This is the fourth part of a five part series on how enterprise 2.0 tools can work for an enterprise of one, myself in this case. To start the process I mapped out my business workflow. I decided the three main sections are one: content monitoring, two: content collecting, assembling, and creation, and three: content publishing and archiving. Step two then reaches into both step one and step three for new content. I also enlisted the help of Gil Yehuda, former analyst at Forrester Research. Here are some potential new school approaches to content collecting, assembling, and creation that I discussed with Gil. They include desktop and online options
Gil first suggested OneNote, another Microsoft desktop tool that is a lightweight word processor optimized for taking and organizing notes. The most current version is OneNote 2007. It can be purchased separately or part of a 2007 Office Suite. The Microsoft site describes it as a “digital notebook that provides people one place to gather their notes and information, powerful search to find what they are looking for quickly, and easy-to-use shared notebooks so that they can manage information overload and work together more effectively.”
This is consistent with what Gil mentioned. One important tissue here is that it does not embed as much html as Word. It is also optimized for taking notes. This can be a good thing with interviews and other content collection. Unfortunately, I am not a fast nor good enough typist to take notes during an interview. However, I do use Word for notes during a presentation.
Microsoft goes on to say, “Unlike paper-based systems, word processing programs, e-mail systems, or other productivity programs, Office OneNote 2007 delivers the flexibility to gather and organize text, pictures, digital handwriting, audio and video recordings, and more — all in one digital notebook on your computer.” It is also a part of the overall Office 2007 system that I already have. It says that you can “keep all your information all in one place — including freeform notes, images, documents, files from other Microsoft Office system programs, and rich media — and organize it in the way that works best for you.” This is a possibility but it is not part of what came with my version of Office for the Mac so I will have to obtain it.
Gil next went to the topic of online solutions. First he mentioned Google docs, but I’ll admit that I am not comfortable with their security for most information. Google docs may be fine for public content, but I’m not sure I want to put pre-publication material there. Perhaps I am being overly concerned. This is a reason that I never did Google desktop search. I also do not tend to lose things on my desktop by keeping it organized and simple. However, I find Google site search on my blog to be invaluable, even if it is not perfect.
So Gil offered another option, Adobe Buzzword, an online word processer that is elegant and quite easy to use. Moreover, it works with Adobe Connect, so you can collaboratively edit and share documents in real-time. The Adobe site says “It looks and behaves like your normal desktop word processor, but it operates inside a web browser, so there's no installation required. It's free.” This is tempting.
It says that all your documents are online, so there's no need to e-mail attachments back and forth. It adds that you can write, edit, and comment on documents with only the people you choose. You control access levels and track edits by contributor. I would have to see how this controlled access works with multiple documents. It does say that you can “allow anyone to view your document without the need for an Acrobat.com account. If viewers want to comment on it, they just need to sign in.” You can also see and access the various versions of a document.
Buzzword also imports and exports plain text (TXT), rich text format (RTF), Microsoft Word (DOC and DOCX), Word 2003 XML, and OpenOffice (ODT) files. It also exports to Adobe PDF and HTML. So I can convert to .txt files and .doc files when needed, as well as bring them in. This is essential.
With both of these solutions, the big question is whether the pain is big enough to overcome the inertia and the pain of the transformation. This is a classic old world to new world issue, whether it is changing software or home countries. The good news is that both alternatives offer compelling advantages to what I’m doing now. OneNote would keep my on the desktop, which I prefer, and is simply easier to use than opening multiple Word files. Buzzword would take me off the desktop, but give me a writing environment that is very intuitive to learn and supports my need to collaborate with others. So I thank Gil for these suggestions.
In the next and final post of this series I look at how I publish and archive material. Here I am more aligned with enterprise 2.0 with an old school backup.