Best practices

Category: Best practices (17 posts) [RSS]

Feb 08 2019

FOSDEM 2019 and the challenge to finance Open Source

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This article was first published on Ludovic Dubost's blog.

I'm coming back from FOSDEM and it has been again an amazing year. We have been super happy to be able to run a dev room about "Collaborative Information and Content Management Applications" which has been a success  (videos are available here). We also have been able to meet XWiki and CryptPad users and give out stickers (all of them are gone and we need to reorder some for our next events). I've been happy to see that the "privacy" subject becomes more and more understood and important to the users.

While I have not been able to attend of lot of talks, beyond the dev room, I've been able to watch the videos. I use the occasion to give KUDOS to the FOSDEM video team. Their video recording system is amazing and videos are getting online with checks from speakers in a record time.

XWiki & CryptPad Talks

I'll start by recommending my talks, as well as other XWikiers:

The Challenge to finance Free and Open Source

Now what I want most to talk about is the talks about Open Source financing and the state of Open Source, as I believe that Libre and Open Source Software is having some challenges that are from my point of view growing and related to the state of the whole software industry.

I'm very happy that there are more talks that bring the subject of financing on the table, as I believe we have too much ignored the "business" aspects as "Open Source" was taking over the world through mostly the first Open Source Professional companies, Software Services companies and Cloud providers.

However while the open code was spreading everywhere, we have not fully grasped where it was coming from and how it has been financed, and today as we see less VC investment in professional open source companies, as RedHat is being acquired by IBM, and as the leading Cloud Providers are eating the business of almost all the other actors and as most future business are being developed as Cloud Services, we are starting to see a fundamental change. 

Open code continues to grow of course, especially all the infrastructure and libraries which are mostly sponsored by the cloud or SaaS actors. However there are already tentions in this area as is shown by the debates about the SSPL/Commons clause licences. The talk by Michael Cheng (working as a lawyer at Facebook, talking on his own behalf) SSPL, Confluent License, CockroachDB License and the Commons Clause - Is it freedom to choose to be less free?  when into good detail about this. It was a very good talk. Now the one thing I believe it failed to talk about was about the future of infrastructure Open Source code given the change in the market forces. While I agree that changing the licence and creating licences that effectively are trying to recreate the "proprietary software model" is not a good thing for Open Source, on the other side, if it becomes impossible to build a significant infrastructure Open Source solution as a startup, investment in Open Source code will either reduce or be only coming from the big cloud and SaaS actors and we should not expect a high percentage of Open Source investment relative to the business of these cloud providers. In the end a massive challenge for Open Source is that it represents only a small fraction of the global technology investment in the world.

Another set of talks actually discussed about direct financing of libre and open source software. I'm really happy that these talks are getting more and more common and that new solutions are emerging to help finance the developers:

Next Generation Internet

First the Next Generation Internet initiative - Year Zero - Come work for the internet on privacy, trust, search & discovery by Michiel Leenaars from NLNet presented the European Community initiatives to finance the future of the internet and in particular Open Source Code, as 12 Millions Euros are being distributed in small project between 5k and 50k to help developed "Privacy Enhancing Technologies" and "Search & Discovery". We are candidating to these funds for CryptPad, and I'm a big fan of the approach of financing smaller size projects with public money versus the big projects with many partners. I believe France and BPI should take a similar approach to fund Open Source. 

Hackers gotta eat

Kohsuke Kawaguchi from Jenkins/Cloudbees had a great talk Hackers gotta eat, Building a Company Around an Open Source Project, which touched on the business models for Open Source and why running a company alongside a project is useful and what challenges there are. I believe we have similar experiences also at XWiki which we presented last year XWiki: a case study on managing corporate and community interests - 14 years of Open Source in a Small Co. and in 2013 in the talk Combining Open Source ethics with private interests

Something I also clearly believe in, is that by structuring a company it allows to raise the level of quality and offering that the Open Source software has. In our area there are tons of wiki softwares, but only the ones with a structure can really keep up.

Crowdfunding, bounties, sponsorship programs

There has been a few talks about new financing methods:

The second talk presents GitCoin a funding mechanism using blockchain for open source code. The third one shows a great Open Source sponsorship program at INDEED where 120 K$ will be directed towards open source projects based on what is being used and voted by those who contribute. The objective, which I support, is not only to bring money but also to foster participation from inside INDEED to the projects. It is indeed (no pun intended) important to not only fund the projects but also to increase participations from the users.

