Most companies have loads of tools to help employees share and store information. Because we have so many of these tools, it can be hard to decide where to share and store my information.
The company I work for also has this problem. I was asked to explain the differences between the tools and help our employees decide where to share and store information. As promised, I would share this with you. This is what I came up with. Please keep in mind this is focused on our situation. But I think and hope this could be of help for other companies as well. If so, let me know. If not, also let me know!
Every employee within searches, creates, collaborate and stores information. Several methods and solutions support these processes. However many employees wonder where and when to share and store certain information and what solutions are provided to support the above-mentioned processes.
This post gives our guidelines on storing and sharing information using these tools. This post intends to help the user select the right tool for his/her problem and to store and share information in the right place.
Process-related tools, such as PLM and ERP systems, are not in the scope of this post.
In this memo we distinguish the following information processes:
- collaboration: an employee shares content with other colleagues to improve, inform and peer.
- store: an employee stores the content in a certain place.
In the digital domain, the above-mentioned processes relate to the following methods:
Collaboration Tooling is a general term which comprises all tooling that facilitates online collaboration. These tools offer document management functionality (versioning, etc), tasklist sharing, calendar sharing, discussion forums, wiki’s, blogs, instant messaging, news, etc.
A blog is a website, maintained by an individual or a team, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. Usually all entries can be commented on by readers.
A wiki is a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites.
(Our) Current IT solutions
To support (our) employees the following solutions are provided:
- FTP servers
- Shared network directories (SND)
- Discussion fora
- Document Archive/Vault
FTP servers are used to share (large) files, mostly with external parties. FTP servers offer no other document management (DM) functionality than storage.
Shared network directories (SND) are used to share (large) files inside en outside the organization. Shared network directories also offer no other DM functionality than storage.
Wiki’s are used to:
- dynamically and collaboratively work on the content of a document,
- build up an online and live knowledge base (such as a manual with working methods).
Blogs are used to communicate and discuss personal (business) interests with all readers. All readers may comment on the posts, but the posts can only be posted and changed by the owner(s) of the blog.
Discussion forums are used to ask all readers a certain question or discuss a certain topic. All employees may start a forum thread and all readers may read and respond to the thread.
Compass is our corporate Intranet. Compass is not a collaboration tool. It is used to publish fairly static content on.
Sharepoint is a typical collaboration tool. It is used to manage projects and group initiatives. Sharepoint is used to share and collaborate on files (which contain content), tasks and calenders a.o..
Document Archive is our internal report and memo light-weight records management system. Finalized (Word) documents written in a template can be submitted to this archive, with or without approval (depending on the document type). This archive can be searched.
To give a clear overview of the different solutions, we summarize their commonalities and differences in the table below.
And this table as a diagram:
Does this make sense?
I'd really like to know if you think this makes sense? Is it helpful and insightful? Is the diagram correct (- it seems to be too good to be true...)? Can it be used in other companies too?
UPDATE: just saw this picture, also a great visual in this context.
Nice presentation (9 min.) by Luis Suarez to whom I've been pointing regularly on my blog. This is his presentation at the Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin (added in below). It gives a good overview of how he's trying to stop using e-mail for the wrong reasons and what he experiences doing this.
I've asked the question before, but I'd really like to hear more from Luis about the time he used to spend on email and the time he now spends on email and the social tools. (Something for the Sweettt podcast, Luis?!)
A colleague of mine (and ex-carpool-er) just started a blog I'd like to point you to. It's called 'Fragmented Living'. Thinking back of all the discussions we had about knowledge management, information management, innovation, living and complex systems and organizations, etc this blog should be interesting to follow!
Good luck, Harold!
I've always wondered why the large enterprise information management vendors never adequately addressed the personal information space. I found they basically said: use the enterprise system, even if it doesn't fit your personal way of working. Will Decho, the new company, truly address this gap? I'm really curious if they will and will follow this step.
Just wanted to point to this very nice interview on the O'Reilly Radar blog with Francois Gossieaux of Beeline Labs. This short (6 min.!)interview gets into all the key issues of communities and organizations ('tribalization of business'). That's really impressive. What I really liked was what Francois said about measuring the success of communities. Andrew McAfee recently wondered if we should introduce 'enterprise 2.0 metrics'. I wasn't sure if this was a good idea and suggested:
Can’t we ‘just’ ask for stories and try to quantify them? Ask employees to tell managers how the tools helped them or others become more productive.
Francois says the same for communities: the stories about the communities tell you their success.
Again, great interview. I'm definitely following the Beeline blog from now on!
Well, just ran into Taglocity. I read through their site to see what they offer. I must say it all sounds very interesting. I'm curious how Taglocity compares to Xobni. I've been using Xobni for some time now and am pretty enthusiastic about the tool. Is Taglocity even better?
