Pie’s comments on the Yammer purchase

markjowen:

Thanks to the wisdom of Gmail, e-mail that I receive where I am just “one of the many” gets filed away in the “Bulk” folder.
I try to check it every now and then, and got a surprise today when I saw an email alerting me to Laurence Hart’s latest blog post.
I was surprised because he had written about the purchase of Yammer by Microsoft. I didn’t even know that this had occurred! (Been very out of touch lately).
You can read Laurence’s post above. I like his analysis.

Thanks Laurence

Originally posted on Word of Pie:

There is going to be no shortage of analysis of Microsoft’s acquisition of Yammer. I’m not going to take time to parse it all. I do want to share some quick thoughts on the acquisition while everything is still fresh on my mind and the deal seems more likely to be completed.

Yammer Cashing Out

Yammer was one of the pioneers in the the Enterprise 2.0/Social Business space. The issue that over the years as the space has evolved, the amount of evolution coming from Yammer has been limited. Their product has gotten better but they remain, at their core, a micro blogging service.

imageThe space has been moving on though. People have been learning that all these Social Business tools work best when they are part of the business process, not when they are on their own. With Yammer, you may produce less email and generate greater visibility…

View original 327 more words

Post-move SharePoint site Comparison

Comparison sites SharePoint migration

Recently I’ve been involved with a client project that included moving some SharePoint sites from one web application to another as well, as moving document libraries from a top site to a sub-site.

While I work at the Business level (business systems analyst role), the move itself was done by client’s IT Infrastructure people. Fortunately they were smart enough to copy the content, instead of moving it. This was a brilliant idea, as it gave us the ability to have the original content still available.

Once the content had been moved the next step was to check that no documents had been missed. Now, the site owner (at the business level) had the best idea of what content would be stored in the doclibs, but as there were 64 of them, (some with 100 documents, many with documents in the thousands), doing a direct comparison was not easy. There was also the fact that the new locations had been “unfrozen” and people were uploading documents.

We investigated various ways to do a comparison. This involved creating special views for the docbases that would include only documents created before the “unfreeze” date, and then doing a screen by screen comparison. This was quickly deemed as not practical, and not handy, and bloody tiring.SharePoint comparison content doclibs sites

Then we tried exporting out the lists from the original location to spreadsheet, and then doing the same with the new location so that each list was in columns next to each other. And then doing a side-by-side comparison. This was definitely more practical, and we thought that it was a plausible solution. Until we discovered that for one of the doclibs there were 900 documents in the old location that were not in the new location.

Fortunately we came across a tool from MetaVis. The application suite of this product included a “Live Compare” feature. With this we were able to easily select one particular site in the left part of the screen, another site in the right screen, and then select the docbases that we wanted to compare. And then after clicking on the “Go and check the differences” button (it was actually titled “Compare Now”), we could see which documents were in the old location, and were not in the new location, and vice versa. This was great! And compared to manually comparing lists, was sooo much easier.

Meta Vis site comparison SharePoint

As well as any differences in content in the doclibs, we were also able to see small differences in other configurations. This was very handy.

Now – I know that the main functionality of the MetaVis tool is to do with migration, and architecting, but this “Live Compare” functionality certainly saved us a lot of time and frustration.  

FDUG – Europe – Review of the Agenda

Previous post: FirstDoc User Group – Vienna

I’ve just arrived at my hotel in Vienna and after kicking off my shoes, and scouring the room for free stuff, I decided to see if there are any updates on the 2011 Europe FirstDoc User Conference.

What’s Planned?

Checking out the CSC page lead me to the FDUG Agenda. It looks like it’s going to be an interesting time with a mixture of Strategy announcements and product discussion by CSC, along with several presentations by several Pharma companies.

The Agenda can easily be viewed on the CSC web site, so I won’t be encroaching any secrecy oath that I may have taken when after hours of grueling initiation into the Regulatory world.

First thing that is noticeable is that the US FirstDoc User Group, recently held in Las Vegas, started half an hour later than the one in Europe. Maybe that says something, maybe not – just mentioning it…

Boehringer Ingelheim, and Bayer will both be presenting a Case study on Global Deployment. This looks interesting. They presented the same thing at the US FDUG, and I think it might be of real value, especially with the expansion of a lot of pharma companies into global operations.

