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Bootstrapping Online Collaboration with OneNote

Ben Gardner and team have been raising eyebrows at the global Pharmaceutical giant by combing two Microsoft products to create a neat collaboration tool. They are rolling out OneNote to their customers in conjunction with SharePoint to create…..OnePoint ! Yes, they thought of the name all by themselves.

We have combined OneNote 2007 with SharePoint 2007 to create an excellent team knowledge management tool, which we refer to as ‘OnePoint’. This implementation provides an intuitive user-friendly interface onto a SharePoint document library with automatically managed online/offline capability. In addition to this the ability to add hyperlinks, text and pictures alongside these document files adds significant value to a team – users doesn’t always have to open a document to find information.

Teams with OneNote installed are jointly accessing and working on notebooks and libraries stored in SharePoint, thus using SharePoint as a mini Amazon S3. Their data is in safe hands.

I hear from reliable sources that it’s going very well, with users requesting it across the company.

OnePoint is not only revolutionising team collaboration, but also reducing email traffic, eliminating information silos and being demanded by users of all technical ability!

Ben’s slides are on his post which detail the positioning of the product in the ‘heirachy of information’.

OnePoint: Revolutionising team collaboration

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Enterprise 2.0 & Blogs – First Mover Advantage

It’s something I’ve seen a few times now. If you’re the or one of the first people in your organisation to start an internal blog, you can leverage much more influence than if you’re late to the party.

I’ve seen people get the ear of the board, senior Vice Presidents, influence company policy, gain exciting projects and become promoted to official ‘2.0’ ambassador both within and outside of IT lines. How and why? They have been quick to leverage one of the most powerful communication channels emerging inside the firewall. They’ve also realised that getting in early, before it gets ‘noisy’ is key to success.

First a word of caution. If you really are the very first person to set-up an internal blog you are going to be subject to scrutiny, risk being shut down and might be disappointed if your efforts go nowhere. This is especially true in large bureaucratic organisations.

Now the good news. Being the very first (or one of just a few) puts you in an influential position. People will sit up and take notice. Here are some reasons you’ll attract attention:

  1. Senior management will want to know who you are and what you are saying. Are you a threat or an innovative individual who’s willing to share his thoughts in a public forum?
  2. The first blog is like a when a new kid starts school. People want to know who you are, what you are like and what you have to say. Whether they take to you after this is another matter and is up to you.
  3. It can feel like a new era has dawned on your company. This is especially true if the blog originates outside of a technical IT line. Such a simple thing as a blog can make people feel like the company is moving with the times both culturally and technically.
  4. You are doing something new that others wish they had the courage to do, so they’ll take notice and champion your efforts.
  5. You’ll be seen as a risk talker and innovator. In many companies this is a good thing.

So now you have this attention, what are you going to do with it? Well, I’d steer clear from being too hard-line about anything or controversial to begin with. Remember that by becoming the first blogger you have the unofficial job of setting a precedent, theme and image of blogging in general. If you start off ranting and raving about why the company is in a bad way, then you’ll just give blogs a bad name and represent yourself in a negative light.

Here are some way’s to get started:

  1. Speak on behalf of a interest group or project. This gives you a hook, subject matter and identity.
  2. Brand You. Brand yourself, give the blog and by association yourself an identifiable image. I mean logos, tag lines and aesthetics as well as your writing style.
  3. Be consistent. Get a post out on a regular basis.
  4. If supported, allow people to subscribe to your blog.
  5. Promote the blog in your email signature.

I’d suggest you start off by posting material with broad appeal. Whether it’s something like reporting on developments in a certain area/interest, or discussing an important project, this is your hook to gain readership.

So now you you’re up and running and have an audience how do you up your game and get some of that influence?

  1. Challenge the status quo. If there’s some stupid stuff going on or out of date practices in your company why not question them? Don’t come across as negative; instead offer to be part of the solution. Solicit ideas for how improvements might be made.
  2. Establish an unofficial interest group via the blog. This should be on something important to the company goals, industry or playing on trends on the outside, such as online collaboration.
  3. Be true to yourself. If you’re just playing the game and doing this just for a promotion then people will see through it and you’ll lose respect.
  4. Been seen to facilitate discussions and keep comments and content appropriate. By this I mean keep the language clean and be grown up with what you are saying and allowing others to say. If someone starts an inappropriate rant on your blog, then politely bring them back in line or filter the content. This will establish you and blogging in general as a mature communication medium.

I’m not saying any old Joe can achieve great things just by blogging. However if you really are great, and have great ideas and interesting things to say, then step up and get noticed.

These are just some of my ideas and observations over the last few years. Many factors are at play when it comes to elevating yourself to an influential position. Being first to set up a blog could be one way to gain advantage.

