about changing the way of interaction between the politicians and community where it took an important step towards Government 2.0. During this process government published the statistics on areas such as homelessness, business growth, state wide Aboriginal mortality and the health of the River Murray and then called on members in the community to help them deciding where South Australia wanted to be as a state and whet they have to do to get there. At the beginning though some of the government leaders were having a doubt on this data transparency later they thought it has helped in making more evidence-based decisions. They have identified tree main benefits from this strategic plan

  • By actively seeking out the contribution of the public and non-government sector, the South Australian government demonstrated a fundamental respect for knowledge and experience held outside the bureaucracy.
  • South Australia has experienced an attitudinal shift about the benefits of open access government
  • South Australia’s experiment with open access government has begun to create new opportunities for problem solving, both within and outside government.

Though they are experiencing benefits from allowing access to the public for the government information still leaves a doubt to think twice what information should be transparent. They should build proper privacy rules and legal actions on how public can use the information and what level of privilege they get. Because there can be a possibility of misusing those information. What to you guys think?????

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Enterprise 2.0 vs. ROI

ROI is called as Return On Investments where it gives a broad idea of what profits and benifits will be achived in terms of the investment for the project. I personally experienced how difficult it is measuring ROI for the enterprise 2.0 projects.

As mentioned in my previous posts it is one of my projects to create a proposal about library 2.0 for the QUT library and as a part of the proposal it was required to do the ROI. I was thinking about this for so many hours and did so many research as well. But it was totally a mess to come up with ROIs for the library case, it doesn’t mean that the proposal doesn’t give any benefit but it is all about how we can measure it.

Some of the benefits of web 2.0 tools are esier to comunicate, collaborate and find information. In order to come with proper ROI it is required to measure how much of time does employees save with the use of those web 2.0 tools and what is the monitory value in terms of less working hours.

As Jeremy Thomas of Social Glass puts it:

“I suppose Search is the easiest to quantify. The average knowledge worker spends 25% of his day looking for content. So let’s say that company X has 1,000 knowledge workers who make an average of $80,000/year. This means the company ‘wastes’ 20 million/year in funding with the time workers use to find content.”

Another way to measure ROI is to examine if employees can make more money with Web 2.0. Can sales people make more calls because they have more time? Are customers that participate in your company’s social network 50 percent more likely to renew contracts?

But the challange I was experiencing was, we didn’t really have much information about how many hours library staff spend on looking for content or sending emails, their anual pay and such details that are required to analyse the profits. The ROI wholly depends on the statistics and without proper and relevant statistics it is very hard to come up with a realistic measures for ROI.

ROI has also to consentrate on the what is the value of the time it takes IT to setup and maintain a system of blogs, wikis and social networks? How long will it takes employees to learn the new software, and what’s the value of their time? Is there a cost for new software or hardware? But as I guess most web 2.0 tools are available  for free of charge.

Some of the usefull links for measuring ROI and examples are:

The revenue impact of Enterprise 2.0

IBM study

Measuring ROI for Enterprise 2.0 and collaboration

Determining the ROI of Enterprise 2.0

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How is being an administrator of a social network

I was so curious when I heard about this idea. Actually this idea came from one of my group mates Sam and he said he came across with this during his research to library 2.0. Sam has found a library which is using Ning.com to maintain their own social network.

Ning has launched in October 2005 and it is a platform for creating your own social network. They say their passion is putting new social networks in the hands of anyone with a good idea. When users create free social networks on Ning, they run ads on the right hand side of every page to support the service and that’s their main source of income.

I created my own social network called We Fans during my mid semester break and it was so interesting. I created my own logo for my social network and also I created a favicon so it will be displayed in the browser. I thought creating a logo and a favicon will enhance the branding of the site. Then I added my friends and it was not that easy to attract them to use the network since there are very famous networks such as Facebook, My Space and they are very familiar with them and used to them.

We Fans home page

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We Fans logo

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We Fans favicon

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Anyway I wanted to see what level of privilege the users of We Fans get so I created another account using another email address to see what users can do. They can customise their own web page as they wish. And also they can add videos, photos, invite friends, email them, chat with members in the network, write blog posts, change their status, create groups and many more. Apart from user privileges an administrator is allowed to customise the home page of the social network, add applications, block members of the network if they misbehave, change the appearance, content management (make photos and videos can only be viewed by friends) and can use the site as a money maker (but have to purchase Go Ad-Free premium service for $24.95, They provide four other different premium services as well). They allow the administrators to add third party applications such as WordPress, Twitter, Box.net files, Google docs, Quick poker and dozens more. These applications include office tools, games, collaborative, E-commerce and fund raising. All these tools help to add an extra value to the social network.

I found some of the social networks using Ning for really good purposes

I hope organisations can use Ning.com to maintain their own social network, where they can keep contacts and update their users, customers, employees and suppliers. And also they can use this as an advertising tool for them selves.

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Meebo the tool for Instant Messaging

I was doing a research to find out what libraries doing out there with web 2.0 tools and technologies. As I have mentioned in the previous post I found a library called Darien library in America which is using a tool called Meebo to allow instant messaging feature in the website. So the members of the library or the visitors to the web site can contact a librarien instatntly to gain any information.

Then after few days when I was improving my blog I found this Meebo tool under the widgets WordPress provides. As you can see I added it to my blog, so if anyone wants to have a chat with me they can do so without even log in to the system. I found it very interesting and I searched what this Meebo is.

I could find Meebo is a web based instant messaging tool and it can be very useful for the organisations as well as individuals. Through Meebo web page you can log on to many instant messaging accounts at one time and Meebo will show all the contacts who are online and offline in a single page. That means Meebo acts as a platform that allows you to log on to many instant messaging accounts in one point. It supports Yahoo messenger, MSN, Google talk, aim, my space, facebook, myyearbook, jabber and icq.

Meebo was formed in 2005 and Meebo’s co-founders are Sandy, Seth and Elaine. More about Meebo history can be found  here and you will find the story is interesting, what makes them to come up with an idea such as Meebo tool.

I realized there are some benefits in using Meebo such as:

  • You can communicate with all friends who have been added to different chat lists in one place – collaborative
  • No need to install a single thing
  • Allows offline messages
  • It can be accessed free of charge
  • Can be added to the personal web site or blog
  • Supports mobile devices
  • It allows audio/video chat
  • Group chat
  • Call conferences
  • Can play games with contacts
  • At last you simply dont have to remember all usernames and passwords for different instant messaging platform ;P

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