Archive for SharePoint

Enabling Enterprise-Wide Social Business Processes

With the launch of Cim v2.1 last month, I’ve been engaging with a very different set of business groups amongst our customers.  These are groups that have really never gotten into leveraging SharePoint – even though their organization has it deployed enterprise wide.  They are now looking to leverage Cim on SharePoint 2010 to scale out and up enterprise-wide business processes that have been operating in limited, cumbersome environments.  This scenario that we call enterprise-wide social business processes (EW-SBP) is a targeted scenario for Cim and leverages the entire CorasWorks value proposition.  In this article, I’ll provide the overview of this scenario.  In future blogs, I’ll drill into specific business processes.

 

The Situation

These enterprise customers have existing business processes that require contributions from a large groups of users.  You might say that they have a big, front-end funnel.  The organizations have already determined what their process is and that it works for the business. They’ve been doing it, but, it has been painful. As they exist today, they are too limited in visibility and touch, they are cumbersome and not scalable (usually built or managed using spreadsheets and/or legacy systems such as SAP and Siebel), and, they are expensive and a hassle to maintain and move forward.

As Cim v2.1 has gotten out there, these business groups are bringing us their processes.  Here is what they want:

- Broad User Scale – They want to scale the front-end of the process to be able to engage a very broad set of users – the whole enterprise, a division, or their business group.  They want this to occur with very little upfront or ongoing effort.  They want to be able to launch new initiatives with just a bit of effort and not having to reinvent a new process/system.

- Robust Process Management – They want their core process, the way they manage it now (but better and easier), to be part of the solution.  They want it to be rich, configurable, and flexible without requiring a computer science degree.

- Enterprise Integration – They want this front-end engagement/process to be able to connect to their external back-end systems (like their project management systems) to a) push approved items into these systems or b) expose the enterprise data within the system to assist the users of the process.  NOTE: Some of these business groups are now considering the option of also leveraging SharePoint to do this also.

 

Some Examples

In many cases, the processes that these business groups are looking for are already part of the CorasWorks stable.  Some examples of them are as follows.

New Project Initiation – they usually have multiple project management systems, off SharePoint.  What they want is the front-end where people can submit new project ideas, get visibility and collaboration, and then, put them through a review, evaluation, and approval process.  The approved one then get pushed into their PMO or into Project Portfolios in their enterprise project management system.  Their objective is to reduce project duplication and make sure that the projects that even get considered are thought out and vetted amongst a broad, visible audience.

Change Request Management – We are seeing two main “flavors” of this.  One is driven by product groups, the other by IT.  In sum, they want to open up the front end to a broad set of users to be able to easily submit and collaborate on change requests.  Then, they want to run them through a review and approval process.  The approved ones will get pushed into their external system or into project sites or team sites within SharePoint for implementation.  The value is a broader funnel that allows for better collaboration before the change requests move into consideration.

New Product Innovation – We are getting multiple variations for this scenario.   But at the core, the business owners want to engage the full enterprise to capture ideas for new products and markets.  They want to put them through a review and approval process, and then, push them to external systems or SharePoint sites for people to incorporate into their next product cycle.  With this process they are looking to drive revenue growth and competitive strength through a bigger funnel for innovative ideas, the ability to get more varied collaborative input, and the means to target the “thinking” of the organization towards specific challenges/opportunities.

Continuous Improvement Programs – At the enterprise or division level, organizations are looking to capture ideas, projects, plans to feed into a program they are using to manage their Continuous Improvement.  Usually, these are operations oriented groups.  They are looking for ideas for cutting costs, decreasing cycle time, and overall efficiencies.  They want broad participation (sometimes mandatory), and then, they review and approve the ideas, and move them into implementation.

 

The Cim Enterprise-Wide Social Business Process (EW-SBP) Solution

The basic design of our solution is the same across all of the four examples above.  It is a distributed process that lays on top of and cuts across the SharePoint environment and beyond.  Below is a screenshot depicting a generic process.

Generic EW-SBP

The process breaks down into three distinct sets of activities as follows:

Collaboration: Users will have access to one or more communities to contribute and collaborate with others on the items.  They will do this from wherever they work across SharePoint using the Cim Activity Stream.  The items are all collected in one or more “communities”.

Process: The process owners then go about reviewing, evaluating, and approving the items.  It may be a simple process with a few core decision makers.  Or, they may use collaborative reviews that pull in subject matter experts and other managers.  Further, they can configure multiple stage-gates, with specific activities within each stage that need to be completed before the item is promoted.  Here they will make the decision.  And, they will manage the overall portfolio leveraging various reporting features.

Execution: They then push approved items into downstream project sites, processes, programs, or team sites.  These downstream activities may be in external enterprise systems or may exist within the SharePoint environment.  For instance, CorasWorks provides our Project Portfolio Management solution that runs on SharePoint and is integrated with Cim to make this phase a natural next step.

The core selling points of the CorasWorks Cim v2.1 solution are:

- it runs natively on SharePoint and thus they can leverage this existing enterprise infrastructure

- the CorasWorks Cim solution is largely off the shelf in terms of the core things they want for their process

- Cim is easy to use and feature rich, providing contributor users and process users with a good experience

- Cim is easily adaptable and they can see how they can tweak it where they need it

- Cim is based upon the CorasWorks Solution Platform, which is a mature platform (now in v11) and gives them the flexibility to extend the solution in the places where they require some deep enterprise integration

- the price is very competitive and they are able to launch additional processes using the same framework

 

Summary

In sum, we are seeing Cim v2.1 running on SharePoint 2010 being adopted for enterprise-wide social business processes.  Effectively, these customers are leveraging our solution to scale their existing processes.  They are targeting broad numbers of users (5,000 to 50,000).  The target is usually enterprise-wide or at the division level.  They want the front-end collaboration, a clean, robust process to get to the decision on items, and, the flexibility to then use different means for execution (building, implementing) and or extend the solution as needed.

In future articles, I’ll drill down into specific processes and talk about specific features and benefits.

william

Engage the User with the Cim Activity Stream

In my last post, I explained how Cim enables you to create many different social business applications for your SharePoint 2010 environment.  I ended with a scenario of how we bring it all together to provide end-users with a single user experience across all of these applications.  The key enabler is the new Cim Activity Stream.  In this article, I’ll drill deeper into it to explore why and how it works to drive user engagement.

 

The Need for User Engagement – Power to Drive Business Value

Cim is social business software (SBS).  You use it to create applications.  However, the types of applications are a new breed.  They are targeted at a much broader group of users, they are more collaborative, and they are usually distributed across the entire landscape of your SharePoint environment and beyond.   The objective with SBS is to have apps that are the mechanism of business value, yet, to engage a much broader set of users that are the power that drives the business value.  At the end of the day, you don’t get far without engaging the user.  This is particularly true with this breed of enterprise app.