The first talk gave a very good overview of different ways and new methods, including OpenCollective, GitCoin, Tidelift.

I've stolen a few slides to show them here (I hope Tobie Langel will be ok with it) because it's really important to understand this:

This is what currently OpenCollective/Tidelift have collected/committed for Open Source code:

million.png

and this is how it compared to the Trillion dollar technology industry developer wages:

trillion.png

A very good question was asked at the end of the talk about wether there is a measurement of the direct company investment in Open Source, and nobody was able to answer. It could be estimated as:

  • How much R&D is being sponsored by Open Source companies

You could use the COSSC Index of commercial open source companies (http://OSS.Cash - Google Docs) , which evaluates the revenue of these companies to 16 Billions Euros / year. Discounting a bit this revenue to 10B$, because some of these companies are not necessarily investing the massive amount of their R&D to Open Source software, and considering a 10% R&D investment, this would mean about $1B Open Source R&D.

  • How much R&D is being sponsored by Cloud providers, SaaS companies or traditional companies

If we consider the whole rest of the software industry, in the presentation above, the total wages of the developers in the world has been estimated to around 1 Trillion dollars (this is the big tower in the image).

If we look at this data from GitHub which indicates that Microsoft has 1300 contributors to OSS and Google 900. Compared to the number of engineers at Microsoft (around 60000 according to this page) and Google (37% according to these numbers in 2014 which would mean 30000 based on the current number of employees), this would mean 2% and 3% knowing that of course we don't know much about the full time nature of these contributors. We could easily estimate less than 1% for these top companies, and this would probably be much less for the rest of the tech industry.

If we consider that maybe in the best scenario, 1% of the R&D is being directed towards Open Source contributions, that would mean 10 Billions $. We could also estimate around 0,1%, which would be another $1B Open Source R&D.

  • Volunteer Time

Now the good news for Free and Open Source code is that there is the volunteer time. A study from 2014 based on hours of commit indicates that 50% of commits would be during work time versus non work time. It is not easy to validate this data, and amounts of commits, do not necessarily mean quality code. Freelancers might contribute on Open Source code outside of their paid missions, during the day. Commits might be done at the end of the day with work from the whole day. Now it's undeniable that there is non-paid Open Source contributions and according to this study it is significant. If somebody has another study of the amount of "non-paid" code, this would be very interesting. 

However, if you consider these developers have a job during the day, you can consider that their "proprietary job" is sponsoring their "evening" open source contribution.

When taking this together, if we are taking the lower estimation, it would be $2B which means the truck in the image, and in the best case $10B which would be one level of the whole tower. If we add the volunteer time on top, this could mean 2 trucks or 2 levels. I would estimate that Open Source R&D funding it's more like the truck in the image, and it's currently coming about half from Open Source companies, and half from the rest of the industry contributing. 

What is sure right now, is that not only this is very small compared to the massive amount of energy directed towards proprietary software, but the "crowdfunding" is even more microscopic compared to the "corporate" funding. 

This is why I'm worried, because looking at the evolution, it seems that we risk having less "professional open source" contributions, if VC backed companies are using non-open source licences or backing off open source, or having the "corporate" contribution become highly dependent on a consolidating industry controlling all our tech lives. The biggest risk I see, is less "professional" projects to build "end-user" applications which require a lot of fine tuning to be competitive with the cloud solutions. I don't see the cloud and internet applications provider investing in anything else than infrastructure and libraries and keeping the application and the data for themselves.

The risk, and I believe it has already started, is while we had many open source applications working on our desktop or for enterprises, while we have all the infrastructure being open source, the applications on the cloud will be controlled by proprietary providers who won't share them. We might have a lot of Open Source in the backend, but the key service is itself a proprietary service that we cannot control.

The role of developing Free and Open Source software in the sense of the FSFE.org, will remain to Open Source companies and to the vast majority of volunteers who work with almost no or little funding.

The Cloud is just another Sun

This leads me to the final talk of this FOSDEM article, The Cloud is just another Sun from Kyle Rankin from Purism (great stuff by the way). Check it out entirely because it shows a great parallel between the "Cloud Wars" and the "Unix Wars". I'm reprinting again a few slides (I hope he won't mind).

