by July 22, 2013 0 comments

Since their business is creativity-dependent, they wanted to create a pool of infectious ideas to further business. Taking a leaf from social media, they wanted to use employee creativity, to develop ideas, get people to play with them, participate in and pass them on. They did have a corporate portal as part of their collaboration environment but somehow it failed, primarily on account of non-intuitive user experience and inability to manage “unstructured” data, even though the employees are young, tech savvy and addicted to Web 2.0 technologies – blogs, wikis, chats, face book, etc. So, the company realised that they need to provide a Facebook like user experience for employees to use and interact with. On top of this they wanted their ideas to be captured, collaborated and stored in a central repository. These ideas should be easily searchable and revisited when required. They also wanted access to information, anywhere, anytime and on multiple devices such as smart phones/pads/tabs etc, as is the norm these days.

Key concerns

Another key area of concern was the considerable amount of time and money being spent on travel costs across offices. It was felt an easy-to-interact solution would reduce costs by encouraging employees to collaborate virtually through text, audio, and video chats. But the solution shouldn’t just be a dump of ideas. They should be able to convert ideas to tasks and assign them to multiple resources with timelines. So, as you can imagine the fun element of a post (of an idea) gets converted into a “serious” actionable task that can be monitored – milestones, calendar entries, pending tasks, completed tasks, etc.

And since there are multiple projects that get simultaneously executed in the organisation, they need to manage volumes of documents for such projects. Likewise for collaboration amongst groups which requires two-way (or multi-way) dialogues. But they required only “meaningful/like-minded” groups to collaborate. This ensures a larger degree of relevancy. Even within the group access rights to document should be restricted-read, write, email, print, download, save, etc. So, a cost-effective document rights management had to be in place. Lastly, employees had to log in separately to access 10 critical business apps. To overcome this, the applications had to be integrated with a single sign-on interface and made available to users based on their access rights.

What was deployed

The collaboration platform deployed was built around the MangoApps architecture that uses open source technologies based on Java. The user experience is similar to Facebook. Hence the adoption and learning curve is shorter. It supports both structured and unstructured data formats. The Idea management module allows users to create new ideas and share it across Groups. These can be collaborated through multi-threaded Posts/discussions and refined. All these are stored in a central repository thus ensuring nothing gets lost. Ideas can easily be searched and revisited. The ideas posted on the wall are converted into tasks and assigned to multiple resources with time lines. Thus the fun element of a Post (of an idea) gets converted into a “serious” actionable task that can be monitored. It allows monitoring of milestones calendar, pending tasks, completed tasks, etc. It has an in-built project management capability that helps in managing multiple projects. A user can create projects and invite members to the Project. The Group management feature allows users to create multiple groups and collaborate within these Groups.

There are situations where it is critical that documents rights are restricted. Depending on the criticality of the document appropriate rights need to be defined be it be viewing, editing, copying, downloading, printing, emailing, savings, etc. The single sign-on feature helps in addressing this issue. Most of their business applications are tightly integrated with this initiative. Once the user signs in DDB Mudra business applications are made available to users based on their access rights. The application can be accessed any where, any time using a device that supports an internet browser. SSL/VPN and home grown two-factor authentication ensures security. The platform can be accessed via “smart” devices like iphone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, iPad, tabs in addition to Laptop/Desktops. Support to iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows supported “smart” devices are native.

The result

There has been a 16% decrease in travel and communication costs as a consequence of this deployment. And alongwith the improvement in the ease of finding information and access to resources/people, the number of ideas contributed by employees has doubled. So, the productivity of employees has increased substantially.

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