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Best Practices of using cyn.in

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Collaboration - What is it and why is it needed

Collaboration is simply a series of conversations to achieve a goal. It involves gathering people, asking questions, collecting answers and ideas, surfacing information, getting feedback on interim deliverables, and the like. It is the way most work gets done.

We have been collaborating since a long time using today’s business tools – email with attached documents. Collaboration has been slow, difficult and ineffective. Knowledge get fragmented across many places – individual emails, different versions of presentations, excel files and word documents – stored in different desktop applications, shared drives or document management systems. Employees spend up to 1/4 of their day searching for information, according to research firm IDC. The cost of this unproductive time can be as much as 25% of your staff costs. This means the bulk of work doesn’t leverage the specialized knowledge that exists right there in the company, because there is no good way to find it.

Collaboration solutions, based on wikis and other Web 2.0 technologies, also known as Enterprise 2.0 solutions are focused on solving these problems. With the right collaboration solution, group productivity and organizational effectiveness can be dramatically increased, and decision cycle times can be greatly reduced.

Blogs make the process of publishing thought, sharing opinions and creating conversations turning into highly effective idea machines. Wikis allow departments and teams to collaborate in a distributed way, saving time and money. Bookmarking lets people access links they have saved from across the Internet, helping them discover related information more efficiently. Videos enable sharing tacit knowledge and expertise. Tagging removes the need for a single editor to work out what every piece of content means and categorize it accordingly and in turn help users find the information they are looking for based on the experiences of others like them, reducing effort. RSS, drastically reduces the amount of time required to constantly check websites to see whether they have been updated and reduces email overloads.

Cyn.in combines the capabilities of these collaboration tools and other social applications into a seamless platform. This document is designed to highlight best practices in using a collaboration solution like cyn.in to achieve business results.

Driving Adoption

Creating a collaboration infrastructure is a challenge for most companies, with cultural and political issues to be addressed before any of these benefits can be realized. Some organizations simply won't gain from introducing such tools, others will need to resist the urge to deploy them in the same top-down way they know so well. Social software is also disruptive - it changes the role of knowledge management from command and control to facilitate and aggregate. This requires a little different way of thinking and possible different internal team structures.

Give it a name

To start with, instead of using the term cyn.in or collaboration system, best practice recommendations are to give it a non-intimidating, friendly Name. It is a nice way to focus on what your real goals are with introducing cyn.in into your work life instead of the specific technology solution. The small effort on branding the site works as a viral term for introducing cyn.in to new users and use it in their daily work.

Don't Rush it - Move Swiftly and with Purpose

One of the biggest mistakes an organization can make is to ignore the new generation of collaboration and its value, but an equally dangerous mistake is to rush into things and forget to give people time to adjust to the new ways of working with these tools. It takes time to gather content that's spread around in disparate places and gradually move it to a collaboration suite and simultaneously shift existing practices like collaboration over email to cyn.in-based collaboration.

Be patient when you introduce cyn.in to your organization. Some of the payoff won't be immediately apparent because it takes time for people to change the way they work, so it's more important at the beginning to focus on getting broad support and organic growth from all across the organization. Once people see that cyn.in collaboration actually replaces less effective uses of other forms of communication, such as trying to collaboratively edit a document via email, and gets things done faster, growth will follow.

Using cyn.in doesn't mean you have to abandon the tools you're using already. Trying to replace everything too quickly with cyn.in might lead to its downfall. It takes time for people to finds the best uses for cyn.in. Find ways to blend it with what you currently do.

Be Open Minded

Most often the tools that organizations select can spur or damper thinking. cyn.in allows for informal, unstructured collaboration where innovation thrives. It does away with the rigid structure in a lot of other collaboration and knowledge management tools and lets people use it as they see fit. There's room for greater innovation and its very likely that its success will have much to with the people's enthusiasm for it. Create an atmosphere where they are comfortable asserting their opinions and concerns. You’ll be surprised how the quietest employees will speak up when given such an opportunity.

