Monday, 26 April 2010

Document sharing on Facebook

Facebook and Microsoft have teamed up on an online document-sharing service, which is apparently similar to Google Docs.

The site allows Facebook users to log in using Facebook Connect and create, edit, and share Microsoft Office documents with their Facebook friends.

New documents will show up in a user's news feed, just like status updates or pictures.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Can social networks replace expensive in house systems?

With professional social networks such as LinkedIn growing in popularity, is there a need for an expensive in-house CRM system? Do you need to build alumni sites or could you just utilise social networking to reach your alumni?

Although the use of systems such as LinkedIn has grown, not just as a way of contacting people but with the discussion groups that really seem to work, they are still not comprehensive.

Internal systems are carefully constructed with quality and accuracy in mind, on social networks the contacts create and maintain their own data, which can mean incomplete and missing information. Plus the fact that many people will not even be on the system.

Jason Plant has started a discussion on whether LinkedIn can replace InterAction, with some interesting comments.

With relation to Alumni systems, social media can play quite a helpful part in providing benefits to alumni, but again it does not allow the organisation to add information, only the individual.

Social networks may have valuable contributions to play, but internal systems still appear to be needed; to formalise the data and gain full business benefit.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Legal research tools – more relevant results when searching the web

Searching the web for specific material can be frustrating purely because there is so much content on there and too many results are returned.

The Zonebee beta site is trying to help the effectiveness of a Google search, by aiding users to create a better search strategy.

It appears to work by using a tool bar that sits over the top of Google, a search term can be typed in, and Zonebee would generate a tag cloud or “buzz”of the most popular terms associated with the search term.

The user can then simply click to select which terms are the correct concepts, and what should not be included. Only once the relevant terms have been “explored” is a Google search run, hopefully bringing back more relevant material.
However, this is still in Beta form, so how effective it is remains to be seen.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Pending actions

Lawtel have released some new functionality, available as part of your Lawtel subscription – “Pending Actions" tracks all documents submitted to the High Court before a hearing date is fixed.

The idea is that you can follow proceedings from start to finish, and make decisions based on actions submitted to the court. For example, you can flag up important cases at the earliest stage, or, see if an action has been settled out of court.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Google search tips

Which ever search engine you prefer, you will probably use Google at some point – even if you do not get as far as Google Chrome.

With everything from defining specific words, to calculations and rates of exchange, many of us are only tapping into a fraction of the functionality of Google.

There are many tips and guides on the web, this one from Hubspot contains some quick advanced search techniques, others include the less known Google commands, some like the Bodelian Library produce a nice cheat sheet for ease of use.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

What is a “knowledge worker”?

This term can cover a multitude of sins, but does it really include every person that is working effectively within an organisation?

Jack Vinson blogged this week about the topic, saying that: “ Just about everyone within an organization has valuable knowledge about the ins and outs of the business and could contribute - assuming the organization is willing and interested in hearing the contribution.”

So all employees could be knowledge workers, but those that actually proactively facilitate the sharing of that knowledge are the ones that are more easily recognised.

The Havard Business Review looks at the “collaboration curve” and the concept that more value is added the more collaboration is undertaken – or the more nodes in a network are connected.

It uses the analogy of a fax machine. The First person to have a fax machine got little value from it, until more people had fax machines and it enabled the full value of transmitting images to be exploited.

So if we are all knowledge workers and we all collaborate, what effective organisations we would have!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

When does new legislation come into force?

BIS have just published the Forward Regulatory Programme which is trying to make it easier for businesses to prepare for when regulations change.

For example two common commencement dates have been introduced; 6th April and 1st October when the majority of regulatory changes will come into effect. The Government aims to provide clear and straightforward guidance explaining any changes at least 12 weeks in advance, and businesses can keep up to date with new requirements and changes through

Be warned however that the dates could all change after the general election - especially if there is a change in government.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Email – Love it, hate it, store it – find it?

Email is such a contradiction – I for one am so reliant on it; I get updates, alerts, information, collaboration, communication and so much more from it. I also have an inbox that seems to fill up every time I am away from my desk, and I question how much of the time that I spend on emails is actually of business benefit?

The other problem is organisation – I get a lovely snippet of useful information by email, what do I do with that so that I can usefully find it again? Many of us drop the email into our email folders (some better organised than others), I might add it to our blog or reference it in our knowledge system. Those of us with a DMS that allows email filing have an advantage, can drop it into a folder that can be collaborative, contextual, inclusive of documents and material from elsewhere, flagged if it is already filed by someone else, and full text searchable – so reducing duplication.

A decent search engine and we are not limited to browsing a good – or a poor organisational structure to find it again.

However, in many organisations emails are filed by one person in their personal email folders, at the same time as many others in that organisation are storing that email in their own email folders; taking up space unnecessarily and often, being lost for future use.
The information may not be shared – for the fear that others may already have it, or that others might not value it, so some people will not have even seen that nugget of relevant information before it is filed away and lost.

A recent post from Jason Plant made me smile – “Email, hate the stuff” - I have to sympathise!

However, the death of the email has been talked of for some years, this post from 2008 talks of the last days of email and suggests alternatives – RSS feeds for information updates, speaking to colleagues face to face or picking up the phone, using collaborative calendars. Although these are all good tools – and I do believe that RSS has huge potential in the work place, even though it is not always exploited enough in innovative ways to fit in with people’s workflow – email still fills that gap.