Web Weaving

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Intranets and Extranets are the fastest growing use of internet technology and are being adopted by a large number of organizations. 'Web-Weaving' is a book for managers which illustrates the benefits and pitfalls of using technology to enhance internal and external connections. The book brings together a number of the hottest subjects in IT and Organizational Development using contributions from innovative thinkers and practitioners in both areas.

The first section defines what web-weaving actual is, describing the huge range of communication technology available to organizations at the moment. The second section reviews web-weaving in practice using case studies of companies using intranet and extranet technology. The third section brings together commentaries from leading players in both the IT and Human Resources fields to predict the future of web-weaving and the huge impact it will have on the way organizations and the people within them will work together in the future.

Audience: Mid/senior level IT managers; IT/systems management academics; HRM professionals; MBA students.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
March 1998

Web-Weaving: Intranets, Extranets and Strategic Alliances by Paula M. Boyle and Peter Lloyd explores the process by which Internet technologies create and ameliorate networks of relationships. By focusing on the relationships among inside organizations (intranets), outside organizations (extranets), and in-between organizations (strategic alliances), Web-Weaving covers an important aspect of the Internet that is often ignored.

Intranets have multiplied to the point that their users outnumber those who use the public-access Internet. They have become the main repository and delivery system for knowledge working and virtual teams. Extranets, on the other hand, contain all aspects of the supply chain and will be the foundation of electronic commerce, which is predicted to be the mode of business transactions in the next century. Strategic alliances and partnerships are increasingly the way business is won in almost every industry.

Utilizing the relationships explored in Web-Weaving allows organizations of the 21st century almost unlimited power. Web-Weaving illuminates the differences between what is theoretically possible in the field of collaborative technology as opposed to what is actually occurring.

The editors of this book have drawn together a comprehensive collection of contributions from leading theorists and future-watchers and combined them with current case studies of the accomplishments of organizations in industries all over the world.

Web-Weaving gives a new view of Internet technology thatallowsreaders to take their organizations to the next level.

From the Publisher
' Likely to be of most interest to HR professionals.'
People Management

This Book provides a sophisticated & multifaceted vision of the important enabling roles that information technology is likely to play within future knowledge & network-based societies.
The Electronic Library - 8th June 2000
Web-weaving, the next dimension in networking, describes the use of Internet technologies to create and enhance relationships within, without, and between organizations. Topics include communications, knowledge management, electronic commerce, virtual teams, and market communities. Contributors provide case studies as well as some future visions of organizations like Hewlett Packard Laboratories, Microsoft, and the WorldWide Web Consortium. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780750638661
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 4/6/1998
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword by Tim Berners Lee (World Wide Web Consortium) Part 1: The elements of web-weaving: 1/ the definition and dynamics of intranets (Mellanie Hills) 2/ the cybercorp (James Martin) 3/ organizing knowledge (John Seely-Brown and Paul Duguid) 4/ the learning organization (Dr Lily Evans) 5/ the extranet solution (OneSoft Corporation) 6/ electronic commerce (David Flint) 7/ electronic consumerism (Delloite & Touche) 8/ competitive advantage through information (Frank Abramson and Graham Telford) 9/ automating the virtual sales force (Tom Siebel & Michael Malone) 10/ the elusive strategic alliance (Lawrence G Friedman) 11/ why virtual teams? (Jessica Lipnack and Jeffrery Stamps) 12/ virtual teaming and virtual organizations (David J Skyrme) 13/ transactional communities as organic market systems (Bob Johansen) Part 2 - Web-weaving in practice: 14/ assembling a simple intranet (IPC Magazines) 15/ making an intranet by the book (The British Library) 16/ fostering information flow (Parsons Brinckerhoff) 17/ virtual learning (City University Business School) 18/ Intra and Extra-netting (The Boeing Company) 19/ virtual teamwork (British Petroleum) 20/enhancing an alliance with technology (Halliburton Brown & Root) 21/ benefitting online alliances with an extranet (Oracle Corporation) 22/ electronic commerce (Cisco systems) 23/ reality bytes (Steven B Weissman) 24/ improving global communication (Global Office network) 25/ team syntegrity (Raul Espejo) 26/ generous networks of productive connections (Brainpool) 27/ Trading Post (Peter Lloyd) Part 3 - Web-weaving - what's next? 28/ the digital utility (Joel Birnbaum, Hewlett-Packard) 29/ the digital nervous system (Bill Gates, Microsoft) 30/ realising the potential of the web (Tim Berners-Lee, World Wide Web Consortium) 31/ changing the organization to meet the needs of networks (Meredith Belbin, Belbin Associates) 32/ the internetworked business (Don Tapscott, New Paradigm Learning Corporation) 33/ the empowered individual (Michael Wolf) 34/ tomorrow's company (John McIntyre) 35/ shared minds (Michael Schrage) 36/ the global village - today and tomorrow (Nelson Thall) 37/ staying human in a machine dominated world (Susanna Opper) 38/ web-weaving - the human dimension (Robin Wood, Genetic Systems)

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Interviews & Essays

On Monday, March 23rd, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Paula Boyle to discuss WEB-WEAVING.