Listen

cyn.in has a free-form structure - so it can be used for projects, meetings, documentation, events along with personal profiles. These pages are a gold mine for people's ideas, opinions and progress on their work. You can be better informed about your people and projects than ever before and you can offer feedback which shows you are listening and taking them seriously. Profile pages can be useful as a standard place to find contact information, people's biographies and can be a great place to know what they are working on.

Unleash the Early Adopters

Add cyn.in into your environment and you'll probably only have to ask others to use it once (maybe twice). After getting the hang of it and finding that it becomes essential to their work, users become the new coordinators themselves. Often they'll do your asking for you by asking their peers to participate too!

Volunteers are your champions, you just need to give them a nudge!

cyn.in has the best probability of success when it gains grassroots support, and people respond well when they see peers actively using and evangelizing it. If users find a new way of doing something, embrace it with an open mind. It may just be an incredibly valuable improvement. By letting people lead the growth and feel a genuine sense of ownership over their work, you lay the foundation for cyn.in to become a successful collaboration tool.

Encourage Sharing

One of the notions that comes up in organizations is that some of the people are afraid to share their knowledge in a collaboration system. And they are afraid because they think that if they share what they know, they will be no longer valuable to the organization and will just be an expendable resource. On the contrary, the more a person shares, the more valuable they become to their organization. Why? Because their value to the others in organization is now better known. A person can be an expert in the organization and they might know they are an expert. But if others don't know they are an expert, they are more vulnerable in the end. But if they share information, others are going aware of their expertise and more likely to come to them for more information and tell other colleagues that this person is an expert. That spreads knowledge of the value all across the organization.

So, if somebody is afraid of sharing, its natural. Suggest them to take a little bit of their knowledge say 5% or a few pages. Put that up on cyn.in and see what happens.

Inevitably, as they start to contribute that knowledge, more and more people will go to cyn.in to get access to that knowledge. As a result, more people will start contacting them to contribute and work with them on their projects. As the volume of the interaction goes up, they will switch from disliking and fearing cyn.in to acutally needing it. Why? Because they will need to add their basic knowledge on cyn.in to lower the volume of email for suggestions and that will free up their time to wok on deeper and more involved projects. Eventually, they will have most of their knowledge on the wiki and people will be able to get access to that knowledge without having to go to that person. This way they solidfy their vaule to their organization.

How cyn.in enables collaboration

 

 

cynin site

Spaces in cyn.in

A collaborative work space provides a set of structured tools that enable multiple people to work together. Spaces in cyn.in focus squarely on team productivity and collaboration.

 

Spaces

Typical purpose of spaces

Spaces provide a secure and controlled work area for teams and can be created for various activities e.g. groups, departments, projects, events and other activities. They are typically used to create a structured hierarchy - A space and sub-space can be created for each functional area across the organization, or a space can be added to promote cross-organizational conversations or to create departmental spaces.

Spaces deliver collaborative tools for shared activities and all work is stored in a centralized place.

Who can create spaces

Anyone can create spaces in cyn.in. The creator is designated as the manager of the space and can invite other users to collaborate within the space. Best practice recommendation is to architect the first level of spaces with suggestions from the teams. Users can then create sub-spaces as required by the project or activity. Ad-hoc collaboration workflow or approval workflow can be applied to the space such that all applications and content follow the space workflow.

Space Membership and Security

Permissions to access information in an enterprise are based on the employee’s roles. For example, some NDAs include clauses that disallow the details of a project to be disclosed to anyone else apart from those working on the team. Scenarios where content has to be carefully disclosed, collaboration technologies must play a role of enabling easy (selective) sharing of information at the same time allowing re-use of pre-created information.

cyn.in offers Selective Openness with Spaces in the following ways:

