Click here to close now.


Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Janakiram MSV, Victoria Livschitz, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Agile Computing, Java IoT, Industrial IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Containers Expo Blog

Agile Computing: Article

The Typewriter-to-Telex-to-Twitter Collaboration Curve

What is collaboration for anyway?

Most of us can probably still reference fellow employees (and quite a few managers) who passed the Internet off as nothing more than a passing fad as recently as the turn of the millennium.

The "modern" business procedures of 1999 were already pretty slick and refined and fax machines were a vast improvement over the telex network, so things were working pretty well thank you very much.

The growth of this so-called "information super highway" was interesting, but it really just looked like some kind of online HTML-based encyclopedia of static reference pages that weren't that much of an improvement over plain old books and magazines.

Then came dynamic HTML and things started moving. Then came Web 2.0 inspired interactivity and interconnectivity and things would never really be the same.

Individuals started using the Internet in new ways to connect with each other and the typewriter, the telex and the fax machine were all consigned to the recycle bin as the effect was also felt from above. Firms started to re-engineer their management practices and new acronym-heavy labels were born, such as Business Process Management (BPM), as software was developed to orchestrate us through to new levels of automation.

What Is Collaboration for Anyway?
Fast-forward to 2013 and we see both CIOs and business managers under increasing pressure to "collaborate more efficiently" now. It's almost as if collaboration has become a business goal in its own right rather than the end results it is supposed to exist to facilitate.

But this is not a sector to ignore. Business level collaboration and communication, or "social enterprise solutions" as they are now known, are a growing market. According to Forrester Research, the market opportunity for social enterprise applications is expected to grow at a rate of 61 percent through from 2013 into 2016, reaching a total of US$6.4 billion.

Many of the big IT vendors are pushing forward in this space. IBM for example has just announced new social business software to help collaborate in the cloud using a broad range of mobile devices.

The products include the new IBM SmartCloud services, which include new social networking features and IBM SmartCloud Docs, a cloud-based office productivity suite, which allows users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheets and presentation documents.

It All Comes Down to Productivity
If you're asking what the reason is for all these new tools, the answer is simple and it comes down to one word: productivity.

HP is also active in this space and channels much of its technology development into collaboration at the customer facing CRM (customer relationship management) end of the rainbow.

"Leading companies, particularly in business-to-consumer industries, have recognised the importance of tapping into customer-to-customer communications and engaging in these social conversations," said Joe Outlaw, principal contact center analyst, Frost & Sullivan. "Drawing on its strong analytics capabilities and deep CRM experience, HP has created a uniquely powerful social CRM service. This service offers companies a full set of tools and methodologies designed for rapid start-up and seamless broadening and deepening of social CRM programs as strategies dictate."

We are interconnecting and collaborating with customers and partners (and each other) in new and more (hopefully) productive ways. If we have moved on down the typewriter-to-telex-to-Twitter collaboration curve, then today almost represents some kind of intense, concentrated or extreme collaboration style.

Never shy of attempting to coin a new industry term if its fee-paying clients will substantiate a white paper to illustrate a new concept is IT analyst firm Gartner. The company has indeed taken the "extreme" term and refers to our new intercommunication obligations as extreme collaboration (XC).

The new "operating model" is enabled by combing coalesced forces into a pattern that forces us to innovate around the way people behave, communicate, work together and maintain relationships.

A Virtual War Room
"Collaboration is a critical activity in many operational business processes, both structured and unstructured. An XC environment is essentially a virtual war room or crisis center, where people can come together to collaboratively work on a shared purpose," said Janelle Hill, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

"This environment is available 24/7, thus enabling people to work when, where and how they need to in order to meet shared goals and outcomes. What makes it extreme is people's willingness to cross geographic, organizational, political, management boundaries, to pool their collective skills and resources to solve problems and move toward the attainment of a shared, ambitious goal."