So, I'm de-installing Xobni to try Taglocity. (I don't want 2 sidebars in my Outlook and I'm don't want to try them both at the same time.) One think I'm really curious about is tagging in Outlook like in Gmail. That would be great! (I use Outlook 2003 and heard that 2007 has tagging functionality.)
So, I'll be using Taglocity for the coming weeks. I'll let you know what my experiences are.
My evaluation questions are:
- how does Taglocity compare to Xobni in general?
- is Taglocity as social as Xobni?
- are the Taglocity tags as good as Gmail's?
- can tagged emails also be retrieved after they've been archived and/or moved?
- is Taglocity secure (also the free version)?
- what could the implications of Taglocity be for corporate email? (Relating to what Taglocity claims.) Could this be a big step towards RSS-ifying email and less email, as Luis Suarez is working on?
If you're trying Taglocity too, please let me know and share your experience with me/us.
Well, I started Yammer-ing on Sept. 22. I was just curious if someone else from the company I work for was already there. And I wondered how Yammer compared to Twitter. Well, I was the first one in Yammer and very alone. ;-) Of course I asked some colleagues that Twitter to join, but their first response was: one microblog app is enough. Understandable...
For about a month I was completely alone, talking to myself regularly. But, then something strange happened. Colleagues started joining Yammer. I'm not sure how it happened (- because I was pushing them, telling them about enterprise microblogging?! -), but it happened. And now it's taking off. The swift growth has to do with the fact the colleagues fill in the 'Org Chart', which (most people don't realize this) an invite to the colleagues they fill in in the chart. Great viral touch to Yammer!
Most of the people that joined are from the Communications department, but Yammer-use has spread out to HR, IT, management, etc. A large part of the people join, but don't get right into Yammer-ing. They remain silent. (Because I started Yammer-ing, I follow all 'joiners', and if I don't know them I check our "Whoiswho" to see if they really work for Océ.)
Now, a group of about 15 colleagues is really into it. And the number is growing! Yammer has had it use already. Just by telling each other what we do and asking each other questions, we made several steps in productivity. E.g. someone Yammer-ed she was setting up a wiki somewhere. I asked her if she was using the corporate platform. She didn't know it existed and went on to use that platform. It saved her lots of valuable time! Furthermore, I've received regular calls on things I Yammer about and I call others too based on their Yammers.
For those that are reluctant to start Yammer-ing, I set up a short presentation/manual telling them why were using this tool and how to use it. I didn't want to do this up front, just to see where this would go without guidelines.
In the presentation/manual I also addressed the issue of security. Security is an issue with Yammer and all hosted applications. For good reasons we all(?) get nervous when we use them. This is strange, though. We use web-email (Gmail, Hotmail, etc) to write very private messages to friends and family and we don't worry (too much) about that. At least, I don't. My approach is: if Google would spill my mail to the web, it's over for them. The same goes for Yammer too. If they show they can't make a secure application enterprises can rely on, then it's over for them. Companies that offer hosted applications know this and work hard to live up to their customers expectations. Up until now I haven't been disappointed in the hosted apps I use.
On the other hand, I don't want to be naive either. So, I went out to do some research on this topic. For one, you can buy more security from Yammer, which is nice. (Haven't tried it yet, we're still in experiment-mode.) I went on to advise our users not to write secret stuff on Yammer. Give updates on what your working on and/or the questions you have. Be as specific as possible. When you want to tell the details of your idea, point to a blog or wiki, which is behind the firewall. So we'll see if this works and is good enough. Analyzing the Yammers I don't get the impression anyone is telling secrets and I don't think anyone from another company would understand what we're Yammer-ing about anyway... (By the way, I collected some views on Yammer and security here.)
An issue that I do have on hosted apps is: who owns the data/information? And, can I export the content to manage it internally for organizational reason (history, etc). I haven't seen the Yammer team write anything on this topic. According to my research this isn't possible yet either. I do find this should be possible.
Hope this is helpful for you all! And I'm curious how your are rolling out microblogging in your company. What I find really interesting is the fact that I'm moving communication from email to Yammer, following Luis Suarez's example. Less email, more open, social and transparent communication!
I'll write more about why I think microblogging is good for internal, company-use soon (-- although lots has been written on this topic already!).
For some time know I've been looking around for a blog platform with which you can post internal and external posts. (I wrote about it here and here.) I'd like to be able to write a post and decide to post it internally and/or externally from one platform. (There's a caveat though, when you have an external blog post, which you would like to extend for internal use.)
Well, it looks like this has become possible with the new version of SocialText (3.0). I haven't tried it yet, but Robert Scoble's interview with Ross Mayfield (with demo of '3.0') seems to point in that direction. Am I correct?
What I also really liked about the new SocialText was the online/offline feature! Great thinking and essential stuff for the mobile workforce.
It also integrates with Sharepoint, SalesForce, etc.
For me, SocialText is a true inspiration for current (usually cloggy) corporate Intranet's and maybe the foundation of the intranet of the future.