So, how well are most of us doing that today…

 

Engage the User: Meet Kim White

Whenever I speak with customers the conversation is focused on the application, the process, the use that will drive value.  This is understandable; it is how we’ve been trained to think.  As an industry we tend to think about the user interface of the app.  Usually, we do not think about the user experience across all of the apps.

Meet Kim White.  She is a Product Manager that I talk about in my presentations.  The organization needs her engaged in many different activities.  She also wants to engage in other activities to contribute her best.  Below we show a schematic of some of the activities she would like to engage in.

Kim-White_thumb2

In a typical organization, how does it work for her?  Maybe she has access to a bunch of SharePoint portal sites, team sites, and project sites.  She has to remember URLs and go everywhere to get work done.  To find out what is up, she has to remember to check.  She has to check multiple “data typed” lists and libraries – and that is just one site.  Or, maybe she can use email and look for the needles of value amongst the “noise”.  Further, the organization has gotten smart and now has an array of SAAS apps that she has to also log into separately and check out.  Then, there are the other really fun enterprise apps she gets to use.

This is typical.  From an end-user perspective, it is not pleasant.  In truth, as organizations we just don’t make it easy and convenient for users to effectively and efficiently engage.  We have few established, structured “channels” for this engagement.  Users usually don’t even know what channel to use to engage.  Where do I contribute an idea to improve a process?  Do I email it to “All Employees”? How would I get help to solve a technical challenge?  How do I log this change request from a customer before I forget?  Where can I get some great stories from customers to use in my marketing decks?  We lack channels for engagement, and, we lack a simple, convenient user experience to use engage through these channels.

With Cim v2.1 on SharePoint 2010, the user experience of your workplace is different – and much better.  The key new feature is the Cim Activity Stream and how we have tied it into all of the Cim social business applications that you can deploy across your environment.

 

Cim Activity Stream

Let’s just change our perspective.  Imagine that your organization will have lots of social business apps that serve as the channels for your users to drive and derive business value.  They will have collaborative information resources, communities of practice and purpose, idea communities and challenges, business processes, and services.  But, let’s set a new rule – we are only allowed a single user interface for users to use to contribute, collaborate, and engage in activity across all of the apps.

The Cim My Activity Stream is a feature that you can deploy in any SharePoint site.  When a user goes there, they see all of the activity that is relevant to them.  They can contribute, comment, and collaborate, right from there.  They can see the history of what they have done across all of the communities/apps.  They can see what others have done on items that they created or that they “watched”.    They can see a listing of communities and watch them.  When new communities/apps are deployed across your environment, they just light up for the user to choose whether to watch them.

In sum, the Cim Activity Stream is their gateway to your collaborative workplace.

Below is a screenshot of the Activity Stream deployed in a Department Portal.  If this is where the user tends to work, viola, there is there Activity Stream, at their fingertips. This is our default configuration and shows the Community Listing on the left.  On the right is the My Activity Stream snaplet.  It has three sections: My Stream (what others have done), My Activity (what I have done), and My Watch List (what communities and items I am watching).

Activity Stream

So, working from here Kim White has all of your resources and activities at her fingertips.  She can choose what to watch and what to engage in.  She can throttle the level of activity.  She can contribute as she chooses.  As people do work, she sees the activity and responds.  From this one place, she has a single way of engaging in all of the activities that she needs to engage in or that she wants to engage in.

kim white engage

For Kim White, and, each of your many, valuable employees itching to contribute and engage – life is good.

william

Cim v2.1: Our approach to adding value with Social Business Apps

Since the launch of Cim v2.1 last month, I’ve had a lot of meetings with customers.  The conversation quickly turns to a discussion of what are the most valuable applications of this social business software across their SharePoint 2010 environment.  With Cim v2.1, we make it easy to frame this conversation because we ship with 3 core solutions that are ready to implement out-of-the box.  Each of these is really a framework for a category of applications.  Armed with this, customers get focused on the business value much more quickly.  In this article, I’ll go over our solution oriented approach and how it delivers business value to you.

 

The 3 Core Solution “Buckets”

Cim v2.1 is a flexible, integrated system, with many applications.  Yet, to accelerate business value, we have framed the product within the following three core solution “buckets”:

- Cim Collaboration – for Social Collaboration

- Cim Process – for Social Business Processes

- Cim Innovation – for Idea & Innovation Management

Below is a standard slide I use to introduce the three core solution “buckets”.  Each represents a category of applications.  In most situations, the business groups initially come to us looking for an application within just one of these buckets.  So, we’ve made it easy for them to succeed in that one area first and then expand their application scope.

3 solutions

To make it really straight forward to get to the initial business value, the product ships with three pre-configured “base reference implementations” (BRI’s) – one for each solution.  These documented implementations deliver an application within the solution bucket and set a standard for learning and training.  They are as follows:

Cim Collaboration – a Department Portal for collaboration across multiple communities and integration with a native SharePoint team site to show how users can have a great collaborative experience when working anywhere across SharePoint.

Cim Process – a process for capturing and managing Process Improvement Ideas.  This leverages the collaborative community to capture ideas and collaborate on them.  It then introduces how you can set up and configure the process side where you review, evaluate, and decide on the improvement ideas.

Cim Innovation – this solution uses a Product Innovation scenario.  It shows how you can have many different idea communities and challenges that feed into a central management hub where you do your processing of the ideas to transform them into approved innovations.

Having the three separate BRI applications allows IT and the business groups to focus their efforts and deliver that first piece of business value.  It also serves to train them up on how to implement Cim. The key is that we are not just selling and installing a set of capabilities, but, starting with ready-to-go solutions.  This approach makes it far more effective for customers to then envision the next application and the next. 

 

Sample Applications within the Solution Buckets

The 3 solution buckets and the BRI apps are the beginning.  For each bucket, we have standard applications that are commonly desired by customers.  For many of these, we have a stable of designs, best practices and “flavorized” modules to be applied.  Below is a slide showing examples within each solution bucket.

solution apps

How is this range possible?  In essence, Cim is unusually flexible.  In fact, I’d say that it delivers three qualities that allow users to meet varied application needs.  They are flexibility, adaptability, and extensibility.  This translates to the ability for you to implement applications that fully meet your needs.  Let’s look at each of the three qualities and what it means to you.

Flexibility – Cim is a modular system.  It is designed so that modules can be dropped into a SharePoint environment and “loosely” connected, but, work as a system.  This allows for great variation, particularly as the applications become bigger and broader, such as multi-phase processes that span a SharePoint environment.  Imagine you have an Innovation Process.  As you spin up new challenge communities, they light up at the fingertips of end-users wherever they work, and, they automatically start feeding into the existing management process site.  It just works, even though users are working in very distributed places across SharePoint and working in different contexts.