If we buy this new concept then XC as defined by Gartner is charecterised and typified by a large proportion of web-based virtual collaboration and near-real-time communication activities.

For the more traditional or old school CIOs who are getting frustrated by some of this new-fangled operational talk, some of these moves could be hard to make. One the one hand there is the CIO who accepts that social enterprise technologies make some sense, but on the other hand sees "tweet jams," "crowdsourcing" and "dynamic community brainstorming" as just one step too far.

Yes we have moved on from the typewriter and the telex. Yes Twitter is characterizing the socially collaborative level of online interaction that we will all now employ at a professional level (not just consumer level)... and yes, Gartner's XC label does sound a bit way out initially.

But remember, "way out" is probably what we said about that whole new Internet thing when it first came along right?

•   •   •

The post was first featured on CIO Enterprise Forum.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
As the world moves towards more DevOps and microservices, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. The microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, NetFlix and so on, is at the heart of Cloud Foundry - a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS) that is IaaS agnostic and supports vCloud, OpenStack and AWS. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Raghavan "Rags" Srinivas, an Architect/Developer Evangeli...
DevOps has often been described in terms of CAMS: Culture, Automation, Measuring, Sharing. While we’ve seen a lot of focus on the “A” and even on the “M”, there are very few examples of why the “C" is equally important in the DevOps equation. In her session at @DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, of F5 Networks, will explore HTTP/1 and HTTP/2 along with Microservices to illustrate why a collaborative culture between Dev, Ops, and the Network is critical to ensuring success.
Docker is hot. However, as Docker container use spreads into more mature production pipelines, there can be issues about control of Docker images to ensure they are production-ready. Is a promotion-based model appropriate to control and track the flow of Docker images from development to production? In his session at DevOps Summit, Fred Simon, Co-founder and Chief Architect of JFrog, will demonstrate how to implement a promotion model for Docker images using a binary repository, and then show h...
The web app is agile. The REST API is agile. The testing and planning are agile. But alas, data infrastructures certainly are not. Once an application matures, changing the shape or indexing scheme of data often forces at best a top down planning exercise and at worst includes schema changes that force downtime. The time has come for a new approach that fundamentally advances the agility of distributed data infrastructures. Come learn about a new solution to the problems faced by software organ...
Our guest on the podcast this week is Jason Bloomberg, President at Intellyx. When we build services we want them to be lightweight, stateless and scalable while doing one thing really well. In today's cloud world, we're revisiting what to takes to make a good service in the first place. Listen in to learn why following "the book" doesn't necessarily mean that you're solving key business problems.
Achim Weiss is Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of ProfitBricks. In 1995, he broke off his studies to co-found the web hosting company "Schlund+Partner." The company "Schlund+Partner" later became the 1&1 web hosting product line. From 1995 to 2008, he was the technical director for several important projects: the largest web hosting platform in the world, the second largest DSL platform, a video on-demand delivery network, the largest eMail backend in Europe, and a universal billing syste...
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and Containers together help companies to achieve their business goals faster and more effectively.
In their session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, co-founder and the VP of Product at, and Tomer Levy, co-founder and CEO of, will explore the entire process that they have undergone – through research, benchmarking, implementation, optimization, and customer success – in developing a processing engine that can handle petabytes of data. They will also discuss the requirements of such an engine in terms of scalability, resilience, security, and availability along with how the archi...
Containers are revolutionizing the way we deploy and maintain our infrastructures, but monitoring and troubleshooting in a containerized environment can still be painful and impractical. Understanding even basic resource usage is difficult - let alone tracking network connections or malicious activity. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gianluca Borello, Sr. Software Engineer at Sysdig, will cover the current state of the art for container monitoring and visibility, including pros / cons and li...
