Friday, May 21, 2010

CATA 25th Annual Innovation Award Gala - Proud to Be Canadian Night

The CATA Alliance Annual Innovation Awards Gala held in Ottawa on May 19th 2010 hosted by Paul Brent, Host of CJOH TV's TECH NOW, and John Reid, President of the CATA Alliance was a world-class event and evening celebration.

Over 500 executives from business, government and academia attended the evening. 20 awards were recognized at the GALA with sponsorship from leading organizations.

Recognitions ranged from HR Leadership Aware, CIO Leadership Award, Outstanding Clean Tech Product Innovation, Outstanding Content and Application in the Mobility Industry to the prestigious Sara Kirk Award for Women Entrepreneurs.

The winners are posted on the CATA wesbite

This is the sixth year I have attended the CATA Innovation GALA ball, and each year we have a chance as a community to applaud the strengths of our entrepreneurs in Canada and reflect despite some of our challenges in this country - we continue to have tremendous success stories of entrepreneurial, business, government and academic champions who make a difference every day to the fabric of this country.

I want to personally recognize John Reid and his leadership team, and support staff as without leadership from talent like them... events like this are not made possible. Thank you to the CATA Team!

The finale of the evening was the CATA announcement of i-CANADA a program vision to strengthen the broadband infrastucture in Canada. What was made clear by the eloquent speech delivered by Bill Hutchison at the closure of this evening is we have a great deal more work to do in this area. When you hear Canada is rated in out of 30 countries ranking 22 in terms of our broadband and high bandwidth infrastructure in terms of intelligent community rankings... it tells us we have to all come together and make a difference not just for our current generation but also to plan for our future generation needs.

Bill outlined a compelling vision, one that I hope others will learn more about.

Knowing one day my grandchildren can talk to a nurse in our home on our television set, and my mother in law can check her sugar levels easily for her diabetes using intelligent smart systems in our home, and my fridge can relay to the super market we are low on milk, bread, and eggs, and my house is environmentally controlled by my personal computer at the office ... these types of smart intelligent services will not come our way unless we address our broadband infrastructure.

Bill was behind the success of Canarie which enabled educational institutions across Canada to be connected and use high speed infrastructure. We now need to catch up in our business to business, and business to community infrastructure.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Enterprise 2.0 RFP TemplateSubmission for Enterprise 2.0 wiki template contest.Submitted by Mark Fidelman

Enterprise 2.0 – Collaborative Networks Request for Proposal (RFP)

FOR: ________________________

Examples (Intranet, Social Business Initiative, Solution, Extranet, Knowledge Base, Community)

Feel free to adapt it for your own use and drop me a note at mfidelman at if you use the template or have any questions.]

1. General Information

This section summarizes the General Information for the _________ Communities and is summarized into the following categories:

* Purpose of the RFP
* RFP communications
* RFP timeline
* RFP preparation
* Vendor responses
* Effective dates of pricing
* Evaluation criteria
* Right to reject RFP responses

1.1 Purpose of the RFP

The purpose of this Request for Proposal (RFP) is to establish the functional, technical and operational requirements for a _________ platform and _______management solution for _________.

TIP: This section should explain your high-level objectives. To develop this section of the RFP, it is important to take a step back and ensure that your team has a full—and shared—understanding of what you expect the project to accomplish. The more specific you can be with your objectives, the more specific and more accurate your respondents’ proposals will be.

The contents of this RFP are proprietary and are not to be disclosed to third parties without the express permission of _________.

The planned _________ solution will be a combination of:

* Primary
* Secondary

When we talk about building a solution, _________ is providing the infrastructure or “playpen” and the initial spark for the solution to get started. While we can nurture and guide the company to a certain degree, it would be a mistake to assume that we can single-handedly ignite a solution on our own. We have to have the patience and conviction to let the solution grow and evolve in whatever direction the users want them to grow. The solution will (or will not) be accessible from our website, but they will have an identity, name and style that are (same/different) from the _________ website and brand.

While the _________ customer component will be an important part of our solution, it is just a small slice of the total addressable audience.

One of the most important parts to becoming successful with the solution will be to continually provide fresh and new content. The expectation is that much of the content will ultimately come from team members.

Finally, building the solution will take a significant commitment and dedicated resources to manage and develop content for, and host (employees/guests) on the site. Another important point to make is that the solution will evolve over time – from both a content and adoption standpoint. The core infrastructure and initial content need to be in place for the launch, but it takes time to build trust in the solution, and to get members to begin contributing and actively participating in the solution.

We acknowledge that building the _________ solution will be a multi-year project.

At a high level, the types of content information planned for our solution include: EXAMPLES

* “Hot off the press” Content (relatively short shelf-life – days or weeks)
* Industry and other topical news
* Microblogging
* Blogs and columns
* Discussion groups and forums (threaded conversations)
* User editable wikis
* Alerts and RSS news or blog feeds
* Daily/weekly digest of new content/discussions
* “Library-Type” Content (longer shelf-life – months or years)
* Articles and whitepapers – by _________ or contributed
* Analyst reports
* Webinars – real-time and archived
* Podcasts and video
* Links to other relevant content

Ideally, we want the solution to become a destination site where our employees/customers come for valuable and topical content and to share insights with other employees/customers.

1.2 RFP Communications

Please direct all communications and correspondence regarding this RFP to:

Name –

Title –

Address –

Email address -

Phone number –

1.3 Timeline

RFP submission date - ____

Vendor proposal due date - ____

Vendor selection - ____

Vendor contract process - ____

_________ detailed plan with vendor - ____

Launch Solution - ____

1.4 RFP Preparation

All costs incurred in the preparation and presentation of a RFP will be absorbed by the prospective vendors. In the event that modifications or additions to the RFP become necessary, prospective vendors will be notified in writing. All supporting materials submitted with the Proposal will become the property of _________ unless otherwise requested by the prospective vendors at time of submission.

