Enterprise Weblogging

Using weblogs for communication & information management
Michael Angeles

Overview
1. Why weblogs? 3. What are they good for? 5. Roadmap

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Definitions, just in case
I am assuming you know a little bit about weblogs Definition of weblogs
– A journal, usually updated frequently, sometimes categorized – Usually links to other sites – Can support comments and some stateless interaction – Provides an XML feed

Scope of this talk

Yes
Mainly internal project weblogs To some extent, personal information management blogs whose goals are to build individual and organizational understanding

Not really
I’m not talking about story telling to the outside world Some project information can spill out into personal blogs; e.g. See Sun and Microsoft blogs

Why weblogs?

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The elevator pitch
Can your employees see themselves in the context of the whole company? Would more informed decisions be made if employees and leaders had access to internal news sources? Weblogs serve this need. By making internal websites simple to update, weblogs allow individuals and teams to maintain online journals that chronicle projects inside the company. These professional journals make it easy to produce and access internal news, providing context to the company — context that can profoundly affect decision making. In this way, weblogs allow employees and leaders to make more informed decisions through increasing their awareness of internal news and events. –Lee Lefever

The story is about people and their needs
Knowledge workers - feel greatest need to publish & share
– Researchers, engineers, sales force

Communities of Practice (CoPs) – need to collaborate & share
– Communities organized around projects, products or topics (e.g. Mobility)

Chief Information Organization (CIO) – concerned about standards
– Enterprise Information Technology people

Executives – concerned about profitability, productivity, and cost savings
– Officers, upper managers

Why they emerged
1. Healthy information ecologies tend to be diverse
– Diverse set set of user types – Diverse set of needs – Diverse set of technologies used to meet these needs

2. The need to publish and share is a common
– Obstacles to publishing right now – Inflexibility of current tools – Cost and limited human resources

problem – it’s an organizational point of pain

Why they’re suitable for our current needs
 The new KM is a bottom-up effort
– Using story-telling at a personal level to socialize information and promote understanding – Shifting messaging power to the indidual

 Weblogs support diverse ecologies
– They allow some interaction (commenting, remote comments via XMLRPC-based trackbacks) – Enable information sharing (RSS/Atom feeds) – Keep control of publishing close to the owners

 Weblog software arrives just in time
– The software is priced right and is easy to use

 Diversity is a good thing
– See: Nardi, O’Day on information ecologies

Summary: What makes blogging a good fit

Interesting, but what are they good for?

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Personal and group information management
Typical communication and information sharing questions related to projects:
– How do we minimize gaps in the individual's understanding of the knowledge of the larger group? – How do we keep the group up to date on progress made by individuals, by the team as a whole? – How do we develop an organizational memory of processes leading to decisions?

The goal is to foster understanding.

Case studies at Lucent
Information management
– Subject matter weblogs – Document library weblog – Training weblog

Project management
– Training weblog (really a hybrid) – Product requirements docs

Simple examples: Subject blogs

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Simple examples: Subject blogs

Lucent Technologies – Proprietary Use pursuant to company instruction

A more sophisticated example: A training weblog:
Needs:
– Process for easily archiving output of face to face training – Method for easily communicating updates in timely and efficient manner – Place for discussion of changing Engineer’s needs and issues during roll out

Project Summary
Project: new system System Training on

(Phase II of rollout; internationally and to smaller customer teams) Persona: Problem: sharing developing archive Engineers Communicating, information, knowledge and

Context:
– Existing ocument repository was cumbersome and static, didn’t provide for interaction; no knowledge base for questions and answers

Conceptual model

How are needs satisfied by a weblog?

Site architecture

Published blog content

Forms for posting content

Instructions for posting content via web or email

Home page schematic

Home page

Blog entry schematic

Blog entry

Tagging blog entries

Categorizing or tagging blog entries

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Category and status tags
Status flag applied when question is answered Category applied

Taking tagging further: Paragraph-level flagging for Product Requirement Docs

Annotating at the paragraph level. Example using Traction Software for collaborative authoring of a product requirements document. Note

Weblogs a good fit for this project
Low cost Ease of use Features and functionality match needs
– Distribution – Archiving – Interaction

Roadmap: Where does the story end?

A roadmap for the long view

Now: Blogging software
Are individuals blogging already? What level of support can you provide? Select solutions that match your information ecology
– Centralized: Provide an enterprise blogging application – Decentralized: Individuals and CoP’s select and manage own blog publishing application

Near term: Support information awareness
Bloggers very often use their own news readers to track a lot of weblogs daily Ability to stay abreast of internal/external news may drive frequency of publishing Consider electronic alerting services for vendor purchased news (e.g. ABI, Factiva) and internal databases (e.g. document repositories) as RSS

Example: RSS for all databases

RSS, HTML, JS feeds of database search results

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Example: Social bookmarking

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Long term: Support findability of internal blogs
Encourage bloggers to use full text feeds (with entire blog entry in the RSS feed) Provide an enterprise RSS/Atom News reader for aggregation and archiving
– Off the shelf: Newsgator (Enterprise) – Build your own or use open source software

Consider some classification of blog entries

Longer term: Aggregating and classifying

Longer term: Enabling relationships

Relationships to entities in the enterprise
Observe relationships Enable expert finding and social behaviors

Thank you.
jibbajabba@gmail.com

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