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Rethinking the shape of everyday collaboration within Ceva

posted Oct 9, 2009, 9:58 AM by Francois Tricot   [ updated Feb 21, 2011, 6:04 AM ]

=== Wake-up call ===

A few days ago, I explained my 10 year-old son that when I was his age, you could only make phone calls from those old-fashioned telephones at home or telephone cabins on the street. He was amazed, quite shocked, then he looked at me half pityingly and half contemptuously as though I was some sort of decrepit dinosaur.

Lots of familiar objects and habits must now also seem prehistoric - to 10 year-olds, at least. Paying by check. Listening to music on CDs. Recording TV shows. Planning a journey with a road atlas. Calling a telephone helpline to check a train timetable or airline schedule. Being awoken by an alarm clock, and everything else that has been rendered redundant by digital technology.

Lots of our collaboration technique will be seen equally prehistoric - to the new workers generation, at least. Taking a plane to participate to a meeting. Asking an assistant to arrange a meeting by phoning everybody. Booking a video-conference room for a one-to-one meeting. Buying a specialized press review. Forwarding a complete folder of past emails to a new comer in a project. Sending a spreadsheet to 20 and then consolidating back the results.

After decades of being an evolutionary process of incremental improvements, collaboration tools are now revolutionary. Just think of how quickly we have come to depend on once unimaginable innovations like cellphones, the Internet, Blackberries, iPods, blue-tooth, satellite navigation and iPhone applications. And this is just the start. Advances in technology are accelerating, and the social and economic pressure on businesses to increase their efficiency is going higher and higher everyday.

Here are a few changes happening.

1. Digital communication. You don't need a crystal ball to guess that more and more of us will soon be dumping physical meetings and travels to embrace the era of digital communication. Email, chat and video-chats are now available from any Internet connection, on company or home computers and on mobile phones. It will be possible in the near future for everybody to organise and run a video conference with 5 people working together at the same time on a document. Wherever the participants will be in the world - within the enterprise or on the move. Whoever will the participants be - Ceva employees or partners.
Ceva has rolled out a this new generation of digital communication tools with CevApps. You may be reluctant to change long lasted habits to use these new tools, however you could soon discover your colleagues watching you as if you were a dinosaur too.
Understanding and using appropriately these technologies does not come for free. I expect from you that you gradually learn from others and take advantage of a technology that places us far ahead from our competitors in terms of digital communication.

2. Knowledge sharing. Newspapers, books and magazines. How are you reading this article? On the printed page of an internal magazine? On a computer screen?
Our company has doubled in size and number of employees and is spread across the world. It is now more important than ever to give access to some of your knowledge to whoever needs to know it by putting it into our intranet or into CevApps intranet sites created by you or your colleagues. Sharing knowledge requires to take it out of your computers and documents and to transform it into web pages. This is easily achievable if you stop thinking in terms of documents and begin thinking in terms of knowledge. Already some of our competitors promote the creation of project or expert blogs sharing within the enterprise.

You may find difficult to change your mind and to begin to use online tools to create documents, presentations, spreadsheets, forms, however think of the benefit of being informed in real time of project changes, competition news. Think of the hassle of consolidating regular spreadsheets sent and received back by emails. Think of the number of versions of documents sent for review, annotated in parallel by your colleagues, when you have to merge all the modifications.
All this comes for free when you use CevApps online shared documents.

I personally take care of updating regularly my personal web page within Ceva and checks if my team posts new articles in the IT BLOG on CevApps sites. I upload documents and share them rather than sending them by email. You can follow me at http://sites.google.com/a/ceva.com/francois-tricot to know more about me or about projects that are currently under my responsibility.
In many other areas, such as project management, supply chain, purchasing, in several countries, Ceva Employees set-up themselves new tools using CevApps : from shared action items on a spreadsheet to complete CevApps web site for project management.

It is easy to set-up your project web site under CevApps sites and to invite your colleagues and even external partners to it. You can integrate within minutes a project calendar, share project documents, create a project blog, integrate a feedback form, or a shared action plan you designed in a spreadsheet and invite your team and boss to collaborate on it ( = to update the site rather than sending you emails )

More advanced users can also share videos (marketing material, communication, learning) like in youtube but limited to Ceva.
Using these tools, online documents / spreadsheets / presentations / videos / sites are the knowledge grains shared across a Ceva communities (research, marketing, finance, support functions, countries, strategic business areas...)

3. Access to knowledge : this is the end of one-size fits all. Keeping informed on news from many sources on your subjects of interest in real time has never been as easy as today due to RSS feeds.
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is the common format used by online newspaper and other web sites to keep their subscribers informed of any news they publish in a given category.
You may, for instance, subscribe to a Pubmed query to keep informed on H1N1 publication or on one active ingredient publication, subscribe to a Google News query on a competitor product, or subscribe to an expert blog, subscribe to a search on patents related to a given molecule or drug.

I personally check news in the IT space and in the pharmaceutical industry daily. And it takes me less than 5 minutes.

We had to remove the google start page that may be used to consolidate in one page your favorite RSS feeds, however plenty of free tools such as Google Reader (http://reader.google.com/) may be used to manage your subscriptions to RSS feeds.
In the near future, CevApps mail will be the place where you will benefit from these RSS feeds.

===

Old-fashioned telephones aren't the only victim of new technologies. Dinosaurs may also one day become extincts. All these new exciting technologies brought to you by Ceva are in place since 2010 and many improvements come day after day.
We definitely cannot miss the opportunity that these new tools offer to create a learning company, a company of knowledge, a company providing the best tools for everybody to be successful.

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