Skip to main content

When It Comes to Online Collaboration, It's the People and Not the Tools



It has been a long time since Lotus Notes defined the groupware category of collaboration software and Microsoft followed with SharePoint in 2001.  Since then, collaboration software has evolved and new approaches to collaboration have emerged based on social media (such as Yammer).

Business can choose from many collaboration platforms, some of which are free or included (like SharePoint) in widely deployed office suites.

What has not changed is that collaboration itself is a human activity.  Even the best collaboration tools are worth nothing without the participation of users.

Encouraging adoption for collaboration is more difficult than driving adoption of products which empower individual users.  For group projects, have only 80 percent of the participants using the collaboration tool often means failure of the tool for the project.

One of the best techniques to encourage adoption is to have managers and senior staff lead by example.  If they adopt collaboration tools and techniques, others are more likely to follow.

Another tip is to start small and try to avoid cumbersome governance policies unless absolutely necessary.  If you start by laying down rules of behavior that are difficult to follow, users will quickly learn that they should avoid the collaboration system rather than take risks in sharing.

Popular posts from this blog

The DATA Act Driving Grant Management Automation

The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act enacted in May 2014 calls for making spending data available in open, standardized formats to be published online.  It is a continuation of transparency initiatives and lessons learned with experiences such as grants.gov, the 2009 economic stimulus under the Recovery Act and the spending site USASpending.gov.

Government grantees will have significant new administrative responsibilities.  Many organizations that were tracking grants in spreadsheets or documents will have to adopt more sophisticated automated grant management systems such as Microsoft Grants Manager to keep up with reporting rules.

For profit companies will lose some privacy as a result of this law.  Grant recipients will be required to disclose information including officer salaries.

Continued improvements to publishing grant opportunities such as grants.gov may make it easier to find grants. These reforms together are designed to improve the effectiveness of grant prog…

Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Entities and Attributes

To understand Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM and Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement), you need to learn some new terms and concepts that may be a bit different from what you know from databases and solutions that are hosted on premises. This is the second post in a series, and covers entities and attributes.

Entities are the most fundamental part of Dynamics 365 in terms of storing your business data.  They are similar in concept to database tables, and the relate to one another like tables in a relational database. For instance, Dynamics 365 has an entity called Contacts that stores data such as name, address, and email address of people that you track.   Accounts is a related entity that describes the organizations to which Contacts may belong.

Although they are similar to database tables, Dynamics entities allow you to do some customizations that are not possible in a standard database table.  Field labels, for instance, are part of an entity, and they may differ from …

Dynamics 365 for Auditing Activities

Many government and commercial organizations are responsible for conducting audits of financial and other performance in order to ensure compliance with regulations.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers a rich platform for automating auditing activities.  Here are some of the key functions that Dynamics 365 and Office 365 can perform for auditors:


Schedule visits. The Field Service app for Dynamics 365 includes a dispatcher console, and a module to assign auditors and schedule their visits or inspections.  It can also track other resources such as equipment which is used for field audits. Manage documents.  Dynamics 365 is integrated with SharePoint and also Azure Blob Storage.  This means that files may be associated with audit records, and searched using Microsoft search technologies which index full text and metadata. Generate notifications. Alerts via email or other communication channels (such as text messages) may be generated with Dynamics 365 automated workflows.  The messages are bas…