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