  1. Home Space - A central no-permissions-required space. A free-form collaboration area where anyone can add, collaborate upon and mine the grey matter of employees to get creative ideas that drive business. Stream of activities flow smoothly with recently worked/commented upon items bubbling to the top, making popular content emergent.
  2. Spaces with permissions -  This is vital to large companies with diverse teams, where spaces act as virtual extensions of the physical workspace. Content created inside the spaces is visible only to members of the space. Members inside each space can play different roles like ‘reviewer‘, ‘collaborator‘ or ‘viewer‘ allocated by the ‘manager‘ of the space.
  3. Role based security: Role-based security and permission system allows fine-grained access control on content inside cyn.in. Select users or groups can be allocated explicit permissions to edit or review a wiki page, a blog post or file, enabling security for every item (leaf level) across the system.
  4. Workflows: Ready to use flexible business workflow engine to publish select items from a space to team members or the entire organization. Four step approval workflow allows users to first get a document approved before it is made available to people in the organization.
  5. Permission inheritance: Structured spaces inherit the access rights of the Space above it making it easier to work inside spaces.
Groups and users can be added to various roles of any space. This allows easy management of 'who can do what' within a space.
  • Managers: The manager role is granted to users who are incharge of administering the space. This role provides admin privileges within the space. Typically creator of a space is its Manager. He can further assign other members the Manager role.
  • Reviewers: The reviewer role grants approving permissions in the space workflow, to its users and groups. This role provides content moderation and approval oriented privileges.
  • Members: The members role is granted to everyone who is required to collaborate within a space. Only members can create and edit content within the space.
  • Viewers: The viewer role is assigned to all users and groups who need to be allowed to view published content within the applications of the space. Users with the viewer role can view only the content which is published by the reviewer in the workflow.

Quantity - Number of Spaces

Best practice is to keep the number of top-level spaces less. Rapid increase in number of spaces leads to extensive navigation and creates confusion to figure out where exactly to add new content.

Space Functionality - Applications within a space

cyn.in spaces provide an exhaustive number of collaborative applications like wikis, blogs, file repositories, micro blogs, discussions, image galleries, audio & video and other social applications into a seamless platform.

Harness collective knowledge using Wikis

wiki collaboration

Wiki Basics

A Wiki is a set of pages editable by collaborators in your space. Using a wiki is almost as natural as using a blackboard in real time. No special knowledge of HTML is needed. The defining characteristic of cyn.in wikis is the ease with which such edits can be made by people without any technical knowledge. Every page in a wiki can be amended, edited, or even deleted by anyone with a web browser.

From a user's perspective, the mechanics are simple. Typically each wiki page in cyn.in, will have a set of links to:

  • Switch from the View mode to an Edit mode
  • Show the revision history of the current page - indicating the changes made to the wiki
  • Add categories to make the wiki page more search-able
  • Add Related Content to the wiki page
  • Attach files to wiki pages
  • Search the full text of all pages in the wiki

Wiki Usage

Wikis, due to their simplicity and flexible nature, can be easily used for applications like documentation, reporting, information management systems, project management, glossaries, dictionaries. Wikis facilitate collaborative creation, finding, shaping and sharing of knowledge.

Collaboratively build documentation

Wikis are mostly used in organizations for live information that constantly changes, such as documentation. The main benefit of a wiki is the ability to edit collaboratively in real time. For documentation, use the home page of the wiki to organize the structure of the documentation. In other words, maintain a table of contents on the home page of the wiki and link to pages where you write the actual content. Whats great about a wiki is that, if there is group working on the documentation, anyone can access and write the content while others can edit and update the content to get the documentation ready. Documentation is often more up-to-date and comprehensive than documentation that is written initially and left in a static form

Word document overload causes the most consternation. The biggest "aha!" comes when people realize that their documents in Word are a barrier to collaboration, and that the wiki provides a better solution than Word documents.

Tell people: "The ONLY time you should create a Word doc is if you want to insert an excel sheet inside the document. If not, put it on the wiki."

