Friday, October 28, 2005

Web cast update

We're moving forward with a web cast, scheduled for December 6. We chose MS Live Meetings as our provider and are using their package that includes an event planner. As part of our packager we get a 90 minute training session, a dress rehearsal, and the actual event. They are also handling the event registration and building the web registration page. With all this, it should be easy, NOT!!!

Below is a list of other tasks:

1. Develop the show objective and line up the speakers
2. Write a description of the program
3. Work with MS to design the web page and response letters. Provide MS with our logo as well as description of the event.
4. Schedule training sessions and dress rehearsal.
5. Prepare marketing material
- Get list of e-mails
- Prepare an e-mail account if folks respond to the message (i.e. not my e-mail address)
- Send out broadcast e-mail (include link to registration page)
- Prepare print description that can be handed out
6. Obtain speaker slides for the show
7. Get someone who can review and compile e-mail questions during the show.
8. Prepare an item for all staff on how to handle calls that we may get during the show (i.e. here's how to get technical support).

I'm sure this list will grow as we get closer to the show.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Going live with CMS - update

Our CMS has been live for about three weeks and people are starting to use it. It's been fun watching our system administrator go back and forth to one person's office to offer assistance (a big cheese - but I won't mention names). The good news is that he's using the system.

We've bumped into some conflicts between the current ways of doing things and processes for checking in documents. After a few discussions, we've decided not change the processes for the time being. This does mean that were are not capturing some content, however, with time and people becoming aware of the system capabilities I'm sure this will change.

We've also starting to look at migration from paper files into the system. Since folks are accustomed to thumbing through the whole file, it has been decided to scan the file in as a whole. One day we may want to break this file apart, but for now this adds a level of comfort. It also has the advantages of simplifying the scanning job and reducing the number of files in the CMS.

For another set of files, we found a way so that only one document in a group will come up in a search and the other working documents can be hidden from view. This along with version control will minimize the confusion about what document people are viewing.

To continue the education process, we're sending out tips as we find new ways of doing things. For example, we found a way to attach documents to e-mails directly from the CMS. At our monthly all-staff meetings for the near distant future, we're going to be offer short demos. Finally, there's our administrator, who's been great at going from office to office offering advice.

The lesson learned here is that you need a lot of flexibility when implementing a system. With time, were going to have better alignment between our people, processes and this system. If we try to force too many issues now ...

Friday, October 14, 2005

Yawn - Going live with CMS

We went live with our Stellent CMS system on Monday. After almost three years of planning, design, etc. the day came and went with barely a ripple in the force. In fact, our change over was so boring that I took the day off, our administrator took two days off on the following Thursday and Friday. In other words, this was exactly what we had hoped for - a seamless (and unexciting) transition to a new system. We did celebrate with treats, but other than that an unremarkable day.

The keys to this success were - 1) staff helped build this system (buy-in and ownership, i.e. supportive culture), 2) we had an excellent in-house training program, and 3) we're starting easy only using the document management component with 50% of our legacy content being migrated into the system (the other 50% comes in 2 weekends). Preparation was the key!

Of course we are finding some things that could be better - these are:
1) Display - We have been using 800 X 600 pixel display. Stellent software is optimized at 1024 X 768. With our traditional settings, you can't see the file title without manipulating the column size each time you look at the directory (a real pain). According to Stellent support, there isn't a fix to this. I better get reading glasses.
2) Most of our legacy documents came over without much metadata, so the searching capability is limited. With time this will be cleaned up.
3) Much to the frustration of our administrator, there was still some ROT (redundant, outdated and trivial content) coming into the system. Some folks have arranged their files by how they work, i.e. multiple copies of the files in different project. We're going to have to accept this and work on little changes over time. People don't think in terms of the file (how it's managed, etc.), they only think about the message/content contained in that file. This mindset will limit the usability of CMS, so at some point we will need to implement more file management rules.
4) We can't attach files from the CMS to external e-mail message (i.e. to non-users of our CMS) . We need to first save a document onto our hard drive and then attach it to an e-mail. For internal e-mail, we can attach a link and this works great. Stellent is developing an integration with Groupwise that has been promised in November. Until that happens there will be some frustration.

At this point we're only live with the document management on our internal core-server. In two weeks we start using our external collaborative server. I hope that it's implementation is just as boring