Social networking seminar attracts large audience

24 September 2009 by Kevin Holdridge  
Filed under Social marketing

Kent House and Keele University Science and Business Park recently organised a joint seminar on social networking. The event, held on 9 September 09 at Keele Hall, was attended by nearly 100 delegates from all sectors of the local community – including small and large businesses, professional bodies, local authority, voluntary sector, and education.

The aims of the event were: to introduce social networking; to explain some of the jargon and issues around social media and social marketing; to suggest some of the opportunities offered by these new online channels for reaching people more effectively than is possible by traditional means; and to offer some examples of how social networking has been implemented locally.

The event was chaired by Rosi Monkman of Keele University Science and Business Park. The presenters were:

Kevin Holdridge, Managing Director, Kent House

A brief on what Social Networking is, how to get it right and avoid common pitfalls

Linda Jones, Managing Director, Passionate Media

An in-depth study on how to boost your business using social networking media

Hannah Hiles, Media and Communications Officer, Keele University

A case study on how social networking sites helped a business to engage with its customers

There is currently a lot of buzz as well as confusion around social networking, and this was reflected in the lively questions-and-answers session at the end of the presentations.

We have made available here the slides and video from the event.

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Slides – social networking presentations

The slides from the event are stored on Slideshare, and embedded here:

Video – social networking presentations

Click on any of the speakers’ names below to see video of their presentation.

Social marketing

23 September 2009 by Kevin Holdridge  
Filed under headers

Getting results from social marketing, social media, and social networking

Exclusively from Cambridge: Design Rationale Editor (DRed)

21 September 2009 by Anna Mieczakowski  
Filed under News and views

In recent months, I spent quite a bit of time looking at different modelling software packages for my PhD thesis. I have been particularily interested in the functionality of P3 and DRed, both of which are proprietary software systems of the Engineering Design Centre at the University of Cambridge. More about P3 will be explained in the next post, while today’s post focuses on the Design Rationale Editor (DRed).

DRed is a new IBIS-based software and it has been researched, implemented and introduced into industry by Rob Bracewell. The system is aimed at unobtrusively capturing, graphically presenting, and storing for future reuse, the rationale behind the day to day decisions of individuals or groups of designers. DRed allows designers to record their design rationale (DR) at the time of its generation and deliberation. The design rationale is displayed in a document as a graph of nodes linked with directed arcs. The user creates the nodes by choosing from a predefined set of element types. The key element types are: issue, answer, and argument.

The DRed system has become quite a success story especially among the designers at Rolls-Royce as using it improved the company’s design process. As a result, the system was given the Rolls-Royce Research and Technology Director’s Creativity Award for 2004. Using DRed has been made mandatory for design scheme reviews on at least one Rolls-Royce project. More companies are now interested in the functionality and usefulness of DRed as it evolved into a tool which maps a unified information space covering product planning, specification, design and service. Users can now create bidirectional hyperlinks between DRed elements and selected locations in a range of external document types.

SAP and Enterprise Resource Planning

10 September 2009 by Anna Mieczakowski  
Filed under News and views

In the last two months I attended a couple international human-computer interaction and engineering design conferences in California and while travelling through this state’s many airports (Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco), I noticed quite a few posters advertising SAP, the largest software enterprise in Europe and the fourth largest software enterprise in the world (at least according to Wikipedia).

Quite impressed with the success of SAP and perplexed with the apparent complexity of the company’s best known product – SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (SAP ERP), I decided to investigate this company’s cutting-edge software.

So, SAP (Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing) was founded 37 years ago in Germany by 5 former IBM engineers with a view of offering software applications and services that enable companies from many different sectors to better manage their data processing activities. When SAP first started it focused on improving management processes of large companies with SAP Business Suite, however, it is now also actively targeting small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with SAP Business ByDesign and SAP Business One. SAP’s Business Suite contains 5 enterprise applications including: (1) customer relationship management (CRM), (2) product lifecycle management (PLM), (3) supply chain management (SCM), (4) supplier relationship management (SRM) and the most famous of all (5) enterprise resource planning (ERP).

ERP is a computer software system used to manage and coordinate all the resources, information, and functions of a business from shared data stores. An ERP system typically has modular hardware and software units that communicate on a local area network. The modular design allows a business to add or reconfigure modules (such as manufacturing, supply chain management, financials, project management, human resources, customer relationship management, etc.) while preserving data integrity in one shared database that may be centralised or distributed. The software provides both internal employees and external resources such as suppliers and customers with real-time access to the data stored within the system.The current version of SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is 6.0 with the previous version being SAP R/3.

There are clearly many advantages (integration of different functional areas, improved communication, reduced risk of loss of sensitive data, top-down view of the enterprise, etc.) and also some disadvantages (limited customisation, high cost, too rigid and too difficult adaptation to the specific workflow and business process, etc.) of using SAP ERP, however, the success of the product is unquestionable as there are over 100,600 SAP installations serving more than 41,200 companies in more than 25 industries in more than 120 countries (see SAP website).