Replace Email collaboration with Wikis

If used frequently, wikis can drastically drop email volume and cut meeting times to half. Rather than emailing drafts of documents to multiple recipients and collating comments and changes, those same individuals can directly change the text in a single place where everyone else can see and provide feedback on each revision. Furthermore, each version is kept in the document's history and can be referred and even reverted to at any time.

Meeting Minutes

During each meeting, people can take notes as items are discussed, effectively taking meeting minutes right on the wiki. Instead of having one person responsible for minutes, have everyone contribute, You'll get a more accurate picture of what was discussed and decided and people will be compelled to keep using the wiki as they invest time and knowledge in it. Furthermore, this wiki can help your team make meetings shorter and more focused. How? By letting everyone track progress of projects and action items in cyn.in, they can focus meetings just on the items that need in-person discussions.

Project Management

Teams can use wikis to organize and work on critical documents and project plans. It lets people work more efficiently between face to face meetings and becomes a magnet for the most relevant information. Some action items are one off tasks, but most of the times they pertain to larger projects your group is working on. When you start to notice that you have groups of items related to these projects, create a page in your wiki for each project, then you can link to meeting agenda and minutes and other items related to those projects, also put other project related items on the wiki. Perhaps, documentation, project plans, elements of the project people are working collaboratively on - where you want to move collaboration away from email and attached word documents and so forth. Those are all natural things to add to project management pages. The best part is, once you start to do that, you develop a good amount of project management related content on your wiki, in future meeting agenda pages, you can easily link to those project pages, when you want people to take a look at something to be discussed in the meeting or just get an update on the status of a particular project.

Structuring your Wiki

 

To start with, the Wiki home page is a place where people first land and get an idea of the goal of the wiki, what are you trying to achieve and how you are going to put the information together in the wiki itself. This helps as people know what they are expected to do here. Each space should have a wiki start page.

Focus

A wiki needs to be about something to be successful. It needs to appeal to the space that isn't entirely satisfied elsewhere and its main purpose is to share information. For example, some of the typical goals for a marketing wiki are to help the team to create marketing collateral and share similar experiences with a product. Information types that support these requirements can include examples, brochure content, competitive analysis, customer best practices, etc. The important rule of thumb is to establish and understand the goals for your wiki early on and implement it accordingly.

Start with structure

Wikis are organized in a bottom up manner. The content that goes in the wiki has a need to be shared. Therefore the structure does tend to define itself over time. Once your wiki has enough content, you can look at what is being posted and let that drive a more formal structure.

Plant the seeds

It's important to seed a wiki to get everyone started. Start with a loose structure and modify content over time to define how the wiki is organized. Encourage contributors to add their own content areas and determine how to tie the content together structurally once you understand what the community is talking about.

Regular reviews

Make sure the wiki content is current and correct. Although this should be done by the wiki users, it's important to have a small group of people (wiki owners), including the moderator, who does this on a regular basis. A wiki with updated and correct information will continue to grow and prosper. When the site is reviewed for content, it is also a good time to look at the wiki structure and ensure the most interesting and useful content is easy to access

Content is king

Adding useful content to a wiki should always be one of the main purposes of a wiki. Users should be encouraged to add information without worrying about making it perfect or polished. Don't consider a wiki to be the next great novel or a technical writing masterpiece. Start with a loose structure and modify content over time to define how the wiki is organized. The bottom line is to help others solve a problem or better understand an issue. If your information does that, then you've succeeded.

Enhance internal communications & discussions with Blogs

Blog Basics

As communication and collaboration tools evolve, the distinction between them has become subtle at the outset, and greater as the use deepens, like a fork in the road. Blogs and wikis might not seem that different on first glance, because they both enable communication of information by a person or group of people, and provide a platform for feedback. Blogs do it in the form of comments, while wikis do it by letting users directly edit the contents of a given page. This is where the distinction becomes more apparent. For example, businesses are increasingly using wikis to write documentation, and the result is better, more comprehensive documentation than a product manager or engineer could singularly write. A blog wouldn’t work as well for this, because direct editing of pages is necessary for users to alter the same text when correcting errors, improving clarity and flow, and adding new information. Wikis are better when you want information to be touched - and enhanced - by as many hands as possible.