After the lunch break, CSC will be discussing their upcoming versions, as well as discussing a “Total Regulatory Solution”. In the US this was presented by Jennifer Wemstrom, who is the Head of Product Stratergy at CSC. I’m not sure who will be presenting at the Europe conference. In any case – I’m am curious what CSC’s “total regulatory solution” will look like.

In Las Vegas, there was a panel discussion by several Pharma companies regarding “Collaboration and SPX Deployment”. From the Las Vegas agenda I see that Abbott, Amgen and Allergen all participated in this, but from what I have heard, it was a very popular subject, and a lot of other conference participants were also involved. The same “topic” will be addressed at the Vienna conference, and I will be involved with this session.

One thing that they had in Las Vegas, (and which I referred to in an earlier post) is a session on FirstDoc Performance Metrics. In the Vienna agenda the afternoon sessions are split into two streams, and one of these will be on “Performance”. I hope that this will be the same.

In the US, Amgen also presented a session on “Training Strategies”, which is not on the Europe schedule.

On the 2nd day, the are several customer presentations: Abbott will be discussing SPX, and Amgen will be discussing eTMF (electronic Trial Master File). Arcondis will be doing a session later in the day on Validation.

One thing that CSC presented in the US, and will be presenting in Vienna, is on “Total Clinical Solution”. Once again, I’m curious what this will be.

And another thing that CSC presented on in Las Vegas is their “Trusted Cloud Solution”. Which makes sense, I guess, because EMC are promoting their “cloudiness” at lot these days (from what I read on the tweets, and blogs that were written during, and after the recent EMC World/Momentum). The FirstDoc solution is designed to provide the “regulatory logical layer” to Documentum. CSC also have FirstPoint – the same thing, but for SharePoint. Microsoft are also busy putting SharePoint in the cloud (and have done so recently with Office365).

I know that the Pharma world is very “compliance sensitive”, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how CSC intend to address any security concerns, as well as compliance issue. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be mentioned in the Agenda for the Vienna conference. However, I’m going to do some research, and will write a future blog post on this.

Conference sessions

I won’t be blogging “live” from the conference, and I haven’t seen any mention of a hashtag for the FDUG. However I hope to write some review posts, either at the end of each day, or after the conference has finished.

At the same time, I want to see some of the sights in Vienna. the FDUG conferences always have a great social event, and this also gives a great opportunity to see something of the surroundings.

Next Post: FirstDoc User Group 2011 – a look back at the conference – Part 1

Related Posts

Is Microsoft a Religious Experience?

A Tweet by @pelujan the other day started me thinking. The tweet was:

I responded to his tweet because I do remember “workflo”. It was something that FileNet developed back in 1985. I admit that this was indeed 10 years before I got into IT (having spent those 10 years doing stuff in laboratories), but I was very aware of it as it played a big part in a lot of their technology.

In fact, my first introduction to ECM was PC Docs, and also FileNet’s early Content Management application “Saros Mezzanine”. This was followed by their Image Management Services application running on an AIX system. It stored scanned images on WORM disks in an OSAR unit, and had a robotic arm jukebox. It was a bloody impressive , but also daunting, system (especially when you are new on the job, and you’ve been told to support this system at a very hostile client site).

Over the years I got more an more involved with FileNet and their products, getting to know the idiosyncrasies of each one. I worked as a consultant, and each client had its own unique requirements, environments, and situations.  Very often I would go home  at the end of the day feeling beaten up.

At the end of 2006 I moved into a position working with Documentum, and quickly after, SharePoint. However, this time, I was the client, and so if something didn’t work, someone else was responsible for “fixing it”. This gave me more time to think about the potential of the systems in terms of the industry I was now working in. I actually went home feeling a lot more relaxed.

Now, the one thing that always struck me, when I was working with FileNet, was that, compared to a Microsoft product, there was not a lot of material available. The majority of what you learnt came about through personal experience. You were on the battle field getting the scars. You felt that you had “earned it”.

Of course, there were forums available, and FileNet themselves had a great store of answers to questions, etc. (I used to trawl their partner site just to pick up nuggets of knowledge). Documentum (now EMC) have the same thing which I still use.

