What is Cyn.in ?
Cyn.in is a collaboration software that inter-connects your people with each other and their collective knowledge, seamlessly.
Cyn.in helps teams to communicate faster and build collaborative knowledge by sharing and discussing various forms of digital content within a secure, unified application. It combines the capabilities of collaboration tools like wikis, social networks, blogs, file sharing repositories, micro blogs, discussion boards and other communication applications into one secure enterprise platform.
Cyn.in is designed to be used by businesses and institutions of all sizes. Cyn.in is an open source application and is available as free and commercially supported software as well as a hosted and managed on demand service.
Anatomy of a Cyn.in Site
Understanding Collaborative Applications in Cyn.in
Cyn.in has an un-paralleled feature set that enables rich and dynamic collaboration. Strong security features, rules, work-flows and role based access control makes Cyn.in perfect for medium to large enterprises. Easy to use collaborative applications, fast user interface and ease of setup helps small teams adapt quickly. Cyn.in comes pre-packaged with a plethora of applications that are designed for collaborative usage.
Harness collective knowledge of your business using wikis. Cyn.in's enterprise class wiki system helps every member of your business or team to collaboratively create documents or departmental knowledge bases rapidly. Easy interlinking between documents help to create an organically growing and improving knowledge structure. Unlike most wikis, Cyn.in users do not have to learn a new formatting language in order to create beautifully formatted documents within the wiki, thanks to its easy to use WYSIWYG content editor.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Turn your workforce into a perpetual idea machine with Blogs. Blogging internally with Cyn.in encourages users to publish their ideas and opinions and get feedback in the form of comments. Blogs act as an effective medium to capture ideas, open dialogue, communicate activities like project updates and interact with employees. Cyn.in enables collaborative authoring of blog posts. Blog posts can be enriched by reusing existing images, audio's, videos as well as embedding external content.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Securely manage documents and files across offices. Cyn.in lets organizations to centrally store and manage documents, spreadsheets, media, or any kind of files securely within spaces. Files uploaded to Cyn.in are instantly indexed to make them easily searchable by contained content. Version history of all files added, edited or deleted is maintained ensuring complete safety of all content and adherence to compliance requirements. Access privileges can be easily controlled at the space level or for individual files.
File Repository Basics
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.
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.
Communicate, co-ordinate and maintain schedules across the company using event calendars in Cyn.in. Calendars in Cyn.in help organizations to communicate time and schedules across teams and keep everyone in perpetual sync. Calendars can generically be used for managing release schedules, HR leave calendars, enterprise-wide meeting planning, project milestone management, etc.
Event Calendar Basics
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 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.
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.
Add events to the calendar, specify the subject, location, date, time and description. People 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.
Collaboratively track your research with Bookmarks within Cyn.in. The web is the greatest knowledge base ever created and bookmarks in Cyn.in help teams to effectively use that knowledge base collaboratively by recording bookmarks into relevant Cyn.in spaces. Like all other content in Cyn.in, bookmarks can be tagged, searched, discussed and shared securely within spaces. Links can be quickly shared among teams of users right from the browser by using the browser bookmark-let buttons.
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.
Link Directories or Bookmarks usage 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.
Social 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 Cataloging
In the enterprise, social cataloging 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.
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.
Audio libraries within Cyn.in enables teams to share audio content such as meeting recordings, training lectures, and other audio assets. MP3 audio files can be directly played from within the Cyn.in web browser or desktop interfaces making Cyn.in the most painless tool for simple audio broadcast and consumption. Cyn.in supports advanced pod-casting, enabling users to create custom channels of audio feeds that can be automatically transferred to audio devices like the i-Pod and modern phones for off-line listening.
Enhance learning by publishing and broadcasting Video. Cyn.in provides for a Youtube like video sharing application that lets teams publish videos within spaces, and watch them directly in the web browser. This opening up newer avenues for effective communication, training and knowledge sharing using rich multimedia. Media from the Video Library can be also easily embedded into Wiki pages, Blog posts or Events.
Discussion boards in Cyn.in enable users to quick start a '1 to many' conversation and get quicker feedback and participation. Using Cyn.in discussions, employees can ask questions, find answers, provide opinions or brainstorm ideas freely. This potentially replaces email as the tool of choice for 1 to many and many to many communication as all discussions are threaded, search-able and organized centrally within spaces. Discussions provide a pan-organizational platform for emergent, open yet vital communication.
Present and communicate better with Image Galleries in Cyn.in. Store, annotate, catalog and distribute digital assets like pictures, presentations, stock images, logos and graphics using Cyn.in image galleries. These images can be reused across the Cyn.in site within wikis or blogs enabling consistent communication. Automatic thumb-nailing of images, slide show view, image transformation makes the Cyn.in image galleries a great tool to present and communicate thousands of words easily with pictures.
