Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Social Software in the 'Education' industry

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I had an interesting 2 hour meeting today with a Manhattan customer in the Education industry.  So many new feature requirements came out of that meeting that I'm scared that if I log them all on the internal Feature Request site I will crash it!

Anywho, in the meeting there were 4 customer representatives from the "Knowledge Management" (KM) group -- they were considered KM Subject Matter Experts: SME's!  So I start talking about Profiles and tagging and immediately get the first requests:
  • Can tags be pre-populated?
  • Can a drop-down be used for user to select tags instead of them entering it?
  • Can an administrator control tags (i.e. Create, update, delete) ?
  • Can taxonomy from WCM/Quickr be imported into Connections / Profiles?
  • Can the profiles DB be populated from multiple data sources ?
After I heard these, I thought we might be talking to the wrong people.  Fixing the tags?  Pre-populating them?  Isn't this against the 'principles of web 2.0' ? Anyway, I said you could theoretically do that with services (i.e. pre-populate the tags table in the Profiles Database and then modify the UI accordingly).

They also asked about usage reporting.  This has been asked for before so I just told them it's coming in V2.0.  Alternatively, we could do something with WebTrends, for example.

Then we spent about 1 hour talking about Wikis and the lack of them in Connections.  This is a popular feature request and therefore Wikis will be there in V2.0 as well!  Anyway, they knew Wikis were part of Quickr.  They, however, wanted Wikis as part of Communities ("and by February 2008"!!!!).    I talked about the tighter integration between Quickr and Connections in Release 2.0 but that didn't do it for them.  They wanted Wiki's to be part of Connections so that it would be part of the user's Connections Dashboard.

In the end, it looks like services will have to write a whole new User Interface for Connections utilizing the Connections APIs

What's your experience with selling Connections to the traditional KM people?  Seems like at this customer they still wanted to follow a very strict pattern and not leverage the 'freeness' that Web 2.0 provides.
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