Google today announced a new feature for its Hangouts chat and video calling application that allows meeting organizers to invite users to calls even if they don't have Google accounts
What it means for Ceva is that we can invite clients, customers, partners, candidates to join a video call without requiring a gmail account.
On top of that, Google Hangouts works without install if the invitee is using Chrome browser, or with a plug-in install on Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari
Sharing the link of the hangout by email is enough for people to be able to join.
The link can also be a permanent link, as from https://hangouts.google.com/ you just enter the name of a meeting, launch it and you can reuse the permanent link anytime in the future. It is not guaranted that other don't use the same link, so be original. An easy way is to use your name as the meeting's name.
Moreover, calendar invites for people outside of ceva.com include now a link to the call : so it is easy for participants to join the call.
Provided that they have installed the plug-in or that they are using Chrome, they just will have to enter their name, request an invite, and the organizer will accept/decline the request as on following screenshots
I'm happy to announce 3 new logos in Ceva world of Cloud Computing applications :
AODOCS is a Document Management solution built on top of Google Drive.
With AODocs, Ceva can combine the benefits of Google Drive and of professional grade Document Management solutions.
Indeed Google Drive is accessible anywhere, from any device - Windows/Mac OS/iOS/Android, allows real time collaboration with Google Docs/Sheets/Slides, simplify management of unstructured documentation with a single version of a file with sharing instead of files.
And AODocs adds a large set of features :
- Secured Enteprise file folders : Google Drive files are "owned" and "managed" by a central account instead of an individual Google Drive user. AODocs authorize only the library/folder administrator to make changes in the folder structure or to delete files. Users continue to work in the Google Drive UI while AODocs manage it in the background.
- Team Folders : keep the flexibility of Google Drive collaboration, anyone who has access to the folders can modify, move, delete the files, but the ownership of the file is transfered to Ceva for each file and folder in the library. Users continue to work in the Google Drive UI while AODocs manage it in the background.
- Document Management : AODocs has a dedicated User Interface similar to manay Document Management solutions. Workflows, meta data, multiple attachments, views, filters, search, document classes and relations between documents are some of the features of the DMS.
We use the 3 library models depending on the use cases.
AODocs is a Californian / French company. Visit their web site for more details. www.aodocs.com
Thanks to AODocs and Google Drive for Work (unlimited storage, Vault w/ discovery), IT has a much better control over the files than before and we gradually move all small Windows file servers to AODocs/Google Drive.
AODocs is live since January 2015 at Ceva. I created with NY Times (another AODocs client) a User Group on Google+ with their major clients.
Concur is a Travel to Reimburse solution. It has a bunch of tools which help the travellers at every step of a travel.
- Online Booking of the trip : a portal to create a trip and book tickets, reserve hotels
- Trip validation workflow, allowing the traveler to get approval from hierarchy
- Assistance during the trip. Concur acquired tripit years ago. tripit technology is seen by the user as an app on its smartphone with all information related to the trip and also alerts (airline delays for instance)
- Expense report, which combines the trip information and an interface with the bank (corporate cards), to make expense reports an easy thing.
Concur has a bunch of mobile apps for trip approval, for expense reports (report, approval) and for assistance to traveler. Ceva I.S. is even more mobile thanks to the addition of these apps.
Concur has been acquired by SAP and is now a German company, coming from USA.. Visit their web site for more details. www.concur.com
At Ceva, we expect a "go live" in the following month, early 2016, for France and USA first. Other countries to follow.
Coupa is a Procure to Pay solution. At least for the modules Ceva has subscribed to.
Think of it as "Amazon inside" the company.
Users enter their need in a search box, create their basket, ask for approval, Coupa manages the rest : send a PO to the supplier and to the ERP.
Purchasing department expects huge benefits thanks to a combined implementation of the tool and their work on each category of spendings we have at Ceva.
For users Coupa brings :
- Access to a catalog of the products they can buy. Sometimes Coupa is integraed with the supplier online catalog and navigation
- Creation of the "basket" of products
- Approval workflow
- Purchase Order sent to supplier and to ERP
- Reception of the goods sent to ERP as well
For Purchasing department, Coupa brings business intelligence and ability to focus their effort on the right spending categories. It is also a way to prove to suppliers that users are buying according to the contracts and negociation terms.