Adaptability – CorasWorks is known for its adaptable software.  This means that organizations can easily modify the software using Wizards and configuration instead of having to crack compiled code.  Four key areas of adaptability of Cim are 1) a flexible web 2.0 style interface supporting CSS/XSLT branding and UI changes, 2) configurable community options to make them fit for purpose, 3) very adaptable business processes to modify the process and the individual activities within it, and 4) the ability to create custom user actions to automate work, connect to external SharePoint sites for supporting and downstream activities and to feed the Cim Activity Stream.  This adaptability is absolutely critical to empower business groups to continuously modify and refine their communities and their processes as they learn and their needs change.

Extensibility – Cim is powered by the CorasWorks Solution Platform running on SharePoint.  This industry leading platform is 8 years old, very mature and now in v11.    The platform enables you to extend Cim in many key ways.  You can tie into SharePoint and external systems in read-write modes, create highly unique presentation widgets (charts, mashups, etc.), add custom mobile extensions, and even, open Cim up to be consumed by external systems.  All of this is done purely through configuration – no need to crack code, deploy code, and support custom code.

 

Bringing It All Together – One Experience for the End-User

With Cim you can address a number of different solution areas and have a wide variety of applications.  It could appear that you would end up with separate siloed applications, with separate UI’s, training, maintenance, etc. – like the old days.  With Cim v2.1, this is not the case.  The breakthrough in Cim v2.1 is the Cim Activity Stream.  It provides end-users with a single place to go that enables them to collaborate across all of the information resources, communities, challenges, services, and, processes that you’ve deployed with Cim.  This makes it remarkably easy and convenient for the user, and thus, engages the user to participate in driving your business value. 

Below we show a screenshot of the Cim My Activity Stream deployed within a Department Portal.  Note that from here they are engaging in activities across the environment.

Activity Stream

Imagine that you want to deploy an application across your entire enterprise that will capture Cost Reduction Ideas, allow broad user collaboration on them, and, put them through a process for evaluation, approval, and, implementation.  You’d drop in your new community, configure your process to evaluate ideas, and click to Go Live – instantly, all users across the enterprise will now have your app at their fingertips and can start contributing and collaborating.  There is no need for users to go any where, no need to deploy new things in sites for users, no need for them to learn a new app UI or be trained, and, no need for you to built-out a branded portal for end-users.  Yet, you now have an enterprise app, in production, with mass scale, delivering value. 

So, in sum Cim delivers business value by delivering on both sides of the coin.  On one side you have support for a broad range of applications that are fit to purpose and serve as the mechanisms for business value.  On the other, you have a single, consistent user experience across all of the apps that engages users to actually drive the value home. 

william

User Centric Focus Empowers Social Collaboration on SharePoint 2010

Service Pack 1 of SharePoint 2010 was recently released.  The “mainstream” of SharePoint users are now on their way to migrating to SP2010.  Where are the new quick wins and big wins for organizations on their new platform?  We believe that social collaboration on SP2010 offers great potential.  Can collaboration really be enhanced in a significant way?  The answer is yes.

With Cim v2.1, we have added a new solution, Cim Collaboration, for social business collaboration on SharePoint 2010, that enhances SharePoint to provide organizations a much more powerful way to drive business value.  In this article, I’ll provide an overview of the core elements of the solution.  As you’ll see, the key “big change” is a shift to a user centric focus that is the new driver for effective social business collaboration.

Let’s start by taking a look at the typical collaborative experience of SharePoint 2010.  Most organizations are following the same approach they did before – team sites and department sites as part of their Intranet.  How do we collaborate?  We navigate to a site, assuming we have access.  We find data typed content in lists and libraries with little relationship.  We review, edit, or add new items.  In effect, we have collaboration by proximity.  It works, but, couldn’t we do a whole lot better…

With Cim v2.1, we’ve add our new Cim Collaboration solution.  It brings together three core elements that work to provide an easier, more robust, and more effective collaborative experience on SharePoint 2010.  I’ll go over the 3 elements and describe the mechanics of how it delivers the result.

 

Collaborative “Communities” with Purpose

At the core of Cim is the “community”.  It is a new kind of site designed for a better social collaboration experience.  We use communities for many purposes from department collaboration, to idea communities, challenges, professional communities, and collaborative business processes.

-  At a very simple level, you could spin up a community for Marketing Collateral.  Marketing would be the primary contributor.  They would post new collateral.  Sales and others would “watch” the community.  They would rate, comment, and offer up their take on better collateral or needs for new collateral.

- A little more advanced community would be a community for departmental collaboration.  Here members of the department collaborate with each other.  It would segment types of topics, use managed tagging, and perhaps allow for peer reviews.

- Going further, you may have communities that specifically drive processes like Change Request Management.  People contribute and collaborate, and then, change requests are put through a structured, yet collaborative, process to review, approve, and implement them.

A “community” has a purpose, context and engages people to work better together to advance that purpose. However, it is not necessarily “Yet Another Place To Go” (YAPTG).  With Cim, a community owner can spin up a community quickly which is then available broadly.  They don’t necessarily have a separate “destination” site for which they have to worry about branding, other features, etc., or, that users have to navigate to in order to engage.  For instance, a departmental portal may actually expose many different communities from across a SharePoint environment.  Or, an Innovation Portal may have many idea communities and challenges.  The community is the context for collaboration.

 

Cim Community – Fit to Purpose

Now, this doesn’t mean that Cim communities are therefore simple.  In fact, with Cim each community can be easily and extensively customized to fit its purpose.

The Marketing Collateral community mentioned above may have a simple contribute form and a couple collaborative features.  Whereas a process community like Change Request above may have a contribute form with special fields, grouping and managed tags, custom listings and filtering, peer reviews, private management reviews with scoring, and, structured downstream review, approval, and reporting processes.  Below is a screenshot of an item from the Change Request community.

Collaborative Activities

Cim provides the community owner with the options to control the experience and the purpose.  This differs from other social business offerings that see social collaboration as a relatively flat, pure conversation approach.  We see the need to have communities that are different, and, more robust as necessary to meet their purpose.  When fit to purpose, communities are much more effective at channeling collaborative activity towards the business purpose.

With that said, the trick is that while the Cim communities may be distinctly different, the user experience is simple, convenient, and consistent across communities.  We do this by shifting to a user centric focus for collaboration.

 

User Centric Focus of Collaboration

Okay, so with Cim, we can have many communities of different types.  The big change in Cim v2.1 comes with a shift to a user centric focus for collaboration.  This is done by providing users with a separate user interface that they control to enable them to collaborate across communities and across the entire SharePoint environment.  This UI is the Cim Activity Stream.

