Collaboration 2.0


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Mike Ellis and Lisa Price demonstrate practical examples of high impact, low-budget web 2.0 techniques that organisations can use to transform the way they work.

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  • Eduserv is a not-for-profit IT services organisation and a registered charity. We work with universities, colleges and public sector and specialise in providing high-end complex web hosting and CMS development. We also provide single sign-on via OpenAthens and license negotiation for leading software and data resources Clients include DVLA, DCSF, BIS, Victim Support, The Science Museum The important bit here is that we are a highly successful business of around 110 people. We have VERY wide staff skills and a wide range of contexts: staff work together on projects to work for a specific time and to a specific goal ... The daily communication of ideas and operational progress provides a clear challenge.
  • Not big enough to have dedicated internal comms team! But have complex business goals / markets that mean we need to communicate effectively. Why collaborate? Gets things done faster, better and it can be very rewarding. What gets in the way? Size, all have own day-to-day priorities and heads in sand most of time, getting on with business. Nobody takes time to factor in collaboration. Collaboration takes work. It means knowing who to ask, how to approach them and often doing it in an unobtrusive way – just raising awareness of current projects can unlock all sorts of collaborative possibilities.
  • - Same as with Web2.0 outside the walls: resistance to trying new, 2.0 things… - Blocking is common: quote from a head of IT (who will remain unnamed!) “ IT departments exist to say no!” (it’s a bit rude, but there is some truth in it..)
  • invisibility! Fit in with real working lives - our staff aren’t (all) bloggers or Twitter users! stop things getting lost in translation avoids duplication smarter to work together work things out quicker less embarassing.... sharing intelligence
  • “ prosumers”....
  • - Wordpress to the rescue! - Theme – simple, open source, some branding around the edges (logo, colours, etc)
  • Free WP plugin – details in the paper. Some confusion about difference between blog and forum posts
  • - constant need to tell people to visit Inform - resistance to YET MORE EMAIL from some staff, but even now a year later we see 70% of our traffic coming from here - track click-throughs with Google Analytics
  • - the most meaningful of the stats is the 42 authors: nearly half our staff have written a post, which is exciting - also “add it to Inform” has become a standard phrase...the practice is starting to be embedded in the culture
  • Some issues about the difference between forum and posts, or even WHAT to post Staff still need to be helped along: the technology (however good or simple) won’t replace human contact We’ve found that lots of people have opinions and ideas that just weren’t being voiced before – innovation brings people out from the shadows. But you do tend to sometimes hear the same voices – so again, need to keep pushing the message and encouraging all to get involved.
  • As I said before, we’re a medium sized organisation We also employ contractors. People are coming and going. Skills change; people work on disparate projects Knowing who people are is one thing. Knowing what they do and their skills is another altogether
  • Everyone has AD, but it is cumbersome, complicated and difficult to surface we built a prototype system which pulls information from AD but also has additional info
  • removes the need for a separate series of cumbersome “bio” documents on a shared drive search allows staff to look for people with skills they might need staff can edit their own data (apart from some “core” data) built on a “forms” system which allows us to add fields in seconds login to authenticate using their existing Active Directory U/P we’ve included pictures – so you can put a face to a name (or vice versa!) actually, one of the most viewed pages is a grid with *just* faces which links to profiles...!
  • - this is also important: we built it so we could grab core information across the web...
  • which means we can use this info in lots of places: single source, duplicate channels taking a key web 2.0 concept – data distributed everywhere – and applying it to inside the organisation on the left is a “bookmarklet” - staff can drag this to their browser toolbar; clicking on it gives instant access to the directory on the right is an example of an embedded profile from the directory on an Inform blog post
  • accessing staff information is a surprisingly key thing to many people. our old sharepoint intranet shows this... we weren’t expecting this to be as useful as it has!
  • - Everyone suffers from inbox fatigue - Email overload has diluted the impact of the medium.
  • - we’re new to this, but staff seem keen on Yammer: 56 staff are currently using it (more than half the staff) we don’t know yet if it’ll continue to be popular – time will tell currently people use it for sharing links, asking about local resource (“where is the nearest picture framing shop?”) etc
  • still learning on this one ironically, it is people who use twitter who “get” Yammer, and their question is “why can’t I just use Twitter...?” all of this is optional – we’re not forcing it on people (that has pros and cons) but people like to have a choice
  • - by this I mean that many daily tasks: finding templates, expenses forms, documents are common, but too hard - we have a sharepoint intranet but are now replacing this..
  • - ..with a rapidly built “dashboard” which is (or will be shortly) personalisable for each person, pulling in info from relevant places in the business. - panels are drag/drop/add/remove: think but for internal use only - this dashboard approach is going to be how we start to grab information from disparate data sources and display top-level rapid information: for instance, HPSD, Sage, “Elbow” (our in-house contacts database), Salesforce, etc - we also have a google search box which we have pointed at our internal filestore, Inform and several other useful sources
  • as a technology company, we sometimes assume we need complicated technology... ...when actually the problem (not being able to find common documents) is really, really simple and can be solved really easily!
  • we do have some access to dev resource (in these examples, me: I’m not actually a coder, more a dabbler!) but if you don’t, many of these things can be done with existing web-based tools. even if you don’t want to use these tools longer term, they are valuable to demonstrate proof of concept and get buy-in for internal investment
  • Collaboration 2.0

