The Knowledge Worker Desktop.

Tag: KM

Success of digitization in the Danish Ministry of Transport.

by on Mar.31, 2010, under Digital government, e-government, government 2.0, innovation, Paperless government

At cBrain we have been involved in the development of a new “all-in-one software solution for paperless governmental departments” as we describe it. For white paper on this solution click here.

The following is a translation of a news release from the Danish Ministry of Transport – click here.

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The 4th of January 2010, the central department within the Ministry of Transport implemented a complete digitization of internal workflows. Already – after nearly three months – there is reason for saying that the project has been a success.

The full digitization involves casework, knowledge sharing, communication and archiving/journalizing done electronically in a single system, the electronic document and records management system, cBrain F2.

cBrain F2 was developed in collaboration between the IT company cBrain and the Ministry of Social Affairs, but the central Department within  the Ministry of Transport is the first place where cBrain F2 is implemented throughout the entire organization.

Head of the Department, Jacob Heinsen explains it this way: “We have – like most others – through a number of years had an electronic document management system, but it was just not generating the desired benefits because the system was not integrated, and because the cases were still moving around the house on paper. With the new system, we have not banned the use of paper in the proceedings, but paper has simply been outperformed. The employees are experiencing that it now is easier to handle cases and submit them to management electronically. They will no longer need to make a lot of paper copies, and they can also continuously follow how the cases progresses in F2. With the new system electronic document and records management is no longer an additional task, but a real reduction in work.”

A user survey conducted after two months of operation confirm this impression. By switching from the existing electronic document and records management system to cBrain F2, employee satisfaction with the system went from “poor” to “satisfactory”. “You would think it was a lie, but employees say they were actually excited about work after the introduction of the new IT system,” says Jacob Heinsen.

Project leader Thomas Ginnerup-Nielsen says about his experiences with the project: “It’s been hard work, but actually we have not had any crises in the process. It is in itself unusual for a government IT project. But the ultimate test is, of course, the results living up to – well, actually exceeding – the objectives of the project.”

See a showcase of user survey and results here.

Questions can be directed to contacts mentioned in the news release.

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Digital Government 2.0 – Danish government intend to go paperless by 2012.

by on Nov.19, 2009, under Digital government, e-government, government 2.0, innovation, Paperless administration, Paperless government, software for the knowledge worker

What if employees in a government ministry were not allowed to move information on paper between desks any more, but were only allowed to move documents in digital form.

Well, this is happening in Europe where Denmark and Spain seem to be leading the way.

It has been a long time coming with many legal and bureaucratic barriers to be removed, i.e. requirements of formal signature, filling out of paper-based forms, etc.

Since January 2002 all Danish ministries have analyzed thousands of laws and regulations for barriers to e-government and a 2002/2003 analysis revealed 453 necessary changes in legislation and regulations. A deadline of the summer 2003 was established for the removal of these barriers and for the most part this was achieved successfully.

Obviously this was a major cultural change in the way governmental knowledge workers perform their jobs and a number of initiatives were started and new guidelines issued.

Since September 1, 2003 all government authorities have had the right to send documents to other authorities electronically and the right to demand that documents from other authorities be sent electronically.

The 2003 initiative aimed at promoting the use of e-mail and Internet communication in the public sector and reorganize work processes towards paperless administration, making government more efficient.

A major next step was that from February 1, 2005 all government authorities had the right to send documents containing personal and sensitive information electronically and the right to demand that the same documents from other authorities be sent electronically using secure e-mail (digital signature).

From the same date citizens and business had the opportunity to communicate with the public sector using secure e-mail (digital signature).

This was made possible by providing citizen and businesses with tools and extensive instructive information to make the transition easier.

•    Free digital signature to all Danish citizens.

•    Legally binding signature for all interactions on the Internet.

•    Authenticity – certainty of the identity of citizens, businesses and government authorities.

•    Integrity – certainty that the contents of the message have not been changed.

•    Privacy – no-one can listen in on the communication.