Moderator: Welcome to barnesandnoble.com, Paula Boyle. We are pleased you could come online to discuss WEB-WEAVING. I'm sure you feel comfortable in this medium of communication.

Paula M Boyle: Thank you. And welcome to all the visitors today. As much as I use technology (too much), I was happy and, yes, surprised to see how easy it was to participate in this discussion today. It is always fun to see how many ways the Web can bring people together!

Hollands from Princeton, NJ: Hello, Ms. Boyle. Could you please tell me what web-weaving is, exactly? How would you define it?

Paula M Boyle: We define web-weaving as the use of Internet technologies to create and enhance networks of relationships. This is further defined by an equation The value (v) of any network is equal to the power (x) of the number of (n) members within the network v=nx (that is 'n' to the power of 'x').A soft definition is "the building of connections that create the webs of relationships that affect everything we do."

Corrinne from Chicago: How are different companies addressing the issues of Internet safety and privacy? Is encryption really working in terms of protecting someone's credit card number?

Paula M Boyle: In this book there is an interesting discussion about security, written by James Martin in Chapter 2. But, as you can imagine, security is a huge issue that needs to be addressed with intranets as well as extranets and of course in the general Internet. It could encompass a book in itself. However, one of the most important security issues we talk about in this book is that the type of encryption you use is not as important as the development of "trusted systems." Timothy Berners-Lee, founder of the World Wide Web, discusses this nicely in Chapter 30. I think the development of trusted systems is a critical issue we have not really begun to solve. People give their credit card out to catalog retailers over the telephone. I think in many cases the Internet is more secure -- but it incredibly difficult to know when and whom to trust. This is a problem.

Jake from Tampa: Who are some of the contributors to WEB-WEAVING?

Paula M Boyle: There are over 30 contributors to this book. Most are published authors. You may recognize some of these names: Bill Gates (yes, of Microsoft!), John Seeley Brown (of Xerox PARC), Paul Druid and Melanie Hills ("Intranet Business Stategies"), Jessica Lipnack and Jeffrey Stamps ("Virtual Teams"), James Martin (Cybercorp), Tom Siebel and Michael Malone, Susanna Opper...and so many more I wish I could name them all here. Actually, you can read the whole list off www.web-weaving.com.

Yothers from San Francisco: How have some companies used the intranets to increase the abilities and skills of their employees? Are there some examples in WEB-WEAVING that I can look to?

Paula M Boyle: Many intranets have been used to increase the skills and also the "reach" of employees. Sometimes having a skill is not as important as being able to access it.In this book you will find a primer on learning organizations in Chapter 4. There are also examples in the case study about British Petroleum (they created virtual water cooler to share experiences) and the case study of City University School that describes how new skills are needed for distance learning to be successful.

Jacob Meyer from Bridgewater, NJ: How does this book differ from all the other technology/Internet books that are out there? Why did you and Peter Lloyd decide to write this book now? Thanks for taking my question.

Paula M Boyle: Ah, this question is near and dear to my heart. If you are not going to write something different and meaningful, why write anything at all? In the preface we discuss in depth why and how we came about this book. The essence of which is this...we knew there was "something big" changing everything about business today, and we thought that something was the Web. We found in the end that it was not really a piece of technolgy but the building of new relationships that is causing the real changes. This focus on change became the subject of our book. We emplyed our networks to uncover the great voices of our time and decided to present their ideas to you in their own voices. In fact, this book is indeed the result of the act of web-weaving. A process I enjoyed and a product I am happy to share with you all.

Garth from Bennington, VT: Greetings, Paula Boyle. What criteria did you use to choose the contributors to WEB-WEAVING? Also, are some of these original essays or is this a collection of essays that have appeared in specialized areas and you are now offering to the general public?

Paula M Boyle: Hello. I actually devised a very comprehensive matrix of content requirements and sent Peter on the mission of searching for the materials to fill the matrix with valuable contributions. It was a process of networking and eliminating the content that did not fit the story we wanted to tell. We have put together a mix of material written just for this book and prewritten materials.

Steve Weissman from Waltham, MA: Can you tell us how you used the Web when collecting information for your book?

