Solutions

Category: Solutions (18 posts) [RSS]

Oct 10 2016

Intranets: How they help your business?

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Image by geralt

Once with the expansion of a company, a lot more variables come into the equation. Starting from needing extra funding to developing an adequate organigram, managers need to find ways to prevent organisational silos while keeping the productivity and efficiency on a high level.

One of the most reliable choices is to implement an intranet. You might ask yourself what is an intranet? So let me explain this concept.

An intranet is any closed network created using web platforms and accessed only by the employees of a company. It enables them to create content and manage documents while developing the organisational culture.

Ok, now that we’ve got that straight. Let see what an intranet is good for.

Concerning trends are slowly rising

An incredible 96% of the interviewed executives say that the lack of communication and collaboration is why businesses fail in the first place. Sure, we can always say that the global economy is shredded, the market is over-saturated and there is no competitive advantage to be found, but all those are just consequences of poor collaboration and communication.

Another rising trend is the fact that millennials are slowly becoming the majority of the working force. Known as the generation with the lowest level of brand loyalty and a reasonably high level of skepticism, they always keep an eye out for better opportunities. Keeping them motivated is one of the hardest tasks a manager might have.

A study conducted by the Institute of Internal Communication reveals that 39% of the interviewed employees said that their organisations have a low level of communication and this fact slowly reduces their motivation. Connecting the dots, I think we can all see where this is going. Let’s just make this clear: Managers need to ensure that companies are focusing on collaboration to avoid a high staff turnover and improve the ROI.

You are not alone!

It is crucial to develop an intranet developed by a company with years of experience and great customer support. Moreover, the Project Manager that will take great care of your project from the first time you contact the company until the implementation process ends, has to be a professional with broad technical experience and knowledge.

XWiki has them all: performant platform, long experience, knowledgeable project team and personalised methodologies. With more than 10 years of experience and numerous references, XWiki has been a trusted companion to many companies looking to invest in collaboration and communications software.

A powerful intranet

In all these years, XWiki has developed a platform able to support a wide range of necessities and help professionals better interact and share valuable knowledge. Being available in no less than 25 languages, makes XWiki the best choice for international companies as enables them to personalise the platform depending on the location of their offices. Moreover, it has proved in numerous occasions to be a highly flexible solution by allowing any user to connect to a centralised platform anywhere there is an internet connection.

Given the customisable nature of the platform, XWiki comes with all the applications that are important for your organisation. You can check our former custom projects by downloading Afcen’s business case or Aelia’s business case. If you need something even more personalised, feel free to contact us or see our methodologies.

George Nikolic

Marketing Specialist @XWiki

Oct 03 2016

How to keep your customers happy

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We all want a product that requires as little customer support as possible, but things never go as planned. Those times, when your company needs to provide professional assistance in a matter of minutes, can make the difference between a rising star and an average company.

Think about it from this perspective. You hate being put on hold for more than 5 minutes, right? You definitely hate being sent from one support agent to another due to lack of knowledge, right? Well, almost 80% of the interviewed people think the same and consider these reasons good enough to make them take the business elsewhere.

Don’t drive your customers away

According to a study conducted by Accenture, 80% of the customers who switched providers due to poor service said that they could have been retained if the first contact with the company was leading towards a resolution. This trend definitely doesn't seem to stop spreading as the current generation of millennials are known to be very picky in terms of assistance and quite skeptical on spending money when poor reviews are out there.

Another concerning trend for the customer support departments is the brand loyalty which is decreasing considerably from one year to another. Customers don’t wait for you to be reactive to their needs, instead they keep an eye open for better offers. Look on the bright side. If you are proactive when it comes to customer support, you will have a significant competitive advantage that can help you increase sales. You only need to be there, ready to welcome unsatisfied users.

There is always a solution

I know you've heard that one before. It’s always easier to say what needs to be done, but it’s way harder when you need to come up with a solution. This is why I’m going to present you a winning combination.

We can all agree that technology is everywhere nowadays. Even the customers know that and expect you to be online. Phone calls and emails might still work, but for how long? As said before, the proactive companies will rule the market. Prepare yourself and don’t be caught by surprise.

The most cost efficient way to provide fast, proven to work solutions and quit redirecting people from one agent to another is by implementing a knowledge base. Let me explain you exactly what I mean.