At the end of the last century (gawd – that sounds awful) I got my MCSE, and have kept up to speed with Microsoft technology since then. In 2007 I developed a Portal site that hooked into Documentum, and then, having got some scars with that, I got my SharePoint 2007 certification.


Is Microsoft a Religious experience?

Now I am trying to build up my knowledge of SharePoint 2010. This time I’m trying to take a more business application view of the technology. I did AIIM’s SharePoint Master course, which gives a more “real” view of SP2010, especially with regards to Document Management. (See this post, and this one.) However, I realise that it’s still handy to have the MS certification under my belt, so I am working towards Microsoft SP2010 certification also.

I’m don’t want to pay for a course, and so I’m using the over-abundant resources that can be found on the internet (white papers, MS videos, MS learning material, etc). The more material I cover the more I am aware that the same message is being thrown at me – “how great SharePoint 2010 is”. (I’m not going to get into a discussion regarding this, as this has been covered by multitudes of blogs and forums on the internet).

The fact is I find myself slowly, (and blindingly), convinced. I’ve started chanting the mantra, and doing the dance.

Microsoft has produced so much stuff on their latest “shiny object”. It’s amazing. There books, videos, whitepapers, forums, faqs, technet articles, etc, etc, etc. There is also a conference/user group/gathering for the devout, almost every second week. And there are “evangelists” – people who spread the Word.

Got to admit, I am going to one of these conferences in April – the Best Practices Conference, being held in London (#bpcuk). The US one has just finished, and I was following the tweet stream (#bpc11). The funny thing was – I got to the point where I was “religiously” checking on the progress of the conference, and the activities of the participants (albeit the more “tweetal”  – think of the word “vocal” but in terms of tweeting – amongst them). And I found myself just wishing I was there, wishing I was with these people and seeing, and sharing, what they were. (Quick – slap me!)

I never got this “ecstatic feeling” with FileNet. It was all mud and barbed wire. You were earning your stripes “old school”. And even though I have attended the Documentum user group conferences (Momentum) for a few years now (which is one of the high-points of my year – have only missed one over the last 5 years), I’ve never felt the (illogical, zealot-like) fervour that I am starting to experience now.

Related Links

http://geekswithblogs.net/SoYouKnow/archive/2011/06/14/is-the-sharepoint-community-past-its-prime.aspx

2011 Content Technology Predictions from Real Story – here’s what I think

Jarrod Gringas has posted his Content Technology Predictions on the Real Story Blog site. It makes for interesting reading. While I applaud Jarrod for making these predictions, I feel that some of them are too early, and won’t be happening in 2011, while a couple of his predictions are, to the best of my knowledge, nothing new.

Here is an overview of Jarrod’s predictions:

1) “Bring Your Own Device” policies will push HTML5 adoption for mobile access to enterprise applications
2) Content-rich customers will rebel against Web CMS marketing spins
3) Microsoft will turn to partners to fix SharePoint shortcomings
4) The top end of the Web CMS market will be redefined
5) Intranet community managers will adopt public social functionality
6) SaaS vendors will try to separate from “The Cloud”
7) Buyers will have a greater acceptance of newer standards
8) Case Management will become the leading application from high-end ECM vendors
9) Digital Asset Management vendors will greatly expand video management capabilities
10) E-mail will remain the world’s de-facto enterprise document repository and workflow system
11) Portal software will increasingly produce services for other portals
12) Specialized talent around managing content will begin to migrate out of large corporations

For the full text, click here to read the original. Once you are finished, you can read my responses below, and see if you agree with me or not.

Jarrod’s prediction that Microsoft will turn to partners to fix SharePoint’s shortcomings is something that I don’t think is a prediction. Especially for 2011. I believe that Microsoft has been doing this for years now. In fact, as I understand it, Microsoft have designed SharePoint (pick your favorite version) so that it meets the requirements of 80% of customers. At the same time, the Microsoft bods have sat down and looked at their partners to determine which ones are capable of, and most likely to, develop a solution for a particular “need”. Then, depending on the success, and demand of the “extra feature” it gets included in the next major version.

