Tag Archive for Social Business Processes

Cim Process for Product Ideas: Primer for Social Business Processes

As noted in my Cim 2.0 Overview article, we are adding support for Social Business Process apps in the release in a new category called Cim Process.  We will publish a number of apps in this category during 2011. In this article, I’ll take a look at the current version of the app for the Product Ideas process.  This is the sample app included in the product.  Follow on apps will be in the Cim Learning Center.  This article will give you a feel for this particular process, and, it will serve as a primer for this class of apps. 

Product Innovation Process

Innovation around Products is a staple of innovation activities in many organizations.  The requirements can range from simple to complex and from pure ideation to an end-to-end innovation process.  The implementation represented by this Social Business Process is on the simpler side of the spectrum.  It is a great place to start with Cim providing plenty of flexibility to enhance, extend and expand.


Walkthrough Deck

The attached power point deck (please log into the Community to access document) contains an overview of the Product Idea process implemented in a Cim portal of the Product Management department.  It includes screenshots from our demonstration site.  Basically, it walks you through the process.


Process Map

A key part of our Social Business Process lineup is that the basic design of the processes are very consistent.  The objective is to provide a robust and balanced integration of the social part of the process with the process management features.  For Product Ideas and other apps to follow we use a simplified process map as shown below.  The green dots represent the social areas of the app.  The blue dots show the management parts of the process. 

Process map 


Flexibility of Your Process

While the basic design is similar across Cim Process apps, they are designed to be flexible and easily customized to meet your needs.  Some common elements to customize are:

- the branding of the overall portal and the style of each main area

- the tabs and pages of the portal

- the permissions for who can access Management, Reporting, and Administration

- the Post Idea form and fields

- the managed tags, categories, and filters of the Product Ideas community

- the fields shown on the Idea Listings and Details

- the activity auto-promotion thresholds

- the ability to add Campaigns, Challenges, and supporting communities

- what Resources are available to users – news, recognition, information, knowledge

- the number and definition of the process stage-gates

- the fields, choices, and metadata used in the process

- the displays for each gate and the available process actions

- the management view and edit forms of process actions

- the Review forms used for peer-to-peer reviews and subject matter reviews

- the system email notifications (when, to whom, and format)

- people driven notifications such as custom emails and pre-set task assignments

- actions to create tasks for teams (in their team sites) and track them programmatically

- reporting and actions for users to act on information

- ability to link to other supporting and downstream activities/sites and interact

- ability to distribute most of the features of the process to any site within a SharePoint environment


Integrated Part of Your SharePoint Environment

We are used to thinking of an app in SharePoint or a Saas app as a place you go to (a URL).  This is the case when you install the Product Ideas app out of the box using an app specific Cim portal.  It is built to run natively on SharePoint leveraging the data, security and administration of SharePoint.  

However, it is designed to live within and across your entire SharePoint environment.  Any of the key features of the app can be snapped off and distributed to other portals, sites, apps across your SharePoint environment.  This increases visibility and encourages engagement – key elements that drive the effectiveness of innovation.  

In addition, the actions that people take, such as process managers delegating tasks to others, natively integrates with other parts of your distributed SharePoint environment.  For instance, a manager may assign a task to the Legal Department to perform a patent review.  In doing so, this task can now appear in the team site of the legal department to be worked the way they work.  However, the Legal Department and the Product Management team can then interact and see the status of delegated tasks in real time.

The diagram below depicts the hub and spoke way in which the Cim Process apps live and interact within your distributed SharePoint environment.  Natively, each of these other parts of your environment become an extension of this process. 



Stay tuned for more on Cim Social Business Processes …



Cim 2.0 – Overview of Release

As mentioned in My Sabbatical article, Cim v2.0 is planned for release at the beginning of February.  We’ve had great success with the Cim v1.2 release as shown in our Featured Customer Stories.  The v2.0 release broadens the product and goes deeper.  I’ll break it down into the two solution areas supported in this release – Idea and Innovation Management and Social Business Processes.  Along the way I’ll start to introduce you to the some new modules and features.


