Keeping it all in one place… a necessary part of doing business in 2010!
As a marketing consultant working with a number of clients across a range of different projects – it means that I am often working in parallel with different groups of people, from different businesses. Some of these team will be part of the same organisation – some won’t – some will be part of the same organisation but from different divisions that have been brought together for a specific project etc. Wonderful to be working in such a diverse way – I really do thrive on that aspect of it – however, what’s not so great is the physical management of all the different groups emails and threads of correspondence.
For example – with one particular client, I am working on no less than 6 different projects which need constant communication and collaboration and project management. There are 6 different groups of people working on these projects with me – some from my team, some from theirs – and sometimes a couple of external people too.
Now I’ve always considered myself to be very efficient – however, even I get bamboozled with the myriad of emails to-ing and fro-ing . In the past, I have spent far too many hours than I dare to imagine, scrolling through pages of email correspondence – waiting for an outlook search to narrow my despair – desperately searching subjects for a glimmer of hope in finding the email that held that all important bit of info. I know you’ve been there too! We all have.
Technology has enabled such incredible turnaround times that us mere mortals struggle to keep up with it.
So that led me on my quest to find a solution. And, by Jove, I think she’s got it!
For about a year now I’ve been using http://www.bizzbug.com – initially, it took me a bit of time to understand it’s nuances and quirks – I considered it my useful yet rathereccentric friend. However, over the past year – the very clever computer scientists that have put this beast together – have been refining it more and more. Whilst a little different to how I remember it – the system has certainly lost its quirks and eccentricities – and has become a stable and robust necessary business resource.
I now ponder how I ever coped – or indeed would ever cope if anything were to happen to my dear, dear Bizzbug. It’s become part of how we operate.
So what is it and how does it help?
Well, firstly – let me clear things up – and categorically tell you what it is NOT. Bizzbug is not a 'linked in' or 'facebook' for business or anything to do with networking and joining up or making friends – or keeping people updated on daily musings. It is most certainly non of these.
What it is in my view is a highly practical, useful, brilliant and time saving resource for any busy person – whether working with one or many at the same time – Bizzbug is highly effective.
How I use it:
I’m working with a client on a new project – let’s say, it’s a new online company secretarial portal for professional services clients. The project involves the company secretarial team – the website planners, the coders, the designers, some researchers, marketing team etc. Regardless of where that team is based – I simple create a space ‘Co Sec Portal’ on Bizzbug – and then invite the relevant team to join that space. The space includes: Folders – for us to store documents (much the same as you do in ms office) Blogs – in case the project manager wants to share updates this way. Forums – a collaborative approach for feedback, views, capturing the continued discussion. Plus I can create a simple home page for the ‘space’ – so I will have an outline of all members of that space – perhaps some useful links to resources – perhaps a relevant rss feed coming in – images – action lists – you name it – you can very simply create a relevant and useful home page for the space in a matter of minutes. It’s all pre planned modules you just bring in and edit.
Also – let’s say, I don’t want the person or persons from the marketing team to see the budget folder – that’s fine! I simply don’t make that particular folder or document within that folder available to them – even though they see everything else in the ‘space’. The opportunity to be very granular with who sees what is very simple to manage – so it’s easy to control and manage who sees what.
The design arm of our business also now totally rely on Bizzbug as their way of sharing designs and concepts and artwork with clients. We are able to give clients their own access to their own ‘space’ which contains their logos, artwork, brand guidelines etc – so that they can access it whenever they need to. And it’s great for managing group feedback on a design concept. The design gets uploaded – an email automatically advises all members that there’s been new activity in the space (via a beautifully useful yet very simple dashboard) – the members view the design and make comment in the forum – everyone sees everything – the designer gets the feedback – tweaks etc – and re uploads.
Also – from a design agency perspective – it’s wonderful to then invite the printers or coders to join the space too – so that they can simply take the relevant files directly from the space – and print / code up etc. Again, only giving them access to what you need them to access. All very seamless.
And then all the info lives in the space for ever more. If you or the client or anyone else needs to access it – there’s no scrolling through back up files or folders – it’s simply a case of going online and finding the relevant space with everything nicely all in one place! Bliss.
Another accountancy practice client of mine are using Bizzbug as their intranet – and have created a ‘guest’ area for each of their clients. Effectively, their clients have a secure ‘space’ (each client has their own secure space) – and different team within the accountancy practice can liaise with the client via that route – uploading their accounts, the client can go and view, review, edit, sign off etc – discuss issues via a forum etc – with perhaps other relevant members of their team – effectively – each client has their own secure space – saving the accountancy practice, time, and providing a unique online accessible 24/7 ‘true cloud computing’ collaboration – client management service. Great.
I’m aware that the British Chamber of Commerce are also using Bizzbug as their intranet - however, I’m not so sure what they’re doing with it?
So – I’m shouting about www.Bizzbug.com – as it’s a truly wonderful and truly understated piece of kit. It’s free to use www.bizzbug.com – and having investigated a private intranet solution via Bizzbug, the cost is in the hundreds (rather than the tens of thousands often associated with intranet solutions).
In my role I get involved a lot of social media platforms – those that have had massive success such as linked in and facebook – and I have to say, the developers of those platforms should seriously have a word with the developers of Bizzbug – as it’s a far more user friendly platform than these other free online platforms.
As I said – Bizzbug is not about ‘social networking’ – it’s a really pragmatic and useful business resource – it’s got loads of features – it’s simple, unclunky – I don’t really have anything negative to say about it at all.
So here’s to Bizzbug. In this day and age – it offers respite from searching bulging inboxes, keeps everything neatly in one place – and is a true friend for anyone managing a project collaborating with one or many!
I’m what you would call a true advocate – I have more than 40 spaces I manage so far – including my babysitting circle and bookclub – but the others are all business spaces.
I’m shouting about what I believe is a truly useful and pragmatic system – if you need to keep everything in one place – yet have others able to see it too – 24/7 wherever, then it’s worth checking out the many wonders of www.bizzbug.com.
Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative - a graphic design and marketing services agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire. The agency covers all aspects of graphic design and marketing - covering social media marketing and website planning and website design.
Follow her on Twitter or subscribe to her blog for more marketing and business development news, views, tips and advice - and check out my own Bizzbug Profile - forgot to mention you can create your own 'personal profile' too.