Blogs are a better communication tool when you want to get information out to people, and want to enable feedback, but keep the original text intact. Internal blogging is frequently used to communicate about activities like product development, support issues, product releases, planning events and conferences, providing informal updates on misceallneous issues. Blogs usually encourage readers to comment, provide feedback open dialogue and exchange ideas.

Spaces

Blog Usage

Internal Communications - Set the direction right

This is frequently the first wave of internal blogging. Senior executives can reinforce corporate vision, mission and priorities on a regular basis. Use your blog to reflect your company's inner soul: its mission, goals and direction. A blog is just another medium by which you interact with your employees. Corporate news – good and bad – can be communicated quickly and in more detail than an email allows. Rather than sharing their knowledge with one employee at a time (by email, telephone or in person), they can share it with everyone who sees their post in cyn.in.

Knowledge Management

An internal blog can be an effective information management tool. By recording thoughts, ideas and opinions openly, they are not only recorded for the individual's benefit, but are also available to others in the organization who might have something to contribute, or even have a use for that information. They can act as effective filters of knowledge due to their speed, flexibility and ability to spread information easily.

Business Intelligence

Although blogs are generally informal and unstructured, the signals they capture can be aggregated in order to spot patterns in information and knowledge. These patterns can alert the organization to
problems and issues missed by external business intelligence providers. For example, multiple employees blogging about a competitor announcement can quickly direct the collective attention of the organization to it. Equally, employees blogging about similar topics in different departments unknowingly form communities of interest that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. 

Project Management Updates

Blogs also provide an effective way of capturing the unstructured or informal information and communication relating to a more structured or formal project. A project blog can be a vital resource for all project members, particularly new ones or those in virtual teams who rarely get the chance to meet face-to-face. A successful project blog isn’t just a store of project information, but a record of the ideas, opinions and knowledge of all project members resulting from the interactions between them.

Capture Tacit Knowledge

In many organizations, employees who are knowledgeable about how work actually gets done are among the least likely to write blogs. This may be due to limited computer access, temperament or job responsibilities. A classic example is the oil engineer who understands in great detail the tactic knowledge required to operate an oil rig but spends zero time in office. When this person leaves, all the valuable information that lived in that person's mind, disappears. Capture the tacit knowledge of hands on workers and make it available to others in the organization by blogging. If its in a blog, it doesn't disappear.

Spontaneous Blogs

Encourage anyone with any interest, level of expertise or ability to articulate a thought to author a blog and publish it for consumption by other employees. Studies of user generated content make it clear that more than 90% of users are lurkers - they read more content but don't contribute. While 1% of the users generate the vast majority of content.

Collaboration using File Sharing

Traditionally Document Management is about documents - documents that are scanned or OCR-ed that have to be stored in a system by following workflows and business processes. Access to these documents is controlled based on rights and roles. These documents are typically shared using Shared Network Drives, Email and other Document Management systems. These documents are mostly structured and have to be saved in a particular format to follow regulatory compliance.

But most of the content that needs to managed, shared and made accessible are unstructured documents like to-do lists, meeting notes, press clippings, conversations, working papers, proposals, personal observations, marketing collateral, partner collateral, sales reports, finance reports and other documents that are needed for daily working. A collaboration system liberates this content from the tyranny of structured systems and encourages people to use it for actual working materials. It allows files to be stored in central area, where users can engage in an iterative, real-time collaboration process. Locking technology prevents users from accessing a file that is in use by another user to manage version control conflicts and ensures that the same final version of a file is available to any user at any time.

Spaces

File Repository Usage

Stop Emailing documents to each other
A major contributor to e-mail overload is broken business processes. When an environment changes, business processes fail to adapt, and this causes exceptions. For example, when a customer requests information that isn't provided by a standard support process, it can kick off a chain of e-mails hunting for information--and what is found isn't easily captured into the redesign of the process. According to Gartner Group, 30% of e-mail is "occupational spam," characterized by excessive CC, BCC and Reply-All use. By using a centralized file repository, user can commonly decrease e-mail volume by 30% and moving e-mails to collaborative workspaces that are designed for one-to-many or many-to-many communication.