Obviously culture changes of this nature – well, indeed major behavioral modifications in how “white collar” work is performed – are not easy for people to make.

However the Danish government is pushing forward towards the goal of “full electronic communication by 2012”.

The Ministry of the Interior and Social Affairs as one of the leaders in this drive towards paperless public administration has piloted the “cBrain F2” case management system since June 2009 with success.

In the coming weeks I will be covering aspects of the cBrain F2 system and discuss some of the implications of this new integrated concept where social media tools are combined with case management, record management, archiving and more.

Further information in English about the Danish Governments drive towards paperless administration is available here:

•     http://www.modernisering.dk/da/english — including a summary of the Danish Government’s plan for digital administration (e-Government Strategy) 2007 – 2010.

•    http://www.virk.dk/English;jsessionid=ED260572073B396430E739F06924A5A2 – Central government to business portal for everything digital.

•    http://english.ism.dk/Further-development/digitalisation/Sider/Start.aspx — The Ministry of the Interior and Social Affairs is one of the leading advocates for the move towards paperless administration by 2012.

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Enterprise 2.0 and Government 2.0 — Knowledge Worker Productivity.

by on Oct.07, 2009, under compliance, eDiscovery, enterprise 2.0, government 2.0, integration drives paradigm shift, software for the knowledge worker

During the last few weeks I have been talking to a number of people from within governmental organizations and different business segments about white collar productivity.

Actually the discussions have often been around the new buzzwords “Enterprise 2.0” and “Government 2.0” and what these two buzzwords entail. It boils down to trying to define/apply/govern/restrict the use of the emerging bunch of new social media tools (similar to WEB 2.0 tools – Facebook, Twitter, etc… BUT inside the firewall!) within a corporate or public agency environment.

WEB 2.0 tools just showed up in the work place and people began using them as collaboration tools to get their work done (AND you could at the same time communicate with your “friends”). In other words the tools helped people be more productive and gave them an easier way of sharing information than current corporate legacy systems and “sanctioned” office productivity tools.

It reminds me of when the IBM PC showed up in the workplace in the mid-1980s to the horror of and without the approval/control of the IT department. The IBM PC fulfilled a need for getting the work done more efficiently, i.e. they increased productivity and created a whole new industry.

The IBM PC was an integral part of what happened next with legacy software systems going from rigid mainframe systems towards more “flexible” client/server systems with the IBM PC providing the user interface. It became an interactive process instead of the old batch approach to entering data and retrieving information. It was more inviting and easier to use.

During the 1990s Integration began driving a paradigm shift from free standing best-of-breed accounting systems (G/L. A/R, A/P, Order Entry, Purchasing, Inventory, Distribution, etc…) towards integrated systems that became known as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.

The value of system integration and information context won out. Your Accounts Receivable (A/R) system was in sync with your A/R assets account in your Balance Sheet. The same integration to the General Ledger applied to Accounts Payable, Inventory, Purchasing, Billing, etc…

For project based organizations the recording of time sheets and expenses towards projects provided similar integration to the financial system and gave good overview of Work-in-Progress and now you were getting closer to managing the business in real time, at least from a financial point of view.

This has evolved into specialized ERP system for different industries – ERP for Services, ERP for Wholesale Distribution, ERP for manufacturing, etc…

I was involved as a vendor of ERP systems for the service industry in the 1990s and to me ERP meant blue collar productivity improvements by optimizing the processing of structured information and we often showed the advantages of ERP as illustrated below:

Blue-Collar-flow450

As ERP systems from SAP, ORACLE, PeopleSoft, Maconomy, Navision and many others improved their functionality and usability during the 1990s, overall attention turned towards managing the unstructured information that flows along a project timeline.

Many firms in the service segment (consulting, advertising, engineering, etc…) where I spent most of my time realized that they could get the billing rate up with ERP systems to maybe 70% (100% less vacation time, sick time, education, presale, non-billable,..) but that was where they maxed out.

