Tips and Tricks

Category: Tips and Tricks (11 posts) [RSS]

Nov 07 2017

How to write a SOP with XWiki Procedures

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are a set of step-by-step instructions compiled by an organization to help workers carry out complex routine operations. XWiki offers you a versatile and ready-to-use structure for all interested domains: management, IT development, marketing, HR, transportation and many more. This is a solution suitable for any department of an enterprise searching to put in place a procedure which would streamline their processes.

Here are 4 steps to create easy-to-follow SOPs:

1. Do your research

A key planning activity for writing effective procedures is to understand the process that will be documented within the procedure. That starts with research or, in other words, collecting information.

This would include doing things like interviewing process owners and process doers. They are the go-to people when requesting related information because of their insight and involvement into the process. In addition, research should help you build objectives by learning process capabilities and by benchmarking industry leaders performances in targeted areas.

Do: Include screenshots, images, videos and best case practices.

Don't: Avoid connecting tasks to specific tools, as they might change over time.

Search tool

2. Establish the bigger picture

Your task is to create a situation where employees aren’t simply just following procedures. They want to understand the roles they play in company success.

By setting goals aligned to the organizational strategy, they will be more motivated to improve the procedures as they will grow along with the company. Therefore, keep in mind that your procedures would need to explain the actions towards the accomplishment of your business plan, while documenting the involved steps and the effects of interactions with other processes. 

Do: Show where a procedure's success falls under the company's growth plan.

Don't: Forget to brief in all departments involved in the well-going of the procedure. 

Procedures categories

3. Provide a structure 

A written procedure is a step-by-step guide to direct the reader through a task, so keep things simple and clear. With XWiki Procedures you have the chance to expand procedures to a company level, or just keep it neat for a team. Give your procedure a structure that will ease the efforts done by your employees instead of sending them on a time consuming path.

Do: Insist on the sequence and correlation of the tasks, as it will help when following them.

Don't: Leave out steps just because they seem obvious. They never are. 

Procedures sidebar structure

4. Involve employees

Give employees ownership so they can contribute to the way things are happening in your organization. For most companies, the problem isn’t necessary with the procedure, but with how the procedure is presented to employees. Make them enjoyable, easy to follow, and most of all - appreciate those taking the time to improve them.

Do: Brainstorms and offer guidance before instilling a new procedure, so everyone is fully on-board. 

Don't: Just add a procedure, take the time to explain all things left unclear and amend where necessary. 

Assign user responsibilities

Conclusions:

1. Research what the competition does and what steps you need to follow, customize it to your needs. 

2. Emphasize the bigger picture and how procedures help your company thrive. 

3. Take the time to make the procedure structured, easy to follow and have clear tasks.

4. Give ownership to those working on the procedure. Encourage them to improve it. 

TRY NOW

Not yet convinced? Try it for 10 days, for free, with no strings attached and no credit card required.

May 29 2017

3 common issues with intranet data import and how to avoid them

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Designed by Freepik

Many managers approach intranet migration with the feeling that all they need to do is move all their content onto the new system and everything will work seamlessly. Obviously, most of the time this is not the case. Not only can this approach lead to user experience problems, but it also denies you the opportunity to manage and refine your content database.

Take the time to read about the following three mistakes that most people make when migrating data to their intranet so you can avoid them in your organization.

1. Omitting a content audit beforehand

The mistake of thinking that all content on their current system is equally valuable is the most common amongst companies migrating to an intranet. This leads them to the conclusion that they should migrate all their content over onto the new system. However, as we found out during our 14 years of experience, migrating all your content is very inefficient.
A better approach is to perform a content audit to find out what content you have on your current system, and out of that what you really need.

Your content audit should answer the following questions:

  • How much content do you have?
  • How old is your content?
  • What’s the metadata of your content?
  • How valuable is your content?

We provide help with any migration project from an existing solution to XWiki, by taking over your existing data. As part of our data recovery projects, we implement the following methodology, meant to smooth the transition for you:

OurMethodoEN.png

 2. Forgetting to install the structure to the new intranet

Most organizations upgrade to a new intranet because they want to reap the benefits of a new or better platform. However, moving to a new platform can throw up some unexpected problems in the way your intranet works. A good structured intranet identifies important differences between the old and new platforms, so you can predict problems that might occur after migration and address them now.

This strategy should let you know which data you need to migrate, what you should archive, and what you can delete. All companies should have a content governance strategy in place anyway, but if you don’t currently have one, an intranet migration is a good opportunity to develop one.

For example, your content might end up being stored in surprising places on your new intranet, which could make it difficult for your users to access it as part of their daily activities. Use your governance and structure solutions to predict issues like this and address them before they become a problem for your users.