    1. 1. COLLABORATION 2.0 Real world examples, and what we’ve learnt
    2. 2. Mike Ellis, Solutions Architect @m1ke_ellis Lisa Price, Web Communications Manager @lisapr1ce Hello.
    3. 3. > these slides are CC licensed > they will be available online at By the way...
    4. 4. It is easy saying “web2.0 is good”... ...but making it happen is harder
    5. 5. 1. doing things quickly 2. building community and content 3. finding out what “2.0” does for organisations This is about our real experiences
    6. 6. Some background
    7. 7. > this means we specify... > plan > plan some more > follow known methodologies > have backups Eduserv specialises in high-end solutions
    8. 8. ...make it up as we go along ... web 2.0 sometimes leapfrogs all of that
    9. 9. We’re too big to rely on the water cooler… … but we need some structure
    10. 10. > …the dissenting voice > …perceived risk (aka “fear”) > …the “just a fad” thing > …the “but why?” thing Reasons to be fearful…
    11. 11. “ everyone at Eduserv should be better informed about our business, and more in touch with our day-to-day activities” Our basic requirement was:
    12. 12. > democracy! allow anyone to contribute > be easy to administer > give moderators powerful tools > fast, visible results and benefits Our secondary requirements:
    13. 13. Problem #1: nowhere to share
    14. 14. Solution: “Inform” our internal blog
    15. 15. “ simplepress” forum
    16. 16. internal newsletter
    17. 17. > 256 posts, 42 authors > 14,000 visits > 53,000 page views > 3.75 pages/visit > 04:30 avg. time on site ...tangible results
    18. 18. > get agreement to play > use a known, easy platform (WP) > perfection isn’t a necessity > iterative improvement > launch, then continue to cultivate > innovation is infectious! total spend: £0 + 20 days effort (of which maybe 2 days tech) What we learnt:
    19. 19. Problem #2: who is everyone?
    20. 20. Solution: staff directory “2.0”
    21. 21. ..shortly we should also have “add as friend” and other SN style tools... … and useful personally editable fields
    22. 22. ...built with a simple API
    23. 23. ..which allows us to multi-surface
    24. 24. > org charts > printable directories > personal preference management > photos > bios > never know where you might need a staff directory! total spend: £0 + 5 days effort What we learnt:
    25. 25. Problem #3: email isn’t always the right channel
    26. 26. Solution: Microblogging (?)
    27. 27. > some messages are better suited to a micro-blogging format > some staff find it spammy / noisy > others are a bit non-plussed > in general it seems popular (so far!) total spend: £0 (but admin tools would be nice..!) What we learnt (are learning..)
    28. 28. * when the task is often straight-forward Problem #4: things are too complicated*
    29. 29. > search.. > ..links > (that’s it) Solution: radical simplification!
    30. 30. > Sharepoint wasn’t delivering everything we needed ...but people assumed that we *should* use it > 95% people’s day-to-day tasks are simple: staff search, expenses form, templates total cost: £0 + 5 days build What we learnt:
    31. 31. > we’re a hosting and development company so we have skills and resources in-house > BUT! Wide range of easy-to-use, low-cost apps out there that can help you transform how you work. Don’t need to be an uber geek to get started. Caveat
    32. 32. > social software in the enterprise requires a different approach: speed is essential.. > rapid build, adapt on the fly > fail quickly! > internal marketing is essential > push for open editorial policy > put users at the centre Conclusions
    33. 33. Mike Ellis @m1ke_ellis [email_address] Lisa Price @lisapr1ce [email_address] Thanks!
    34. 34. http : / / htt p:// ht tp:// 157622395957178/ Credits