Any Ops team trying to support a company in today’s cloud-connected world knows that a new way of thinking is required – one just as dramatic than the shift from Ops to DevOps. The diversity of modern operations requires teams to focus their impact on breadth vs. depth. In his session at DevOps Summit, Adam Serediuk, Director of Operations at xMatters, Inc., will discuss the strategic requirements of evolving from Ops to DevOps, and why modern Operations has begun leveraging the “NoOps” approa...
The last decade was about virtual machines, but the next one is about containers. Containers enable a service to run on any host at any time. Traditional tools are starting to show cracks because they were not designed for this level of application portability. Now is the time to look at new ways to deploy and manage applications at scale. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, Brian “Redbeard” Harrington, a principal architect at CoreOS, will examine how CoreOS helps teams run in production. Attende...
For it to be SOA – let alone SOA done right – we need to pin down just what "SOA done wrong" might be. First-generation SOA with Web Services and ESBs, perhaps? But then there's second-generation, REST-based SOA. More lightweight and cloud-friendly, but many REST-based SOA practices predate the microservices wave. Today, microservices and containers go hand in hand – only the details of "container-oriented architecture" are largely on the drawing board – and are not likely to look much like S...
Overgrown applications have given way to modular applications, driven by the need to break larger problems into smaller problems. Similarly large monolithic development processes have been forced to be broken into smaller agile development cycles. Looking at trends in software development, microservices architectures meet the same demands. Additional benefits of microservices architectures are compartmentalization and a limited impact of service failure versus a complete software malfunction....
With containerization using Docker, the orchestration of containers using Kubernetes, the self-service model for provisioning your projects and applications and the workflows we built in OpenShift is the best in class Platform as a Service that enables introducing DevOps into your organization with ease. In his session at DevOps Summit, Veer Muchandi, PaaS evangelist with RedHat, will provide a deep dive overview of OpenShift v3 and demonstrate how it helps with DevOps.
All we need to do is have our teams self-organize, and behold! Emergent design and/or architecture springs up out of the nothingness! If only it were that easy, right? I follow in the footsteps of so many people who have long wondered at the meanings of such simple words, as though they were dogma from on high. Emerge? Self-organizing? Profound, to be sure. But what do we really make of this sentence?
Application availability is not just the measure of “being up”. Many apps can claim that status. Technically they are running and responding to requests, but at a rate which users would certainly interpret as being down. That’s because excessive load times can (and will be) interpreted as “not available.” That’s why it’s important to view ensuring application availability as requiring attention to all its composite parts: scalability, performance, and security.
Last month, my partners in crime – Carmen DeArdo from Nationwide, Lee Reid, my colleague from IBM and I wrote a 3-part series of blog posts on We titled our posts the Simple Math, Calculus and Art of DevOps. I would venture to say these are must-reads for any organization adopting DevOps. We examined all three ascpects – the Cultural, Automation and Process improvement side of DevOps. One of the key underlying themes of the three posts was the need for Cultural change – things like t...
In today's digital world, change is the one constant. Disruptive innovations like cloud, mobility, social media, and the Internet of Things have reshaped the market and set new standards in customer expectations. To remain competitive, businesses must tap the potential of emerging technologies and markets through the rapid release of new products and services. However, the rigid and siloed structures of traditional IT platforms and processes are slowing them down – resulting in lengthy delivery ...
There once was a time when testers operated on their own, in isolation. They’d huddle as a group around the harsh glow of dozens of CRT monitors, clicking through GUIs and recording results. Anxiously, they’d wait for the developers in the other room to fix the bugs they found, yet they’d frequently leave the office disappointed as issues were filed away as non-critical. These teams would rarely interact, save for those scarce moments when a coder would wander in needing to reproduce a particula...
It is with great pleasure that I am able to announce that Jesse Proudman, Blue Box CTO, has been appointed to the position of IBM Distinguished Engineer. Jesse is the first employee at Blue Box to receive this honor, and I’m quite confident there will be more to follow given the amazing talent at Blue Box with whom I have had the pleasure to collaborate. I’d like to provide an overview of what it means to become an IBM Distinguished Engineer.