 3. Doing the migration by themselves

To capitalize all the information and knowledge of your business, it is important that the new solution is able to handle this transition. This is why we offer to assist you with the process. To avoid losing data and to save time, we have developed this import to be fully automated and secure.

These are the top benefits of performing a data import process with XWiki:

  • Each document becomes a webpage;
  • Documents are accessible from any web browser;
  • Edit and View interfaces on the same page (no back office);
  • Decrease or disappearance of information silos;
  • Addition of various features to collaborate around the content: comments and annotations;
  • Our technology allows you to perform massive imports of documents in your wiki, reducing the risk of losing data to almost none.

 

Want to know more? Drop us a line at sales@xwiki.com or try our solution, for free, to convince yourself. No strings attached.

Alina Luchian
Content Marketing Specialist @XWiki

May 10 2017

What successful companies have in common

Forbes 500 companies. We’ve all wondered what it gets to be one of them. Researches show that the answer is simple, but the implementation is the tricky part. The way we see it, it goes beyond numerical attributes such as brand value, market share or power of investment.

It’s in the way you think

Let’s start with the beginning. At their core, any self-sustained business, regardless of the industry, has a competent management team, a well-structured organizational chart and a product or solution meeting the needs of an audience.

Easy so far, right?

Well, that was the answer. Understanding how these common attributes differ when comparing an average company to a successful one lays in the way they are approached in the organization. Now’s the tricky part.

So, you ask yourself, what it takes for a company to break the chain of average events and truly be a disruptive force on the market?

Here, at XWiki, we have studied how these things happen and we have concluded that all successful companies have in common the following characteristics:

  • They all communicate efficiently both internally and with their clients
  • The management team focuses on being leaders and not simply bosses
  • They share knowledge within the company both ways

They all communicate efficiently both internally and with their clients

Have you ever wondered how sometimes you are simply not informed in due time about a last-minute meeting or a report has been lost in the long thread of emails?

This is where successful companies get an advantage. They use internal collaborative platforms enabling anyone in the organization to easily get access to any information.

Think about the way global offices work. The difference between time meridians can sometimes pass the 8 hour work day so, basically, when some get to meet their friends for a few drinks, on the other side of the world, the others share stories about last night’s dinner over a cup of coffee.

Getting back to a local environment, you still need to have a global approach on ensuring transparent, up-to-date and easy to access information as your employees will be empowered to do their jobs efficiently. Eventually, your customers will get better customer service, which leads us to the way successful companies approach their audiences.

The management team focuses on being leaders and not simply bosses

An authoritarian approach over managing your employees and especially the millennials, is a sure way to reach a high employee turnover. You can change that by recruiting the right talent from the beginning.

It all starts at the interview stage. Here, at XWiki, we are looking for people who take accountability for their actions, are passionate about their area of expertise and actively take part in collaborative projects.

Image boss vs leader

Source: wittyfeed.com / arving.lakhani2

Ok, now you must be thinking. “How these guys know what to do, when there is nobody there to give orders?”. Well, we only hire people who don’t need orders to make great things happen. XWiki has a culture of empowerment which focuses on fairness, leadership and collaboration. This is why we have only leaders and not a single boss.


They share knowledge within the company both ways

Who knows better what the company is up against on a daily basis if not you employees. They know what resources, processes and steps are needed for a smooth task completions.

Use their expertise as it might impress you, but remember to share knowledge top-down too. Your employees need to be on the same page with the management to act as an entity and not as separate departments always chasing latest updates.

Conclusion

In conclusion we can say that there is no magic formula for becoming a successful company over night. Changing your mindset and allowing time for things to develop naturally is the first step to a Forbes 500 listing.

George Nikolic
Marketing Team Leader @XWiki

[Infographic] Reasons to start collaborating right now

Thinking that you can do all by yourself? Well, we think you'll be very much interested in this infographic showing how collaboration impacts success in business.

Download it to get a better view.

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DOWNLOAD THE INFOGRAPHIC

Dec 20 2016

XWiki’s special Christmas theme

“Deck the office with pixels of holly, ‘tis the quarter to be jolly” We’re feeling merry emoticon_wink

Decorations, carols in the hallways, gifts, parties, leave days... December has fully taken over offices and working spaces around the world. Whether you’re full onboard or went full Grinch when the first signs of Christmas decorations hit the supermarkets (in November!), chances are that, by now, the Christmas spirit got you.

The holiday season is upon us, and that begs the question: what more can you as an employer/manager to keep your employees happy and motivated? Just like any other Christmas enthusiasts, we thought of contributing to this movement and have taken this spirit to the next level: a special Christmas theme for your company’s XWiki. This way => XWiki Christmas free demo.

We have joined forces with the design team at the North Pole, drafted versions, then got the elves, the snowmen and the reindeers to provide feedback, did the implementation, asked for Santa’s blessing and agreed that this is the perfect picture of the season.