1.5 Vendor Responses

Prospective vendors are required to submit their proposals no later than ________. All supporting materials and documentation must be included with the Proposal. Proposals should be sent or emailed to ________. We may ask vendors to present their proposals in person or by webcast to the _________ evaluation team.

1.6 Effective Dates of Pricing

Prospective vendors should state in writing that all furnished information, including pricing, will remain valid and applicable for a minimum of one-hundred and twenty (120) days from the date their Proposal is received by _________ and should submit their best and final offers.

1.7 Evaluation Criteria

Prospective vendor Proposals will be evaluated using the following general criteria:

* Ability to satisfy functional business requirements
* Ability to satisfy technical and integration requirements
* Strategic partnering potential
* Cost

1.8 Right to Reject

_________ reserves the right to:

* Accept or reject any and/or all submitted proposals
* Request additional information from all prospective vendors at any time
* Negotiate a contract with the selected vendor(s)
* Include the vendor's RFP response in whole or by reference in the final contract
* Accept the proposal of any vendor at any time during the process and other vendors may or may not be awarded the opportunity to further discuss their proposals or demonstrate their solutions to the _________ team.

Therefore your response should include all information necessary for _________ to evaluate your solution, pricing and contract terms.

2.0 Requirements

This section summarizes the key requirements for the _________ Communities and is summarized into the following categories:

* Solution strategy
* Infrastructure requirements
* Functionality requirements
* Ongoing management requirements
* Technology requirements
* Other requirements
* Cost requirements

2.1 Solution Strategy

We believe that getting the strategy right is an integral part of building our solution. As part of your proposal, we would like you to include a description of how you will help us strategize our solution and approach. This may be part of a bundled package or priced separately. It is important to make sure that you are explicit in terms how you can help us, a description of your qualifications and an estimate of the time/cost necessary to help us finalize our strategy.

TIP: Once you have identified the main focus of the project, it is important to specify key objectives and allow the vendor to provide a solution for each of the areas you have identified. For instance, if the project focuses on project management capabilities, you will need to detail the issues your organization is currently experiencing and any requirements you have defined to solve those problems.

2.2 Infrastructure Requirements(suit to fit)

The key infrastructure requirements include:
* Platform
* Provide a robust, fully encrypted, and hosted platform that provides room to grow the solution and meets the other requirements detailed below
* Establish single sign-on and permissions rules
* Implement and manage legal and intellectual property agreements for access to content, member privacy
* Establish service level agreements that are acceptable to _________
* Document and train _________ personnel in administration and management of site
* Provide periodic training to _________ personnel as updates are made to the platform or as new _________ personnel get involved with site administration
* Strategy and planning
* Drive completion of solution strategy plan
* Create a comprehensive project plan
* Develop a customized look and feel
* Build a membership recruitment plan
* Design a launch plan (for marketing and PR)
* Generate an ROI measurement plan
* Develop solution rules for participation, posting, etc.
* Multiple sites
* Support up to ___ solution sites
* Enterprise search across solution sites
* Separate URLS for each solution site
* Separate look-and-feel for each solution site
* Support different levels of members (i.e. guest, registered, employee customer) with different permissions/privileges and access to content
* Scalability and Governance
* Support up to ___ concurrent users
* Support different restrictions for members (ranging from total blocking to full access)
* Support collaborative networking (i.e. professional profile, my favorite files/links, photo, etc.)
* Support for employee/user rating

2.3 Functionality Requirements(suit to fit)

The key functionality requirements include:

* Content types – we need to support the following content capabilities
* Dashboard charting and gauges
* Document and content libraries
* Multimedia libraries for videos, podcasts and other multimedia
* Discussion forums
* Blogs
* Wikis
* Webcasts
* Podcasts
* Vlogs (video blogs)
* Links
* Realtime polls and surveys
* Project Management
* Ability to manage tasks
* Ability to set up project sites/pages
* Ability to add team members to project sites/pages
* Dashboard reporting on projects
* Available metrics – we want to be able to measure the following metrics. The metrics should be available in standard reports and in user definable reports. The reports should be available online and printed or exported if necessary:
* Unique visitors by date and date range
* Page views by date and date range
* Session time by date and date range
* Registered members and join date
* Peak number of concurrent users (in live events)
* Total number of users (in live events)
* Repeat visits and Frequent visitors
* Customization requirements
* Ability to update and program solution easily using java script, deki script or php.
* Ability to create new workflow forms (i.e. expense reports, travel, requests) and pages on the fly

TIP: Customization.

When it comes to customization, there are some key pieces of information that can help you select the best partner for your solution. How does the respondent plan to develop your set of solutions? Will they use mostly out-of-the-box templates, or will they architect a custom-developed tool? Depending on your needs, some may propose using a combination of these two approaches. Your RFP should include questions that will clarify their experiences with respect to building solutions using both of these approaches.
* Data integration and mashups
* Ability to integrate data from our ERP, CRM, MRP systems
* Reporting – we need to mashup our ERP data with our CRM data to show our sales team detailed customer payment information
* Dashboards - Ability to chart real time data quickl
* Other requirements
* Ratings - ability to rate content & users
* Workflow – custom workflow
* RSS feeds – RSS feeds for news, blogs and other content
* Notification Alerts - alerts for content (users can set alerts for pages, discussions, blogs and other content)
* Subscriptions – ability for members to subscribe to any content on a daily, weekly or other time basis of their choosing
* Search – ability to search content by title and within documents or discussions (Google-like search capabilities)
* Enterprise search – ability to search across multiple instances of solution
* Email Posting - Ability to post to blogs and discussion groups by email
* “What’s new” – easy way to find new content or discussions
* Talkback – ability to add comments on content, etc.
* Social sharing – one-click ability to share any content via email and other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Digg, de.lic.ious, etc.
* Administration – ability for our admin manager to perform most routine administrative tasks such as setting permissions, making modifications to most pages, etc.