These firms knew that they made money or lost money depending on their ability to manage scope creep on key projects and give project leaders, their supervisors and the PMO office the tools to align the scope definition with the contract appendix detailing the service to be delivered.

The scope of a project most often changed during the execution of the project but often that did not result in an amendment to the contractual service definition. Furthermore this change often resulted in modifications of project timelines, milestones and deadlines as well as resource allocations – people and material.

Most of the corporate silos of finance, legal, human resource and specialized practice departments should have been involved in this effort but are often notified after the fact or when the project is in a serious crisis.

Part of the problem was that the tools simply were not available.

This is where I think Enterprise 2.0 and Government 2.0 enter the scene. These emerging technologies simply fill a need for helping knowledge workers share information in the context of the project or process to which the knowledge belongs.

I think we will see a rapid evolution of these tools towards integrated and specialized solutions dramatically improving white collar (knowledge worker) productivity and this might parallel what happened with ERP systems in the 1990s for blue collar productivity – reference the figure below:

White-Collar-flow450

At cBrain we have named this integrated solution the “Knowledge Worker Desktop” and I will cover this concept in some more detail in coming blog entries but will close with a few highlights:

•    The Knowledge Worker Desktop works within an automated archiving system that automatically, based on context assigns classification and META data. Archiving and record management is a by-product of the work performed and not a separate work process.

•    Give up on most user-based classification (cynical me! It never works!) and automate as far as possible the process of assigning classification and other META data based on context – you already know the entity (customer, vendor, employee, location, case, project, business process, deadline/milestone, next step approval/review, etc.) you are working with or you generate it as part of your work, SO the system will automate classification and META data!

•    Regulatory compliance is facilitated.

•    The system includes search and presentation facilities for necessary work overview.

I will cover other aspects of the concept for the Knowledge Worker Desktop in coming posts.

Any comments are welcome!

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Enterprise 2.0 will re-invent corporate silos…. AND it is OK!

by on Jul.27, 2009, under compliance, eDiscovery, enterprise 2.0, innovation, software for the knowledge worker

During the last few weeks I have been engaged in a number of discussions about different aspects of the concept of Enterprise 2.0 in the aftermath of the June 2009 Enterprise 2.0 conference here in Boston.

People are coming at this from all kinds of angles and I assume that reflect their professional experiences within areas like Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Knowledge Management (KM), Business Process Management (BPM), Project Portfolio Management, (PPM), Innovation Management (IM) and other such classifications of different aspects of what makes an organization function. AND now we have a new classification with Enterprise 2.0 that we are trying to define.

Each one of these classifications or disciplines has its own set of “magic quadrant” constructed by research firms to assess vendor solutions and “hall of fame” defined by (vendor) associations and Enterprise 2.0 is probably not far behind.

Much discussion was about breaking down the corporate silos to further adoptions of social media tools to improve overall communication. But to quote Paula Thornton“there is an issue greater than adoption at play here: hesitation to recognize the breadth and depth of adaptation that needs to occur across the entire enterprise and every aspect of the business model.”

Similarly Fred Zimny states: “many business decision makers who decide to dive into the E2.0 sea, often come back more confused than they were before taking that dive. AIIM’s year-old survey, which found that 74% of surveyed organizations had no idea what E2.0 meant or how it could be meaningfully applied, likely would’ve come back with a similar numbers today.”

Carl Frappaolo has weight in on the discussion about the use of collaborative social technologies in an Enterprise 2.0 setting and if such information will be considered subject to legal discovery – “a class action suit regarding patient/individual privacy rights, the courts ruled that content in “FaceBook, MySpace, instant-messaging threads, blog posts and whatever else the plaintiffs might have done online” was discoverable. The plaintiffs’ objection that this violated the plaintiffs’ privacy was shot down. These tools and their content were viewed as public, not on a private network, but the public world wide web.” And later “You should not have a different management policy for e-mail, or blogs, or microblogs. The medium or format should not dictate policy (other than acceptable use of the tool of course). It is the content that matters no matter what format or tool it was created in.”

