Best practices

Category: Best practices (20 posts) [RSS]

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

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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 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 08 2016

You change. We change.

Source codeOriginal image created by Kuszapro

The software industry has developed tremendously in the last couple of years. Starting from a simple practice of ensuring better human efficiency and performance, it has increased so much and so fast, by both value and volume, that now has become a science. Today’s world is facing different issues than the past generations and new trends have forced the software industry to reorganize and find alternative ways to solve business and community related sensitive situations.

Level of interaction

Depending on the level of interaction with the user, Alan Cooper has structured the applications in four postures. The sovereign application is a software that is used the most. Usually it monopolizes the user’s attention for the greatest amount of time.

When an alternative solution is being used for a specific purpose on which the sovereign application is not performing as expected, a transient application is introduced. It attracts user’s interaction for a limited amount of time as it appears, gets the job done and exits the landscape immediately. If it is used for a longer period of time it becomes an auxiliary software to the sovereign one and it’s categorized as a parasitic application. The one interacting the least with the user is the daemonic application which is running in the background and doesn’t require direct human interaction.

Scale of implementation

On the other hand, considering the scale of implementation, there are two main categories: situational and enterprise applications. The difference between them consists solely on the target audience and the range of requirements.

Situational applications are usually considered fast to develop and implement, easy to use and flexible enough to be modified. They satisfy a specific, limited type of needs therefore are easier to implement and don’t require a considerable amount of planning and testing. Due to these characteristics are more preferable for small groups.

The enterprise application is the total opposite of the one mentioned above. It is usually more generic and satisfies a wide range of business purposes which are intended to be addressed by a large number of users. It requires meticulous planning, higher investments and have proved to be much more difficult to implement or change.


XWiki the best solution

Once with the strong focus on developing cloud technologies and deployment platforms, companies tend to implement situational applications on a wider scale, slowly over-passing the traditional enterprise applications. An example of platform supporting the development and use of situational wiki applications is XWiki. Using top-end technology, our wiki embraces change, therefore is considered to be one of the best solutions in terms of situational application for both big and small enterprises.

Our teams can perform on both the Waterfall methodology which is more preferred by clients who know exactly what needs they have, while the AGILE methodology allows us to start working with a limited amount of information and define requirements during the development process.


Top 3 reasons why XWiki is the perfect solution for your situational application:

  1. Easy to develop and implement means saved time, fewer costs and more money for your company.
  2. Being user friendly it allows your employees to focus on the most important tasks and increase their productivity which eventually increases their motivation and the company’s revenue.
  3. Flexible to meet your dynamic requirements. The development process can be resumed whenever you feel like it. To satisfy your latest needs without starting from square one, XWiki is adaptable and cost effective.

If you want to see examples of what situational applications we have developed please visit our references page.

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

Apr 28 2016

Corporate Amnesia - When Organizational Memory Walks Out the Front Door With Your Knowledge Workers

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“Organizational memory is the accumulated body of data, information and knowledge created in the course of an individual organization’s existence. Falling under the wider disciplinary umbrella of knowledge management, it has two repositories: an organization's archives, including its electronic data bases; and individuals’ memories. Corporate amnesia is a phrase used to describe a situation in which businesses, and other types of co-operative organization, lose their memory of how to do things.“

Wikipedia

As the economy improves, the churn rate of experienced staff increases as well. Challenges in recruiting and developing young talent coupled with the retirement of senior employees bring to light the issue of memory loss. Every time a person changes employer, a part of the company’s memory is lost as well. The lack of continuity damages the organization’s competitiveness. Common problems include:

  • Difficulties in running complex systems and an inability to complete long-term projects
  • Repeating old mistakes and a failure to learn from past successes
  • Decreased productivity
  • Reduced interest in understanding company history
  • Loss of corporate identity, dilution of mission and culture

One could say a new employee's experience can compensate for the missing know-how when someone else departs. While a new recruit may be highly knowledgeable and bring a fresh perspective it can take up to a year for her to become fully productive. In this economy, the ability to learn faster than competitors becomes essential not only for growth, but also for company survival. Organizations can avoid expensive mistakes and take advantage of opportunities through knowledge preservation.

So how can we prevent corporate amnesia?

  1. Create reliable databases for easily storing and finding knowledge (reports, policies, competitive intelligence data etc.)
  2. Do a Post-Mortem at the end of each project to determine and analyze the elements that were successful / unsuccessful 
  3. Foster a culture where people are encouraged to communicate and share their know-how and ideas
  4. Create a comprehensive onboarding procedure and mentorship program to facilitate the assimilation of new employees
  5. Nominate knowledge experts so new recruits can easily find the go to people for a given subject matter
  6. Implement succession-planning tools, including knowledge preservation-exit interviews and handover sessions.

If you’re not looking to reinvent the wheel, through these methods you can reduce the likelihood of mistakes and ultimately save time and money while strengthening you competitive advantage.

Dec 07 2015

10 Basic Questions You Need to Ask When Choosing a Wiki

With dozens of easy to use and affordable wiki solutions, many companies opt for wikis to store procedures and best practices. This post explores the key factors you should be looking at when choosing the best wiki for your business. ...

Dec 03 2015

5 Ways You're Wasting Your Time Looking for Information

The larger your organisation, the most likely you are to waste time looking for resources and relevant information as part of your job. Studies show that a typical knowledge worker can waste more than 10% of their time each week looking for specific pieces of information. Here are 5 common causes for these issues and how to fix them. ...