The Activity Stream is a feature that can be snapped into any site in SharePoint.  It is where people go to collaborate – all of the relevant activity comes to them.  They can see new communities that have been launched (Community Listings).  As they contribute or collaborate this activity shows up in their My Activity.  They can watch a community or individual contributions (Watchlist).  Any activity by others on items they’ve watched or contributed will appear in their My Stream.  Below is a screenshot of an Activity Stream UI snapped into a department portal showing the core features.

Activity Stream

The relevant community collaborative activity (contributions, rating, comments, uploads, peer reviews) flows to them.  In addition, the downstream process activity for process-centric communities also appears in their activity stream.  This can include activities such as Management Reviews and Votes, Stage changes, Decisions, Task assignments, completion of documents, etc.

From the My Activity Stream UI the user can see what is happening, click to contribute, click to collaborate on an item or within a community – all without going anywhere.  In addition, they can see the user profiles of their collaborators and click into their My Sites and engage directly with that individual and with their social network.  Thus, from their Activity Stream they can now collaborate within any communities across the entire SharePoint environment and directly with other users.

With the Cim Activity Stream, we’ve made collaboration user centric vs. content and location centric as most of us experience in native SharePoint.  This is a big shift.  They have a single place to go and control over their collaboration experience.  The visibility is greater, the work is easier, the activity is relevant, there is less navigation, and less email and UI distraction.  It is fast, easy, relevant and convenient.

Summing Up Cim Social Collaboration on SharePoint 2010

The user centric Activity Stream is the big change.  But, it is this change combined with the ability to support many types of communities for different purposes that can be fit to purpose that gives our approach the breadth and depth to make significant impact.

Most of us invested in SharePoint originally to share information and have a better collaborative experience.  We’ve made progress.  Now, with Cim v2.1, you can leverage your investment in SharePoint 2010 and unleash the potential of social business collaboration to drive your business forward.

william

Social Business Software: Give yourself an unfair advantage

Social has been hot for a couple of years.  Now, people are trying to figure out how to apply the capabilities to business.  Often people come to the space with vague notions of social. Every conversation seems to bring up Twitter and Facebook.  It makes sense.   People are coming to the space based upon what they know as consumers.  However, when talking about CorasWorks Cim on SharePoint, I find it very effective to start the conversation a bit differently.  It goes like this…

Business is a team sport.  It is competitive.  Yes, there are rules.  But, what if you could give yourself an unfair advantage over the competition?  An advantage that would make you more powerful at the point of attack.

Think of a team sport like football.  Eleven people on each side.  But, imagine if you and only you were able to tap another 15 people, including 5 ringers with specific skills and knowledge, to turn the situation to your advantage.

Effectively, social business software is an enabler to do just this.  It gives you a multiplier effect of your workforce and enables you to bring this force to bear when and where it matters.

How?  Most of our applications/systems are designed for a purpose.  This is good because it focuses on a specific objective.  The problem (or opportunity) is that most of these applications are inward looking.  They take a constrained inward looking view towards how best to accomplish an outcome.  Part of this historically is based upon technology and design.  However, a more significant part is simply our perspective of the playing field and the rules.

Let’s take a help desk.  CorasWorks has provided help desk solutions on SharePoint for years.  They are always driven by IT Help Desk managers.  They are focused on efficiency.  But, for many items maybe you don’t need one.  With a social business application your “help desk” largely becomes the community in the middle.  People submit questions, and, others answer them.  The community becomes the source of answers (other than resetting passwords).  It is hugely scalable, tends to get it right, becomes a visible repository of correct answers and challenges, and is very convenient to use.  Along the way, you may even find that most of the questions are very, very different from IT issues.  Your employees really want to know how to do something, to find this or that, who knows this information, can I do this, how can we get something done.  For social business, think of your enterprise help desk more like a virtual concierge that brings everyone’s knowledge and experience to bear.

How about product change requests?  For most organizations, this is a very insular process of a limited number of people.  How about opening it up?  Allow users to quickly submit the requests.  Make the process visible.  Let other users outside of the normal process weigh in.  Vet your conclusions with the crowd.  Yes, actually ask them to comment on what you are thinking.  You can also just open it up to partners, customers, or even the public. It is about using your social business system to enable you to tap this broader workforce and deliver the results.

What about narrow technical solutions?  Your engineering office in Chicago has a technical challenge.  The Berlin office has addressed it 3 times already this year.  But, would the Chicago know this.  Maybe yes.  But, the key is that we usually don’t know exactly the right person to ask.  By leveraging a social business system, you are able to tap into people for things that you don’t know have the answer.  If you knew who had the answer, you’d just send an email.  Life would be easy.  The unfair opportunity is not based upon communication (that assumes that the people know one another) – it is about collaboration by people that don’t know each other.

The range of scenarios is huge. The power of the opportunity becomes clear when you change your perspective and ask yourself how you can give yourself an unfair advantage, in a particular situation, by tapping into a broader group of people.  By the way, this thinking doesn’t come easily.  We have been trained to think more narrowly, solve problems, with known resources.  You will find it easier to always think about a specific situation, and, imagine who would be the perfect “ringer” that you could bring to the game to make you successful.  Then, let your system do the work…

In this context, it is easier to see that the role of social business software like CorasWorks Cim on SharePoint is to be the enabler to make this happen.  More on this to come…

william

Customers and Partners Show Their Stuff at CorasWorks Hosted Federal Case Study Seminar

Okay, we love to present.  But, we decided to turn the tables and host a Seminar where our Federal customers and their systems integrators showed off what they’ve built with CorasWorks on SharePoint.  This packed, standing room only, unclassified event was held last week at our corporate headquarters.  I was blown away by the breadth and richness of the applications and their mission-critical importance. Here’s the skinny…

First of all, thank you to all of the presenters.  You made it a great experience.  We had the following customers presenting:

- Department of State

- US Marine Corps – Headquarters

- US Marine Corp – Rapid Development and Deployment Office

- US Navy – Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)

- US Navy – Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC)

We also had two systems integrator partners presenting and assisting presentations that have done a lot of work with CorasWorks on SharePoint in these accounts.  They were: Twin-Soft (Virginia) and Omnitec Solutions (Maryland).  Thank you to the presenters and all of our guests.