Coupa has a mobile app for purchase approval. Ceva I.S. is even more mobile than ks to Coupa
Coupa is a Californian company. Visit their web site for more details. www.coupa.com
At Ceva, we expect a go live in France in February 2016 and in USA in March. Other countries to come later (Brazil is already in the plans)
Since the 90's, and still now, it's hard to imagine a computer without Microsoft Office installed on it. Or at least Word/Excel/Powerpoint.
However, the recent innovation in document collaboration did not come from these tools. Google and some other players from the Internet designed tools working mostly in a browser, storing documents mostly on web servers, benefiting from the always on Internet connection to allow document editor to collaborate in real on the documents.
And at Ceva, we are using Google Apps for Business since more than 5 years now, and we have seen year after year all the improvements made by Google to its document suite to reach a really interesting set of capabilities, making it now a potential replacement for Word/Excel/Powerpoint in most cases.
So we decided to start to reduce our dependency on Microsoft Word/Excel/Powerpoint and to increase our use of Google Drive/Docs/Sheets/Slides.
We launched a study thanks to Softwatch in order to analyze our current use of Microsoft Office and found that :
- More than 80% of Ceva employees are using Word less than 60 minutes a week, Excel less than 90 minutes a week, with 15% never using it
- More than 95% of Ceva employees are using Powerpoint less than 60 minutes a week, with 40% never using it
Every year since our first days with Google Apps, we assessed our situation to see if we could stop using Microsoft tools for at least 3 main reasons :
- Modern collaboration is about collaborative writing, easy sharing, a single document instead of multiple copies, access anywhere from any device. Google Docs is superior to Microsoft Office in all these domains, even if Microsoft tries to fill the gap.
- Ceva's technical IT Strategy is to be able to use all devices with minimum requirements (= a browser) to perform all tasks from everywhere, without a prior complex configuration of the device. Using Office requires installation of a software, on a computer managed by Ceva, meaning a Windows computer with a given version of Windows and of Office. Using Google Apps requires a modern browser on any type of computer.
- Avoid Microsoft Office license costs.
After 25 years of Microsoft Office domination, there are quite some dependencies we have to reduce if we want to be successful. We are even not going to be able to remove them all. But we still can do a lot.
The main difficulty seems to be Change Management. Indeed, most people have been used for so long to Microsoft Office that it could be a pain for them to use another tool - whatever - for their daily tasks.
- We can remove completely Office without any user complaining on about 15% of our computers. They just don't use it.
- We can teach 65% of other users how to do with Google Apps what they were doing with Microsoft Office.
- We can let 20% of people continue to use Microsoft Office for things that are not feasible in Google Apps documentation tools. Such as Excel for Finance because of existing thousands of or Word for R&D because of very large documents.
That's a 80% savings. Not that bad.
So we have started our journey. We named the project "CevApps 2.0" (link
Some have been quicker than others to reduce their dependency on Microsoft Office and to use Google Apps productivity suite. Around me, people are using Google Sheets, Docs and Slides and Drive every day. I rarely use Microsoft Office. But I still can read and even modify the Microsoft Office files I receive from time to time with Google Apps. (more information
). I never - never - create a new document using Office or an Office format. Since more than a year now.
We are now in 2014 and have started our journey beyond the cloud 6 years ago.
We are now rolling out Cornerstone Ondemand to 100% managers first, on a project we named People Cloud. We focus first on recruitment authorization, then on performance management, and will finally use the compensation management modules. We may also use the learning management modules later.
People Cloud follows other cloud tools that are successful in Ceva : Quickbase
(database as a service - since 2008) is now used by 2/3 of Ceva employees with more than 100 apps. Google Apps (collaboration - since 2009) to 100% employees, Smartsheet (project management - since 2012) to 1/3 of Ceva employees, Cegedim Smart RH (Payroll and time management - since 2012) to 100% French employees, VanguardSW Forecast Server (sales forecast - since 2013) to all Ceva countries.
It also increase the number of apps that works on mobile device for Ceva employees. Android and iOS. We have many native apps and apps working on mobile browsers. Cornerstone ON DEMAND is one of the last tool still independant (= not acquired by SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, IBM or other big players). It is a specialist tool.
I'm not going to elaborate on its features. As its competitors, it offers solutions to support HR processes.