Jarrod expands on prediction 4, ‘The top end of the Web CMS market will be redefined“, by stating that the large ECM vendors will move down- and out. I agree that there has been a lot of activity lately with the smaller ECM vendors, but I think that it is too early to predict the “demise” (for want of a better word), of the big ECM companies. The big companies are not stupid, and are aware of the change that is taking place at the moment. They are working away to meet these changes. While the smaller companies are nimble, and will play a increasing role, I don’t predict that the big ECMs will be affected dramatically in 2011.

Intranet community managers will adopt public social functionality” – here Jarrod mentions the adoption of public social media community features, including badges, etc. To be honest, I don’t think that this will take off in a big way. While I do see a certain excitement that such “rewards” bring, I am not too sure that it is ready for the workplace. Is there any real value, in a business sense, in these things? While I do agree that there is a growing need to encourage user adoption of more and more web-based tools, I think that this adoption will be more related to “perceived ease of use” and “perceived usefulness”.

I have mixed feelings with regards Jarrod’s prediction #7 “Buyers will have a greater acceptance of newer standards”. While there is a growing awareness of newer standards, I don’t think that the push for these will come from the user – at least not in the beginning. As with something like CMIS, it needs a vendor to come forward with an application that uses the new standard, and demonstrates real benefits (that can be translated into value for the business). Once this happens, there will be a push from the users resulting in action from other vendors. I’m not sure what Jarrod’s statement that “DoD 5015 and MoReq will become increasingly irrelevant” is based on. I am going to look into this more.

Case Management will become the leading application from high-end ECM vendors – I know that EMC are busy with their new case management platform, xCP (Xcelerated Composition Platform). This looks promising. (In fact, half of the last Momentum user conference was taken up with xCP sessions).

Prediction #10 (E-mail will remain the world’s de-facto enterprise document repository and workflow system) is an interesting one. I think Jarrod might be on the ball here. Indeed e-mail is not going away, and vendors need to do something smart to enable email systems to smoothly integrate with document management and workflow systems. Whether that is going to happen in 2011 is still to be seen.

Prediction #11 (Portal software will increasingly produce services for other portals) makes sense. I’m just not sure whether there will be anything big happening in 2011.

And that leaves us with Prediction #12 (Specialized talent around managing content will begin to migrate out of large corporations). My question is…is this any different than what happens every year? Often once a person has built up enough skills in a particular area, they want to work for the vendor, or an integrator company. And this is good, because they will have built up good “real-world” skills from the “other-side of the fence”. (I have worked on the vendor side, as well as the customer side, and each side has its own challenges, and frustrations). However, coming back to the prediction, what is going to be different this year?

So there you have it. Feel free to discuss if you feel I am off the mark.

I know that Jarrod’s predictions are not the only ones out at the moment, but there seem to only be a handful that deal with Content Management Systems.

Other 2011 Predictions

Top 10 ECM Pet Peeve Predictions for 2011

CMIS – what are the adoption plans for 2011?

I’ve been following the CMIS protocol from when it was a “cool idea” till when it became a ratified protocol, and have been seriously wondering what impact it would have on the ECM world (click here for an earlier post).

Recently Generis held a short survey to gauge the feeling of the industry. I’m not sure how scientific the survey was or how many companies were surveyed. And the resulting whitepaper is…I have to say it…ugly. In any case here is a summary of their findings:

  • Most of the companies that responded to the survey use multiple Content Management Systems
  • 26% of the respondents are looking at moving to a common platform, while 52% have no plans, and will keep the systems they have
  • 40% are planning a new system, and 43% are planning system upgrades. Just under 40% are planning content migration. (Note – each respondent may be planning more than one project next year).
  • CMIS doesn’t seem to play a big part in the projects.
  • 87% state that Usability and UI are critical, while 75% consider Richness of Functionality as a High requirement.

[You can read more about the survey here]

What does this all mean? Well, based on Generis’ survey, it seems that CMIS will not be pushed by the users in 2011.

However, other bloggers have also made comments on the future of CMIS in 2011. Laurence Hart predicted at the end of 2009 that 2010 would not be the year of CMIS. In his predictions he quoted Lee Dallas who said “there needs to be application vendor adoption to really create impact.” True! Especially looking at the survey results from Generis.