2.4 Ongoing Management Requirements

The key ongoing management requirements include:

* Management
* Provide a dedicated moderator to the communities to manage conversations and actively enhance member experience – with the goal of growing the communities and keeping the solution active and vibrant (based on activity and new members/partners added)
* Maintain and regularly check physical and virtual links
* Manage and summarize user feedback – and incorporate feedback into improving the site
* Provide continuous programming and membership moderation
* Provide solution training and demos to new/prospective members
* Generate detailed solution reports and analysis of results
* Solution Marketing
* Identify potential members partners and user groups to target, including obtaining of email addresses
* Invite potential users to join
* Get people to join – driving awareness and attention
* Encourage people to stay active and contribute
* Manage the membership and partnerships
* Create regular and periodic marketing campaigns to generate traffic, awareness of solution and member/partner growth
* Content creation
* Source new content (the majority of content must be from non-_________ to give it an aura of success)
* Build links to related sites, blogs, etc. (the onus of research and effort for this task will be on the vendor – to be augmented over time by _________ employees)
* Content management
* Keep the content fresh
* Prune and cull old or out-of-date content
* Coordinate, kick start and prime discussions
* Edit, review, upload and ‘censor’ materials and discussions, as necessary
* Content Moderation
* Please provide an overview of your moderation services (if any) and the various pricing options

2.5 Technology Requirements

The key technology requirements include:

Provide us with information that cover these technical details: (if hosted)

* Uptime and availability
* Backups
* Bandwidth
* Support access
* Privacy of data

2.6 Other Requirements

Are the any requirements that we missed? Please include ideas / topics / suggestions that we may have missed that you believe would greatly enhance a solution experience and/or be an area where you could provide significant value to the members of the solution and/or _________ as the solution sponsor.

TIP: People and Roles. Finally, ask for information about the respondent’s proposed team structure and the key roles it plans to fulfill in building your proposed solution. Respondents should provide a high-level snapshot of their proposed teams and resources, including specific roles and number of team members, as well as a basic reasoning behind their proposed team structure. Gathering this information will provide you with a clear picture of exactly how each respondent’s team will approach the project and whether it will fit your needs.

2.7 Cost Requirements

The initial proposal should outline a price quote and all pricing options available to support the requirements identified in the RFP. The price quote should address a plan for developing a solution and launching before the end of _____.

The price quote should include the amount and timing of the following:

* Upfront costs
* How much?
* What is included in the upfront costs?
* How many hours/days are covered in the upfront costs?
* What is the final deliverable?
* What flexibility is available in pricing?
* Annual costs
* What are the annual costs?
* What is included in the annual costs?
* How many hours/days per week are covered by this pricing?
* What flexibility is available in pricing?
* What ROI metrics can we expect?
* Payment options
* Monthly, quarterly, etc.

2.8 Other

Vendors should provide pricing data for any services not included as part of the software or support purchase. These may include training, implementation support, moderation, ongoing consultation, etc. This should include detailed rates for the different levels and experience of consultants that may be needed on this engagement.

Vendors should also be prepared to provide us with a list of reference-able customers with similar background as our solution. You may include information about reference-able customers in your response or include them in your presentation

Note: Some of this RFP is from an actual RFP developed by Tom Humbarger who has kindly allowed us to use and modify.


The wiki text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution License agreement

Friday, May 14, 2010

Community Planning and Scoping Perspectives

Community Planning and Scoping ReportBuilding Successful Online Communities
Submission for Enterprise 2.0 wiki template contest.

Many companies, when implementing technology projects, focus too heavily on the Technology and perceived technology risks and not enough on the Planning, People and Change Management aspects of a project.

Submitted by Stephen Rahal IGLOO INC. Helix is a VAR of Igloo

Many companies, when implementing technology projects, focus too heavily on the Technology and perceived technology risks and not enough on the Planning, People and Change Management aspects of a project. As indicated in the diagram below, many organizations perceive their project risk as increasing the farther they get into the project, while actually most of the real risk to the project is introduced into or mitigated out of the project in the Planning and Scoping phase.

The IGLOO approach to managing projects will be to divide a project life cycle into five stages, of which three may involve a consulting engagement, one is entirely focused on the actual build and delivery of the technology solution and one is an optional stage that deals with the concept definition, which is required when a client needs added clarity on a project prior to its start. The following graphic clarifies these stages within their context and progressive implementation during a project life-cycle.

Project Planning & Scoping

This phase involves assessing and documenting the executive vision for the project, understanding the project alignment to the organizational goals, defining a high level scope, assessing the technical complexities, and determining project duration and cost estimates. This phase results in a Project Proposal and estimated project cost.

Corporate Vision

Defining the corporate social networking vision for the organization is the key to a successful adoption. The senior executives, that are the driving forces behind the adoption of a social networking strategy for the organization, need to express their vision in a clear and accessible manner. A clear vision will serve as the roadmap, not only for the implementation project, but also for the monitoring of progress and evaluation of ROI post implementation.

Corporate Business objectives and Social Networking goals

Setting goals and objectives build on the organizational process of visioning and taking stock. Goals are a clear statement of the visions, specifying the accomplishments to be achieved if the vision is to become real. The target objectives are statements of the specific activities required to achieve the goals, starting from the current status.
PHASE 1: Requirements Gathering
Identify Key Goals & Objectives

Why are we doing this?