Since we’ve been praising it so highly, here’s a sneak peek of how the theme looks and feels like:

Gather your team around the XWiki Christmas theme and go through this year’s holidays with a smile on every face, even if at work. We challenge you to show us the best use of our special theme, whether it’s a blog post, internal newsletter or anything you might think of.

Let’s make the most of these Holidays! - XWiki’s little helpers

Alina Luchian
Content Marketing Specialist @XWiki

Dec 06 2016

Top 5 benefits of organizing information within your company

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We all get frustrated whenever we misplace our belongings and looking for them is a time and energy consuming effort that could have been avoided simply by being more organised. What happens if they are not personal belongings, what if we would talk about your work emails, presentation files or quarterly reports? The consequences of this lack of organisation would be catastrophic not only for you, but for the entire company.

How to avoid this type of hardship? The solution might seem obvious, yet often gets overlooked: organising information.

Its advantages are various and the top 5 most relevant benefits are:

Efficiency
The greatest advantage of organising information within a company is the efficiency of the resources. An organised professional will spend less time correcting mistakes, searching for information and fixing any clutter. The time saved means more time for doing productive things and more resources for other projects, therefore more money. Apart from the positive impact on time management, organising information will make it more comfortable for employees to share any information with each other, thus working better as a team.

Tracking progress
Of the company. Progressing is the aim of every business, but how can you measure it? Having a clear overview of the company’s projects, activities and resources helps management while decision-making. Compiling and recording the data of your company’s incomes and expenditures will help timely identify bottlenecks and support the decision to redirect resources and energy to more profitable elements.

Of the projects. Organising information also makes it easier for every employee to have access to relevant information, to have a  snapshot of all ongoing projects, so the inter-teams communication is more effective and to be on the same page with their teammates.

Better management skills
For any business, organising information is all about keeping things in proper order such that the path from inquiry to result is clear and time efficient. Information, in the business’ world, comes from various sources and takes lots of forms: employee records, news, internal meetings minutes or political context. A company’s information portfolio is the key action influencer in any matter concerning the company, so understanding the data and filtering the noise is essential to management.

Daniel Keys Moran said that “You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.” and his reference applies undoubtedly to the companies’ need to take rational decisions, thorough timely and reliable information procured through a logical and well structured method of information collecting, processing and disseminating. 

Instilling trust
Organising information establish a sense of trust and professionalism in the workplace. A well organised company projects an image of reliability and control. The strategies adopted by rational decision makes with the help of thoroughly disseminated information help winning the trust of employees, clients and associates effortless.

Reduced stress
A well organised information culture triggers a more relaxed working environment, as opposed to a cluttered or disorganised office where you are constantly searching for items or through countless threads of emails, attachments and files. It also allows companies to adapt to modern working models, including remote resources or work from home. 

State-of-the-art tools that enable new ways of working have generated important changes in company management. Traditionally, team members and managers would juggle multiple files, resources and tasks while struggling to get people on the same page. Nowadays, organising information within collaborative workspaces make planning and managing different projects easier and more effective, while also ensuring that all tasks are finished on time and within budget. Try XWiki and convince yourself of the advantages. 

Alina Luchian
Content Marketing Specialist @XWiki

Nov 07 2016

Less paper. More technology.

Take a second and think about the world’s remarkable innovations that were discovered in the past 20 years. I think we can all agree that the internet is clearly holding the first place and is shortly followed by the computers and the mobile technology. But what all of these have in common? Why they all have been developed in the past two decades? Here is a clue: more people born, more resources needed, more innovative solutions discovered.


Population growth has both advantages and disadvantages

Some might say overpopulation is either bad or good, but let’s not jump to conclusions. The growing population phenomenon is clearly in the grey area. The advantages include economic growth, longer life expectancy due to medical discoveries and innovative social concepts to serve the masses. On the other hand, it leads to resource shortages, property shortages and deforestation.

With a global population of almost 7.5 billion people and expecting to reach around 9.7 billion by 2050 it is mandatory to take action to find an equilibrium between the two sides. A solution is to use the advantages to overcome the disadvantages, but let me be more explicit on that. How about using the internet and the technological innovations to transmit any kind of information without using the old, basic paper.


Deforestation needs to be kept under control

As deforestation is a real concern, let’s think of what drives this trend. In order to reduce the housing shortages, we need to create more properties, but that means more land which in the end means cutting down trees. Another cause is the commercial activity which implies harvesting timber to create consumer items such as paper and furniture. Living without furniture is not really an option, so let’s cut down the use of paper then.

The current paper consumption per capita is 57 kg and considering the current population of 7.5 billion people, we reach to 427 million metric tons of paper per year. Going back to the population growth, let’s redo the calculation. As we expect 9.7 billion people to inhabit Earth by 2050 and considering the current consumption per capita, we end up with 552 million metric tons per year.