So will a vendor step up and “force” the others to follow suit? Many vendors have already put into place CMIS functionality (either in the form of a server, or a client). Microsoft introduced in it SharePoint 2007 (administration pack), and it is included as out-of-the-box in SharePoint 2010. Drupal have been busy. As has Alfresco. IBM (FileNet) introduced support for CMIS in V5.0 of the FileNet Content Manager. EMC promises CMIS support in Documentum 6.7.

It seems that each ECM vendor has been quietly toiling away to support CMIS.

But to what end? Is it a case of “Field of Dreams“, where (to paraphrase) “It has to be built before they come”.

==================

Pie’s blog post: Top Predictions For 2010, and Reflecting on Pie’s 2010 Predictions

Craig Rhinehart’s Post: Top 10 ECM Pet Peeve Predictions for 2011


Getting Lost in a Wild SharePoint Site

In this post, I want to tell you about a unexpected,but interesting journey I have made.

——————–

Recently I was asked to help “trim” a SharePoint site that had become overly complex. The site was going to be migrated to a different domain, and the goal was to tidy up the site.

On first glances the site look harmless.

But once I started delving deeper, I could see that it was a jungle of sub-sites, interlinked in a strange M.C. Escher way.

To really get to understand how everything was connected, I decided to map it all out.

Using MindManager (it could have been any mind mapping tool – or even pen and paper), I started with the top site.

The beginning was easy, the path was clear. Things were

L O G I C A L.

Then as I got deeper, things started getting more complex. And, now and then, there were tricky little bits where I SharePoint Governance plan viralwould follow a path and suddenly find myself in a totally different area, feeling disoriented. Fortunately with the use of a good compass and a ball of string I had been unravelling as I went along, I was able to find my way back.

I made notes, I took photos, and  I saw some amazing things. (Unfortunately, my camera was damaged when I tripped over some metadata in one of the fields, so you’ll just have to take my word for it).  Slowly, over several days, I was able to map out the site (and sub-sites, and sub-sub sites).

The map was big, with lots of colorful lines showing relationships between the various parts, as well as highlights and comments. When you looked at it at its original size, it looked like some strange alien exoskeleton. It was not until you increased resolution that you got to see the fine workmanship.

My “client” was impressed with what I had done. The didn’t have MindManager installed, and when I tried to create a flash, or PDF version of said map, MindManager bailed on me. Thank goodness for the MindManager Viewer. At the time of writing, this had not been installed. I’ll know when it has been…I’ll hear lots of “Oohs” and “aahs” and other sounds one makes when one is impressed with something.

SharePoint map governance Note – artist’s rendition


Site Mapping Tools

Now, it may be that there are tools, or applications, out there that will achieve what I did, automatically.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

SharePoint & Powershell – a great post from Joel Olesen

Joel Olesen (SharePointJoel) has a great post out about Powershell and SharePoint. It is packed choca-full with information about Powershell.

I really recommend it:

http://www.sharepointjoel.com/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=362

SharePoint 2010 Training/Certification – A comparison of the Microsoft & AIIM offerings

It’s always useful to have certification from a recognized “authority”. It gives you the ability to transfer your skills & experience into something quantifiable. (However, certification on its own, without some real-world scars, should be, in my opinion, considered as just an “intention” to learn more).

I’ve been working in the world of Document/Content Management for quite a few years now  and have worked with many document management, content publishing, search, static content storage, e-mail archiving, etc, applications from different vendors (PCDocs, Tower Software, FileNet, Documentum)

Then a new kid arrived on the block (SharePoint). Fortunately I was given a fantastic opportunity to work with this product in a few large, international, projects. The longest one took over two years, and definitely gave me some scars.

So I did the next logical thing and got my Microsoft certification for SharePoint 2007. Now that SharePoint 2010 is here, I’d like to get some meaningful certification for that.

My first instinct was to see what was required for the Microsoft certificate for SharePoint 2010. But I was also aware that AIIM had their own SharePoint 2010 training course/certification offering so I took a look at that.

It looked good, but I was curious how it stacked up against the Microsoft certification.

I made a list of comparison items and created a mind map (using Mind Manager)

Note – I’ve created an interactive flash file of this mind map. This can be viewed and downloaded from here.