Goals can be lofty and a bit higher level, but keep in mind when talking with the customer that all objectives should be able to pass the "SMART" test, mean each objective should be:

1. Specific
2. Measurable
3. Achievable
4. Relevant
5. Time bounded -- are governed by deadlines

The key goals and objectives for this project within The organization include:

Goal Specific Objective(s) What Constitutes Completed Measures of Progress To be completed by

Table 1: Project Goals and Objectives

Key Stakeholder Groups

For the purposes of building successful online communities and networks, The organization will need to identify "primary" and "secondary" stakeholders. Primary stakeholders can be defined as those with a direct interest in the online community; either because they depend on it for their function or they are directly involved in its ongoing running, building or supporting in some way. Secondary stakeholders would be those with a more indirect interest, such as those involved in institutions or agencies concerned with contributing to the community or those who depend at least partially on outcomes or benefits generated by the online resource.

The concept of the stakeholder does not extend merely to those directly involved in the community but extends to all those deriving some form of benefit from the community. At least for those groups identified as having significant interests or deriving important benefits, The organization has to look at their priorities and motivations, decision-making processes and institutions, and understand the social, economic and cultural links between each group and the community. Likewise, attention needs to be paid to the particular age groups of stakeholders. Given that online communities are relatively new in the professional realm, older professionals may rely heavier on conventional means of interactions, such as email, documents, etc., while young professionals (Net generation) might make more significant use of interactive media, such as blogs, forums, IM and the specific needs of these groups should not be overlooked.

The variety of stakeholders and their often conflicting interests in the community will mean that The organization will have to prioritize levels of interest of different groups in different community aspects. It will rarely be possible to accommodate all interests. However, this process can assist in identifying key or primary stakeholders and those with less direct or secondary interests. Through this process, some stakeholders might be felt to have only minor or very indirect interest in the community and therefore not need to be directly involved in the implementation decision-making process, although their concerns should be registered in the risks section.


Phase I: Requirements Gathering
Identify Key Stakeholder Groups

•Who are the primary target users?
•What are their demographics, location, estimated numbers, what is their stake in this project, etc.?
•What are their 3 top needs by group?

The key target stakeholders for this project have been identified as the following:

Stakeholder Group (in order of priority) Stakeholder Group Description Primary Needs
Priority 1
Priority 2
Priority 3

Table 2: Requirements by stakeholder groups

Project scope

Most organizations desire to move their web presence into an interactive web environment, to engage current stakeholders, provide an ongoing relationship of support and/or establish a central clearinghouse of best practice information.

In order to successfully implement a high-value community network, the following important questions need to be addressed during the implementation:
* Do the stakeholders see the website as an extension of a support role or as a information destination on its own?
* How can the site best serve people looking for continuing support?
* What is the best way to engage people in a mission and to become members and/or donors?
* What kind of programs and/or activity information is needed? How best to deliver on those needs?
* How can a site support a deep, rich bond with all stakeholders?

The understanding gained from the answers need to be assessed for compatibility with the features and function set provided on the platform under consideration.

Positioning Strategy

This strategy describes how to best position the social networking solution within the corporate structure and culture. This will describe what key stakeholders will be targeted, how project risks will be taken into consideration and how success factors are used to make this successful.

Technical Complexities and Identified Risks

Effective risk management is a central function in the successful planning and execution of online community projects. In ideal risk management, a prioritization process is followed whereby the risks with the greatest loss and the greatest probability of occurring are handled first, and risks with lower probability of occurrence and lower loss are handled in descending order. In practice the process can be very difficult, and balancing between risks with a high probability of occurrence but lower impact versus a risk with high impact but lower probability of occurrence can often be mishandled.

Intangible risk management identifies a new type of risk - a risk that has a 100% probability of occurring but is ignored due to a lack of identification ability. For example, in online communities relationship risk appears when ineffective collaboration occurs, process-engagement risk may be an issue when ineffective operational procedures are applied, etc. These risks directly reduce the productivity of knowledge workers, decrease cost effectiveness, profitability, service, quality, reputation, brand value, and overall community value. Intangible risk management allows risk management to create immediate value from the identification and reduction of risks that reduce productivity.

Risk management also faces difficulties allocating resources. This is the idea of opportunity cost. Resources spent on risk management could have been spent on more profitable activities. Again, ideal risk management minimizes spending while maximizing the reduction of the negative effects of risks.


Phase I - Requirements Gathering
Identify Risks

•Technology - expertise, bandwidth issues, integrations
•Operational - funding, staffing, privacy, IP
•Cultural - demographic, resistance to adoption


The risks for the success of this project are identified as the following:

Risk Type Identified Risk Constraints Risk Mitigation

Table 3: Identified project risks

Based on the list of identified risks we can now construct the organization Risk prioritization matrix for this project. This matrix consists of a two continuums being plotted against each other, namely Risk Consequences and Risk Probability of occurring. By Risk Consequences we mean the impact it would have if a risk would materialize in an actual event. The risks can be categorized as:

* Catastrophic
* Critical
* Marginal
* Negligible

The Risk Probability implies the chance of such risk actually materializing. The probability can be categorized as follows:

* Certain,
* Likely,
* Possible,
* Unlikely
* Rare

The risk matrix for this project is presented in the table below. The organization can use this matrix to prioritize resource and mitigation strategies by balancing risk probability (from rare to certain) and risk consequences (from negligible to catastrophic).

Negligible Marginal Critical Catastrophic


Table 4: Risk matrix

Estimated project timeframe

The estimated budget and timeline are presented in order to facilitate any decision for the project to be implemented. The next phase of this process focuses on the refinement and detailing of the project scope in order to create the project charter and schedule of deliverables as well as a detailed budget and timeframe for the project.

The wiki text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution License agreement

Thursday, May 13, 2010

To Wiki or Not To Wiki?

To Wiki or Not to Wiki -- That is the question

Submission for Enterprise 2.0 wiki template contest.

