I have been talking about my Home View setup and how I use it – in the last couple of blogs I spoke about my mailbox panel and my tasklist, in this blog entry I am going to talk about a couple of my web panels.
In the previous blogs I talked about how you can use the panels to expose content from within the mailbox and apply different view settings to different panels. With GroupWise 8 you can also use panels to pull in external information, in the form of web panels. Essentially, you can point any number of your panels at any web enabled content, be that web pages, or web based applications. I have use our Siebel CRM inside of a web panel, so I can see our support call tracking system right next to all of my other work content – I have also pointed a panel at our internal Teaming server, however, no longer use that one as we have other Teaming integrations that work more effectively. From a productivity standpoint this means that I no longer need to leave my dashboard and jump out to other applications. Swapping applications (or even folders in a client) leads to something that we call ‘cognitive friction’ – in other words “I forgot why I opened up this other application, and I forgot what I was doing in the place that I just left”. This constant mental reset leads to lost productivity.
And so, what do I do with my web panels? Well, in one I have Facebook, and on the other I have Twitter. “Shock horror”, I hear many of you cry. And let me counter by saying “not at all”. In a recent study it was shown that people who WILB (Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing) are 9% more productive than those that don’t. What I found is that by adding Facebook (the mobile interface m.facebook.com) and Twitter as panels I am no longer firing up a browser to check those sites to see if something has changed – often it hadn’t or, if it had, I didn’t care about the update. I no longer jump out of my client and I find that I only pay attention to the updates in either that I really care about. In my day it means a lot less wasted time, switching applications, and I am getting closer to that 9% of increased productivity (are you reading this boss?).
So the next question is “where does the increase in productivity come from”? I don’t want to turn this into a post about how useful Facebook and Twitter are, because your mileage may vary, but from my perspective I have many frolleagues, colleagues who are Facebook friends, as well as partners, customers etc. I gain a lot of insight into what is going on around my from the miniblogs in Facebook, and tweets – and this helps a lot with the work related interactions with those people.
The web panels on Windows leverage Internet Explorer APIs, on Mac it uses Safari and SLED it uses Firefox – and no, you can’t change the default sorry. The web panels are easy to set up – just create a new panel and, instead of pointing to a folder, point it at a URL, and then select the refresh interval. That’s it. Depending on the webpage GroupWise will even remember where you scrolled to on a page between sessions.
So, what are some other things that you can point it at? A common one for administrators would be GroupWise Monitor, or some other network health monitor – allows you to get rid of that machine in the corner of the office. As I mentioned, for the sales force it would be their CRM, helpdesk – it’s their call tracking system. The list goes on.
When you set up a web panel, share your experiences here, what you found useful, what you didn’t – but most of all, experiment. This is truly a way for the IT org to be a hero for their users.