We’ve heard the “Do More with Less” reframe quite a bit recently. But frankly, it feels like more work for fewer people. We prefer the mantra of “Do Less, Accomplish More”. This focuses us on solving the process/situational problem. It really drives us to think about how we can actually do less work and accomplish more. Using this refrain, I am going to take a look at our new v10 product and give concrete examples of how it supports the Do Less approach.
First, a little context. The economic situation requires change. Searching for some inspiration I re-found an article from the Harvard Business Review (May 2008) called the “Customer-Centered Innovation Map”. It basically lays out a way to focus in on the job customers are trying to do. The goal as a provider is to understand the “customers’” process and remove or reconfigure steps to improve their results. This line of thinking lead me back to a great book called “The Goal” by Eliyahu Goldratt. It teaches the same lesson – change your process, approach, tools and it is possible to Do Less and Accomplish More.
Now, armed with this inspiration, we took a concrete look at the CorasWorks Workplace Suite v10 and came up with the Top 10 ways that it reduces work and helps users accomplish more. Our scenario would be a standard work environment with 8 departments, about 100 sites, and 20 discrete applications and business processes with many cross-departmental connections. I provide a % reduction of work below – I admit they are educated guesses, but, you’ll get the basic sense of the impact.
% Reduction in Work
|Navigation to sites, lists and libraries, and items (not a very useful activity if not necessary)||95% reduction in navigating to individual items in lists and libraries and 80% reduction in site navigation, page refreshes||Ajax based UI, pop-up data entry forms, ability to work with different types of data in a single display and remote data connections enables users to work with information from anywhere in system without having to navigate and without page refreshes between tasks.|
|Repetitive tasks of acting on one or more items in one step (example: marking 10 tasks completed in 5 project sites)||90% reduction in steps for repeatable/multi-item tasks; about 30% overall reduction of “work” for average contributor||Using Actions, a user can a) be anywhere, b) use a pre-defined task, and c) act on multiple items in one step|
|Customizable end-user display to work with information (such as grouping, filtering, add, remove, or change columns, sorting, chart types, pivot table selections)||80% reduction in “builder” tweaks to support end-users; about a 20% improvement in the overall user productivity – similar to productivity increase of excel capabilities||Typically, a “builder” with site designer rights would have to create and configure a display for a use. Now, the user can control their display options on the fly with various “ribbon” options.|
|Users participating in distributed business processes (contribute items, approve/reject, modify, change status, publish, comment, tag, etc.)||70% reduction in navigation; 50% decrease in steps to participate; and 90% decrease in re-work due to mistakes||You are able to distribute interactive “views” to where the user works related to a process. From there, they have pre-configured custom forms and actions that structure and automate their work.|
|Custom code development and maintenance (the need to build compiled code, test it, install it, update it, and maintain it)||95-100% – basically we eliminate the need for custom code, except for very custom needs||Our web based builder wizards, modular components, integration tools provide a non-compiled code approach to “development”|
|Manual configuration of individual web parts reused across an environment (example: a distributed self-service help desk request display tied to a help desk application)||80% less need to touch individual web parts or displays||Central Views are a new v10 feature. They are attached to web parts (many views for one display). They are centrally configurable – one change and all remote views change.|
|Application design and building (example: designing a distributed business process for document approval)||50% reduction in design; 50% reduction in building (100% reduction when using downloadable applications/building blocks from CorasWorks Community with 20% add-back for customization – net 80%)||Because of modularity and consistent architecture across SP environment able to leverage standard 20 design patterns and reference applications AND reuse components across the entire environment. “Ready-for-Work” OTS snap-in applications replace process with buy decision.|
|End-user having to do work to a) drive business processes or b) generate reports and activities (example: each morning want to know what tasks are due in 2 days and automatically and notify assigned to and task owner)||50% reduction in configuration of back-end triggers/scheduled events; 80% reduction of work necessary to perform tasks (probably 10% overall reduction); 80% improvement in information relevance and timeliness||Enabled by wizard driven creation of event triggered and scheduled activities on the back-end. Uses existing Actions which are portable and reusable across entire SharePoint environment.|
|Number of Pages and Web Parts in Environment, creation, and maintenance||Usually more than 70% reduction in pages and 80% further reduction in web parts on pages; and thus, 75% reduction in building||With v10 one display web part can have many views with its own forms and actions – all centrally configurable. This leads to consolidation of web parts and pages for end-user and less work by builder.|
|Application life cycle management (such as moving app from dev to production – cost of application upgrading is major inhibitor to innovation)||80% less work in movement of apps from dev to production or physical moves and configurations; 70-100% reduction in feature upgrades; up to 95% reduction in site design upgrades with multiple sites||Supported by v10 One Touch System with global variables for sites/applications; Central Configuration and Update for Views, Forms, and Actions (no need to move anything); and programmatic design upgrades using Design Migrator|
Based upon the above it is rather clear that the CorasWorks v10 product allows you to Do Less to get the same accomplished, and, to do it faster, easier, and perhaps better. In effect it enables your end-users, power users, builders, developers and administrators to be more productive. This is goodness.
However, it doesn’t explicitly address the “Accomplish More” part of the mantra. This is a bit more zen. But, in short I believe that it boils down to three points. If people are freed from non-directly productive work, then, they are able to focus on the real work and be more creative. If people are empowered to change their process without technical/skills constraints, they will, and it will improve. And, if people can do this in the context of working with others, you get a network effect, and, your organization will prosper.
With or without CorasWorks or SharePoint, I strongly recommend the article and book mentioned above. They aren’t abstract or heavy. They are effective in getting the mind going and helping you envision what you can accomplish, even in times like this.
Posted by William Rogers on 31-Mar-09