Collectively, these customers represent a couple hundred thousand users of CorasWorks on SharePoint.  They referenced more than 20 applications they have put to work.  These applications covered the full CorasWorks solution scope from Collaborative Portals, to distributed business processes, enterprise task management, project management, and idea and innovation management.  Many were truly mission critical (i.e., achieve the result or really bad things happen).  Some of the key one’s presented were:

- HR Portal Management – many different applications and processes to manage the business activity across the State Department’s portal

- Inspectors General Checklist System – system to manage 130 checklists of the Inspector Generals office of the Marine Corp (replaced 40 year old mainframe system)

- Training Registration – application to manage training classes and registrations for US Marine Corps Headquarters

- Enterprise Task Management – comprehensive tasker management and suspense tracking with 150,000 tasks, 3,000 users across ONI

- Urgent Unmet Needs System – extensive work stream to track and manage urgent unmet needs from the battlefield, through the Marine Corp process, and into the development and deployment of solutions

- Enterprise Best Practices System – end-to-end, idea management system based upon CorasWorks Cim v2.0 to drive enterprise best practices across the 50,000 person CNIC command covering 70 installations worldwide

 

Here are a few takeaways from the presentations…

- Broad Perspective of “SharePoint Work Environment” – many customers see SharePoint in a narrow context – often site-bound, and usually no more than site collection bound.  Our presenters all had a common and clear perspective of SharePoint as a broad, distributed, yet, unified work environment.  Thus, their apps were designed to be distributed, with role based consoles, Snaplets, and, with the assumption that data can be anywhere (within or outside of SharePoint).  Refreshing…

- Federal Technical Certifications – the fact that CorasWorks maintains Federal Technical certifications has helped the broad/viral adoption of it as a platform for applications

- Strong Adoption of OpenApp Standard – with CorasWorks v11, the OpenApp standard (based upon the advanced toolkit) is being increasingly leveraged by customers.  Most of the applications presented used it for data integration and custom UI’s.  The Tasker Management ONI application used it to build an application where all of the data is in SQL Server, but, the experience is all SharePoint (and so is the document repository).  Combining the OpenApp approach which allows you to build very deep custom applications without cracking Visual Studio (meaning that you don’t then have to convince infrastructure IT to certify a bunch of DLL’s) with the Technical Certifications has really empowered these customers to take SharePoint to a new level.

- CorasWorks for Distributed Business Processes – probably the best kept secret of CorasWorks is its usefulness to build out custom business processes.  Most of the apps fell into this category.  Typically, these are people-driven processes leveraging our Action framework.  In v11, the framework now allows developers to create the Actions separately and then use them in their custom displays.  Further, the Actions can now directly call Windows Workflow Foundation – thus, you get robust people-system automation.  Again, most of the applications were distributed, meaning that users with different roles, were engaging and working from different places across the SharePoint work environment.

 

Overall, just a stellar day.  We need to more of these types of seminars for Federal and Commercial (PS see my post about the Claims Management app built by Clyde & Co and shown in a webcast a few weeks ago).  If you have a great app that you want to show off ping your CorasWorks contact or email info@corasworks.net.

 

william

Social Business Collaboration Meets SharePoint 2010 Intranet

Many of our customers are in the midst of migrating to SharePoint 2010.  In most cases, the initial objective is to lay out an Intranet with multiple departments and business functions.  In this article, through a few videos, I’ll show you how your new Intranet on SP2010 can become a much more vibrant, engaging, inter-active, and productive place to work when it is enhanced with CorasWorks Cim Social Business Collaboration.

On SP2007, our Intranets tended to be quite passive and focused on collaboration defined by the location and type of content.  As you’ll see in these videos, Cim on SP2010 puts an entire new layer of activity on top of this environment.  Your environment provides a much richer collaborative experience, where information and activity is visible, that encourages greater participation, and gives the users a much easier and more convenient way to work.

I have three videos for you.  They all revolve around the portal of an IT Department.  This department has three core collaborative communities that are embedded into their department portal.  Users just get down to work, with very little navigation required.

NOTE: When you click to view the video, click the “full screen” option at the top – looks a whole lot better.

 

Cim – IT Department Portal, Communities, and Inter-Activity (runtime 4:53)

In this video we’ll show the inter-activity by just working via the home page of the IT Department portal.  You’ll learn about collaborative communities, Top 10 Listings, rich collaborative articles, and, the Cim Virtual Workspace.

 

Cim – Collaborative Community Experience – Drilldown (runtime 3:32)

Here we’ll drill down in the IT Post community.  This is the community for general collaboration across the IT Department.  You’ll see how easy it is to find what you need, contribute, share and collaborate.

 

Cim – Business Activity Stream (runtime 4:53)

In one place, you can now see all of your activity across many communities in your SP2010 environment (not just your department, but, the whole environment).  You can see what you’ve done and where you did it – new posts, comments, ratings, uploads, reviews, etc.  You can also see the activity of others on the items you’ve posted or that you’ve decided to watch.  In addition, you’ll see how this integrates into SP2010 User Profiles, My Sites, and the social activity of SP2010. 

 

I hope these videos have given you a taste of the new type of experience that you can look forward to for your Intranet with CorasWorks Cim on SharePoint 2010.  We hope that your expectations for your collaborative work environment have grown over the last 3 years.  Today’s Intranet can be a much more engaging and inter-active place to work, and, that’s good business.

 

william

Presentation on Social Business to Federal SharePoint User Group

This past week I made a presentation to the Federal SharePoint User Group on CorasWorks Cim v2.0 for Social Business on SharePoint 2010.   I’ve attached the presentation for your reference.  The presentation was oriented to a standard SharePoint audience, particularly one that is looking to migrate or beginning to leverage SharePoint 2010.  I’ll cover some of the key points made in the Social Business Overview and in the live Demonstration.

Key Points of Social Business Overview

- Social Business software is used to enhance engagement of users and collaboration across an enterprise.  It is gaining rapid adoption amongst early adopters.  SharePoint customers are gradually adopting it, a bit slower than the early adopters in the general market.

- The association AIIM has done some quality work in the area.  They have 65,000 members and have specialized in document/record management for 60 years – going back to film.  They are educating their members on the difference between Systems of Record (like SharePoint for Enterprise Content Management) and the new Systems of Engagement (Social Business Systems) and how enterprise IT needs to plan for the addition of such systems in their environments.  Here is a link to the white paper Systems of Engagement and the Future of Enterprise IT written by Geoffrey Moore and based on an AIIM task force on the subject.

- CorasWorks Cim v2.0 allows SharePoint users to drop an integrated System of Engagement on top of their SharePoint environment.  This differs from other market offerings which are advocating for customers to buy separate Systems of Engagement, often running SAAS.  Our message is that you are able to drive a great deal more business value by sticking with SharePoint and laying Cim on top.

- We lay out a Social Business Value Continuum with three main levels of business value.  Most Social Business vendors stop at the first level – Social Collaboration.  Cim enables organizations to drive up the stack into Social Business Processes (that combine Social Collaboration with structured Business Processes) and Social Business Systems (that go the next step and allow for distributed, interconnected systems across a SharePoint environment and to external services/applications, such as our Idea and Innovation Management solution).