Files are more searchable and easily accessible from a centralized repository, increasing productivity and decision making.

Secure document library

Documents stored in a centralized location and accessible by every one is the key advantage of File repositories in a collaboration system. Organizing, tagging and applying access rights to the documents stored can enable a secure document library for companies.

Increase participation at Events using Calendars

Calendars enable collaboration by tracking events from across the organization. Shared calendars can be used for booking meetings, tracking timelines and milestones for shared to-do list to complete specific items, alerts for when new product will be launched, HR leave calendar, adding business events and much more.

 

event calendars

Calendar Usage

Schedule Team, department or Company Meetings

Instead of emailing a meeting date and agenda, put it on the shared calendar. Departmental worksops, appointments that might be of interest to whole department. People who have subscribed to the RSS feeds or email notifications of the calendar, will automatically be updated about the new event. The new event notification also shows in the desktop calendar. If changes need to be made, anyone on your team can do so and everyone will have immediate access to the same, up-to-date version.

Track Project deadlines and Milestones

Post deadline and milestone dates on the calendars in the project space. Everyone in the organization is then aware of the status of the project and other teams can co-ordinate their plans accordingly.

Leave Management

Shared calendars can be used to track vacation information. People can add events for days they'll be out. This lets individuals manage their time-off and automatically communicate it to the broader groups they work with.

Business Events

Add events to the calendar, specify the subject, location, date, time and description. Peopel interested in participating in the conference or seminar can add their names. After the event is complete, a related blog post can be added to the system and linked from here. This way everyone knows what happened at the event and can gain from the learnings.

Ambient Awareness with Status Logs

Status Logs Basics

Social presence can also be a powerful yet simple way for the organization to keep in touch with its employees. Its a truism that people waste a ton of time "checking in" with one another either in person, via e-mail or phone.

Status logs allow users to send brief messages or updates to communicate with colleagues, without the cumbersome process of constantly sending "what have you been working on lately" types of emails. Users can inform the system what they are doing, thus creating a social presence and notifying others of their activity.

Status Logs

The "right now" aspect of status logs plays a big role in increasing interactivity between users. The 140 character limit enables you to get to the point of your message quickly and in a succinct way. It works as another channel for keeping people in the loop about day-to-day stuff.

Use of Status Logs in the Enterprise

"I am on my way to meet the purchase head at Acme Steel" Imagine if you had to phone 500 people from your organization prior to the meeting, to know if anyone has worked with him before!

Microblogging creates a broadcast type of a communication channel keeping you up to date with all the details on who's been where, done what and why etc. It enables to create a context around your colleagues making you aware of daily developments in your organization as they happen. So with a microblogging tool, you would just type out the above message and it would be sent across to everyone in the organization. Anyone with useful feedback can reply back instantly. The immediacy and informal nature of the medium is the key here.

Apart from keeping all employees in sync and creating transparency towards business activity, the power of microblogging can be leveraged to:

  • One-to-One conversations
  • Notifications about changed information
  • Talk to customers and partners
  • Collaborate with colleagues around projects / content
  • Document discussions and decisions
  • Documented contextaul feedback on the micro-information - that normally get lost in email chains
  • Build and support a creative and innovative environment

Share Web links using the bookmarks

Social Bookmarking Basics

The concept of bookmarking web pages has been with us since the first web browsers. However, the bookmarking functions within today’s browsers are still quite primitive, restricting the user to a private set of bookmarks associated with one browser or PC. Some desktop software has been developed to extend this functionality (e.g. more flexibility, synchronization and customization) but with limited distribution. In the mean time, tagging – the unstructured classification of online information – and RSS encourage people to tag and share interesting web pages with others, in the form of social bookmarking.