If that is not enough of a trigger to start saving on paper I don’t know what is!

Put technology to use

In order to retain the current paper wastage we need to limit ourselves to 43 kg or less of paper per capita for the next 34 years. Ok, now that we are aware of the objective, let’s find a solution.

We live in a world where all kinds of collaborative, social and interactive platforms have been developed in order to reduce the time and the cost of getting in touch with a family member, a friend or a complete stranger situated on the other side of the globe. In the last decade, the wiki technology has experienced an uplift due to the increase attention of companies on being more productive by using less resources to achieve better results.

Using a collaborative tool to share reports, proposals and presentations drastically reduces the need of using printed materials, which in the end slows down the process of producing paper. A small change in the pattern of modern living can have a huge effect on the environment. This concept has been named by Edward Lorenz, a mathematician and the pioneer of chaos theory, as the "butterfly effect".


XWiki is one of the solutions

XWiki offers a wide range of powerful standard tools that will enable you to create, organise and find content. Moreover, all the pages are making use of some default features such as history, versioning and rollback. Are you usually printing your Excel or Word reports to give it to your managers? If yes, let me give you two options to reduce the paper wastage.

The first option is to import any Microsoft Office or Open Office document and transform it into a wiki page. This can be done by creating a new page and choosing the import option as shown below.

Click on the image to enlarge

The second option it to attach your files to any page that you would like. Moreover, your colleagues can write comments, attach their own materials and create annotations.

Click on the image to enlarge

You can check out XWiki Demo for yourself and see how we can help you manage and structure your information while protecting the environment. On the other hand, you can always mass import your documents. Here are some examples of mass imports done and used on production wikis:

EMC, making pre-sales documents more accessible:

  • Number of documents imported: 50 000 + other hundreds every night;
  • Import success : more than 99% (import feature is limited to Open Office Server and its ability to open files).

Fidelia assistance, better organize the company knowledge:

  • Number of documents imported: 900 documents
  • Import rate: 100%

As you can see, big companies are already taking steps in reducing the paper consumption and saving the environment. You can do it too by contacting us to see how you can transfer your physical data to virtual data!

George Nikolic
Marketing Specialist@XWiki

Oct 17 2016

This is why email chains are not productive!

You know those endless email threads that are constantly getting even longer and harder to follow? Or those times when you have a brilliant idea, but an email thread takes your inspiration? Well, I know those situations too. And I can’t say I like them very much.

We work in a business environment based on communication and collaboration like never before. It is mandatory for information to reach all corners of a company starting from suppliers and ending with the clients in order to have efficient processes. This takes time and every year gets harder and harder to keep track of all those documents that you talked about a few months back. Yes, those quarterly reports that you get pissed off looking for.

Don’t worry! It’s not just you. Did you know that the average employee is losing around 28% of his working week by responding and reading emails? Does it sound surprising that half of those emails barely deserves his attention? And how about the average 64 seconds that takes him to get back to work after each email?

If you think this is acceptable, let’s put it in context then.

Taking into consideration that the average working week has 40 hours and around 28% is spent on emails, that results in 11 hours of low-value , time consuming activities per week. Thinking that on a day, we exchange around 47 emails per person, we end up with a total of 205 billion emails worldwide.

Moreover, only 38% of the average inbox contains important information while the rest of 62% is pure distraction. These facts linked to the 64 seconds average recovery time results in an average of 8 hours of lost productivity per week. That’s an entire working day lost on low-value tasks!

Still not convinced?

Think what you can do with almost 8 extra hours per week: work one less hour per day; have more team building meetings; get to know your colleagues or even allow longer breaks. These are just some ideas that will definitely increase the motivation of your team.

Want to increase motivation? Then increase the productivity and the ROI will shortly follow. But how can you do that? What makes emails so special?

The first thing crossing my mind is the one-to-many communication capabilities, but other solutions offer it too, and even in a more efficient way. Sending documents and media? Try searching for an old thread without getting frustrated.

Work smart, not hard.

Remember those solutions that I was talking before? XWiki is one of them. It can be described as a centralised platform allowing anyone to keep track of a public discussion, comment, share documents or even vote. And the best thing is that you can customise it to exactly fit your needs.

Take a look on these simple ways to increase productivity while keeping your team motivated! For any questions that you might have, don't be shy and contact us! Or even better, you can give it a go and try out these functions yourself by creating a demo cloud instance!

Use comments instead of email replies. 

Click on the image to enlarge.

Use polls to find the overall opinion on a specific matter.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Attach easy to access documents instead of posting them in endless threads.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Everything is easier when you use a collaborative platform!

George Nikolic

Marketing Specialist @ XWiki

Oct 03 2016

How to keep your customers happy

business.jpgImage by citirecruitment

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 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