XWiki Knowledge Base for Customer Support

When a customer gets in contact with you, he expects quick and professional customer support offered by an experienced agent. Nothing hard to image, but in order to provide that you have two options:

  • Train all your agents to offer cutting edge technical support which costs both time and money, but let’s be honest, there will always be the risk of investing money in the wrong employee. Following this path, when your company evolves and needs more support agents, you will have to pay exponentially for their training.
  • Implement a knowledge base where all your agents can search for previously signaled issues and check the solution provided then. This does not only let your company grow without any concern in this area, but also takes less time for a solution to be found.

XWiki provides a state of the art Knowledge Base specifically developed and tested to meet the most exigent needs in terms of solution storing. Ranging from bringing structure to your data, to real time collaboration, XWiki Knowledge Base can do it. You can give a try to the cloud version by accessing XWiki.com, but if you really need something custom, we can do that too. Give us a sign and we’ll reply in no time.

George Nikolic

Marketing Specialist @ XWiki

Sep 26 2016

Global needs. Simple solutions.

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Economic globalisation represents the concept of countries transacting commodities, services, know-how and money in an international context with the intention to stimulate and develop the world’s economy. This concept comes with a lot of benefits, but also some downsides. Companies often report a lack of communication and collaboration due to the geographical distances between the offices. Moreover, the large amounts of unstructured data, gathered after years of activity, are preventing multinational companies to perform efficiently and to be cost-effective.

Rapid growth of unstructured data

According to 40% of the respondents of a ESG survey on the cost of unstructured data, the most persistent challenge over the years is the rapid growth and the way unstructured data is managed. Moreover, the same study shows that only 36% of the average IT budget is spent on investments which are able to produce ROI, while the rest of 64% is spent on managing the unstructured data.

The reasons are diverse and could be influenced, as an example, by the lack of knowledge of how many copies are archived, what documents are relevant and there is always the risk of new employees to create or duplicate documents. Based on these facts we can understand of what importance it is to have everything structured in a collaborative platform, where any employee, no matter the technical skills is able to create, modify or share documents.

The client

This was the case of one of our clients. EMC is a global leading company with activities in the information systems and storage on the international markets. After continuously collecting data, EMC has faced a challenge in structuring and managing it in an efficient way. The consequence of leaving it unstructured is linked to poor efficiency and higher administrative costs. They had to find a way to manage large amounts of information mainly consisting in business proposals in Word format.

Our solutions

After research, they have chosen XWiki as the most suitable company to address their needs. Constantly communicating, we have understood the needs and started developing a structured knowledge base able to support EMC in their efforts of storing the internal competitive intelligence data. Moreover, in order to easily access information, we have implemented special filters for the ground teams to easily contribute with new articles and relevant information about their competitors. Furthermore, the Sales and Marketing teams have had their own special filter which was able to structure data based on the market and the product lines.

Once arrived in the implementation stage, we have offered our support in importing 30.000 Office documents in the newly created database. As the solution has been considered a valuable asset for the company, currently more than 5000 people within EMC are using it. If you want to know more about the EMC solution, please follow this link.

George Nikolic
Marketing Specialist @ XWiki

Sep 22 2016

ISO 9000: Step-by-step guide

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Image by SCY

Once with the rising competition in basically any industry that was around for more than 3 years, the need of creating or maintaining strategic advantages is a priority in any company. Thinking from the customer’s perspective, what are the reasons that make you choose a product over another one solving the same need? We can all agree the quality and the price are two of the most well known buying criteria. But what makes a price go up or down? I think the quality of the production and distribution process. A production workflow as efficient as possible is not only a guarantee of a qualitative product, but also a way to reduce costs which are strongly related to the retailing price.

What is ISO 9000?

This is where the International Organization of Standardization steps in. Founded more than 60 years ago, this entity with members from 163 national standards organisations is in charge of easing the worldwide trade by implementing common standards. Another important power is their ability to award a company an ISO certification which guarantees the end-user a product qualitative enough to pass the minimum international standards.

With more than 20.000 regulations published, the most famous one is the ISO 9000 family. The standards part of this group are approaching the quality management topic, ranging from the requirements to be certified to how to make an internal or external quality assurance audit.

How to get certified?

First of all you need to be sure you understand what this certification requires. Your company needs to get examined once before getting the certification and every year to check if you are still compliant by an accredited body from your country.