As stated, Cim has gone beyond just Idea and Innovation Management.  It is being adopted as a platform for Social Business Systems on SharePoint.  It was designed to go in this direction based upon our modular, flexible and open design.  In v2.0 we are adding support for different solution areas.  In future releases, we’ll add more supported solution areas.  Thus, in v2.0 we’ll refer to our Idea & Innovation Management solution as Cim Innovation and the new Social Business Processes as Cim Process.  Note that we have different approaches for making your successful with each of these as discussed below.


Cim Innovation – Idea & Innovation Management

Our core is Idea and Innovation Management.  Our customers tend to apply Cim in two different ways.  One is Idea Management where they focus on the idea capture and collaboration with a small amount of management and process.  The other is Innovation Process Management where they want to define and implement the end-to-end process.

In Cim v2.0 we are providing separate “flavors” of Cim modules with feature sets that are optimized to the different scenarios. 

-  Thus, for Idea Management we are updating Idea Communities with Dynamic Forms (easily modified), Activity Auto-Promotion and Peer-to-Peer Review. 

- Whereas, for Innovation Process Management we are adding core modules and features for Remote Updates, Role Based Notification, Chained Process Actions, separate modules for Team Sites and Consoles for business users to support a richer and more robust end-to-end process. 

Customers may use the various modules and features together, but, with this approach it makes it easier for them to get up and running with their initial scenario.


Cim Process – Social Business Processes

The wholly new solution set is Social Business Processes.  In Cim v2.0 we will be including a new set of modules and design to allow folks to quickly and easily deploy point, social business processes.  The key with these processes is that the social activities and process management activities are brought together in an easy to use, balanced, single app.

The sample process to be included in the product is for Product Ideas in the Product Management department.  This is the process we are currently demonstrating (if you haven’t seen it, give us a call).  In addition, our design will allow us or others to create additional social business process apps that you will get from the Cim Learning Center and snap into your environment.  Our first batch of 10 of these next generation apps are as follows:

1.Product Ideas (Product Management)

2.Technical Solution Challenges (Engineering, Services)

3.Customer Change Requests (Product Management)

4.Process Improvement (Cross-Functional)

5.Application Change Requests (IT)

6.Requirements Gathering (IT)

7.Project Initiation Onramp (IT)

8.Customer Stories (Marketing)

9.Partner Onramp (Marketing, Channel Management)

10.Strategic Planning (Executive)


These process apps will be released in a rolling schedule.  They are deployed in a site like an application portal.  This site incorporates the social aspects along with a stage-gate management process, notifications, and reporting.  The process app is packaged into a single module where you control the forms, data, security, process actions, stage-gates, notifications, auto-promotion, reports, etc. 


One Product, Many Solutions

Going into 2011, our plan is to continue to add additional solution types to the product.  We’ll also be adding individual apps, such as the business processes mentioned above, in the Cim Learning Center.  All of these will be part of a single product under a single license program for Cim customers.  This has been our approach with the CorasWorks Application Platform now in v11 and has worked well for our customers.  One key difference is that there is a base license for the solution and then a per user cost.  Thus, you have lower up front costs and can purchase more users as your adoption increases.



My Sabbatical on Social Business Systems

How have you been?  I’ve been a bit absent form the blogsphere over the last couple of months. I’ve been on a sabbatical of sorts going deep into Social Business Systems on SharePoint.  In this article, I’ll cover what I did, what I learned, and what the near future brings CorasWorks style.

In Q3 we launched our new CorasWorks v11 application platform for SharePoint, the v1.2 version of Cim, and the v2.0 version of PPM.  These new products are the basis of our lineup to deliver value through Social Business Systems on SharePoint 2010.  So, over the last 3 months I went deep into the jungles of our customers armed with these new tools.  I focused primarily on scenarios using Cim.  I took the lead as engagement manager on a number of Cim projects and saw them through start to finish.  I took the calls, I lead the sessions, and I listened and learned.  I also engaged with a large number and variety of our customers to expose them to our new products and work on loads of new types of applications.  In addition, I worked with analysts and other thought leaders who are all sensing the growing importance of Social Business Systems in the 2010’s.  Some, may call this work, I call it learning, fun, and really rewarding.

So, what did I learn…

- Social Business Systems have power – basically the approach comes down to opening up business processes to more easily and interactively engage a broader group of people.  In the 2010’s, you will see the merging of Social tools and Business Processes on a collaborative platform.  It resonates, they work, and results of processes improve. 