Social bookmarking services allow people to post links to web pages that they find useful or interesting, either for their own private reference or to share with others. In many cases they employ user-generated non-hierarchical keyword categorization systems (also known as folksonomies, in contrast to the tightly controlled taxonomies) where people tag their bookmarks with freely chosen keywords.

 

Status Logs

Why use Link Directories or Bookmarks in the Enterprise

In business, social bookmarking act as part of knowledge management or collective intelligence strategies and can be used to collect all kinds of employee-contributed corporate intelligence – from research information and consumer insight to product ideas and news coverage.

Employees in many organizations are already using public social bookmarking services, although this has an inherent problem. By sharing information designed for internal consumption in a public space, employees can unwittingly expose potentially sensitive information to the outside world in the form of URLs and tags. An employee might tag a competitor’s website with the keyword ‘acquisition’, for example. Given that it is not very difficult to trace online identity nowadays, it is not impossible that the competitor could see that tag and work out the company that the contributor works for. It’s an extreme example, but it illustrates some of the dangers involved in using social software designed for mass consumer use to share information intended purely for internal consumption.

Bookmarking Usage

Many information architects and knowledge management professionals baulk at the thought of users generating the metadata on which their classification systems get based. Users save links to content (web pages) they want to remember and/or share. Best practices recommend users to tag each link with words that describe the meaning of the content, which then serve not only as an organizational structure, but also are used to navigate and discover relevant content.

Market Research and Cataloguing

In the enterprise, social cataloguing has endless possibilities. Any type of corporate data – such as competitor intelligence, supplier recommendations, or contact information – could be handed over to employees for collective management rather than relying on a single data owner or administrator and outdated data collection techniques.

Content discovery

By adding tags to links, a folksonomy emerges. This communicates the context and categorization, which may not have been seen through a more formalized taxonomy-driven viewpoint or a single person's perspective. Users can navigate content by selecting everything associated with a particular tag and discover links related to their work.

Discussions

Based on the concepts of both physical and electronic pre-Internet bulletin boards, discussion forums allow employees to initiate discussions for others to review and contribute to. These discussions might consist of questions, opinions, or responses to an event e.g. the last staff meeting. Responses are generally posted one after another in a linear or threaded fashion with all responses and the original topic collectively known as a thread. Internal discussion forums are familiar to most organizations as their first foray into the world of collaboration software.

Image Galleries

Storing, annotating, cataloguing, retrieving and distribution of images or digital media files is critical to an organization. The rise in demand for multi-media assets has driven the need to manage, file, archive and distribute images at a reduced time and cost.

Contextual discussions
 

Image Gallery Usage

Digital Asset Inventory
Upload, organize and tag digital assets like pictures, stock images, logos, graphics in Image Galleries. These digital assets can be presented and communicated better to employees using the powerful picture galleries. Automatic thumbnail creation of the images makes the picture gallery the best way to view and search for images.
Consistent messaging and branding
A central repository of images can enable consistent usage of logos, images across the organization in multiple areas. Marketing campaigns, events, proposal creation, are part of daily workings of a company. Creating and re-creating graphics increases loss of time and the time to deliver. It also affects the branding of the company - if the logos are not consistent, or if the graphics are of lower quality, the marketing effort reduces. Keeping all graphics in a central image gallery, enables users across the company to re-use the same images. You can rest assured that the correct version of the logo is delivered in any document that is sent out from your company.

Audio & Video

Audio and Video sharing in enterprises has great potential particularly for virtual learning, enriching corporate communications, enhance education and manage and organize large video / audio libraries. Users can watch, listen to and share audio and video with peers, subscribe to specific search queries and even download content into their devices to view them later.

Audio-Video Usage

Deliver Business Communications across the enterprise

A video / audio delivery offers a powerful, cost effective and more secure alternative to mass emails, large meetings and even Web-casting. Video can be executed quickly and communicate and engaging, powerful and memorable message that can be replayed and reviewed.