Step 1

This is the first time your company is in contact with the certified consultants or internal auditors. They need to check the quality management processes and create a plan of what needs to be changed or implemented to be able to get the ISO 9000 certification. Once you have created a list of procedures, your employees need to familiarise with it. This can be achieved by publicly posting it in visible places such as a knowledge base and by providing training sessions.

Step 2

Contact the accredited body in your country and request a pre-assessment which can be considered a trial run. Bear in mind, they are not allowed to consult, but some assistance will be provided in order to confirm that the quality standards implemented are efficient. At this stage there is no pass or fail, so feel free to adjust your standards to meet their recommendations until the final assessment.

Step 3

Compared to the pre-assessment stage, the documentation review is mandatory and it means that the first stage of the assessment process just started. The accredited body will focus on the quality manual and the management policies. The second stage is when they make a detailed control of the way the requirements are being met. Ranging from talking to your employees to observing the workflow in your company, the auditors will check everything so make sure you are all set before calling them. The amount of time needed for this is linked to the company size and at times it might require more days.

Step 4

If there are a few issues that prevent you from being certified, an action request will be written in the audit report and a time frame is provided to address those findings. On the bright side, if everything goes smooth, you will receive a certificate of registration once the review board is approving your case.

Step 5

At this stage you are fully certified and need to make sure you are compliant with the ongoing quality procedures. Once at 3 years, the accredited body will re-examine your entire quality management workflow, but remember that on an yearly basis some parts of the company will be examined too.

How XWiki can help?

Thinking of how the process of accreditation is being handled, imagine all those standards that need to be efficiently stored, easily accessible and simple to edit. By getting ISO 9000 certified, I think you are interested in being more efficient, right?

The best way to organise your documents in an efficient way is to use XWiki Knowledge Base for Procedures. You can get a feeling of what it looks and works like by creating a 10 days free cloud account.  Let me give you a tip, this will also help during your first stage accreditation process when the documentation is being checked. Believe me, showing that you efficiently store and provide easy access to the quality procedures goes a long way.

We wish you the best of luck and we want to congratulate your initiative, if you decide to become ISO 9000 certified!

George Nikolic
Marketing Specialist @ XWiki

Sep 12 2016

CKEditor. From optional to default.

In February, we were announcing the availability of the CKEditor as an alternative to the basic WYSIWYG and Wiki Editor. Now we have more exciting news! After noticing how everybody loves this extension, we have decided to make it default , once with the release of the latest XWiki version, 8.2.

For those who don’t know exactly the difference between the 3 text editors available in the latest release, I will briefly explain them to you.

Wiki Editor

Let’s start with the most robust one. Wiki Editor is a text editor using elements more targeted to people who are somewhat technical and prefer full control over live preview. The current version available is 2.1 and compared to the previous releases it is better in homogenizing the links while the image syntax offers a better clarity and consistency.

Other interesting features are the ability to display icons; link files using the UNC notation and create links to relative URLs. You can learn more about this editor on XWiki.org.

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WYSIWYG

The name of this class of editors comes from “What You See Is What You Get” and allows the user to visualise the changes made to a document in real time. Compared to Wiki Editor , WYSIWYG is easier to use as it does not require syntax knowledge and it has some similarities in terms of basic functions to Word.

On the other side, even if this class of editors offers the possibility to make simple changes, it has its limitations compared to the above mentioned one in terms of control. Compared to CKEditor, this one was developed in house based on Google Web Toolkit, while CKEditor is being used by a wide range of companies. 

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CKEditor

The CKEditor is a member of the WYSIWYG family. It is a ready-to-use HTML editor that brings together a number of functions which are specific for the word processors. This is better than the generic WYSIWYG in some key web development areas.  

It allows users to copy-paste the style of a paragraph directly from Word, it allows the creation of accessibility-compliant tables and uses advanced W3C DTD controls for a better HTML generation.

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Now that you have an overview of the difference between the 3 default editors, which one are you more inclined to use? If you are not sure enough, why not try them out with the latest version of XWiki Cloud 8.2.1. available on XWiki.com?


George Nikolic
Marketing Specialist @ XWiki

Aug 01 2016

Customisation & Personalisation: Similar, but different.

