I had the pleasure of being an early user of Smart Space while Mike, Matt and the team were building it.
I’ve been using software since the days of Wordstar, dBase II, and Visicalc (on CP/M before DOS no less). Using Smart Space was not like using software. This was an environment I was experiencing. I think Matt’s vision of “I just want to ride a bike” is spot on.
Smart Space is:
Intuitive: I didn’t know I was doing enterprise performance management, data mining, query & analysis – I thought I was making decisions (I further didn’t know I was making those decisions based on judgments & knowledge learned from information that came from data!). Gadgets solve problems.
Social: my favorite part of using Smart Space was collaborating with other users. I could slice & dice data and quickly see an anomaly (variance outside of a threshold, for example), and instantly ping a colleague about it, share my view with her and record the decisions/actions taken as a result.
Personal: my desktop was role & function specific, that is it was set up (by me) to only contain those gadgets, workflow, and points of view that had to do with the role I played. So it should be with enterprise performance management: finance cares about the balance sheet, Operations cares about the supply chain, sales cares about revenue and pipeline, and so on. Executives care about summarized results and trends, managers care about tracking targets and variance, and analysts care about cause and effect. And, in an “EPM enlightened” organization, people across all functions care about cross-functional things. They would have gadgets that let them get to revenue growth, operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and so on.
“Ready at hand:” Smart Space is always-on EPM. It’s always there, always ready, and becomes an extension of my work – like the phone, IM, e-mail, and coffee.
Expandable: there is a fairly large (and growing) community of EPM and BI devotees: customers, consultants, vendors, analysts. These folks are candidates for contributing (dreaming-up & developing) the library of gadgets available to get your job done. I just thought of one while typing this (I’ll let you know what it is as soon as I get a developer to write it for me, any volunteers?)
This is pretty exciting stuff, and I can’t wait to see what Matt & Mike have in store for us in ’08.