I could not agree more – all content is legally material, so you better find a way to manage the exchanges of information regardless of the medium!

This leads me to what I see as the essence of Enterprise 2.0: We are looking for a way to manage the unstructured information that flow along a time-line for projects and business processes alike.

To me most business processes have the same issues as projects except they do not have a final end date. Projects and processes deal with people collaboration along a time-line with milestones and deadlines towards a measurable goal.

This information exchange is happening within teams, between corporate silos and often includes vendors, sub-contractors and customers.

ERP, CRM and other legacy systems have evolved over the last 20-30 years to manage an organization’s structured information – General Ledger, Receivables, Payables, Budgeting, Billing, Inventory Control, Distribution, Purchasing, Time Sheets and Expense Reports, Support, Sales and Marketing, Human Resources and other classifications depending on industry.

Corporate silos have evolved to provide specialized knowledge and accountability for different aspects of what makes an organization function.

Take the case of a project based organization like an advertising agency or similar consulting firm – they make money or lose money depending on how well they manage the scope definition of their projects (assuming they are competitive in the market place).

The scope definition is tied to a contract describing the products and services to be delivered to a client over a time period with given assumptions. Scope definition and assumptions most often changes as the project progresses and thus the need for efficient communication between all stakeholders to amend projects and contracts.

Corporate silos in larger organizations will be re-invented to take advantage of  Enterprise 2.0 and it is OK!

The CFO (Finance Department) will still exist and wanting to control (credit check at a minimum) when a prospect presented by Sales and Marketing can be defined as a potential customer and pre-sales team members can start reporting time and expenses toward that “customer”.

For advertising agencies up to 10% of total cost is often pre-sale cost. Once a customer contract is signed and budgets for cost and resources are approved the CFO will then approve the project for the project team to start reporting billable time and expenses to that account.

Changes to project scope will be reflected in changes to project timeline (most often) as well as resources (people, material, sub-contractors, etc.) required.

This will involve the legal department for amendments to the contract as well as Finance and potentially Human Resources.

Enterprise 2.0 done right will help provide better scope management by organizing the flow of unstructured information between stakeholders. In other words “getting the job done” and at the same time facilitate that possible regulatory compliance is adhered to and eDiscovery can be achieved at reasonable cost.

In a legal sense ALL project information exchange is material and we better plan for that without creating new barriers for “getting the work done” – that is the challenge for Enterprise 2.0 as the concept evolves.

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Government Agility in Asia.

by on Jun.03, 2009, under e-government, government 2.0, software for the knowledge worker

Government agility is one of the headlines that caught my attention concerning the government information forum to be held in Hong Kong on August 19-21, 2009.

It is a conference with an IT focus but many of the sections are very relevant for senior governmental executives wanting to get an understanding of new opportunities for improvements in how government and citizens interact.

Most of the speakers are from Asia – China, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia among others.

Bill Schrier, the CTO from the City of Seattle is the only speaker not from the ASIA region. He is widely regarded as a thought leader in the use of social media and other tools to create a translucent government. His blog http://schrier.wordpress.com/ is worth a read.

I like his recent quote: “Making government “transparent” is in vogue in 2009, whether by doing map mashups of crimes or twittering by Mayors and public agencies. But I often wonder if we’re exposing the trees, without showing the forest or illuminating the true ecosystems of governing.” And he goes on ” So I’d say we’re starting to get adept at exposing the trees – or maybe the branches, twigs, leaves, owls, squirrels, nuts and bark of government operations. But what does all this data mean, and how can it influence government behavior, budgeting and public policy choices?”

Seattle is at the forefront of making the public aware of the goings-on in government and I assume that is why he was invited to speak.

Other topics covered at the Hong Kong conference – to name a few that caught my eye:

NOT AN OXYMORON: GOVERNMENT & BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE.
•    Responsive, agile policy-making calls for real time insight into the operations of the government machine. In a data rich environment, public sector is well placed to see a quick return from tools that deliver actionable intelligence to government decision-makers.

