In the workplace, calendars are an important tool for coordinating activity. Desktop calendars that are part of a messaging client, like Outlook or Lotus Notes, can help people to manage their own time; but if you want to coordinate or schedule activities with other people, then that information needs to be freed from individual inboxes. And of course sometimes these activities or events relate to things, like projects, that aren’t tied to a particular person.

By doing this we make the activity around calendars and scheduling observable work. This makes it a social business activity and many of the enterprise social business software products provide support for it.

For example, ThoughtFarmer has recently upgraded its calendar. Meanwhile, Atlassian has just introduced a new Team Calendar plugin (going beyond the original calendar plugin already available in Confluence). Calendars are front and centre in Open Atrium too.

Those are just a couple of examples. If you thought that ‘social software’ was all about conversation, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that the social suites we work with all support calendaring in some form, either through native calendaring applications, project tools or plugins – for example, Jive SBS offers lightweight task management.

On the other hand, the great benefit of using a wiki-based social suite is that if a rigid calendar doesn’t suit your needs, then you have the flexibility and tools on hand to simply create a page of dates or list of tasks. Socialtext also offers Socialcalc (a wiki-spreadsheet), which could for example be used for mapping out dates and resources.

And what if you already have a calendaring solution or maybe you want to integrate event information from another system into your social collaboration tool? Many of the leading workforce collaboration tools also support the OpenSocial standard, which makes it easy to integrate the two.

Enterprise social computing tools are designed to help get work done, not just foster watercooler chat (although, don’t forget that’s helpful too, but for a whole range of other reasons).

0 Comment
  • author avatar
    KerrieAnne Christian
    13 years ago

    Hi James
    we’ve been using Shared Calendars in Sharepoint 2007 straight out of the box for some years now

    we’ve been scheduling our Quality Compliance audits that way for several years – now we are doing our Calibration schedules that way too – sure beats the consternation which follows when 2 people have booked activities for the same lab gear without telling each other …

    recently I set up our Laboratories’ OHS Committee with a Shared Calendar on Sharepoint 2007 – the different views of the Calendar possible on Sharepoint allow the one calendar to be used for creating recurring agendas for different OHS Committee acitivities by creating different views which kept our OHS Systems auditors happy
    to be honest I used to wonder why all these posts about Sharepoint Calendars … but now I find them a simple solution to many team scheduling headaches

    and even our most reluctant baby boomer techs are now succumbing to the Sharepoint shared calendar syndrome



    • author avatar
      James Dellow
      13 years ago

      Yes, the value of coordinating activity through calendars shouldn’t be underestimated.

      Are out of the box calendars in Sharepoint enough? In some specific use cases, yes. But the same could also be said for other well known collaborative tools like eRoom, Quickplace and even Lotus Notes. But we tend to look at Sharepoint more holistically, which is where we bump into limitations in the way it is deployed, which Lee Bryant has covered well.


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