Under the generic term “BlueSpice Social”, a whole series of functions converge in BlueSpice 3. The goal is to support teamwork and collaboration among wiki users and thus improve the quality of wiki content. An interview with Dr. Richard Heigl, CEO of Hallo Welt!
Richard, BlueSpice Social is certainly oriented towards social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, isn’t it?
Yes and no. The basic idea of BlueSpice Social is to follow content and not people, as is the case in many of the relevant social media networks. This also makes sense because a wiki is essentially a content-driven application. Nevertheless, there are suggestions from our customers to extend the functionality and to implement further possibilities of interaction. We added this to our checklist and might develop the social functions accordingly.
What makes BlueSpice Social so special?
The heart of BlueSpice Social is our Timeline. It can be accessed via the left main navigation in BlueSpice 3. The following contents converge here:
- discussion posts on articles,
- posts from the blog,
- contributions from the microblog,
- comments from the above features and functions
- activities of wiki users (optional)
By the way: The contents of the timeline can be filtered and included in any wiki article, also on the wiki homepage. For example, we have integrated blog posts to inform employees centrally about organizational changes or events.
Seems like there’s a lot of content coming together in the timeline. Doesn’t that get confusing?
Of course it depends on the size of the enterprise wiki and the number of active users. As mentioned before we offer the possibility to sort and filter the content according to your own needs, e.g. by creation and editing date or by owner/author. In addition – depending on preference – unwanted content can be completely hidden, e.g. microblog entries. Filtering by archived or non-archived content is also possible. If you only want to display the contributions to a certain wiki article, this is also feasible.
That sounds exciting. But do I have to set the filter criteria each time I use the wiki?
No. Of course we solved that problem. The filter settings are transferred to the URL and are therefore suitable for bookmarking. All search parameters are retained. This saves a lot of time. Another advantage: filtered and sorted result lists can be sent by e-mail or company chat. This is really practical and is frequently used by our customers.
I suggest we take a closer look at the individual social functions:
Changes to articles sometimes require an exchange of ideas between wiki users. For this purpose, we have introduced discussion posts. To add some finesse to a post, it can be formatted using the visual editor. Pictures can also be attached to discussion posts. The first three posts are always displayed under an article, others can be displayed by clicking on them. What is exciting in terms of a simplified task management is that posts can be marked as “closed” as soon as a “task” has been completed. And should the error devil have crept in, contributions can be edited afterwards or, depending on the user rights, deleted completely. If it turns out that contributions have a thematic proximity to existing Wiki articles, they can be assigned to the related article. A note for customers who are still using an older version of BlueSpice: to avoid loss of content the shoutbox will be migrated to discussion posts when upgrading to BlueSpice 3.
The blog function is usually used to publish company news. It can also be accessed via the left navigation bar. Blog posts can be formatted and enriched with pictures. Apart from that comments to the blog contributions are possible. The last three comments are displayed by default, more can be loaded with one click. In addition, blog posts can be recommended and linked to wiki articles. But not only that: blog contributions can be observed, whereby the blog contributions worked and/or commented on are automatically observed. The observation list can be found under the avatar in the top right corner of BlueSpice. Good news for customers who still use an older version of BlueSpice: existing blogs will be migrated with an upgrade to BlueSpice 3.
Our microblog is based on the Twitter concept: quick information. Contributions in the microblog can only be formatted to a very limited extent and only appear in the timeline. There is no separate area or navigation point under which all microblog contributions converge. Microblog contributions can be created by clicking on the “+” icon in the upper right corner of the timeline.
Activities of wiki users
From time to time it makes sense to view the activities of the wiki users in chronological order. The overview can be reached by clicking on the cogwheel icon in the left navigation, then on “special pages” and “activities”. If desired, the activities can be integrated into the timeline and then filtered accordingly. This makes transparent which wiki user did what and when. For one customer this is important, for others it is irrelevant. By the way: The last contributions of a wiki user are also listed in his user profile. So everyone can take a look at their personal activity in the wiki.
Can you give us some practical examples? How do customers use BlueSpice Social?
Smaller companies use our social functions as part of an intranet portal. On the home page, colleagues can find up-to-date news from the management and from the departments – just like in the employee newspaper in the good old days. The wiki itself is the internal knowledge base with focus on exchange about the company, processes as well as products and services.
On a smaller scale, “team rooms” for departments are conceivable: For example as a collaborative project database with short messages and blog posts.
Another example is the documentation for technical systems. For safety and liability reasons, only a few editors are allowed to edit operating instructions and descriptions. However, the discussion function makes it possible to collect feedback from the staff or technicians on site. For example, reports on maintenance work or queries on the handling of hazardous substances can be stored.
Furthermore real estate could be better managed: Since the administrators themselves are rarely on site, employees could provide feedback and document damage to the property in the wiki, for example. The smartphone can be used to enrich the messages with corresponding photos.
So BlueSpice Social has a lot to offer. But what if a customer doesn’t want that at all?
Good question. While some of our customers appreciate the advantages of BlueSpice Social (more interaction, more active users, more wiki content, etc.), others deliberately do without the social functions because they already have other communication channels. However, a deactivation of BlueSpice Social is of course possible. So every customer gets exactly what he wants.
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