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  • Corporate Memory Infrastructure Proposal

    When I interviewed with Marble, one of the things which fascinated me most was the idea of a Corporate Memory Infrastructure. However, something like that is currently as good as nonexistent. Here are some thoughts how we could try to change this.

    Current Situation

    There have been attempts to change this. Reminders to encourage people to use the notes database were effective for about two weeks, then people stopped using it again. The project directory is not consistently used, people rather work locally. Even if a project has a proper entry in the projects directory, often not all working files are there. And even if that is the case, it is improbable that somebody else will ever find the useful information which is hidden there, because the only help to navigate are filenames.

    Collaboration

    The only effective tool for collaboration seems to be e-mail. I didn't really see a discussion in notes as I have in newsgroups, for instance (which essentially works like e-mail. In fact, in Netscape 4.0 e-mail and newsgroups reside in the same window!). For a while we had this excitement about ICQ, and I think most people have it still running, but I hardly ever use it.

    staff@marble.com seems to work best.

    The Web

    During the past three years, I have seen the web changing from being a toy to being a tool. Why does e-mail work for collaboration? Because everybody has a mail client open, and everybody has the choice of his or her favorite client. The same applies to the web browser.

    So the basic idea is to use the web browser for collaboration. The idea is not new. Intranets have been there for a while, and most Intranets have an Intranet web page. At SilverPlatter I recently saw how powerful this tool can be, when they gave us access to their Intranet website at inside.silverplatter.com.

    I am wondering whether this technology could work for Marble as well, and this proposal should encourage people to discuss this.

    All the difference: Push technology

    There is still one thing missing: People have to be pushed all the time to use the system in the intended way. As far as I see it today, the best way to push people is to write them e-mails. For instance, if the overview document to a current project has not been updated for a while (say, 7 days), the owner of that document should receive an e-mail which asks her either to update the document, or to mark it as closed. If a new project is created and the user does not provide some basic information about the project, the user should receive a reminder, with a template document attached.

    Roadmap for a Marble Intranet Site

    Here is a list of issues, and how they could be resolved:

    Accessibility

    ColaborationProject ManagementPush
    I don't know how realistic these ideas are, nor whether Marble has the resources to implement some of them, but as we are knowledge workers, it is important to think about and discuss these issues. If these thoughts start discussions, they fulfilled their purpose.