VIP Address – TRANSFORMING GOVERNMENT OPERATION THROUGH INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL INFORMATION MANAGEMENT
•    Exploring the networks and internet technologies for the delivery of government information, services and processes
•    Using technology to provide user-centered information and services and achieve joint outcomes

BUSINESS PROCESS MANAGEMENT FOR OPERATIONAL BEST PRACTICE
Mapped and monitored processes drive effective BPM strategies, enabling public sector organizations to embrace operational best practice.
•    Compliance & improvement initiatives driving public sector BPM
•    More than workflow automation: process-centric government
•    Process visibility enables process agility

So often at these events the focus is on technical stuff like portals and databases and not so much on better tools for the governmental knowledge worker. This conference seems different in the topics it covers.

Government transformation requires that citizens, politicians and senior governmental knowledge workers (or as Gartner calls them “Officer 2.0”) work towards a common goal.

It seems to me that too often the governmental employees’ pivotal role in this transformation is ignored and better tools are not addressed – it is refreshing to see a change of attitude coming from ASIA.

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Enterprise 2.0 and white collar productivity.

by on May.12, 2009, under enterprise 2.0, integration drives paradigm shift, software for the knowledge worker

Enterprise 2.0 as a concept has gained a lot of momentum since Andrew McAfee from Harvard University (http://andrewmcafee.org/blog/) coined the term a few short years ago. Today there is even a separate exhibition for Enterprise 2.0 – http://www.e2conf.com – with a lot of serious attention and money being paid to the concept.

Enterprise 2.0 has often been described as social software or so-called WEB 2.0 for the enterprise (inside the firewall). AIIM (http://www.aiim.org/What-is-Web-2.0.aspx) defines it as “a system of web-based technologies that provide rapid and agile collaboration, information sharing, emergence and integration capabilities in the extended enterprise”.

In contrast to traditional legacy enterprise software, which imposes structure prior to use, enterprise social software as we know it today tends for the most part to encourage use prior to providing structure.

Obviously with FRCP, Sarbanes-Oxley and other compliance issues this is a conflict and corporate management might feel under legal obligation to control and at least monitor the internal communication in order to hold people accountable for their actions communicated to others using Enterprise 2.0 tools.

Now, the question is if this is not all due to the lack of proper tools for today’s white collar knowledge worker?

And will we see Enterprise 2.0 evolve in a similar pattern to when ERP evolved from a bundle of best-of-breed point solutions to fully integrated ERP packages?

We think so and will cover our experiences, opinions and observations in this blog – stay tuned.

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Integration lowers eDiscovery cost.

by on May.11, 2009, under compliance, eDiscovery, enterprise 2.0, government 2.0, integration drives paradigm shift, software for the knowledge worker

Many work routines for white collar workers within government and business enterprises (Customer Relationship Management, Employee Hiring and Case Management are examples) have common issues when people need to collaborate and share information along a timeline with milestones and deadlines galore.

Traditional software tools for white collar workers today are not integrated.

Often the process of archiving information (emails, documents, notes, etc.) is a separate work routine after the work has been performed involving the knowledge worker deciding what to archive and what META data to add for the purpose of later information search and retrieval.

New integrated productivity tools like the Knowledge Worker Desktop are automating the archiving process and assuring that META data are derived automatically from the context of the work performed and NOT as a separate after-the-fact process. This has shown major improvements in productivity and quality of work.

Regulatory compliance (Sarbanes-Oxley, FRCP and HIPAA) demands that companies establish and maintain an adequate internal control structure and procedure for their business processes and for Sarbanes-Oxley also control points for their financial reporting.

The kitchen sink approach to archiving everything will NOT work. Archiving and indexing according to content (words and phrases) is better. BUT automatically archiving and indexing emails and documents (WORD, EXCEL, POWERPOINT, PDFs, E-Mails, IMs, etc.) according to context is the only viable way to ensure that you later can actually produce messages and documents that someone considers legally material, a term often referred to as eDiscovery.

Again, integration is the key driver of this paradigm shift .

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