It talks to me because I do have a feeling of "déjà-vu" when looking at our the big cloud providers are dominating everything. And we all look at it thinking it's Open Source while the key aspects are being made highly proprietary. 

unixwards.png

cloudwars.png

cloudsun.png

whatdowedo.png

What can we do?

Educate

The key question is indeed what we can do about it. We need indeed to educate again on vendor lock-in and particularly of cloud services. In Europe we already do it also because none of these big providers is actually European. As users we need to resist more the big cloud services and we need to advocate again for "Open Cloud" services, which means services that are fully Open Source.

Education is key.

Choose stronger Licences

I believe we need also stronger licences like the AGPL which pushes cloud services to contribute to the Open Source cloud services and does not allow the to fork them as proprietary softwares. I will not advocate for the SSPL licence which is pushing the limit to all the infrastructure. However a legitimate questions is how can the Open Source providers compete with Cloud providers that would contribute only marginally and sell the cloud services. As an Open Source company, the same question is showing up between those that invest in Open Source software versus those that just reuse them for profit without contributing.

However this is not an easy subject, as the stronger licence might also reduce your distribution and turn away some contributors. It is a difficult balance to find in the same way that the balance between free distribution and paying one is a difficult one.

At XWiki we have chosen to have paying modules in our app-store which are fully Open Source, but not available through install for free in the app store. If you want to use them for "free", you will need to build them yourself and run you own app-store.

Value Open Source, not the Zero price

We all confuse Open Source and Free. By doing this we push individuals or companies that try to find a balance towards "Open-Core". In the open hardware world, this is less a problem as people are used to pay for a physical object, but in the software world, we want all for free. By providing more cloud services that are "Open Cloud" we can also have a revenue stream for the cloud service and still keep the software open.

For CryptPad, this is what we are doing and many "privacy" oriented software providers are doing it this way, because it makes sense to show the code when you promise security. Now there will be a challenge to see how these services can interconnect or wether they will start competing with each other.

Finance what is not financed

We need to continue to find ways to financed what is currently not financed. We can advocate to the public funding (European for example) to finance as Open Source what is missing. This is happening with the NGI Funds for example, and us as individuals we can help more end-user projects emerge. I will make here a shameless plug for the OpenCollective of CryptPad.fr which needs your help to provide a privacy centric collaboration platform.

Kudos to the FOSDEM organizers

  • 788 talks
  • 408 hours of content
  • 600 speakers
  • 65 stands

I have to say I'm particularly impressed by the video system and the ability to validate the video of a talk and publish it in record time.

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

Mar 30 2017

Solutions Intranet 2017 talks

Last week was a busy one, here at XWiki. We've attended Solutions Intranet - RSE & collaboratif where we had 6 talks on different subjects related to collaboration and the wiki culture. Ludovic, our CEO, and Olivier, our VP for Business Development have presented the benefits of using wikis as collaborative tools and how the digital transformation can impact the success of a company.

Here's Olivier's English presentation on the way the intranet can be the starting point of digitalization.

Ludovic also has held a presentation in French about the Wiki culture and how it can help companies perform better.

These three days have been a true pleasure, we have met incredible people, made friends and the most important, we have actively participated in the talks sessions.

Feb 23 2017

XWiki launches Procedures Flavor

Press release

XWiki SAS, a leading provider of collaboration solutions, launches its newest flavor: the XWiki Procedures. This offer is for anyone who wishes to quickly and simply deploy a wiki-based procedure tool that responds to business organizing needs, in a easy to understand and use form. 


Paris, 23 February 2017

The XWiki SAS wiki procedures solution meets the need of professionals in terms of knowledge management, enhancing collaboration, following policies and structuring content. In order to answer the growing needs of companies and policymakers in having an established methodology of dealing with tasks, XWiki SAS is making the solution available to all new Cloud users, in beta mode, and accepts feedback to optimize it. 

Screenshots of the Procedures Flavor Overview and of a stage

Procedures are an established or official way of doing something, as in the steps for getting from A to B or from idea to results. XWiki offers a versatile ready to use structure for all interested domains of activity: management, IT development, marketing, HR, transportation and many more, or any department of an enterprise trying to put in place procedures in order to streamline processes. The advantages of choosing to use Procedures over other classic solutions are the top-notch features that allow you to: 

  • Create Categories and Procedures
  • Add covers, icons and descriptions
  • Assign responsible users
  • Check-out the customized Search

A main advantage of XWiki Procedures is the fact that it enables organizations to start "small" and then grow their procedure for a process or even the entire enterprise, with no difficulty or delay in deployment.