Submitted by Stephen Rahal COMMUNICATIONS & SOCIAL MEDIA - IGLOO INC. Note: Helix is a VAR of Igloo

Since the introduction of social technologies, community managers and members alike have reflected on when to use one particular application versus another. Wikis, blogs and forums are each built to simplify communication and collaboration. It’s just that the dividing lines and use case for each are not always crystal clear.

As the debate continues over what to use, and when, email still remains the de facto collaboration tool. According to Forrester’s 2009 Workforce Technographics Study, 87 percent of information workers rely on email while most collaboration tools still go widely untapped. Coincidently, email is also the leading cause of unnecessary productivity loss.

It’s easy to see how most inboxes become unwieldy when you factor in that anyone can send an email at virtually no cost. Whether it’s a simple FYI or information request, even the slightest message can set-off a chain of “reply-alls” that quickly overload your inbox. In the end, with so much noise to deal with and the lack of a shared and open workspace, email was just never intended for scalable collaboration.
Defining the wiki

The first wiki was created as an online knowledge repository. Ward Cunningham, the inventor of the wiki, called it “the simplest online database that could possibly work.” The typical wiki has multiple contributors – a great example being the online Encyclopedia Wikipedia. With over 75,000 contributors and 13 million articles, some studies show it’s more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica.

Wikis also share some similar properties with other Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs and forums, depending on the software you may be using. Typically, all can be navigated through search using categorization or tagging schemes, RSS feeds and social sharing push content updates to the user community and comments are enabled. Furthermore, using WYSIWYG technology, new entries can be added with little to no programming experience.

When to use a wiki

When launching a community with social technologies, it is valuable to establish some guidelines outlining when you should wiki rather than post a blog entry, start a forum or share a document. A wiki is designed for co-creation. It’s a virtual sandbox where people can come together to produce content with lasting value. A wiki is your tool of choice if your goal is to:

• Create a knowledge repository for policies, procedures, documentation or best practices

• Organize and share information such as to-do lists, meeting notes and observations, but not necessarily hold a conversation around it

• Produce the content for a document that will later be designed, distributed and/or stored for reference

A wiki can also work in conjunction with other tools. For instance, to overcome the challenges associated with initiating user generated content, a forum could be used to capture seed material for the wiki.

When debating between a wiki, blog, forum or document, make sure you ask yourself these questions for each:

Wiki Blog Forum Document

Do you need the initial draft intact or the ability to reference prior changes? Should conversations link to the asset?
Is portability a concern?
Should control reside with the individual or the asset?

The wiki text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution License agreement

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Developing Website Requirements

This article summarizes key requirements for developing Web Functional Specifications as a helpful guideline. This information shared is part of the commons network and developed by a promising online community coordinator. Helpful points of view for consideration.

Section Areas

1. Overview
1.1. Objectives
1.2. Assumptions
1.3. User Groups/Audience and Goals
2. High Level Site Layout (Site Map)
3. Functional Requirements
3.1. Software Functions
3.2. End-User Functions
3.3. Administrative Functions
4. User Scenarios
4.1. Scenario #1
5. Reporting Structure


1.1. Objectives

This project is intended to update the interface, functionality, and positioning of ASQ’s internal online communities, including those currently hosted in SharePoint. As part of this goal, the project will offer community members such enhanced functionalities as single sign-on, improved online community tools (profile, discussion board, real-time interaction, chat features, direct messaging features, rating and comment features, and selective visibility/privacy features, among others), and increased visibility as well as participation/inter-linkage in external online communities such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Delicious, etc.

The primary goals of the project are to increase user engagement and expand the members of the Community (MOC), supporting the Community EA in place for this fiscal.

A few key measures of success would be increased engagement with ASQ’s online communities (i.e. more posts to discussion boards, blogs, and comment/rating features, as well as sharing links with off-site communities); increased responsiveness to internal community opportunities; X number of external site conversations leading to participation in internal communities; and development of X number of “super-users” (users whose comments are highly rated by other participants, who post frequently, who return frequently, and who show a steady rate of returning over time) within the first three months of launch.

1.2. Assumptions

IT is responsible for selecting, purchasing, and implementing software that meets the needs outlined in this document
- A single software solution exists to meet all of ASQ’s needs, and will allow previously installed instances of blog, discussion board, calendar, etc. content to be imported into it
- The software solution will be able to communicate with ASQ’s existing CMS and TIMSS solutions to allow User-Generated Content to be linked with CMS content, and to allow tracking of and reporting on usage, activity, and points/user-rating build-up

1.3. User Groups/Audiences and Goals

• ASQ Admin: Assign privileges to users; housekeeping needs.
• ASQ Member/Advocate: Read all comments, ratings, and discussion boards; post to discussion boards, comments, ratings, community; earn points and recognition; at pre-set point amount, gain blogging privilege
• ASQ Member: Read all comments, ratings, and discussion boards; post to discussion boards, comments, ratings, community; earn points and recognition
• ASQ Registered Visitor: Read public comments, ratings, and discussion boards; post to discussion boards, comments, ratings, community; earn points and recognition
• ASQ non-member: Read public comments, ratings, and discussion boards


Please find preliminary wireframes from Hanson Dodge attached as Appendix 1. These wireframes were developed last fiscal, and are being reworked to take into account new developments on, as well as additional details and guidance given by the Community Development team.