Explain content better with embedded video/audio

The real power of sharing of audio and video files comes when these files can embedded into other content in the cyn.in site - inside wiki pages or blogs.simply re-use the videos in cyn.in to convey your opinion clearly in a blog post.

Employee Training

Engage and motivate employees with video of technical briefings, sales meetings and other training for better retention and greater reach. Video training can ensure unified education across teams and gets teh enterprise over time-zone concerns.

Audio / video on demand

Audio and video can be useful tools for recreating the water cooler, for sharing interesting news such as design wins, introducing new team members and sharing informal gatherings.

Digital audio and video libraries

Audio and Video created throughout the Enterprise including event webcasts, video conferences, video presentations, promotional collateral, graphic animation, podcasts can all be organized, tagged and stored in a centralized library and made accessible to employees for future usage.

Contextual Discussions

Contextual Discussions enable users to hold one-to-one conversations with others on a range of topics from ad-hoc interactions or quick questions to other users about their domain expertise. Conversations in discussions are ongoing between a group of people or a few specific persons. Conversations are stored forever creating a corporate memory that can be accessed and reused anytime.

Contextual discussions

The best thing about collaborating via comments is the fact that the comments always remain attached to the content (or the context) of the stuff that you were working on. Its always search-able and reference-able by any body else that is interested in or joins the team.
Conversations are Contextual
This helps keeping the conversation focused, and helps avoid the pitfalls that modern collaboration systems like instant messaging have often faced in the enterprise scenario; of being a ‘time waster’ or distraction causer
Conversations are easily available / reachable / findable by everyone related to the context

The quantification of the ‘knowledge value’ of the conversation seldom happens before the conversation is initiated. In simple terms, we realize the benefit of recording a conversation only when we, or in usual cases some one else requires to know the outcome of the conversation. If the conversation is held using comments in the cyn.in discussion system, its always recorded, and available to all users with permission to the content

Metadata in cyn.in

Tagging

Tagging is the process of assigning user-defined keywords to a piece of information and can be done by the creator or the viewer of the content. these tags are often used to create aggregated informal classifications and as a discovery method.

Locate Expertise

One of the major benefits that results from enterprise tagging is the ability to locate expertise within the organization. In large companies, finding someone who knows about a specific topic can be extremely difficult. Yet with enterprise bookmarking, it is relatively easy to find experts based on the tags they use most regularly. The assumption is that people who frequently use a certain tag will have an interest in (and therefore some knowledge of) that topic. Through no additional filling out of profiles, it therefore becomes a quick and simple procedure to identify experts, or at least augment existing expertise location systems with such intelligence.
Alternatively, an employee might wish to find others in their organization who share the same interests or knowledge (and therefore people they would want to connect and share information with). 

User Profiles

Profile pages can be useful as a standard place to find contact information, people’s biographies, for leadership and public facing employees, this is a great way to always have the most up-to-date bios for trade publications, conferences, and so on. Furthermore, it can be a great place for other users to know the projects they’re working on.

Encourage users to tap into the social side of the collaboration suite by filling their user profiles, adding their profile picture, their designation, location in the company, their phone numbers (incase they need to be contacted), a url of their personal web blog; if any. Once a profile has been established, users must keep their profiles up to date. 

It’s the difficulty of updating that hinders most other types of content management and website creation tools, but this isn’t the case with cyn.in so it’s a much more attractive option. The ease of doing this can make the first experience using cyn.in enjoyable.

References

Enterprise 2.0 - How Social Software will change the future of work - Nial Cook

The Hidden Costs of Information Work - IDC White paper

Future Changes - 21 days of Wiki Adoption - Stewart Mader

Wiki Patterns - A practical guide to improving productivity & collaboration in your organization - Stewart Mader

SUN Wiki Best Practices

 
 
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Comments (1)
apurva May 11, 2009 09:36 AM
I have added a diagram as a PDF file to this space and related it to this wiki page. I think you can use parts of it or ideas from it in your document.
 
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