- In addition, while other offerings, including SharePoint 2010 itself are primarily targeting the Social side of the equation, highlighting features such as social network, profiles, tagging and personal activity, CorasWorks Cim is focused on the Business side with features such as communities of purpose, business activity stream (no friend feeds), integration of communities with structured business processes, stage-gate support, configurable business actions and activity, reporting and analytics.  And, because we leverage SharePoint, we integrate the pure Social side into the equation, but, within the Business context.

- Cim runs natively on SharePoint, storing its data in SharePoint and leveraging it for administration and security as well as additional capabilities.

 

Key Points of Demonstration

The demonstration was a scenario of “A Day in the Life of a Process Improvement Idea”.  It showed how an idea flowed through a process that includes all 3 stages of the Value Continuum.  The key points where:

- Cim provides a “collaborative community experience”.  Thus, communities are not necessarily sites you have to go to.  Users are able to engage in a “community/process” from any place across SharePoint – team sites, my sites, department portals, etc. From there, they can See, Contribute, and Collaborate in one or more Cim communities, business processes, or systems across SharePoint.

- Communities may be for collaboration such as for departmental collaboration or for project managers across an organization and/or they may be tied to more specific business purposes and processes such as application change requests, knowledge pipelines, new product development.

- With Cim, users create Articles – a new rich, robust, collaborative document.  Each article is a living document that over its life-cycle may contain text, documents, comments, ratings, peer reviews, management reviews, stage approvals, final decisions, tasks and more.  We don’t talk about collaborating on or processing a Word document any more.  We talk about working on an Idea, a Contract, a Proposal, a Project, a Policy, a Solution, an Issue, an Initiative, etc. 

- The activity of users across communities or by others on items you submit (either collaborative or as part of a business process) are available to you via your personal “business activity stream” (a new Cim v2.1 feature). 

- We showed how the Process Improvements community is tied to a structured Stage-Gate based Business Process.  Management puts the contributions through a set of stages, each of which has business activities that get kicked off and completed, to move it to the next stage.  The process may be light and quick or longer and more involved with complex business activities.

- We also showed how one business activity within a stage can be to task a team to do something.  The system creates a task item in the SharePoint team site of that team.  It is related to the Article and users can interact, ie., the people in the team can do their work on the task and the managers of the process can see and act accordingly.

- After a decision is made on the idea, we showed how the user could push the idea into a “downstream” and related business process.  We showed pushing the idea into a Program Management Office to kick off a project and pushing it into a SharePoint team for implementation. 

 

Summary

The core message of the presentation is that organizations using SharePoint are in a fantastic position to leverage their environment to layer on Systems of Engagement that dramatically improve their efficiency and effectiveness.  It is much more than just Social Collaboration.  It is about enabling your organization to drive up this new business value continuum by leveraging collaboration within business processes that drive results. 

In addition, vendors such as CorasWorks are rapidly creating innovative solutions that can be added to your SharePoint environment.  And, since our solutions are designed for SharePoint, they inter-operate.  In reality, SharePoint is arguably the most “open platform” for Enterprise 2.0.  It isn’t about open-source code, the key to value, is to have an open application environment where users can collaborate, see activity and participate in processes enabled by product vendors, service providers, customer IT, and, the day-to-day activity of business users.

Imagine that – Microsoft SharePoint 2010 – the open Enterprise 2.0 application environment. Move over Open-Source folks, it is Open-App time.

william

How Cim v2.0 Communities Drive Enhanced Effectiveness of Social Collaboration on SharePoint 2010

A great number of organizations are in the midst of their migration to SharePoint 2010.  This migration carries with it a new set of expectations for the platform.  So, what are the key areas for new value?  A common one cited is potential network effect of social collaboration with your internal workforce.  In this article, I will drill down into Cim v2.0 Communities and how they enable a new level of organizational effectiveness and directly drive tangible business value through social collaboration.  

So, what is it that customers want from social collaboration that enhances the value derived from their SharePoint 2010 workplaces?  Here is my list of common wants:

- a richer set of interactive collaborative features

- greater visibility across the workplace and less navigation

- easier and more convenient to use

- reusability across varying scenarios

- drives improved efficiency AND effectiveness of purposeful activities

- results in tangible improvements in business value

Within Cim, social collaboration is driven through our Communities.  Cim includes a Community module, one of nine in the product. This module is at the heart of the overall social collaboration experience.  As you will see below, Cim Communities are not necessarily destination sites (although they can be and they may be part of one) as we have historically considered a community to be.  Rather, Cim Communities become core features of your SharePoint environment providing a robust Community experience and driving social collaboration.  This distinction makes Cim Communities able to be much more targeted at specific purposes that drive tangible activity and business results.

There are three core aspects of Cim Communities that work together to produce the above result – they are:

- Rich, interactive, social collaboration feature set

- Usage Flexibility

- Designed to Support Direct Alignment to Business Processes

 

Rich, interactive, social collaboration feature set

Because we designed our communities as drivers for business processes, they come with a very rich feature set.  I’ll list the top ones in three sections below.

First, the general features of Cim v2.0 Communities are (NOTE: for more technical people):

- Each is technically a native SharePoint site – thus, data, functionality, security and administration are in native SharePoint

- The user experience is delivered via a distributable Snaplet that can be snapped onto any web part page across your SharePoint environment.  The Snaplet is self-contained – one very robust web part.  The result is that you don’t have to navigate to the community to participate.

- It is a multi-content experience (technically a mash-up) – it is not data typed into separate web parts like those within a team site – the experience and content revolves around each item within a given community

- Customizable contributor web 2.0-style forms, with custom fields that can be set for public or private

- Each Community can be “fit to purpose” with the features and metadata for the purpose, including styling using our CSS-framework

- Communities support configurable Groups to slice the contributions and Managed Tags to further slice contributions – used by users for access and back-end processes

- Users can subscribe to the entire Community, a Group, a Managed Tag, an Author, or individual articles – they will then receive a feed of the relevant activity

- Users can perform searches within one community or across a portfolio of communities distributed across an environment

Now, to some specific collaborative features. Below we show a detail view of a posting to one of our communities whose purpose is to gather Product Ideas that are then put through a downstream stage gate process for approval.

recycled values

 

Here are some of the key features of this display:

- Custom Fields – you can expose custom fields used for management and downstream processes.  Above we expose Status, Group, and Pulse.

- Feedback – users can comment and do star rating (1-5) which translates to Star Power calculation used in supporting Top 10 Listings and Reports

- Documents – the author and community users can upload documents and add notes

- Peer Reviews – each community can have a peer review form tailored to its purpose.  The form is customizable.  You can have choice fields that are used in weighted scoring, and also, absolute fields for numeric and dates (for surveys), or text fields.