Paula M Boyle: Well, I always use the Web to enhance my research - and what a tough tool it can be! We used the Web to seek content, but more importantly we used e-mail for EVERYTHING. As a matter of fact, this book was written almost completely in a virtual environment. I have never met my publisher, and Peter Lloyd and I have not seen each other since long before we started to work on this book. Naturally, without the Web, there would be no book WEB-WEAVING!

**Asterisk** from Seattle: What's the difference between an intranet and an extranet, anyway?

Paula M Boyle: When I talk on this subject I often title my sessions "Inside, Outside and In-between Making 'Net Connections Count." Now maybe that is because my favorite author is Dr. Seuss, but I think it helps to simplify things a bit. Intranets are focused inside organizations, while extranets are focused outside. Intranets are the controlled use of Internet technologies within an organization, often called "behind the firewall." Extranets embrace all aspects of supply chain management and will be the backbone of electronic commerce. Extranets also describes the extension of your company intranet to your customers and suppliers.

Carter from Narberth, PA: Hello Paula. Aside from books and CDs, what other objects do you think are going to become the focus of e-commerce over the next two decades? Have any of your contributors speculated? I noticed that AOL has started a real estate section over the weekend -- do you predict that in the future more and more people will be buying houses online?

Paula M Boyle: Well, I am a VERY busy mom, and I love the fact that you can now buy groceries over the Internet thorugh peapod.com. Though, it is interesting to note how many companies have tried this and given up. When you look at the brief history of e-comm you can learn a lot more from what has not worked than from what is working well (such as your example of CD ROMs and books). As the audience for the e-comm changes and it becomes more accessible and cheap for mass market consumers, (see Bill Gates's contribution), more mass market products will "survive." Certainly banking, insurance, and real estate are growing right now, but tomorrow I expect to see most anything that does not require a "tactile" sale to do well. What I mean by tactile is anything that requires human sense of touch, smell, or taste. However, long before mass market, business to business e-comm will indeed bloom. You should check out the case studies about Boeing, Cisco, and Oracle in the book.

Georgio from Brooklyn: Say, I have a T-shirt business in NYC, and my brother sells some shirts for me in Florida. We both have Internet access, but how would an intranet or extranet help us?

Paula M Boyle: Certainly there are times you need to exchange information, such as which items are in stock and what kinds of prices you can offer your brother. By creating a secure environment in which you can open your database of product information to your brother (intranet) or even your customers (extranet), then you can change the way that you do business.Soon your customers will expect to be able to check on the availabitiy of an item or shipping status over the Internet. In order to compete you will need to offer this service.There are MANY examples of issues of changing competition and customer service issues in section one of the book. Have a read!

Carol from Concord, TN: Of all the individual contributors that you had, what were some of the underlying themes that they had in common? Was it anything that surprised you?

Paula M Boyle: Ah. I was surprised! There were two themes that I am still thinking a lot about trusted systems and the role of the individual, the knowledge worker. Trusted systems I already discussed when answering another question here on security. In the future section of the book, the role of the individual, the knowledge worker, is examined in many places, particularly by Michael Wolf and Don Tapscott. Michael puts forth a hypothesis of personal transformation, where the individual knowledge worker becomes empowered by the network and therefore will be free from the need to give his or her power to a hierarchy, such as Tapscott's "internetworked business." I was surprised to think of the power of the individual tomorrow as a critical business issue...but I am hearing more about it every day from the opposite end, in issues of knowledge management and trying to leverage that power. Sometimes it is almost the "fear of loosing" individuals and their contributions that is driving issues of Knowledge Management. These are themes that will populate the books of next year.

Filomena Natale from Atlanta: What can we look forward to in the future in terms of customer service and the Internet? Is there a possibility of a backlash, of people not wanting to have their buying habits monitored?

Paula M Boyle: Customer service will improve through tools that appear to be infringing on issues of privacy. But think about it. If you go to a local mom and pop shop where you enjoy great service, it is probably because the local shop owner knows a lot about you or people like you. So she or he can anticipate your needs. The same will be true on the Internet, you will need to give up some privacy in order to get some service.As far as a backlash, anything that can cause FEAR, such as a malicious, well publicized use of personal information, can certainly cause a backlash.... But we have to trust sometimes, and we will be given the responsibility to decide and to teach our children how to decide when it's okay to trust and to give in order to receive.

Karl from Pittsburgh: In my company, at least, there seems to be a rift between IT employees and general employees -- neither knows what the other does. Will that change in the future, with some sort of employee "cross-training"? Or will common ground be reached through team building, etc?

