Creating New Business Value in the Network of Everything by Andy Mulholland and Nick Earle (Evolved Technologist Press)
This is an unusual book. Most books about business and technology have a premise and offer plenty of case studies salted with polemic to make that case appear convincing. However, Mesh Collaboration uses the example of Vorpal, a fictional company, to demonstrate how Web 2.0 technologies and innovative sourcing and other strategies can be used to good effect.
The device will be familiar to readers of Mashup Corporations: The End of Business As Usual, the previous book by Mulholland (with a different co-author), where we first met Vorpal and its CEO Jane Moneymaker.
In Mashup Corporations, Vorpal was struggling to develop a service-oriented architecture together with her esteemed marketing colleague Hugo Wunderkind. It succeeded thanks to non-traditional approaches such as mashups of component code to create on-the-fly programs.
This time the challenge is collaboration and once again Moneymaker et al are taking the road less travelled, using social networking tools, blogs, wikis and other consumer-oriented techniques to crack the problem of how to talk over LANs, WANs, the internet, extranet and intranet with peers, partners, prospects and, of course, customers.
As you might have already detected, plotting, style and characterization aren't the authors' strong points. Take this as an example: "'Sometimes I wish I had taken a slightly easier path than the corporate world. I mean, perhaps I should have followed your example and opened a flower shop,' Moneymaker says, leaning back into her rather plush couch. She has her shoes off and is relaxing for the first time that day. A glass of wine sits idly on an end table and her husband has yet to arrive home."
Wine? Sitting idly? What is it supposed to be doing?
The prose might be stilted and the characters little more than avatars but with Mulholland a CTO at Capgemini and Earle a VP at Cisco what you do get is detailed knowledge from the field. The unusual framework grates at times but there is no doubting the deep knowledge of the authors on how disruptive technologies can affect businesses.
Mesh Collaboration at Amazon