Software Functions Required

3.1. Requirement #1 – ASQ Branding & Templating

3.1.1. Definition: Templates within the community must allow for ASQ-defined templates to be put in place seamlessly with the rest of the site. WO must be able to have access to the templates in order to be able to update them as appropriate.
3.1.2. Goal of function: Integrate the community functions with the rest of the site and allow for easy design integration and maintenance with the rest of the site.
3.1.3. Notes/Assumptions: While blog and discussion board templates currently bear almost no relationship to the look and feel of the rest of the site, it would be preferable that this distance be lessened over time, to allow the full integration of the interactive experience with ASQ’s content.
3.1.4. This feature is required

3.2. Requirement #2 – No User Limit

3.2.1. Definition: The community software should be able to scale to at least the million-member MOC level targeted as an org goal.
3.2.2. Goal of function: To avoid user dissatisfaction as the community experiences rapid growth.
3.2.3. This feature is required

3.3. Requirement #3 – Network Site Statistics

3.3.1. Definition: Ability to gain actionable insight into community usage.
3.3.2. Goal of function: To continue current reporting practices.
3.3.3. Notes/Assumptions: There is likely to be something of a shift if the new software offers integrated reporting tools (preferred), since current methods involve hand counts out of TIMSS reports. If this could be automated or more closely integrated with Web Trends, that would be the best of all possible worlds.
3.3.4. This feature is required

3.4. Requirement #4 – Authenticate into ASQ community

3.4.1. Definition: Ability of site visitors to log into the community using systems already in place and following Customer Records rules and practices.
3.4.2. Goal of function: Unified/seamless user experience that nonetheless allows ASQ to control access based on current business rules.
3.4.3. This feature is required

3.5. Requirement #5 – Shared User Base

3.5.1. Definition: Registered visitors and members should be able to carry credentials earned in one portion of the software/site to all other portions.
3.5.2. Goal of the function: Unified/seamless user experience that more tightly integrates disparate elements of the software with the overall site visit experience.
3.5.3. This feature is required

3.6. Requirement #6 – External-facing Content Moderation System

3.6.1. Definition: Members who have achieved a certain credibility point threshold in the system should be allowed to flag (at lower threshold), and moderate (at higher threshold) other community members’ comments according to rules established at HQ and agreed to at the time the responsibility is earned.
3.6.2. Goal of the function: Self-sustaining community establishment requires that the members have a significant degree of control over what is acceptable to the community.
3.6.3. This feature is required

3.7. Requirement #7 – Ability to import content from previous systems

3.7.1. Definition: Content previously contributed via the homegrown comments and ratings features and calendar features; posts from the discussion boards and blogs; and content shared via the current community interface should all move into the new software as a basis for seeding the new community areas and maintaining continuity over time.
3.7.2. Goal of the function: The transition to the new software should be as transparent to the user as possible. Since not only the layout and functionalities will be significantly different, ASQ should be sensitive to the perceived credibility already established in our historical offerings and allow that to transfer without the end user having to worry about its loss.
3.7.3. Notes/Assumptions: The transfer should also allow us to start tying comments to registered visitors and members to begin to generate a more robust view of these individuals as well as pre-populate some points for such visitors who have already undertaken the desired activities within the old framework, giving them deeper incentive to continue contributing user-generated content within the more robust offering.
3.7.4. This feature is required

3.8. Requirement #8 – Authenticate according to specific customer type

3.8.1. Definition: There should be different access levels to the software features depending on criteria stored in TIMSS (i.e. registered visitor, vs. member, vs. member leader, etc.).
3.8.2. Goal of the function: Continue the outline of the customer records project to encourage registered visitors to establish and nurture a relationship with ASQ through to membership and beyond.
3.8.3. This feature is required

3.9. Requirement #9 – Sentiment Analysis available as a metric

3.9.1. Definition: The software should provide a high-level analysis of keywords and topics to give an easily generated report on key interests being discussed within the community setting, to be actionable by Community Development, Membership, and Market Development in support of needs expressed by the members of the communities.
3.9.2. Goal of the function: Support a conversation with members and customers that helps develop ASQ’s offerings according to the needs expressed in the community context.
3.9.3. This feature would be nice to have

3.10. Requirement #10 – Network Privacy Settings

3.10.1. Definition: Participants should be able to determine how much of their profile information is shared with different classes of contacts.
3.10.2. Goal of the function: Support participants’ desire for control of the information in their profiles.
3.10.3. This feature is required

3.11. Requirement #11 – OpenID compatible

3.11.1. Definition: Log-in and profile elements match up with current OpenID standards.
3.11.2. Goal of the function: This will allow ASQ’s communities to be more transparently connected with other communities, allowing for a richer data set per user, as well as increasing the ease of use for the participants by streamlining log-on across multiple social networking sites.
3.11.3. This feature is required

3.12. Requirement #12 – Online document storage, sharing, and commenting

3.12.1. Definition: Users should be able to upload documents (Word, PowerPoint, etc.) to the system and designate others who are authorized to view or edit those documents.
3.12.2. Goal of the function: Replace SharePoint document sharing. Individual users will be limited to 5MB of storage; groups that have been given appropriate authorization by the organization may access up to 5GB of storage.
3.12.3. This feature is required

End-User Functions Required

1.1 Requirement #1 – Spam Control

1.1.1. Definition: An automated challenge system that reduces the number of spam comments that either need moderation or slip through standard keyword or rules-based filtering.
1.1.2. Goal of the function: Keep community-based content on-topic and relevant to improve the visitors’ likelihood of staying through the whole conversation.
1.1.3. This feature is required

1.2. Requirement #2 – Search

1.2.1. Definition: Ability to search for user-generated content within the community area based on keywords and key phrases.
1.2.2. Goal of the function: Increase the visibility of the user-generated content to increase the likelihood that participants will continue previous conversations already taking place within the system.
1.2.3. Notes/Assumptions: This feature may be equally well-served by the current CMS, if the content generated within the community software is somehow tied to the CMS and we can use the CMS search function to find it. In fact, it would be preferable if we could maintain only one search engine to deal with visitors’ search needs.
1.2.4. Search function is required; it may not be necessary within the community software, however, if we can tie that content to the CMS.