 

Below, I give an overview of the two offerings:

AIIM SharePoint Certification

AIIM has three different levels of SharePoint certification – SharePoint Practitioner, SharePoint Specialist, and SharePoint Master. Each build on the previous.It was developed based on the requirements of 37 international companies. For a list of the companies refer to the Master Class Info Sheet (see Reference Links at the end of this post)

Each certification is accompanied by a corresponding training course

  • SharePoint Practitioner – covers concepts and technologies for SharePoint.
  • SharePoint Specialist - covers global best practices for implementing SharePoint and
    complementary solutions. Accomplishment of the Practitioner certificate is a prerequisite.
  • SharePoint Master – As well as the previous two levels of certification, the SharePoint Master level requires planning, designing and implementing a SharePoint project.

The AIIM certification is aimed at the Business Managers, IT Managers, Compliance Officers, Risk Managers, Records Management Professionals, as well as for solution integrators and providers, sales consultants, project managers, and technical staff.

Microsoft SharePoint Certification

Microsoft has four levels of certification – MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist), Microsoft Professional (MCITP and MCDP), MCM (Microsoft Certified Master), and MCA (Microsoft Certified Architect. Each level builds on the previous one.

  • MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist) – highlights area of expertise and helps validate the knowledge and skills working with an enterprise Office SharePoint Server environment
  • Microsoft Certified Professional – helps demonstrate the ability to use Microsoft SharePoint 2010 to excel in a specific, market-relevant job role.
  • Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) – This is more extensive with whiteboard discussions, demonstrations, and goal-based labs.
  • Microsoft Certified Architect – involves an interview with the MCA Review Board

The Microsoft certificates are aimed at people working with SharePoint either as Administrators, or as Developers.

My take on the two Certificates

The Microsoft offerings, are world-recognized (for good or bad). They are quite in-depth, and there is a plethora of training support material, as well as a large community of Microsoft certified people. It is very technical, and gives a person a great opportunity to get down to the “nuts and bolts” level of the technology, as well as the architecture level.

The AIIM training and certification, is not quite so technical, and focuses more on the use of SharePoint in the business, as well as industry best practices. It is also not quite so well-known as the Microsoft Certification. This may be considered a disadvantage, but at the same time, it may also be seen as an advantage. (Thanks to a deluge of paper-only “certified MS” people, the Microsoft certification lost a bit of credibility for awhile there – something that Microsoft have worked on/are working on to rectify.)

So – different courses for different horses. For a side-by-side comparison of the two, have a look at the mind map that I put together (http://www.box.net/shared/hhqfq6ypft).

Reference Material

Microsoft SharePoint Server Certifications

AIIM SharePoint Certification Program

Discussion on the “value” of AIIM certification (from LinkedIn group)

Unique SharePoint Training Program to Focus on Practical Reality of SharePoint

 

 

 

 

 

Calculated columns in SharePoint

Investigating an interesting, and unexpected, result from indexing a calculated column in SharePoint at the moment.

My research led me to a Microsoft site with examples of formulas used in Calculated columns.

The link to the site is:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-sharepoint-services-help/examples-of-common-formulas-HA001160947.aspx

Case Study – Is this DM system “social”?

Not too long ago I stumbled across a post by Gene Smith from 2007 where he defined seven social software elements.

These were:

  • Identity - a way of uniquely identifying people in the system
  • Presence - a way of knowing who is online, available or otherwise nearby
  • Relationships - a way of describing how two users in the system are related (e.g. in Flickr, people can be contacts, friends of family)
  • Conversations - a way of talking to other people through the system
  • Groups - a way of forming communities of interest
  • Reputation - a way of knowing the status of other people in the system (who’s a good citizen? who can be trusted?)
  • Sharing - a way of sharing things that are meaningful to participants (like photos or videos)

Gene pointed out that each social software system had three or more of these elements (but not necessarily all of the elements).

Using Gene’s list I decided to do a case study where I analyse a fictional document management system, and see how it measures up.

The Company: Wet Cleaver Dry Goods

Background: Wet Cleaver Dry Goods designs and manufactures ready-to-wear clothing for farmers. This includes rain wear, winter clothing, informal dress clothing, hats, gloves, etc.

