GORGES Shared Library Application (SLA) for Distributed Constituencies
Method and Benefits
June 30, 2013
Many organizations need to develop information for constituencies that are mostly the same at every consuming point, but are also different in critical ways. The consuming points are often geographically separated, but can just as well be workgroups with different assignments, or similar. There are at least two challenges in the traditional method of having one website for each constituency.
Challenge #1 – Ownership and Management: Every three or four years the website has to be replaced in response to consumer expectations and advancing technology. The effort to singularly purchase a separate site, design the site, and then migrate information into it is disruptive and expensive in many ways
Response: Current Software-as-a-Service technology enables significant new economies in enterprise-wide web site ownership and management, including content publishing.
Challenge #2 – Content Development and Publishing: The ongoing need to publish content brings similar difficulties. The breadth of the information to be published accelerates while the cost of resources to develop the content increases.
Response: Strategic social network concepts bring great economy to information publishing through sharing, notification, and automation techniques.
Software as a Service (SaaS) has been visible for most of a decade. It is a powerful software concept that centralizes the expensive parts of software ownership and development, while enabling agile and specialized interfaces at the user level. Fundamentally, SaaS distributes software over the Internet for use by subscribers. The big players – Microsoft and Adobe now commit huge resources to converting users of their desktop apps to becoming users of Software as a Service.
In effect, all users are using one instance of the software. It is running on amazing servers, serving everyone at once. This method can scale for much smaller organizations and while doing so, it can distribute more than just tools for subscribers to work with. It can also give them access to central content, a “Library”, and much control over their localized use of that content.
Several GORGES clients are candidates for this method. The GORGES Shared Library Application (SLA) addresses both the ownership burden and the content publishing pressures. SLA makes it practical for editors system wide to work from one well-designed template system and one shared library of content. It serves tools and content.
Units no longer have to shoulder all the recurring update burden, every 3-to-4 years. They avoid the purchasing burden and the considerable project design meeting time. Now without any loss of the ability to express the uniqueness of their service each unit can create and control its own identity while using one shared template. This identity can be reflected throughout the content pages of the website.
These purchase and update savings pale next to the opportunity to easily and immediately accessing content created by other editors in the system.
Unit managers know the success of the website is highly dependent upon the range and quality of it content. They also know that creating new content or editing content is very time intensive and it takes the time of the most skilled and experienced staffers.
SLA gives every editor access to a shared Library of articles, papers, events, and more. When posting materials any editor may elect to share it into the “Library” making it available to other units. In choosing material from the Library an editor may “subscribe” to the material or “capture” it. In either case the material is already fitted into the shared template structure of the unit’s website.
If subscribing the material will automatically update at all sites when its original author updates the posting.
Capture is for when the unit editor needs to make substantial change to the material drawn from the Library. Or, for when the only the structure of an article is useful, as when using the structure of a well-designed article about apples to present an article about pears.
Editors are encouraged to “tag” their articles, events, and other postings. All units access one shared tagging system. Words such as, tomato, mortgage, natural gas, and other categorical or thematic terms are available in drop-down lists. These improve staff and public searching.
Editors may also subscribe to these tag terms and receive auto-notice when new postings are made. This is just one of nearly twenty “notification” features designed to encourage the economies of collaboration.
Originating editors see an indication of what units are subscribing or capturing their content. This is helpful in accessing the value of the article and establishing further collaboration. Much other tracking is available.
Subscribers to SLA take advantage of central maintenance. All the usual types of background functions are performed by GORGES on central servers.
The “Work Queue” is a special shared feature. Any system user may post a complaint or suggestion into the queue. The SLA Administrator at GORGES will categorize it for review with the CCE Web App Administrator. This person or committee meets monthly with the GORGES counterpart (probably online) to prioritize the postings.
GORGES Shared Library Application addresses both the ownership burden and the content publishing pressures. SLA makes it practical for diverse units to work from one well-designed template system and one shared library of content.
As proposed the whole system provides much economy and improvement over historic methods, plus the promise of meeting the information mission better than ever:
- Centralized design burden with careful attention to local identity needs
- A single shared website template that can be made as large or small as needed
- An overall template system that will immediately display any item in the Library
- A permission system to maintain unit-to-unit separation while enabling sharing
- A centrally monitored login method for engaging external content developers
- The choice to subscribe continuously to a Library item or capture it for editing
- The option to post any content simultaneously to the Library
- Various tracking and notification methods to support broad editor collaboration
- A share content tagging method to improve public access and editor collaboration
- Central server maintenance
- A continuous training program
- An online ticket system for registering support issues
- A shared Work Queue to encourage and manage system improvements