Paula M Boyle: Karl, this is a great question. If you read the chapter about Trading Post, or visit the www.trading-post.org.uk site, you will see that a network of individuals that seem to be in the "middle" between IT and HR or business management has been built in the UK. I am happy to say that I am involved in building this network in the USA.I believe the rift will ease over time. When competition is determined by the strategic business use of IT, you will see more focus of IT on the "softer" issues of applications (such as work flow, knowledge management, collaboration, virtual teams) rather than the harder issues of integration and maintenance. This book is actually a great primer for the IT folks to see the "softer" issues and the general employees to understand the technological ones. Learning takes time, but I believe there is change underway right now.

Dart from Delaware: When do you think e-commerce will reach its potential? Is there any concern that it won't? Do you really think it's smart to start betting on the future of Internet sales through stocks, etc.?

Paula M Boyle: If I had a magic answer I'd be rich off stock and NOT be telling anyone how I did it! However, it is safe to say that the effect of e-commerce is that we are changing the behaviors of consumers and creating different conditions for sales and strategic alliances. I expect that when you refer to the "potential" of e-commerce, you are buying some analyst's numbers that say it will reach x $ in x years. Well, since I've written some of those numbers (!) - I put more faith in the facts: E-commerce is NOT going away, you cannot hide from it. Many companies are just smartly selling wares over the net -- but how many will survive? What are the issues for survival in the changing marketplace? These issues and more are addressed in the book in Chapters 6 and 7. Its not who is selling what where that matters, but how are they selling it? Do they have a strategic plan for competition tomorrow that could come from the most unexpected places, such as another industry? I would look deeper to these strategies before placing my bet on any company involved in e-comm today.

Moderator: Thank you for taking the time to discuss WEB-WEAVING with us, Paula Boyle. You've certainly stimulated a fascinating discussion. Any final words for our online audience?

Paula M Boyle: Thanks to all for participating. It has been fun! My final words come from the preface of the book"We are entering an era when the quiet, invisible but powerful technology of the Internet and Web will reveal its beautiful structure by creating patterns in business and our lives. This book is the result of following threads and listening to the voices of our time, to those who are learning from and influencing these patterns as they are revealed." "We hope that in the quiet time you spend reading this book that you will bring these ideas and insights into the context of your own life and work, resonate with them and enjoy the patterns ahead." Please visit web-weaving.com. As the site evolves into a community, it should be an interesting place to visit and to meet with other "web-weavers." Feel free to contact me personally if you have any further questions. Just email me at pboyle@web-weaving.com. Thanks! --Paula "Because I can (learn), I shall (think) do."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2001

    Easy for the non-techno!

    This book mainly examines the complex web of relationships that exist inside, outside, and between organisations called respectively, intranets, extranets and strategic alliances. Intranets have become more and more popular in recent times as the number of Internet users increases at a phenomenal pace. It has become the dominant delivery system for working and virtual teams in the last five years. Extranets have come to the fore as they have become intertwined and inextricably linked with company¿s supply chains. It is being used to develop and strengthen ebusiness, providing the economic backbone to the way business will be done in the next century. And finally, strategic alliances are allowing for partnerships and businesses to grow closer and work together in a way thought to be impossible only a few years ago. The book itself is collection of articles and writings that have been combined where possible with case studies to illustrate the theories and demonstrate their ideas where necessary. What gives the book its edge is the fact that the reader is exposed to more than one author¿s naturally biased opinion and selective writings. Instead, one is treated to thoughtful and provoking insights from different men and women, providing a more even and balanced outlook. The book is divided roughly into 3 main parts: Chapters 1-4 focus on the internal organisation, Chapters 5-9 concentrate on extranets and Chapters 10-13 study the emphasis and popularity of virtual teams. So, would I recommend this book to another student? I think as a whole the book is no longer relevant in this world of technology where what was only being imagined a number of years ago is now present. The first part of the book is excellent for anyone wishing to expand their knowledge on the advantages of intranets and extranets, thus I have dedicated much space to it. The case studies were largely irrelevant as most are in other textbooks and others are written in novel form. There is never any mention of possible downsides of these technologies such as the lack of security and the further dependency and danger of downed systems to ruin a business. This lack of a balance is the major downfall of this book as well as the fact that it is simply three years old, a century in this fast paced world. The final part of the book provides interesting insights to some of the most relevant thoughts on this issue by the giants in this field (although the IT slant is clear). And that is all it is: interesting. I personally believe that their predictions have still got quite a long way to advance in this decade and web-enabled radios will not be in everyone¿s home for some time to come. Overall the book provides an unequal slant but for understanding the basics of intranets and extranets on a theoretical level, it was quite good even today.

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