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Drupal as the enterprise information hub

Drupal for Business

Drupal as the enterprise information hub

45 minutes (+15 minutes Q&A)



Information Enterprise Hub | Communities | Microblogging | | Enterprise Innovation | Knowledge Management

Enterprise knowledge management has been the focus of many software
products in the last decade. However most of these products have
proven to fail on capturing everyone's inputs and on customizing the
information in order to meet people's constant requirements.

Drupal allows users with different roles to create rich contents
with defined properties. These contents give shape to a big infomation
cloud, in which users can categorize them using either the organization's language
(taxonomy) or their personal one (tags). This categorization
helps the users to select the exact information they need wherever they
want it. Information can then be filtered and showed in lists, graphs,
personal dashboards, included in documents and is, most of the times,
presented with related context, promoting serendipity. The Drupal approach that considers everything as a node was fundamental on our path and helped us on modeling the information available.

As information flyes accross the company in so many forms, a good hub
must guarantee that it can capture it in every possible way, such as
email messages, workflows systems, microblogging, internal and
external platfoms or by traditional user document creation. Samewise,
information should be exportable and accesible directly to users in
lists, email and microbloging messages, graphs, files, rss or xml

Finally, it is really important that the hub is designed for people,
social beings. People working alone, or in teams, want to customize
most of the things they work on, and love to see that their
contribution is being recognized by their colleagues. In the hub, or
using traditional twitter-style agents, people are able to follow
streams of users and groups, connect and find specific users, choosing
exactly what they want to follow!

In this session we will present a project started 3 years ago in
one of the biggest Multinational Telecom Companies, which is currently used by 650 collaborators that created
around 300k nodes. We will explain how we design and customize the
information hub built on drupal in order to:

  • Capture knowledge in the shape of content types from user
    contribution, but also pulling information from related systems as
    enterprise workflow and traditional email.
  • Customize content creation and visualization directly by users: we
    extended CCK so that content type structure could be customized by
    groups and users. We provide ways to visualize information in context
    and directly from the node cloud.
  • Allow users to have personal dashboards where they can deploy
    widgets related to their daily work: we extended panels so that they
    could be used like igoogle, allowing teams and users to have personal
  • Promote personal categorization in the shape of personal tags. Tags
    can be simple (the ones directly applyed to content), or smart (the
    ones that filter an amount of nodes from the big cloud based on some
    filter conditions). Tagging can be shared by everyone, by a team or by
    different users who can also import tags suggestions to their own
    tagging cloud.
  • Challenge users to do certain activities and allow them to manage
    their list of personal tasks updating their colleagues when something
    is achieved. This helps them to remember and to transmit to others what
    are they doing right now.
  • Broadcast all status updates using a microblogging plataform
    ( directly connected and integrated in drupal. People
    choose who and what they want to follow and can also use their
    defined personal tagging. As users, nodes are also entities in the
    system: each node has a personal activity stream where users can write
    and it can be followed in everyone's timeline..
  • Promote inovation based on our domain, using the hub as a fun way of
    presenting new ideas, initiatives and project updates, enrich them
    with everyone inputs and select and evaluate the best ones.

We will also address the difficulties we faced on expanding Drupal to
reach all our expectations and goals and the main problems and
obstacles highlighted by users when using something built on Drupal as
one of their daily tools.