Technology that helps people collaborate is a necessity expressed by most organizations today. Managements want employees to act in synchronization and in coordination with one another. While collaboration can take various forms, Enterprise 2.0 is today an ideal medium to help the cause. Having discussed the concept in my last piece, let us look at ways to implement it in our organizations.
For implementation of Enterprise 2.0, I recommend deployment of three components, viz. enterprise portal (the framework), content management (managing info and access) and identity management (security and access rights). Let me explain these factors.
An enterprise portal (EP) or a corporate portal is a framework for integrating information, people and processes across the organizational and with those outside. It provides a unified access point, often in the form of a Web-based user interface, and is designed to aggregate and personalize information through application-specific portlets. Enterprise portal software is usually a prepackaged software kit used primarily to aggregate information from a number of different sources, including disparate systems, and to provide this information to authorized users in a neatly managed single screen or system.
The portal design provides links for accessing various systems and content; i.e., the user can go to any of these systems from the main screen. This facility is normally referred to as ‘single sign-on’. The advantage of EP is that it allows for customization and personalization (each user can choose the way his page should look like) along with other features like search (enterprise content) and security (no one can access other’s portal).
In the last EP project that I worked on, we built in an access to all in-house applications, ERP system, mailing platform, intranet, document management, and internet from a single page and the users signed in to their portal and worked on any of the systems that they had rights to. This facilitated employees to search information and also for using various tools for collaboration.
Content management (CM) is the set of processes and technologies that support the collection, managing, and publishing of information in any form or medium. The digital content may take the form of text, such as documents, multimedia files, such as audio or video files, or any other file type which follows a content lifecycle and which requires management.
Content management practices and goals vary and are determined by organizational governance structure. For example, digital content may be created by various authors and may need approvals before publishing. Therefore, rules would have to be framed to define roles including those of the authors, editors, publishers, administrators, etc. and also the rules for access by various users. A work flow system, therefore, is an essential ingredient to facilitate the process. A critical aspect of content management is version control when several versions of a document get created by different authors.
Now with all content put at one place, it becomes necessary to ensure security so that the content is not accessed by unauthorized sources and that it is not tampered by anyone, while at the same time ensuring that authorized users are given access to without any trouble. This can be done by assigning an identity to each user with his clear defined rights to access different content. Identity management (IM), therefore, is a method to identify users, their authorization and authentication across computer networks.
Identity management systems are usually pre-packed systems incorporating several features that a user organization can customize as per its requirements. Users can be assigned standard roles or specific roles which define their rights to access different types of information. Since roles are defined and stored centrally, it is much easier to manage and control. Users cannot access more than what they have been permitted to and all permissions are well document for future reference.
This is an approach that I followed and it gave the desired results. While there could be several ideas and methods, it is important to act and use the technology for organization benefit. Users will certainly like this facility and it also becomes easy to administer.