Understanding Spaces in Cyn.in
Spaces form the basis of creating structured work areas within Cyn.in. Unlimited number of collaboration spaces can be created in Cyn.in. A space provides a secure and controlled work area for teams. Spaces can be created and used for various activities, e.g. projects, departments, etc. Unlimited number of collaboration spaces can be created in Cyn.in. A space provides a secure and controlled work area for teams. Spaces can be created and used for various activities, e.g. projects, departments, etc.
Spaces can be structured in a hierarchy that best reflects the organization or team using Cyn.in. Spaces can have n-number of sub-spaces structured below them, either inheriting the security permissions of the parent space or defining completely different access permissions. Structuring using spaces allow organizations of all sizes to tailor their Cyn.in site around their business requirements. Allowing users to create spaces makes the site structure organically grow or change based on changing needs of the teams. The main navigation of the system is automatically generated from the hierarchy of spaces.Spaces can be structured in a hierarchy that best reflects the organization or team using Cyn.in. Spaces can have n-number of sub-spaces structured below them, either inheriting the security permissions of the parent space or defining completely different access permissions. Structuring using spaces allow organizations of all sizes to tailor their Cyn.in site around their business requirements. Allowing users to create spaces makes the site structure organically grow or change based on changing needs of the teams. The main navigation of the system is automatically generated from the hierarchy of spaces.
Customize Space Dashboard
Dashboards for Cyn.in lets users create customizable dashboards for every space. Dashboards can be customized with portlets, Cyn.in comes with a plethora of portlets pre bundled including content aggregators, tag navigators, usage statistics and graphs, etc. Cyn.in dashboards are compatible with other Plone portlets and can be easily extended.
Configure Application and Application Views
Permitted applications and content types can be enabled or disabled for any space by the owner or managers of the space.
Explain Manage Space
Roles, Permissions and Access Control
Groups and users can be added to various roles of any space. This allows easy management of 'who can do what' within a space.
Explain Roles and Premissions
Custom work-flows can be assigned to a space, such that all applications and all content follow the space work-flow. Custom work-flows can be assigned to a space, such that all applications and all content follow the space work-flow.
Explain Collaboration Work-flow
Review Work-flowExplain Review Work-flow
Understanding Social Applications in Cyn.in
Social Applications within Cyn.in enable people to people interaction and increase team transparency
Any content, document, file or media within Cyn.in can be contextually discussed by everyone with access to the content. Contextual discussions or comments enable rapid creation of 'crowd knowledge' and form the basis of collaboration in Cyn.in. These conversations are stored forever creating a corporate memory that can be accessed, searched for and reused anytime. Comments in Cyn.in are threaded, enabling clean structuring of conversations. Participating in Cyn.in conversations is extremely quick and easy thanks to the fast ajax based commenting system on the web and instant discussions over the Cyn.in desktop.
Cyn.in's extensive user management features allow users to find people and expertise using the profile search and the people directory. A user can be a part of multiple groups and roles can be assigned to users and groups.
Status Logs a.k.a Enterprise Twitter / Buzz
Cyn.in allow users to add brief messages or updates to their profiles, that form a chronological status log for the user. Status logs provide a broadcast type of communication channel to each Cyn.in user, updating their peers about day-to-day workings & creating transparency towards business activity. Threaded discussions on status messages provide for 2 way communication and makes status messages a useful tool to interact about day to day activities.
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. 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.
Status Logs Usage in the Enterprise
Micro-blogging 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 micro-blogging 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 micro-blogging 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 contextual feedback on the micro-information - that normally get lost in email chains
- Build and support a creative and innovative environment
Crowd Rating and Voting
Just like contextual discussions, all content in Cyn.in can be rated as liked or disliked by Cyn.in users with access to the content. More liked content automatically get a higher rating and 'bubble up' in the activity streams. Ratings enable a democratic model of information filtering and knowledge creation. It also serves as a useful tool to gather feedback on ideas and aids decision making.
People Profile and Infocards
Every Cyn.in user is provided with a profile page which along with the users basic contact / business information, also dynamically aggregates the user's activity and contributed content in a consolidated dashboard. The user profile provides insight to the user perspective and helps people to identify peers with required skills or common interests. A live mini profile also known as an 'Infocard' provides quick essential information about users and can be brought up by clicking on a users name anywhere within Cyn.in.
Search and Retrieve content in Cyn.in
Cyn.in provides powerful search and navigation capabilities to aid users identify and access content the speediest way possible.
Cyn.in's live search enables knowledge workers to instantly locate and navigate to a required content, document or file, just by typing a few characters of text from within any part of the required content. The live search displays results as you type, filtering out results on-the-fly to display accurate results sorted by relevance. Powerful keyboard navigation in the live search panel lets users jump directly to the content in the swiftest possible way.
Multi-Faceted Filtered Search
Content Management and Organization
Schedule Publishing and Archiving
Using Cyn.in Desktop Client