Taking the Pulse of your Business Content with microblogging

When many users first encounter microblogging they don't 'get it'.

Twitter is of course the classic and most widely known microblogging site, and its style has been taken up by many others such as Facebook in a broader set of social media approaches. A common initial reaction is something to the effect: "I don't care if your cat just threw up – in fact, I'd rather NOT know!!"

Once people start to microblog, they find many different ways that it can provide value, beyond answering the question: "What's happening?" that twitter poses. Commentators have described endless ways of using twitter such as: 5 marketing approaches, 10 diverse applications, 50 different topics, etc.

But how does microblogging add value within an organization? Most of the discussions about business value have been on better ways to reach outside an organization to customers and partners by breaking down barriers, increasing transparency and the like.

At first blush making the case for microblogging in the workplace might seem to be hard. People often comment that they are too busy to engage in 'chit-chat' while at work. But over the last couple of years the use cases that have real business value have become clearer.

For me there are two general styles of internal business microblogging:
  1. User status updates – close to the twitter model, but with a distinctly different topic set
  2. Content status updates – fairly unique to business and keyed to the fact that many work processes produce and manage content (i.e. documents and other business files as understood in content management)
At Open Text we recently released the Pulse module for Livelink 9.7.1 that adds microblogging capabilities to support both styles (available for free to customers from the Knowledge Center).

Status updates are pretty much what you'd expect – you can make a post about anything, although some of the most useful ones are:
  • "I'm looking for..."
  • "Anyone interested in..."
  • "Have we..."
These have value because they help people to be more effective through better networking in an organization.

You can select specific users to follow and you can follow the stream from all users. We have a very similar Pulse capability in Open Text Social Workplace.

BUT, I think the real advance in Livelink/Content Server Pulse is to follow the status of content irrespective of location in a range of very powerful and comprehensive ways.

Sure you can post a link to content in twitter, and many microblogging services allow you to attach documents or other kinds of files to your posts. But the advance here is to have the act of adding or changing a piece of content anywhere in an ECM system create a status post. The feed is reporting a content action by another person. If I'm following Joe and he adds a new sales presentation anywhere I can see it in the status stream – provided of course I have permission in the repository to see the added content. All of the important support for compliance is maintained.

There are many ways to slice-and-dice: by following specific people or all people, and following changes in user status, content or both.

You can also 'pulse' specific content objects, so all changes and all comments about a piece of content are seen in the unique Pulse stream of that object. It's like a filtered window into the stream looking at just one object, even if the ECM system contains millions of documents.

And Pulsing is not just limited to files/documents, but is applied to containers like folders and places such as project workspaces and communities. You can imagine the power of an accumulated stream of all content and status activity related to a project!

Livelink has had a notification capability for many years, but it requires users to first identify existing documents and containers that they would like to follow. Pulse adds the human dimension – you can be notified of changes based on the people you follow and what they do with the content.

To honest I'm still 'figuring out' all of the ramifications and power of Livelink/Content Server Pulse but I'm very excited!

If you'd like to learn more:
  • Initial description in the May 2010 issue of NewsLink
  • Free Webinar Thursday 3 June 2010
  • Software and documentation in the Knowledge Center
  • And if you are an Open Text Online Communities member you'll be able to use Pulse very shortly (announcement)

Syndicated at http://conversations.opentext.com/


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