 

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Enterprise 2.0 Office Space

Earlier on today, I was at home looking in vain for the little usb cable for my new camera (Lumix TZ3).  I couldn’t find it so thought I must have left it in my office.   The trouble is I seem to be collecting office space at the moment and I’ve been at each of them in the last week.  I have my European (I guess it could be worldwide) head quarters :) at the end of my garden (hand built by myself a few summers back).  I also have space at the University of Kent and Canterbury, kindly donated by a grateful client.  Add to the list a desk at my main client’s site, and of course my official business address in London which comes with an on demand hot desk.  Most of the professionals I work with on engagements are home based and as yet I’ve not had a client ask to visit my premises.  I wouldn’t know which one to choose anyway.

This got me thinking.  It’s really happening, the workplace of the future.  A few years ago I read an article about how businesses of the future would be more flexible in their approach to location and the space they occupied.  Their employees would work from home or hot desks near customers.  As a result their carbon and financial footprint would be greatly reduced.

I do kind of miss going to the same office every day, the banter with colleagues and the predictability of it all.  Flitting between locations based on need and mood has its advantages but is prone to leaving a trail of tiny usb cables and gadgets in various parts of Kent and London.

So where do you guys and girls work?  Are you based at home, a combination of places or do you go to the same office every day?

Bring that beat back

Just a quick note to say I’m still here! It was a busy end to 2007 and 2008 has started off just the same. I have a ton of stuff (that doesn’t fall under a NDA) to blog about so need to get some down time to get it out of my Moleskine and on here.

This week started off badly. I was supposed to be in Marbella, Spain launching a collaboration site to 100 + medical professionals who collaborate from all over the world. Unfortunately I didn’t make the flight as I needed to deal with a minor emergency at the last minute. I’m not sure what’s worse, letting people down or missing 3 days in the sun when it’s freezing at home.

I’m really excited about what this year holds. There are some exciting partnerships in the pipeline and I want to grow my personal ventures by getting more serious with the promotion and networking, as well as finding more of the right people to work with.

On an unrelated note, I was recently introduced to http://www.1938media.com/ and a guy called Loren Feldman. You should check out his videos. He lays it down straight, says exactly what he is thinking and doesn’t pull his punches. Whilst some of the things he says are questionable (or offensive), I admire anyone who speaks their mind and has the ability to see through the sea of bull out there. He’s inspiring me to break out the cam again, although I won’t be adopting quite the same style (I do have a similar haircut).

Actually, I’m sure Loren is the guy corporations are afraid will emerge if they allow their staff to blog and produce media!

Spock?

Ok I gave in, and opened a Spock account.  When I started receiving requests to joins people’s Spock network I honestly thought it was a hoax as the name sounds like a spoof networking site.  Today after another bunch of requests I finally clicked ‘accept’ and now have an account. 

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I don’t know if I will maintain my Spock profile as I do like LinkedIn, but if my core network migrates away from there what am I to do?

Does anyone have any comments on why I should use one or the other?

English is my first language…

Just a note to say I know about the grammar mistakes in the Meet Charlie presentation.  As it’s becoming more and more popular I’m receiving quite a few well meaning emails offering me help with my English…..

The truth is the slides were created rather last minute and uploaded to Slideshare.net for demo purposes for a conference audience.  The success of Meet Charlie was quite accidental.  So why don’t I just replace the file with a corrected version?  Well the last time I checked  with the Slideshare.net team, I was informed this action would break all downstream links in blogs and sites.

So for now, we’ll have to live with a few errant apostrophes here and there :)

Spain, San Francisco, Connecticut, British Computer Society

A quick note on where I am and what I’ve been doing.  So after my trip to Spain, last week saw me present at the Office 2.0 conference in San Francisco.  It was a great conference, full of lively and energetic people and I made some world class connections and caught up with folks from the blogsphere.  I’ll write more about the conference later.

Currently I’m in New London, Connecticut.  I’m here to hand over some project management work in order to concentrate on my enterprise 2.0 efforts.

On Wednesday I will be back home presenting to the British Computer Society at Canterbury University.  This is the second time Simon and I have spoken to this audience.  It was at this event the word began to Meet Charlie.

So it’s been a hectic few weeks with lots of travel.  I have much to catch up on and many contacts to pursue.

The Enterprise 2.0 powered project team…call for suggestions

I’m half way through writing the above white paper, or whatever you want to call it (it will be a PDF up to 12 pages). The purpose of the paper is to accompany a half day course I will be rolling out to teams who have been tasked with managing a project or set of tasks. It’s not meant to be PM training, rather a resource and guidance for teams who can benefit from using blogs, wikis, rss etc..

Is there anything you’d like to see covered? Leave a comment.