- Our customers need inspiration for their SP2010 implementations – for the most part our customers have been really struggling about what to do differently on SP2010.  Yes, there are tons of new technologies.  But, how should you leverage this new platform to deliver greater value?  Are there new approaches that work?  One validated answer is the new layer of Social Business Systems.  One customer calls it the “blue” layer.  Green is the team site (collaboration by proximity) – done.  Yellow is the portal (everyone’s place to view) – over done.  The blue layer is the missing one.  This is where people interact around a purpose, a process, a goal, a community.  This is the new layer of value.  It brings it all together, yet, allows people to continue to work from wherever they work in this distributed, virtual environment we call SharePoint. It is hard to imagine how vast this blue layer of value is until you see it and experience it. 

- Idea and Innovation Management is a staple of the new world – our drive into this space makes sense to our customers.  Innovation is critical to many organizations.  Effective Idea and Innovation Management is an objective but getting there is a real challenge.  By delivering a flexible solution customers can gradually move into this area and evolve towards being a better innovator.  It is working for our customers.

- People respond to the simpler, web 2.0 UI – If you’ve seen the new “UI” of our portal, solutions, applications, communities etc., you know what I mean.  In general, people are quickly adopting the new social style UI for collaboration.  This is because it is very easy to use, interactive, and has the web 2.0 style display of information.

- Web 2.0 – The Purpose vs. the Content – Naturally, we think of the nice looking display in web 2.0 style.  However, we have discovered the importance of another more fundamental difference.  Displays like native SharePoint and CorasWorks v10 are content typed – data typed.  A library of Documents.  A separate library of discussions.  A display of tasks.  They are separate and related by proximity of all things.  In the web 2.0 displays, they are about purpose – issues, knowledge, products, customer stories, change requests.  In effect, the displays are mash-ups of different types of content.  Accordingly, the design starts with the Purpose, content type is secondary.   

- Cim is really a platform for Social Business System solutions – we started with Cim targeting Idea and Innovation Management.  Our customers are now pulling it into many different directions – we are encouraging and supporting this – it is working well.  It is very quickly becoming a platform for a much broader range of solutions. 

- Our customers want to start small with point solutions – One important finding is that most of our customers aren’t yet ready for enterprise Idea and Innovation Management solution.  They ARE very ready for smaller, more point specific Social Business Processes.  Examples are managing Application Change Requests, Customer Stories, Project Initiation, Technical Solution Challenges.  Message received!

Moving forward…

Okay, so we learned.  Now what.  Well, 2011 is going to be interesting.  Here are some things we are doing:

CorasWorks Solution Learning Centers – Over the last month we have launched two Learning Centers for Cim and PPM.  They are now available to customers in the Resources section of the CorasWorks Community (http://community.corasworks.net).  These are private resources of customers of these solutions and are being packed with solution specific material.  We envision that these solution specific resources working as a community will be more effective for our customers.

Cim v2.0 – this new version will be out at the beginning of February.  It will now have two main solutions within it: Idea and Innovation Management and Social Business Processes.  The Social Business Processes solution type is targeted to address our customers desire for more specific Business Process solutions that are easy to deploy and use.  You will see the feature set grow rather quickly (more to come…).

Social Business Process App Publishing – we will get back on the horse and begin publishing a new generation of apps.  You’ll see them in the App Store and they will be available for download in the Learning Centers.  They will be released on a rolling basis.    Note that these apps are designed to address specific scenarios such as Application Change Requests, however, with our open app design they can be modified to other scenarios.

Cim v2.1, v2.2, and v2.3 – over the course of 2011 we will be releasing 3 more versions.  With each version we will be supporting additional solution areas within the broader context of Social Business Systems on SharePoint 2010.

Cim and PPM Integration Scenarios – we will continue to work on enhancing our loosely coupled design of these two major solutions.  It is very common for our customers to invest in both, however, almost always they are different business groups.  Making it easy and non-invasive to get the two groups to share information, interact and work together as part of a broader process is a design and people objective for us.

Over the next month, I intend to catch up on my blogging on all of the subjects above.  So, stay tuned.