Chapter 8: Sites, Blogs, and Wikis

Addison Wesley Professional

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Note that an individual does not need to be limited to a single blog. In a highly collaborative organization, contributors have multiple roles and therefore manage different types of corporate content. An individual can have a blog associated with a team site that is dedicated to his or her work on a particular project. That same individual might have another blog to share thought leadership ideas within a particular practice area. The goal of the blog is to give the author a forum for information sharing. The great thing about WSS 3.0 is that it facilitates this sharing and connects all the content back to the original source.

WSS 3.0 provides the capability to set up a blog site quickly and easily. Within the corporate environment, blogs give subject matter experts a way to talk about what they know in such a way that all interested parties can benefit. People can monitor others' blogs that are aligned with their interests. Blogs can persist over time and provide a way for the organization to capture what people know and have it available even after the author has moved to another company.

Putting It All Together

At this point, you have appreciation for how team sites, wikis, and blogs work within a MOSS 2007 environment. The challenge from a collaboration perspective is putting it all together. This means deciding what tool works best in specific collaboration scenarios. In addition, there is the notion that an individual may participate in multiple collaboration efforts and therefore have access to the same tool in different sections of the knowledge hierarchy. Complicating this further is the desire at the corporate level to "manage" this information. How do we put this all together?

Think back to the beginning of this chapter, and take a look at Figure 8.1. While we can define three main levels of corporate content, in some ways, this picture is different for every employee. Let's consider three scenarios:

  • Knowledge Worker

    • Job

      • Execute specific business processes

      • Work independently and on teams at a project level

      • Build expertise with tenure

    • Collaboration Points

      • Contribute to project deliverables

      • Share lessons learned and best practices

      • Act as an expert when needed

    • Tools of Choice

      • Team sites at the virtual team level

      • Wikis at the community or virtual team level

      • Blogs at the virtual team level

  • Practice Area Manager

    • Job

      • Define specific business processes

      • Lead teams

      • Set strategic direction

    • Collaboration Points

      • Contribute to methodologies

      • Share lessons learned and best practices

    • Tools of Choice

      • Team sites at the virtual team level

      • Wikis at the community level

      • Blogs at the community or organizational level

  • Executive

    • Job

      • Define business strategy

      • Set plans and initiate action

      • Highly knowledgeable

    • Collaboration Points

      • Thought leadership

      • Influence direction of practice areas

    • Tools of Choice

      • Blogs at the organizational level

Here we have three different employees, each with his or her own role and responsibilities. The role sets the participation in the collaboration process. Yet everyone is participating. That's the goal! MOSS 2007 provides the core set of tools across the employee base to effectively capture and store corporate knowledge—in one place. This makes data highly accessible and reusable. Built around these tools is an environment that is template- driven for consistency and highly secure.

Creating a Highly Collaborative Environment

How do you create a highly collaborative environment? It's not enough to simply install WSS 3.0 or MOSS 2007 and make the templates available. You need a plan. You also need a few restrictions. Here are some key points:

  • Have a collaboration strategy. Identify what information is useful and where it is best captured.

  • Identify the owners of the information and enable them, with collaboration tools, to share and exchange information—freely.

  • Place few bounds on collaboration. Enable bloggers and wiki contributors, and then step out of the way. Communities are self-policing.

  • Reward contributions. Have a system to measure the value of knowledge captured.

  • Flow the collaboration strategy back into corporate training to keep fresh eyes on the content. Enable trainees to be contributors.

Key Points

Blogs, wikis, and team sites can be useful collaboration tools in an organization. This chapter has provided some fundamental information regarding the use of SharePoint for collaboration. In summary:

  • Providing collaboration to employees using SharePoint team sites, wikis, and blogs may seem simple, but you should back it up with an organizational strategy.

  • Have a collaboration strategy that enables all employees to participate.

  • Understand the differences and the value of team sites, wikis, and blogs to logically map them to corporate data collection.

  • Set few bounds for knowledge capture. Enable knowledge workers to contribute freely and build a portal around the data to take advantage of MOSS 2007 navigation and search capabilities.

Copyright © 2007 Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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