Collaborations Design Patterns


Tech Trek Log – 2010.04.08

Finally, got around the concept of how intranet collaborations are structured after reading SharePoint articles in TechNet. I’m going to briefly describe them here so you can use it when designing your organization’s taxonomy and identify how content can be organized:

One-to-Many
This case is usually performed by a single person and/or team that shares, or publishes content to various users. In SharePoint terms, this could be your personal site or blog (similar to this WordPress post) that you can share to your colleagues, or your team’s site / workspaces that you expose to other employees in the company.

Many-to-One
This is a special case where you would like to have certain group to consume content published by different departments or organizational units (OU). A sample scenario could be reports or contracts that only Managers or Executives are suppose to read. Normally, you would want this design if you’d like to centralize content to minimize how users search for information.

Many-to-Many
The heart of collaboration though is when you’ve got many groups sharing information to different audiences. This is exhibited in a corporate portal environment, where you’d like various people to contribute and publish content to the whole user community or company. An example is HR posting job openings, corporate news or announcements, pictures of social events, or wiki sites that can be viewed by many readers.

So, you may ask where is “One-to-One” scenario in all these. The answer to that is — your corporate email, or instant messaging (IM) clients. The changing role of email will be delegated for personal communications, and event notifications similar to what social networks do in Facebook.

The idea behind intranet/extranet is the ability to share information that can be consumed by a larger audience. Also, this allows your organization to keep a historical record of corporate activities and events so that you reduce the tribal knowledge instead of data being buried in someone else’s email thread.

On a final note, if you have someone cc’ed (copied) in an email or you’re conducting online conferences, then it’s a likely candidate for circulation. Thus, you’ll have to exhibit professional conduct always and separate personal communications to where it is appropriate.

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