1.3. Requirement #3 – User Profiles

1.3.1. Definition: User-generated information on self, falling into several categories.
1.3.2. Goal of the function: Increase the transparency of the participating individuals to allow for trust to be established between users based on self-advertised areas of interest, expertise, or industry.
1.3.3. This feature is required

1.4. Requirement #4 – Single log-on, unified user experience

1.4.1. Definition: Registered visitors and members should not need to log in separately to access any of their approved areas of community or site activity.
1.4.2. Goal of the function: Unified/seamless user experience that more tightly integrates disparate elements of the software with the overall site visit experience.
1.4.3. This feature is required

1.5. Requirement #5 – Reviews & rating system

1.5.1. Definition: A collaborative filtering algorithm that attempts to determine ratings for a collection of entities, given a collection of opinions that those entities hold about each other.
1.5.2. Goal of the function: Reputation systems are often useful in large online communities in which users may frequently have the opportunity to interact with other users with whom they have no prior experience or in communities where user-generated content is posted. In such a situation, it is often helpful to base the decision whether or not to interact with that user on the prior experiences of other users. Reputation systems may also be coupled with an incentive system to reward good behavior and punish bad behavior. For instance, users with high reputation may be granted special privileges, whereas users with low or unestablished reputation may have limited privileges.
1.5.3. This feature is required

1.6. Requirement #6 – Email notification settings

1.6.1. Definition: Simple notification system similar to RSS, only directed at a user-defined email address (can be constrained to the registered email address on the account, if necessary).
1.6.2. Goal of the function: Alternate means for participants to remain current with recent content additions.
1.6.3. Notes/Assumptions: Email notifications should be available for sets of content from particular segmented communities, particular users, particular topics, or particular industries.
1.6.4. This feature is required

1.7. Requirement #7 – RSS

1.7.1. Definition: Simple syndication.
1.7.2. Goal of the function: Alternate means for participants to remain current with recent content additions.
1.7.3. Notes/Assumptions: RSS feeds should be able to slice and dice content according to particular segmented communities, particular users, particular topics, or particular industries.
1.7.4. This feature is required

1.8. Requirement #8 – Member listings

1.8.1. Definition: Similar to current “Find a Member” functionality, these member listings would relate specifically to membership within particular segmented communities.
1.8.2. Goal of the function: Allow segmented community participants to know who else is participating in a particular dialogue to increase the trustworthiness of their communication within that context.
1.8.3. This feature is required

1.9. Requirement #9 – Variety of relationship types

1.9.1. Definition: Allow registered visitors and members to maintain varying levels of contact with other participants in the communities.
1.9.2. Goal of the function: Related to privacy concerns, some participants may not want all other participants to be aware of all levels of their activity. So display of particular online activity can be restricted according to the user-defined relationship with other participants (friend, colleague, group participant, mentor).
1.9.3. This feature would be nice to have.

1.10. Requirement #10 – Granular community descriptions

1.10.1. Definition: Segmented communities should have the ability to define who is allowed to participate and how the community will describe itself.
1.10.2. Goal of the function: Allow communities to arise through user demand, with parameters set by the participants (i.e. must have certain membership or registration credentials to participate).
1.10.3. This feature is required

1.11. Requirement #11 – Forums/message boards

1.11.1. Definition: Asynchronous, public discussion space for multiple participants.
1.11.2. Goal of the function: Allow space for members and registered visitors to interact in such a way that their conversations are publicly (as appropriate to the sponsoring body) available and can contribute to ASQ’s BOK.
1.11.3. Notes/Assumptions: Should add to the function-set currently available in ASQ’s discussion board, as well as allow current discussion board content to be imported into the new solution.
1.11.4. This feature is required

1.12. Requirement #12 – Tagging/folksonomy

1.12.1. Definition: User-generated tags and descriptions of content.
1.12.2. Goal of the function: Eventually ASQ’s folksonomy should offer an alternate method of navigating an increasingly large body of knowledge, as well as offer the Knowledge Offerings group insight into the ways community members interact with ASQ’s BOK.
1.12.3. This feature would be nice to have

1.13. Requirement #13 – Authenticated badges

1.13.1. Definition: Graphical tokens indicating a particular visitor has achieved certain levels of feedback quality, permitting them particular privileges.
1.13.2. Goal of the function: To establish an at-a-glance overview, in a transparent way, of which users are allowed to do what. These badges may be either community-generated/earned, or assigned by particular ASQ departments (i.e. LO, Cert, KO, Membership, Community Development) as appropriate to the needs of those departments (for instance, signifying that LO or KO has verified particular SME credentials, that particular certifications have been earned, or that particular member levels/distinctions/milestones have been achieved). Members have regularly requested such public acclaim, and this is given in offline circumstances; this feature would bring those offline credentials online.
1.13.3. Notes/Assumptions: There may be a need for a field-set expansion in TIMSS to hold ASQ-assigned credentials so that they can be accessed for the online community.
1.13.4. This feature is required

1.14. Requirement #14 – Events, calendar integration

1.14.1. Definition: Ability to set and find events within a single system. This system should also allow those events to be saved in iCal format, so to be integrated with external calendaring software (i.e. Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, etc.) at the user’s discretion.
1.14.2. Goal of the function: Allow online participants to schedule offline events as appropriate.
1.14.3. Notes/Assumptions: This function should also have multiple layers of access, so that particular events can be designated as private (between “friends”), group-specific (for particular sections, divisions, networks, etc. only), or ASQ-wide. This should be able to replace and integrate the homegrown calendaring system currently in place.
1.14.4. This feature is required

1.15. Requirement #15 – Messaging

1.15.1. Definition: Asynchronous communication between two members of the community.
1.15.2. Goal of the function: Increase perception of community between two users.
1.15.3. Notes/Assumptions: For both messaging and chat there should be an ability to archive the conversation and determine its privacy setting (some conversations may turn out to be valuable to the community at large and could then be posted live for particular segments of the community to see at the discretion of the original participants).
1.15.4. This feature is required