On the technical side, it has many features that are very important to make it a success in the enterprise :
- It works in any browser
- It does not require browser plug-ins such as Java, ActiveX or Silverlight. Even for org charts.
- It has companion mobile tools on Android and on iOS, these being very convenient for workflows (authorization processes) which generally involve top managers always on the move and reluctant to conenct to a computer for these tasks
As a consequence, people at Ceva can use their browser of choice for People Cloud, or their mobile device.
As an advocate of digital collaboration, I thought it was easy to install a "digital collaboration attitude" in my team. We have the tools, we have the projects, we need to work in teams, collaborate, communicate. Then why not link all this with a departemental blog : @THE IT BLOG
It happened to be harder than expected. Anyhow it is blooming now. This is the story.
The blog was started in september 2009. We initially created a google site named "IT", for the corporate IT department and created this blog page on it. Up to 25 potential contributors, members of Ceva corporate IT.
At the same time, we saw a huge number of creation of Google Sites for projects. People in the company were starting to create collaboration spaces and filling them. So I was convinced it would be an easy job.
Immediately after the launch, a couple of team members started to create regular posts, we had 21 posts in September, 9 in October, 4 in November. ;-(
2010 and first quarter of 2011 continued on these small numbers. 35 articles in 2009, 57 in 2010. We did not crack the code to make it successful.
As in many places, from time to time, when asking team members their feedback on what works well / what need to be improved in the department, some were pointing out that communication could be improved. But those who said that have never written a blog post (to tell the team that they started a new project, went live on another one, or wanted to share interesting industry news). Paradox.
Now @THE IT BLOG
has got 400+ articles and the rate is an average 1.5 posts per day.
What happened ?
Telling constantly to people : "hey, you've done a nice job here, you should write a post on @THE IT BLOG" was certainly not enough.
So we decided to include a new objective in the personal objectives of most people in the team. Communication is key, we expect that every individual in the team communicates on @THE IT BLOG at least once a month.
Incentives. Individual objectives were set in March. But again, we did not see a huge increase in the rate of posting and sharing. :-(
So we told everybody, during a department meeting, that this was a serious objective. That it was more than easy to measure and that we would not forget it when calculating bonuses. We showed the statistics. Follow the money.
That was a good move.
Team members went to their keyboards and started to share. Some more than others, some less than others, it happened to be a great success.
Finally, we dedicated some time at our latest department meeting to distribute some awards to team members. The most funny post, the most useful post, the member who published the most number of articles, etc...
The latest post subjects are the following :
- SAP take on SAS and IBM in predictive analysis
- Firefox 3.6 end of support
- Ouganda audit of our facilities
- JD Edwards white paper : upgrade or rip and replace your ERP
- 3 Friday 13 in 2012
- 12 new file formats for Google Viewer
- A new interface for Google+
- A new SMS/email reminder service on our product web sites
- A new intranet for SOP and Forms just open
- Stopping the SAN bay
As you see, it is about IT, with some fun posts sometimes. We do not set-up restrictions and never deleted an article. Trust.
We recently added a newsletter to have the latests articles automatically sent to team members and included the blog statistics in terms of #posts/week in the main blog page.
My point of view
Sharing in a project is natural. Project team members have to collaborate and communicate to achieve their project goals.
You don't have to tell people : these are the tools, they are easy to use, I expect you to communicate and share. It happens naturally.
But sharing in a community of practice (people doing the same job) is not obvious. It's not easy.
Establishing an internal communication and collaboration media within a department requires some animation, some incentives, some management techniques to make it happen.
So if you consider doing the same in your department, don't think it's going to be easy because people already use the collaboration tools for their projects. Some management input is required to mke it successful.
Incentives, Animation, Accessibility, Trust, Safety are required to make it a success.
Writing an article and sharing it with our colleagues is not an easy thing for everybody. There is a fear that people will judge you. When clicking on "NEW POST", people may feel uncorfortable about writing and sharing.
But the team is not here to evaluate everyone writing skills. So writing the first article is somehow difficult.
But if management pushes hard to have most people writing their first article, then the first barrier is broken. And then people enjoy it and spend 10 minutes each week to communicate digitally.
Installing and maintaining sowtware on your personal computer, or on your family computers is not an easy task. And takes time.
Thanks to Ninite
, you can automate this for a number of free software, including Web Browsers (the only thing you need on a computer nowadays), Messaging software, Media (codecs, players), runtimes (flash or .Net), Imaging software, Document editors, security software like anti-virus, and some other software.