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Image by Geralt

Personalised consumerism as we know it today is the result of years and years of economic and technological changes and discoveries. The first concept of a personalised product has its roots just before the Industrial Revolution, when in the absence of mass production technology, people were, basically handcrafting everything, so the chances of something not being personalised were almost none. Soon after, technological advances have enabled big manufacturers to produce identical products, using a pattern, on cheaper prices so everybody migrated to this option. This phenomenon is known as mass-consumerism. The years between 1950’s and 1960’s have been crucial for the economy of scale and the mass manufacturing concept. The globalisation trend has enabled manufacturers to expand their activities on foreign markets, which had a direct impact on the amount of goods being produced. In the 1980’s, the consumer got bored of having the same looking product as everyone else and the concept of personalisation has been introduced.

From standard to custom
On a study conducted by Deloitte UK in 2015, 1 in 5 respondents affirmed that they would pay 20% more for a personalised item compared to a standard one. On the other hand, the same survey shows that only 42% of the consumers are keen on letting the brands propose the personalised options. The findings suggest that people are likely to offer more for a personalised product or service, but also expect to be tailored to their needs.

Customisation vs Personalisation
The software market has experienced the same change in buying behaviour, even more dynamically once with the introduction of custom made apps. It has become a norm for companies to develop custom build solutions for clients willing to pay the price. As an extension of the personalisation concept, the customisation idea has been created. Although, the vast majority of people don’t quite know the difference between customisation and personalisation, both concepts are looked for by customers from all sectors. In the customisation process, the user is expected to share his needs and expectations, while for personalisation, the company will adjust its offering based on the segment the client is part of, by predicting his interest.

Tailor-fit solutions, better results.
Here, at XWiki, we like to think about ourselves as a flexible company that produces custom based solutions, starting from a standard software, in order to tailor-fit each feature to the client’s exact purpose. Starting with understanding the specific needs of each particular organisation, we are able to adjust the highly customisable wiki, to meet even the most exigent expectations. During the past projects we have received favorable feedback as all our clients have experienced better performances. The most common are considered to be a higher level of efficiency and collaboration compared to the organisations implementing the generic software. Moreover, the same project was able to reduce the operating costs caused by bad data and weak communication within the organisation.

Our solutions
We are proud to underline two projects which required complex custom features that have been implemented on top of the XWiki’s default software:

The L’Union Sociale Pour L’Habitat resource centre is a customised knowledge database developed for a French government related confederation dedicated to supporting low income families. The design and UI are part of the customisation process, but the complex part consists in creating a special document structure on which using a customized workflow, juridic specialists are able to create and edit content. On top of that, the organization asked for a custom metadata filter which is able to sort documents based on some special characteristics.

The second example consists in a corporate intranet, developed for one of the top suppliers of electric energy in Brazil. Being used by more than 5000 users located in several cities, the solution has received a custom SSO login as well as a statistics tracking feature.

Customising a complex software in such a manner to meet the exact expectations is a challenge for both the technical and the design departments. Furthermore, getting custom features to function on a standard wiki solution requires communication between the client and the company, strong interdepartmental collaboration and lastly, but by no means least highly knowledgeable specialists, all this being able to be found at XWiki.

If you want to know more about our projects, check the References page or discover the USH business case.

George Nikolic
Marketing Specialist @ XWiki

Jul 04 2016

Improve your everyday work with business apps

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Multi-departmental validations: when haste makes waste

Have you ever spent days stressing out because you were waiting for an urgent confirmation which required the approval of several teams or departments?
And while you waited "patiently" for your coworkers to reach a decision and find the time to get back to you, you merely underwent 10 reminder calls per hour?
... Don't you find these situations a tad stressful?

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Good news! There is a solution: it is called a "business application".

When you go business app, you don’t come back

A business app is a custom-made application for companies or organizations designed to help its activity. It can entail:

  • a simplified approach to a bank account opening process
  • optimizing information management in order to make strategic decisions
  • or any other customized application designed to boost your efficiency

At XWiki we often face clients who suffer from this crucial information management to improve their business. They usually work on documents or excel sheets that are updated by several people asynchronously, then sent by email or replaced on a server. Multiplied versions thus start to pile up - version 1, version 2, final version, final-final version - and one can hardly decypher the information he or she is actually looking for.

A popular misconception is that the solution is too complex to implement - it isn't.

Indeed business apps will enable you to:

  • centralize information: rather than spending time searching through emails and documents that have been updated by different teams, you can collaborate on the same document;
  • enhance productivity: by obtaining multiple and quick validations you are able to handle more work in less time;
  • work stress-free: building optimized processes will reduce your pain point and improve your health - say "bye bye" to your imminent burn out.

Licence to chill

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All things considered business apps will improve your life!
... and the proof is in the pudding: here are some detailed examples of our clients.

