Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams Report (August 29, 2007)

The People Part of Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams

  • Wiki at Janssen-Cilag … Nathan provides an extensive case study of how Janssen-Cilag has used a wiki for its new Intranet, replacing a previously static HTML intranet (small number of editors across the organization, only IT could upload latest versions of content files, many areas being out of date). Nathan proposed shifting to a wiki: “In general, the response was incredibly positive. Predictably, the main argument against this system was fear of improper changes to content, particularly for information subject to regulatory control. I would counter this argument in two ways: 1. There are two ways to control people’s behaviour: social forces and technical forces. Currently, we successfully rely on social forces to control a wide range of things like who calls or emails the CEO with their latest crazy idea. Technical forces are powerful, but with each technical feature we increase training and raise the bar against collaboration. Surely, we can see if social forces will be enough for all but the most critical of content? 2. Anyone can choose to monitor any content that they are concerned about (e.g. automatic email alert with changes). So, they can quickly jump in and correct any mistakes. 3. For exceptional cases, we may choose to lock down critical content and define clear ownership and responsibility for its maintenance. At the end, showing people around Wikipedia was an incredibly powerful way to seal the deal, particularly since they have often used it to find information in the past. There were no major objections to trying a Wiki-style concept.Nathan @ e-gineer
  • Wikis Reduce Email … Stewart outlines on how shifting to wikis for group meetings can result in a reduction of email traffic. “Let’s say you email the weekly meeting agenda to your team. Seems harmless, right? Well, it isn’t, because if someone in the group needs to edit the agenda, they’ll be emailing you to ask for changes. There’s one more email in your box that needs a reply! However, if you put that meeting agenda on a wiki page, and emailed just the URL to the agenda page, that group member who needs to edit the agenda can do so directly on the wiki, without having to send you an extra email. Now multiply that by all the agendas and other documents that could be put on the wiki for team members to directly revise.
  • “My” Information or “Our” Information? … Larry argues that if we can’t manage “our” own information, how can we manage “group” information? “When do we cross the line of managing “my” information (which is serviced by the technology segment called “personal productivity”) to managing “our” information (which qualifies as “collaboration” or “knowledge management”)? To me, it all seems to be on the same continuum. So, how practical is it to enforce a single folder naming or hierarchy convention? In many cases, it may be possible. But for most I suspect the folder metaphor is insufficient and something like tagging may be better since it seems to strike a balance between personal preferences and group needs.Larry Cannell

The Technology Trends of Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams

  • SharePoint More Profitable for Partners … Microsoft released some sponsored research showing that partners offering SharePoint solutions had better project profitability than those partners offering open source solutions. “Microsoft SharePoint engagements to appeal to larger companies, according to IPED. Average project size is $5,000 to $15,000 for an open-source collaboration engagement, compared to $45,000 to $150,000 for SharePoint ones. Hourly billing rates: $90 per hour, on average, for open-source partners, compared to $150 per hour for SharePoint ones.ZDNet, Microsoft
  • Northcliffe Media Going to Exchange 2003 … Northcliffe Media, a regional newspaper publisher with 4,500 staff, is consolidating 17 email servers into 2, and going from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003. They are also using Zantaz Enterprise Archive Solution for space savings. “The newspaper publisher expects that by removing duplicated emails and compressing them into a consolidated near-line archive store, it can reduce email storage requirements by up to 50%.ComputerWorld UK

Insights on Being Productive and Effective as an Individual

  • Dealing with Email Overload … Andrea outlines a number of ways that email overload can be addressed: take the time to decide what to do with emails (per David Allen), decide when you are going to check email each day (per Julie Morgenstern), reduce email messages (fewer “Reply All” and cc’s), and use tools to filter low-priority email to folders. WSJ
  • Beware Interruptions … David lists out the variety of “interruption devices” available to him: the desk phone, the cell phone (business and personal), email, and colleagues / coworkers and managers. As a developer, this has a high cost (true for others, too). Potential solutions: use voice mail during the day to answer the phone, ask others to answer the phone for you, schedule quiet time, ignore email, get an office with a door that closes, and more. David Carr
  • Work Like the Masters … Jay links to an extensive set of resources about how to work like an expert / master. Some ideas: work at greatness in 15 minute chunks, adjust sleep patterns to find another 10 days a year, eliminate all but the most essential tasks, take creative breaks, don’t let someone else define your creative process, look for ways to imprve, reduce clutter, and more. LifeRemix
  • 8 Ways to Say “No” … Leo outlines how to say no: (2) know your commitments, (3) value your time, (8) never say you’re sorry, and more. FreelanceSwitch
  • Cut Your Media Diet … Donald shares a series of tips on how to reduce your media diet, including (2) read history in place of current news, (3) unsubscribe from non-essential sources, and (6) focus on getting actionable ideas whenever reading, among others. LifeHack

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