The beauty of ninite is that you just have to click on the software you want to install (or update) and it downloads a small installer that takes care of everything : which version of Windows you are on, is the software already at the latest version. It then install silently the apps (no click)
Moreover, you can bookmark a link to the software you want to update.
I'm using it since more than 4 years now and it still works fine !
If you click on it, it will just download the installer/updater for the software in the list.
Try it on your home computer and you will love it !
These are the software you can install today with Ninite. The Ninite team selected the most popular free software, which are also probably the best in their categories.
I've been recently asked this question :
"I receive plenty of emails from candidates coming to corporate web site contact email, how can I automatically tell the candidates to apply on our Careers web site ?"
Following a number of steps, this is actually quite easy to create this productivity enhancement.
What you need is to:
- Create a "Canned response" that will be the answer
- Set-up a filter that will use this canned response
In order to create a "canned response", it is required to install a gmail lab called "canned response". Go to your Gmail Labs setting
) and Enable this add-on
Then create your canned response: compose a new email with the response text, click on "Canned responses" and give it a name
Now you are ready for the last step : create a filter to send automatically this response when the email you receive contains the word "job"
From your Search box, click the right arrow to open the Advanced Search pop-up, enter the criteria to filter the appropriate emails and click "Create filter with this search". If you are not sure of your search criteria, you can test them by doing a search instead of a filter.
Then tell Gmail what to do with this emails : Skip the Inbox, Apply the label : Candidates, Send canned response Automatic Answer for candidates.
Click "Create filter" and you are done !
Neutrino that are faster than the speed of light, which I learnt 25 years ago at school was said impossible thanks to Einstein theory, were discovered last year at CERN.
There are two kind of people. The one who trust more the theory and the mathematical reasonning behind it. The one who trust more experimental results and the reality of this perception. I've always been on the first category.
The idea that Einstein theory proved wrong with this experiment was something impossible in my mind. Made me sick.
But now we know that probably the mistake come from Information Technology. Probably something wrong in the cable connecting the GPS hardware to the computer.
Having worked all my life in Information Technology, I can tell you that it is more probable that there is a bug in a software than that Einstein theory was wrong. Software are full of bugs. Trust me. These are experimental results of tests I run every day.
You want a no brain screenshot tool you can install even if you haven't got administrator authorization on your PC ?
Install the Screen Capture extension on Google Chrome (click here
With it you can :
- Capture the whole screen or a part of it
- Within the browser or any other application
- Annotate it with text, frames or arrows
- Paste the image in a new Gmail directly
- Save the image on your computer
It's easy, convenient, right in the (chrome) browser, and does not need any install on the computer which would involve admin rights !
It's pretty frustrating when you email someone about something, they forget to respond, and by the time you remember you wanted to follow up with them, the original message is buried in your sent items folder. Instead of wasting time digging through it to find the original email, this suggestion from GTD Times
gives you a folder full of your must-follow-up on messages that you can review easily, at a glance.
You configure a mailfilter to send messages that you've BCC'd yourself on to a specific folder with a name like "Waiting for Response" or "Follow Up Later," or in the GTD Times' example, "Waiting for Support."
You'll have to remember that every time you send a note you expect a response on—or that you send to someone with a history of not responding to your emails - you'll have to BCC yourself, but as soon as the note lands in your inbox again, it's filtered and filed away. Then you can always check in on your special filter or folder to see what you're waiting on others to get back to you on.
It's a one-time trick that can save you time later when you know you emailed someone asking for something, but just can't seem to find the original message you sent.
First run the search query "from:me bcc:me label:inbox". You can do it just by clicking on this link:
Then create a filter from this search query :
- Click the arrow on the right of the search input box
- You get this result. Click the 'Create filter with this search' link, down the pop-up
- You get this warning. Click OK
- Click 'Skip the inbox (Archive it)'
- Click 'Apply the label'. Choose to create a label ('New label...'), named 'Waiting for answer' or anything else you like
- Then click on 'Create filter' button
Now, everytime you want to check if people answered your emails, add yourself in the bcc: field when you send an email and think to regularly check emails in the 'Waiting for answer' label. If there are some with answers, you can remove them from the label by clicking on the cross next to the label name.