- Pulse Auto-Promotion – the administrator can set Pulse categories (such as Bubbling above, Hot, Cold, etc.) and thresholds based upon activity and data to auto-magically promote items to a different Pulse.  It can also trigger notifications and review gate changes.

- Managed Tags – each contribution can be tagged by the author using Managed Tags set by the administrator – these make it easy for users to access related items and subscribe to feeds

- Social tagging – each contribution can be tagged into SharePoint 2010 My Sites which then add it to the social network

 

Additional back-end/downstream features:

- You can create customized emails triggered by activity

- You can trigger notifications based upon changes (like Pulse changes) or time

- You can enable Content Approval to require approval before publishing or to be used in a one to many scenario such as when you use a Community to submit personal requests

- It supports a complete private collaborative display for downstream managers to comment, do separate Management Reviews (with different forms from Peer Reviews), and vote on items in a private environment

- It supports a downstream stage gate process with extensive configurable activities to drive Community contributions into and through a process

 

Usage Flexibility

The above feature set along with other modules of Cim v2.0 drive some typical and some unique usage scenarios.  Let’s start with the typical.  You can create Communities of Purpose.  Most other vendors target their communities for a scenario where you are deploying a site (like a team site) or a portal with features including a core community-like experience.  In our case, you’d create a portal with a Community at the core surrounded by other Cim features and SharePoint features.  These communities tend to be standing and somewhat passive sites.  

A new, more untypical approach with Cim Communities is to think of them as activity driving tools vs. passive sites.  We have found communities to be extremely effective as tools for event-driven activities such as in our Idea and Innovation management scenarios.  In this scenario, you would bring up a Community for a specific campaign, such as gathering product ideas for a business line.  It would be “open” for say 30 days.  Then, it is closed and the results are worked.  This has shown to driven great participation.

A key part of Cim Communities is that they are not Site dependent.  Thus, for instance, you can have many communities as part of a site.  Imagine you are building out the Product Management portal.   The users would work right in the portal with the full feature set of every community at their fingertips. Some communities could be:

- the general Product Management dept collaborative community

- a campaign for a new product line as above

- a standing community for Technical Challenges where needs are posted and resolved

- a community for Process Improvements with a back-end process to vett and approve them for implementation

- a customer stories community to capture stories from the field and expose them to collaborative feedback

- a Help desk, request community of the organization to capture requests (that is on every department portal) and managed by engineers using content approval

Following, this model you could use a Cim Community to augment an existing Extranet or Internet-facing site.  An example would be a community to capture online customer stories to feed into a marketing process.

You can also access a Cim Community from anywhere within SharePoint.  Because of the Snaplet architecture, the same community experience can be be snapped in the Product Management portal as above, and also, the Marketing department, and, the Enterprise portal.  A team may want the convenience of having this Community in their team site, or, the VP, Products may want it in their My Site.  This ability to distribute the “community experience” via a Snaplet enhances visibility, breadth of participation, and level of engagement. Below we show the Snaplet of the Product Ideas community in a My Site.  it is showing the article listing page of the community.  They can do all their work from within their My Site.

my site - product ideas

 

Designed to Support Direct Alignment to Business Processes

Within Cim, the Community is one of many modules.  Its role is to be the front-end for social collaboration.  It is common amongst social tools vendors to talk about how social capabilities and tools indirectly drive business value.  A common refrain is that a Community of Purpose say for an Engineering team adds business value by allowing engineers to share information and develop and improve better processes and techniques.  We definitely agree that this can add business value.  However, typically this Community of Purpose is not directly tied into a flow of business activity or a process which means that it may not really add tangible business value.

With Cim Communities, we have designed them so that they can be tied directly into back-end business processes. Let’s take the above Community of Purpose for Engineering.  Now, lets add a Cim Community to that site.  Its purpose is to capture the ideas for Process Improvements (new, changes, kill, etc.).  It is tied to a formal Process Improvement process. The engineers can share challenges and ideas and provide feedback and additional within the community.  It is a feature of that site.

Behind the scenes (the Management side of a Community) is a structured stage gate process to review and decide on whether to implement a given idea.  The Process Change Management team team has a private collaborative interface where they can comment, do formal reviews, and vote on each contribution.  It also is a Snaplet and may be accessed from any site across SharePoint.  Activity here updates activity in the Community in the site.  Below we show a sample of this Management Activity display. 

mgmtactivity - crop

This back end process is supported by other Cim features to manage the stage gate process, the portfolio, activity management such as delegating tasks, the portfolio, reporting etc.  Now, the Cim Community is directly tied into a business process that drives business value.

The result of this integration of a social community and a business process is that there is a more direct and tangible relationship to business value.  This also tends to drive engagement and participation since people know that this Community drives a formal process (what we call a Social Business Process).

Now, not every community should be tied directly to processes.  In a typical organization, perhaps 20-30%.  However, you will find that many Communities of Purpose come up with items that could and probably should then flow into a downstream business activity.  With Cim Communities, you can tap into these communities as a source to drive downstream processes.  

Summary

Cim and Cim Communities provide the rich, social collaboration experience that you expect with social software.  However, we have gone further to insure that you can take it the next step and very purposely leverage the powerful network effect of social collaboration to drive business value.  The fact that you can use Cim Communities with existing sites where and when you need it makes it a great way to incrementally add value to your organization.

william

New Cim v2.0 Jump Start Enablement approach Accelerates Innovation on SP2010

With Cim v2.0, we have moved our solution for SharePoint 2010 from an app for Idea and Innovation Management to being an enterprise platform for innovation applications.  Initially, we delivered most of our customers directly working primarily with the business groups.  Now, we have a new model where we can work with IT and partners to turn them into enablers that empowers them to deliver multiple applications as part of their overall innovation initiative – we call it Jump Start Enablement.

Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve personally been involved in an implementation using this new model for UCB, a $5b, 8,000 person, bio-pharmaceutical, headquartered in Belgium.  In this article, I’ll walk through this implementation and the new Jump Start Enablement approach.  In effect, this is a story of how we were able to go from bare metal to an implemented system with pilots for two business groups in 8 days.

Our Customer

UCB is a very innovative $4b+ bio-pharmaceutical company with 8,000 employees and operations in more than 40 countries.  They focus on providing solutions to people and families for illnesses, such as epilepsy, that you have to learn to live with.  The way they say it is:

“At UCB our sense of purpose is to help people suffering from severe central nervous system or immunological disorders lead normal, everyday lives.”

 

They are very patient-centric, looking for solutions to make life better for these people.