It has factories in three different countries. It uses an Oracle-based Content Management system to store and manage, clothing designs, as well as operating procedures, sales information, customer feedback, and press releases, etc. Designs and patterns are sensitive and need to be tracked. Operating Procedures need to follow a Review process before being available for use. Press Releases need to be routed to the appropriate managers for sign-off before being released, and customer feedback has to be routed to the appropriate department heads. Security is applied to the documents ensuring that they can only be edited by members of each particular department. Each user has an Active Directory account, and a matching account in the CMS. Exchange is used for e-mails.

To provide users with a more “accessible” interface, SharePoint 2007 has been used to create a Portal. Each department has it’s own site which is populated with special web parts that provides access to the documents in the Oracle-based Content Management system, as well as its native functions.

Each web site has been designed by the IT department, based on discussion with the end-users to meet the “requirements” the department the site is intended for. SharePoint groups have been created for each department and populated with the users’ active directory accounts. Each site is secured so that only members of each department can access the related site, and, to ensure that a consistent look-and-feel is maintained, as well as to reduce support issues, the users do not have the right to create new sites themselves, or to customise the sites (“My Sites”). If users from different departments need to work on a document together, a SharePoint site is created along with a SharePoint document library. The required documents are placed in the document library by the CMS administrators, and specific users are granted access to the site. Further to this, a SharePoint Search Center has been created, and with the use of a special protocol handler, is able to index the contents of the oracle-based CMS. Users, however, are only able to find documents that they have rights to.

A separate SharePoint site has been set up to store FAQs, lists of who is in each department, etc.

Analysis: Does this system have three, or more (or any) of the elements that Gene listed? Lets have a look…

  • Identity - In this system, each user needs to be logged into the network to access the Portal. Pass-through authentication is used. Thus, each user can be uniquely identified.
  • Presence - Although the user can see that they are logged on (their user name is displayed on the screen), there is no way to know who else is logged into the system at the same time.
  • Relationships - The Portal has been designed to provide a slightly easier way of performing the tasks that would normally take place in the CMS. That is the processing of documents. As mentioned above, there is a separate site that lists who is in each department.
  • Conversations - When users need to communicate with each other they use Exchange. This is, however, separate from the CMS/Portal.
  • Groups - The Portal is strictly controlled. IT can create special sites that meet specific requirements, and then users are granted access on a as-needed basis. The CMS administrators export files out of the CMS into the site’s document library where the users can work on them. While this can be considered as a type of community forming, the fact that it is strictly controlled, and not an ad-hoc process negates this.
  • Reputation - Apart from the fact that a list is maintained (on a separate site) of who works in each department, and their positions, there is no way to determine the “reputation” of a particular user (e.g. the person who has created the most operating procedures, or has provided the most valuable feedback during a review process).
  • Sharing - The only sharing that occurs is the routing of documents. This is not done in an ad hoc fashion, but is defined by business rules, and pre-defined workflows. As such, there is no sharing.

Something else that Gene had done in his post was to create a social software honeycomb. That is, each element was represented by a hexagon. Then each hexagon was shaded depending on whether the particular system supported the social element.

Looking at the Document Management system of Wet Cleaver Dry Goods, the honeycomb would look like this:

Clearly this system does not contain three, or more, of Gene’s social elements.

In a (much) later post I will present a number of ways this system can be made more “sociable”.

  • Identity – a way of uniquely identifying people in the system
  • Presence – a way of knowing who is online, available or otherwise nearby
  • Relationships – a way of describing how two users in the system are related (e.g. in Flickr, people can be contacts, friends of family)
  • Conversations – a way of talking to other people through the system
  • Groups – a way of forming communities of interest
  • Reputation – a way of knowing the status of other people in the system (who’s a good citizen? who can be trusted?)
  • Sharing – a way of sharing things that are meaningful to participants (like photos or videos

* Identity – a way of uniquely identifying people in the system

* Presence – a way of knowing who is online, available or otherwise nearby

* Relationships – a way of describing how two users in the system are related (e.g. in Flickr, people can be contacts, friends of family)

* Conversations – a way of talking to other people through the system

* Groups – a way of forming communities of interest

* Reputation – a way of knowing the status of other people in the system (who’s a good citizen? who can be trusted?)

* Sharing – a way of sharing things that are meaningful to participants (like photos or videos)

  • )