Tag Archive for Cim Collaboration

The What is Working? Solution. Using Cim to Drive Continuous Improvement

We often talk about CorasWorks Cim to be used as a tool to drive innovation.  Therefore, we tend to think of new ideas, processes, and creating something novel.  However, one of the biggest opportunities for larger organizations is taking things that are already working and get them working in other parts of the organization. I’ll present you with a solution we call “What is Working?” and describe how this simple mechanism can drive continuous improvement.

Your organization is already innovative.  If it wasn’t you’d be out of business.  Your people already are doing really effective things.  They came up with ideas and implemented them, usually at a local level.  Someone, somewhere, is doing something valuable in the most effective way.  Who are they and where are they?  What if you could find out and then give it visibility so that others could also be doing things that way?

The problem is that people don’t necessarily think of good practices that they are doing as brand new innovations. They don’t know, what others don’t know.  So, instead of just focusing on innovation, you have to use messaging and provide a channel to your organization that is explicitly focused on getting people to share what is working for them.

Let’s call this solution “What is Working?”.  Your objective is to get your people to tell the rest of the organization what is working for them, their team, their group.  What you find out is that what is working for people at a local level, maybe they’ve been doing it for years, is not common knowledge or practice.  To that local group, it isn’t a novel, innovative idea.  But, to lots of others, it is brilliant.

 

How you would implement it

- You launch a “What is Working?” campaign

- You tell your organization “We are often so overwhelmed with how innovative you all are.  You just come up with great ways of doing things.  We really want you to share what you are doing so that others can learn.  If other people pick up your way of working, we will reward you for sharing.  We are providing a channel to make this easy and natural to do.”

- You then provide a Cim community for people to share and collaborate.

- You enable the Cim peer review mechanism so that others can try out a “way to work”, get results, and share the results with the community.

- You have a group of people to keep track of and manage the flow.

- You then provide a mechanism to provide recognition and rewards for things that people are doing that they share, that are copied, and, that prove to work.

-  You use “What is Working?” to then drive other activities such as an Enterprise Best Practices process, to kick off bigger idea, and to augment your Training curriculum.

 

Wrap Up

In sum, launching a “What is Working?” campaign is an easy and effective step to drive continuous improvement.  It starts with the recognition that people don’t know what others don’t know.  By sharing what works for them others learn and can collaborate.  In many instances, people that share will find even better ways of doing something and/or just validation from others.  They also make connections with others from around the world that are working in areas where they are working and care about getting better.

The nice thing about “What is Working?” is that you don’t need a lot of back end process.  In effect, the community, through sharing and collaboration, becomes self-innovative.  People now have a channel to share what they do and learn what others do in an open way.  It puts a mechanism in place and a burden on people to self-improve.  The management group participates to encourage, recognize, reward, and take findings to drive bigger adoption and better results.

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

Cim v2.1 Overview: Social Business Software on SharePoint 2010

It’s that time again.  We’ve been heads down on CorasWorks Cim v2.1, the next release of our Social Business Software solution on SharePoint 2010.  In this article, I’ll cover some of the key aspects of this release…

Release Date: The target release is the week of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) – July 11-14. 

Social Business Software Layered on SharePoint: There is a growing group of social software players primarily with SAAS offerings on proprietary platforms transitioning into social business offeringsCim has taken a different path. We layer our social business solution on top of SharePoint, taking advantage of the broad adoption of this enterprise collaboration platform already owned by many organizations, while also, serving to bring it all together as an integrated system.  In addition, by leveraging the CorasWorks platform and native SharePoint capabilities, Cim is able to offer the flexibility and customization depth for organizations to create robust business processes and apps that leverage social business collaboration.  This combination of breadth and depth, provides organizations with a very compelling approach to driving business value through social business software while leveraging the platform, existing build outs, knowledge, skills, and adoption that they have already invested in.

New Base Solution – Cim Collaboration: The purpose of our base solutions in the product is to make it faster and easier to get productive with robust social business scenarios with Cim.  We started out with Cim Innovation for Idea and Innovation Management with the v1.2 release in September 2010.  With the v2.0 release in February 2011, we added Cim Process for Social Business Processes.  Now, with v2.1 we are addressing the broad collaboration needs of users on SharePoint 2010 with Cim Collaboration.  This new core solution makes it a snap to enhance collaboration across your SharePoint 2010 environment. 

Cim Activity Stream: The key new sub-system of Cim v2.1 is the Cim Activity Stream.  It is the ultimate in collaborative convenience.  Users now have one place to go, to interact across all of the social business scenarios – general collaboration, collaborative business processes, and innovation scenarios.  The collaborative activity, the management activity, and the downstream process activities all feed into a single activity stream.  From there the user can see their personal activity across all of SharePoint, see the activity of others on the items they have created or watched, and manage their stream.  It is designed to reduce navigation, lower the “social noise” and the “email noise”, and, allow people to easily collaborate with others on relevant work.

SharePoint 2010 Social Network Integration: For the pure social side of activity, we’ve opened up Cim v2.1 to integrate with SharePoint 2010 social features.  This includes integration with user profiles to see who co-collaborators are, drill down into My Sites so that you can directly interact with people, and, social tagging (likes and notes) to push individual items into the SharePoint social network via users My Sites.  For those with SharePoint 2010 Standard or Enterprise, this gives you a convenient channel into your social network and activity without pulling the potential “social noise” directly into your business focused Cim Activity Stream.

Getting More Native with SharePoint 2010: With previous releases of Cim, we’ve often emphasized, custom branded portals.  We still support that and we make it easy.  However, most customers have lots of existing SharePoint sites.  With Cim v2.1 we have extended our architecture with “Snaplets” to allow you to drop a lot more functionality directly into existing SharePoint sites, be they Enterprise Portals, Department Portals, Team Sites, or My Sites.  We even allow you to deploy “micro-communities”, so that you can support multiple communities, challenges, campaigns, collaborative processes in a single existing SharePoint site.  Thus, there is no requirement to create “yet another place to go”.

Social Business Apps: We believe that purpose-driven, social business apps represent an important next generation of collaborative business applications on SharePoint.  They are simpler to understand, easier to use, more collaborative, and, with Cim v2.1 all natively integrate into a single user experience.  We have started to show off specific Cim-based social business apps in the new CorasWorks App Showcase.  We started with Knowledge Pool (collaboration) and Change Request Management (a nice example of a robust social business process).  Check them out.

Cim Open App Framework:  Cim v2.1 continues to build out the Open App framework.  For those familiar with CorasWorks v11 solution platform on SharePoint, Cim leverages this platform and delivers a whole new open development framework used to customize Cim for your application needs.  The Open App framework relies on “xDeveloper” skills (CSS, XSLT, XML, jXXX) – all non-complied code, but, definitely for developers.  You are able to customize the UI completely, the middle tier, and the back-end connectors.  With social business apps, we believe that the market needs this extensive flexibility.  It is an area of apps that is very rapidly evolving and innovating.  The Open App approach allows us to innovate and you to innovate.

I’ll be fleshing these topics out over the next month as we move to the release.  If you want a preview of Cim v2.1, just ping your CorasWorks account rep or send an email to innovation@corasworks.net.

william