We did our on-site work at their 24 hectare campus in Braine l’Alleud about 20 minutes south of Brussels, Belgium.

braine-l'alleud-20110302-00038_crop

The Implementation

They wanted to implement an innovation system for the organization on SharePoint 2010.  Their approach is to have an innovation system that is a platform used to deliver many different social business processes across the organization that drive innovation.  This differs from wanting just a single app, say to do just idea crowd sourcing campaigns.  This fits into Cim v2.0 and our new Jump Start Enablement approach.

They have been using SharePoint for about a year.  They just migrated to SharePoint 2010 in the last few weeks.  The innovation system is the first major business focused solution on top of the new environment.

Our core team consisted of people from CorasWorks (the vendor), from UCB IT (the customer), and from Deloitte-Belgium (partner supporting their SharePoint implementation and innovation initiative).  

Below are members of the core team at work at the Braine l’Alleud facility.  We then incorporated representatives from two business groups in our process.  Braine-l'Alleud-20110302-00033-crop

 

There are four core phases to our Jump Start Enablement approach:

  • Preparation
  • Jump Start
  • Onramp
  • Enablement

 

Preparation

During the sales cycle, we worked with each of the different players to understand their goals and objectives.  As part of preparation we then map their objectives into the Jump Start Enablement process.  There are about 10 different implementation approaches with Cim v2.0.  They range from simple one app solutions, like crowd-sourcing, to different types of platform approaches such as the one at UCB where you will be bringing up multiple applications that can be separately managed by individual business process owners, but, that are all part of a single system.

 

Jump Start

In the span of 4 days last week, we did our initial Cim Jump Start.  This is the technical piece to get them up and running. Working virtually with the IT tech team in Belgium, we started with a bare metal server and installed the Cim stack of Windows/SQL, then SharePoint 2010 Enterprise, then CorasWorks v11, then Cim v2.0.  At that point we do a validation exercise – what we call a walkthrough.  

Then, we implement what we call a Base Reference Implementation (BRI) of Cim.  BRI’s are off-the-shelf generic configurations that match to their defined implementation model.  By Friday, we were able to do a workout of the working BRI on their servers. A workout is a standardized set of steps to run items through a business process from ideation, to management, to downstream execution.  Thus, 4 days from bare metal to a working system that is able to be used.

 

Onramp

On Monday I was in Belgium with a colleague to do the on-site part of the process.  We ran our Enablement process.  It is an intense, highly collaborative, three day process. 

On Day 1, we start by validating their general objectives, learning a bit about their business and then educating them a bit about Cim.  We then do a walkthrough of the existing system, basically showing the flow, as we work items through the process.

Day 2 is where the rubber meets the road.  It is intense.  We bring in the business groups (there were two) and we do an Onramp sprint.  This is a process of showing the business groups the generic process, then getting changes for their application, and then implementing them. This is done in real time, in a matter of hours. Each iteration is called a sprint following the agile methodology.  Significantly, CorasWorks doesn’t do the changes, but, our customer/partners make the changes.  In effect, it is a side-by-side hands on training, with real business people driving requirements.  Intense, a bit wild, and lots of coffee.

There are two things that enable this process to work.  First, the BRI is up and running already and is working, in fact, it could be used as is.  Second, is that with Cim v2.0, it is very easy to change things using our configuration Wizards.  This is important for the Onramp process and in the future as changes are required, which they always are, and new applications are launched.  The extensive flexibility of Cim, based upon the 8 years of CorasWorks products making this easy to do on SharePoint, is key to enabling quick changes to business processes. 

Our implementation with UCB was interesting because they had been capturing ideas in various other ways, from native SharePoint to Excel, to third party idea capture/crowdsourcing tools.  Part of our process was to migrate these ideas into the new Cim apps, instantly taking raw ideas and making them part of a robust social business process.  Pretty cool in a day.

We document the overall system changes and each of the business apps that we delivered in what we call Application Worksheets.  This documents the “knobs we turned”, the metadata changes, the branding, UI changes, navigation, etc.  It is the blueprint for each app for each business group used by IT.

 

Enablement

During Day 2, our customer/partners have learned a lot.  But, it is learning under pressure.  On Day 3, we settle down.  We do core training towards two objectives: how to maintain, customize and extend the system, and, the process for them to onramp business groups/applications.  We explain our onramp methodology and provide them with working tools.  We are effectively enabling them as an enterprise services organization to serve the needs of their internal customers.

The enablement is further supported by global CorasWorks support, the CorasWorks Community online environment, and, our specialized online Cim Learning Center.  The Learning Center provides the documentation, articles, and self-service videos, tutorials, cheat sheets etc. to re-enforce the learning they have done and drive them further.

 

Some Notes about this Implementation

- With UCB and Deloitte, the entire process was done in 8 days.  That is unusually fast.  Normally, this process spans a month.  However, the UCB team and the business groups were very organized, very focused, motivated, collaborative and highly competent.  The resources and people had all scheduled their time and showed up ready to work.  Thus, we didn’t miss a beat.  Usually, quite a bit of time is required to gain alignment, coordinate schedules.  In fact, we usually deliver the whole process virtually to accommodate the gaps that occur.  When, we can do it in a focused way, however, it is much more efficient and effective. 

-  Usually, we would just use one business group and one application to start with.  Onramping two business groups, both in the same room during Day 2, makes it chaotic and a challenge.  However, the good part is that you do get very useful “real time innovation” by the cross-fertilization across the business groups.  The learning is accelerated as they see how and where we recommend changes to the other business group based upon the requirements.  Normally, this type of learning session is done, but, after the initial application for one business group is deployed as the initial pilot.

- Demand Manager: UCB’s IT has a model with a “demand manager”.  This individual works with the business groups on applications.  This person was part of the team.  Our Onramp process is designed for this type of person.  They can then use our base process to create a standardized approach for onramping new business groups or adding new applications.  This scales the usefulness of the system as well as providing governance and standards.

- Business Process Emergence: In some situations, business groups have their process all mapped out in detailed visios, spreadsheets, etc.  But, they don’t know how this translates into the UI and model of the tool they are using.  Again, the key is that we start with a BRI so they can see and experience the tool, and, the flexibility of Cim to be changed real time.  In effect, most business groups start to understand and evolve their process real time as they see it, work with it hands on, and discuss it.  This is the real power – software that you mold to your needs real time as you get smarter, clearer, and see what works.  Bottom line is that Cim is a great tool to use to “bake out” your business process.  You don’t need to have all of the answers up front, in fact, that is usually overkill.  Let the tool help you get there.

 

Summary

I’d like to thank the UCB and Deloitte folks that were part of this fun and world-wind 8 day process.  It sets a high standard for future implementations.  For others, the key is that this new Jump Start Enablement process is a solid way to move forward for enterprise services enablement on SharePoint 2010.  It is designed to empower IT, partners, centers of excellence to make our innovation system a platform you use that drives innovation and social business processes across your organization. 

 

william