Chronopost International was experiencing difficulty with obtaining a rapid green light from its sales teams, its IT department and its local agency network to create an account. Client requests were not centralized which resulted in inefficient communication and a tiring management process.
In less than three months, XWiki delivered a business application that significantly reduced the response time of the different teams involved. It is now possible for the sales team to know at any time which requests are ongoing and what is their status!

DCNS - an international high-tech company and one of the few global leaders in defense naval systems - went through similar difficulties.
Some teams were working on incident reporting and communicated their excel files via email. They were constantly dealing with multiple versions of the same files which resulted in information loss. Not only were these asynchronous updates not allowing an efficient status to several departments, but delaying the alerts was multiplying incidents.
This is why XWiki centralized their accident reports and developed an instant alarm system. A short time after its launch, DCNS claimed our business application had prevented more than 200 material incidents.

So why would you stress yourself when you can just as easily get a license to chill? Contact us to set up your business app project.

Sarah Nitenberg
Project Manager

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Jun 03 2016

Intranet managers: projects and budgets for 2016

A couple of months ago, we attended an early presentation on the results of the 7th study on the topic "Intranet managers: projects and budgets for 2016".
Lead, analyzed and presented by Philippe Grange (Facts & Numbers/Group Solutions), the study offers an encouraging vision for this year’s incomings.

The digital transformation: a key element for companies

According to the results, we notice that general management and human resources departments are involved in digitization projects inside companies.
Mainly financed by DSI and conducted by the Communication Manager, the general management’s financial commitment shows that digital transformation becomes a strategic and key subject, in which the HR department is equally involved. One of the possible interpretations is that Y generation employees are becoming more and more important in a company. These contributors have new behaviors, with notable and massive utilization of social and mobile media. Maintaining the  control over these aspects will allow HR departments to better integrate young generations in the company.

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What are the intranet managers achievements in 2015

Among the achievements of intranet managers in 2015 we find:

  • the modernization and redesigning of the intranet. This also takes into account the tool’s ability to connect to mobile devices.
  • the release of a collaborative intranet
  • the implementation of SNC
  • the accomplishment of POC, the creation of studies regarding the tool’s usability or the achievement of a tasks book
  • the development or releases of new applications and/or modules

Secondary, we notice the development of "Serious Games" or of MOOC. We observe that the answers depend on the stage of digitalisation in the respondent company. We can group them in 2 categories:

  • Companies in study or launch phase     
  • Companies that are in the second phase of their transformation project

What are the budgets and projects for 2016?

This is the good news of 2016!

According to this study, budgets are increasing in 2016. Even better, not only are they growing, but the average increase is in the range of 50%.
This represents, in my opinion, a sign of the growing awareness of the strategic importance and value that digital transformation projects bring to a company.

These budgets will be mainly used for:

  • the development of responsive and accessible tools for mobile devices
  • the implementation of SNC (Social Network of the Company)
  • promoting the intranet or the SNC
  • the elaboration of a workplace
  • the monitoring of the project’s evolution

Where do wikis fit in this ecosystem?

Wikis registered good results, making the top of the list for projects quoted for 6 to 18 months with the KM (Knowledge Management) and intranet personalization.

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Wikis are perfectly adapted tools for collaborative work issues, due to their strong participative dimension, but they’re also excellent for organizing knowledge and information in the company.

The expectations of intranet managers in relation with providers for 2016-17

As a wish list, here are some the objectives intranet managers have set for 2016-17:

  • Speed and agility: the development of tools according to the user’s needs and expectations
  • Being informed regarding the best-practices on the market
  • Offering assistance in the implementation phase of the projects and support for the release
  • Suggestions of new features that exist or can be implemented
  • Simplification of the tools and of the back office admin
  • Alignment of the cloud with the security exigences needed for safely managing the company’s internal information
  • Efforts in simplifying (purifying) the consultation and contribution interfaces
  • For SNC, as for the intranet: improvements in the aesthetics and performance!
  • Security doesn’t have to act in the detriment of easy access.

If you also want to configure an intranet on a short or medium term and most of your needs are expressed in this list, do not hesitate to get in contact with our team for a demonstration of XWiki Cloud or for a feasibility study. We are always happy to interact with people who are interested in subjects like the digital transformation of a company, information and knowledge management and also collaborative work and the Digital Workplace.

Benjamin Lanciaux
Marketing Communications Manager @ XWiki