The flavor is free to try for all new XWiki Cloud users, and can be installed from here, by choosing Procedures Flavor, as seen below:

Try-XWiki-Cloud-for-Free-XWiki-SAS.png

About XWiki SAS

XWiki SAS is a company created in 2004 whose founding members initiated the XWiki Open Source community. It aims to provide a range of professional services for the XWiki software, which is under the LGPL licence. These services are targeted primarily to organizations and communities seeking to allow their users to work better together, and drive their wiki at a higher level of performance. Recently, XWiki was the solution chosen by Amazon as its intranet solution. XWiki has today over 200 customer references and thousands of business users in France and worldwide.

For more information, please contact George Nikolic by mail at george.nikolic@xwiki.com or visit our website http://www.xwiki.com.

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 31 2016

Employee Development - Easier than ever!

Employee Development is still an area that needs more investments from companies to ensure higher ROI and better performances. Supporting the employees in discovering their career paths does not only impact the individual, but also the organisation. Often perceived as a bureaucratic action, the consequences of poor employee training results in lost revenue and inefficient talent acquisition.

Your competitive advantages, from a HR point of view, are strictly related to the type of rough talent you have in your team. You can always use the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator to get a few insights on the psychological preferences of your employees in terms of team roles, but the necessity of polishing that rough talent is absolute mandatory. Nobody can expect a newly employed individual to reach the corporate objectives if he has no idea how to or has no support to do so. Therefore, at XWiki, we are very supportive when it comes to Employee Development.

Here are a couple ideas that we use:

Mentoring

It doesn’t matter what size your company is, the only important thing is your will to provide support to those newly employed individuals. Mentoring or coaching sessions are one of the best ways to know what are the key strengths of a new employee. Furthermore, it’s easier to communicate the expectations and explain the level of quality you are looking for when you interact on a one-on-one basis. You can schedule these sessions using the meeting extension.

The application offers a calendar view helping you to overview the entire week and easily manage the upcoming meetings. If you want to see more details about a particular session, you simply click on it and find every piece of information there is about it. 

This is how we manage the meetings
Click on the image to enlarge

On-boarding

We use on-boarding sessions to provide the new employees, the knowledge, the skills and the general feeling perceived as necessary to smoothly integrate. The HR department makes the general introductions, followed by a meeting with the department leader and the other colleagues.

This is the time when a new employee gets a deeper insight on the company's organisation, the way of working, internal rules, practical information, as well as on the expectations we have. We use the calendar view to be able to avoid any conflicts.

We use the calendar view to have an overview of the day, week or even month.
Click on the image to enlarge

Technical training

As XWiki is a complex technical software, we need all of our employees to have a basic level of tech understanding. In order to understand the general activities each department performs, the employees are encouraged to participate to different training sessions (either training related to the tools that we use or the ones related to the XWiki solutions).

A detailed view of the meeting application is being use so that we can have a structured, time efficient meeting and check all the details concerning it.

Find out the structure of the meeting or any other details
Click on the image to enlarge

Coping with a high amount of data that comes from the employee development process becomes easy with XWiki. The best solution is to drop the conventional ways and use the versatile character of XWiki.

By adding applications from the store or create our own with App within Minutes, we are able to efficiently store candidates’ information, meanwhile analysing the progress of the current employees.  We are glad to be able to take decisions based on solid facts which improves the quality of the work and the overall morale in the organisation.

Since the beginning, XWiki has been designed to satisfy a wide range of needs. The question is how do you use or plan on using XWiki to meet your HR needs?

George Nikolic

Marketing Specialist @ XWiki


CLICK ON THE IMAGE

 We use the calendar view to have an overview of the day, week or even month

CLICK ON THE IMAGE

 We use the calendar view to have an overview of the day, week or even month

This is how we manage the meetings

Click on the image to enlarge

This is how we manage the meetings

Click on the image to enlarge

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. 

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

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

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Everything is easier when you use a collaborative platform!

George Nikolic

Marketing Specialist @ XWiki

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

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