1.16. Requirement #16 – Blogs

1.16.1. Definition: Site where one sufficiently credentialed member can post log entries on a regular basis.
1.16.2. Goal of the function: Reward for highly rated community participants to have their own space for ongoing posts about a particular topic of interest to them.
1.16.3. Notes/Assumptions: Some blogs will still be established by Market Development/Communications mandate, so there will need to be a function whereby administrative staff can turn on the function without the visitor/member having accrued sufficient community-generated ratings to open up access to that function automatically.
1.16.4. This feature is required

1.17. Requirement #17 – Chat

1.17.1. Definition: Synchronous communication between two members of the community.
1.17.2. Goal of the function: Increase perception of community between users.
1.17.3. This feature would be nice to have

1.18. Requirement #18 – Polls

1.18.1. Definition: Ability to gather visitor feedback in shorter, more informal circumstances, with immediate results visible to the visitor.
1.18.2. Goal of the function: Increase interactivity of the site and pique further discussion within other areas of the site.
1.18.3. Notes/Assumptions: There should be some filtering/restrictions in place to only allow one vote per user per poll. This could either take the place of, or take advantage of the poll program already available via QP. The feature should also have the capacity to have segmented community-specific polls (i.e. one for all community participants, one for webinar community participants, and yet a different one for the SOX community participants).
1.18.4. This feature is required

1.19. Requirement #19 - Wiki

1.19.1. Definition: Shared document creation and editing space.
1.19.2. Goal of the function: Allow properly registered community participants to collaborate on documentation online.
1.19.3. This feature would be nice to have

Administration Requirements
1.1. Requirement #1 – System-wide messaging
1.1.1. Definition: System whereby staff administrators can contact all or segmented community members to address community-wide administrative needs or reminders.
1.1.2. Goal of the function: Allow for easy administrative contact with participants to increase the transparency of necessary administrative actions.
Form/Data Collection
Initial access to ASQ’s online communities will be governed by the Customer Records log-in and rules. After pre-set thresholds of number of visits, registered visitors will be invited to fill out more elements of their profiles.

Source: The wiki text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution License agreement
Web Functional Specifications Author: Tonya Cannariato

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Community Launch Checklist for Online Collaboration

Community Launch Checklist

Online Communities take a lot of time and energy to be successful. Organizations must understand and prepare for the investment associated, from strategic planning to implementation and execution.

While planning the launch of your online community, we recommend you consider the following:

Roles and Responsibilities

Have you aligned the internal roles and responsibilities required for an online community? In the planning phase, it is imperative that you have full cooperation across all functional teams and groups within your organization.

* Do you have an executive team in place to approve and sign off on strategic initiatives?
* Is your legal team ready and prepared to discuss branding and governance policies?
* Has your IT department allotted sufficient time and staff for the integration and maintenance of the technology?
* Have you built a support team to help customers and community members successfully use the platform?
* Is your marketing ready to lead the way in terms of setting the tone and handling the daily tasks of managing the community?

Be sure you have staffed a social media strategist to lead the overall launch of the community, as well as a community manager or facilitator to support daily developments.

Operating Budget

Have you allocated sufficient funds to successfully build and launch your online community?

* What types of features and services will your site provide to users?
* Are you launching a basic or more advanced site?
* Will your site require design customization?
* Do you have the finances readily available to staff accordingly?
* Do you have the finances readily available to properly market and advertise the community, both at launch and beyond?

Notwithstanding the initial costs of partnering with a community vendor, organizations must take into consideration the costs associated with launching the community, hiring staff and other ongoing expenses. While the costs involved with selecting a vendor will vary, depending on the features and services provided, organizations should expect to allocate approximately $50,000 to $100,000 annually for a basic online community.

Community Research

Building a community that already exists is not generally recommended.

* Have you determined whether your community already exists?
* Is it beneficial to create a new online community or simply engage customers where they already are?
* Have you researched the community offerings of your direct competitors?
* Do your competitors’ communities have a high activity level?
* Is there a demand for a new online community?

By closely monitoring the competition, organizations can determine what is working and what isn’t, and how best to approach plans for an online community.

Policies and Training

A Governance Plan is an important component of the community as it provides the foundation for dealing with unpredictable situations.

* Do you have a dedicated community manager and/or facilitator and a social media strategist to prepare the governance procedures?
* Do you have a rapid response process and guidelines in place to deal with any negative incidents from the community?
* Have you trained the appropriate individuals so these guidelines can be properly enforced?

The more formalized the process, the more successful your community will be.

Technology Integration

Community platforms require development, design and integration with a company’s existing channels.

* Is your IT department ready to tie the community together?
* Have you allocated the time and budget required for future upgrades and maintenance?
* Is your IT team trained in community platform integration?

While the community vendor may be available to assist with the integration, your IT department is solely responsible for the entire integration process.

The Community Launch

Organizations will reap the rewards of a successful online community only if they have customers and members who actually use it.

* What methods of communication will you use to promote the launch of the site?
* Have you designed newsletters, blogs, forums and other similar features on your site?
* Are you leveraging promotions to market the launch?

The launch of an online community should be treated no different than the launch of a new product, and creative, non-traditional means of marketing and advertising will undoubtedly attract people to the site.

Goals, Benchmarks and Measurement Standards

Online communities require detailed timelines and expectations.

* Have you prepared an editorial plan, a strategy for growth and a guideline for specific milestone dates?
* What are your goals and objectives?
* What means will you employ to track the success of your online community?
* How will you collect this data?
* Do you have a team in place to monitor and report on measurement expectations?

Communities are highly measurable, and must be measured in order to track its success.

The wiki text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution License agreement

Source: Community Launch Checklist Submission for Enterprise 2.0 wiki template contest. Submitted by Stephen Rahal IGLOO INC. NOTE: HELIX is a VAR of IGLOO
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