How to Save Knowledge When Teammates Leave

You know the feeling: Someone on your team announces at the staff meeting that she’s leaving the company for a new job.

You’re happy for her. Really. But you’re also thinking about the extra work, interviews for a replacement, and general stress that’s about to come your way. And in a few months, you know you’ll soon find yourself at yet another farewell event as someone else moves on to new opportunities.

And there’s a deeper level of dread, too. Because while losing your work friends is tough, this constant turnover has an even bigger impact on how teams function.

Turning over teams

When enough people leave, it can suddenly feel like a brand new team. No one remembers what the company did for that campaign four years ago, because everyone who worked on it is long gone.

In today’s work environment, this type of turnover is becoming more and more frequent. It’s not uncommon for workers to put in a few years before moving on. And we’ve all read those articles about the ‘job hopping’ ways of millennials, suggesting that this trend will only intensify in the future. Add in a revolving door of contractors and freelancers, and the whole thing starts to get pretty messy.

Adding up lost work and time

There’s an old saying that ‘you can’t take it with you when you go.’ But we all know that departing employees take a considerable amount along with them as they head out the door—experience, previous work, culture. That’s because in today’s economy, people are the company. They bring the innovations and the ideas, they build the product and craft the marketing campaigns. So when they leave, it’s as if they’re taking a little slice of the business with them.

Between documents spread out on shared drives and files buried in personal desktops that get wiped when employees leave, the past work we need access to is scattered to the digital winds. (And that’s assuming the knowledge was ever written down in the first place.) We can try to quantify it—some estimate that we spend 2.5 hours a day searching for information at work—but it’s hard to capture just how much wasted time and duplicated work is caused by the struggle to preserve knowledge across teams and time.

Building a system that preserves knowledge

“INVEST IN PEOPLE LIKE THEY WILL STAY FOREVER. BUILD SYSTEMS LIKE THEY WILL LEAVE TOMORROW.”

So with this rate of turnover and loss of knowledge only set to increase in the future, what can teams do to build continuity as individuals come and go?

Carmen Sample, an entrepreneur in the restaurant and retail space (industries notorious for their high-turnover rates), has an interesting perspective: “Invest in people like they will stay forever. Build systems like they will leave tomorrow.”

Having the right systems and tools in place can help you bridge the gap when employees and teammates leave for new opportunities. And with the introduction of Spaces, Evernote Business is up to the job.

With Spaces as your information hub, you can ensure that no matter the team or project, knowledge won’t leave when employees do. Every team’s work stays (and stays searchable), so your best work is never lost.

 

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Here are five ways your team can use Spaces to make sure previous work is always at your fingertips:

1. KEEP YOUR WORK IN A SPACE.

That thing that only you know about the project you’re working on? It’s locked away in your head unless you write it down somewhere. Practice what you preach and be kind to your future self (and future colleagues) by making sure all the things you’re working on are saved and easily discoverable somewhere in a space. Move archived notebooks over and be sure to create spaces for new projects or teams. You can also integrate with Google Drive, Slack, and Salesforce to make sure you’re really capturing it all for posterity.

2. BUILD OUT SOME GROUND RULES.

Agree as a team on how you’ll use Spaces, laying out a team ‘charter’ that will be clear to new teammates as well. For example, consider making as many spaces as possible viewable to the whole company, that way it will be even easier for anyone to see what you’re working on. Also make sure to create naming conventions and standards, such as beginning all marketing space names with ‘MAR-’ or relabeling a space as ‘Archive’ when a project is completed.

3. SEARCH THE SPACE DIRECTORY.

Your first stop when searching for past work should be your team’s Space Directory. It helps ensure that you can get to your team’s best work, whether it was done last week or last year. Tap into this collection of collective knowledge by searching for a term, such as ‘marketing campaign,’ and then join or request access to relevant spaces.

Evernote Business Spaces Directory

4. EXPAND AND VIEW AT A GLANCE.

When there’s lots of previous work to dig through, it can take some time to get at what you need. Now you can quickly glance through all the notebooks in a space, expanding to scroll through notes without having to individually click and search through each notebook.

Spaces expand and view

5. CREATE ONBOARDING AND EXIT PROCESSES.

When onboarding new teammates, make sure to give them training on how to properly share their work and search for related information with Spaces. On the flip side, consider asking departing employees to organize and preserve their work before they go, moving it into spaces and setting permissions appropriately.

Ensuring you can easily tap into the efforts of past, present, and future employees mmeanthat your team will always be able to get to their best work—no matter when it was done or who did it.

 

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Create Complex Documents Easily in Salesforce

Deploying automated document generation in Salesforce used to be a time-consuming ask, especially with more complex template layouts that have elaborate graphics and tables, and that need to support different use cases and workflow logic.

But no longer – if you have a modern online template design tool in place. In this article we explain, how Documill Dynamo document generation app for Salesforce helps make things smooth. Read on and learn, how to make the creation of even advanced designs fairly painless in Salesforce.

 

Quicker template creation with MS-Office-like user experience

The standard edition of Documill Dynamo comes with an online editor that offers an MS-Word-like user experience – with the upside that it can be used with Windows and Mac (and even Linux) computers.

Figure 1. Documill Dynamo online template editor

 

An extensive set of formatting features is available to you when creating a template, whether it is about setting or blending font sizes and colors or defining line spacing, margins, text areas and so on.

The real benefit of automated document generation is, of course, that when a user initiates document generation, any data in Salesforce can be dynamically fetched to a predefined field in the document so that it is up to date and correct. For this purpose, the online editor allows you to select any Salesforce field and simply drag and drop it to add it as a dynamic field in the document.

Figure 2. Drag and drop dynamic fields anywhere on the template

 

Flexible graphic design

As for visuals, they can be placed anywhere in the template: also in the background of the text or to decorate whole document pages.

The graphics can be directly inserted into the template or merged as dynamic elements that link to a database. While the former solution is fine for items such as company logos, which are rarely updated, the latter one works well for dynamic graphics like, say, personal sender signatures and product pictures.

Figure 3. Documill Dynamo supports high-quality graphics

 

Many options for content creation and reuse

In terms of adding text to templates, Documill Dynamo offers a variety of options.

Quick solution: direct to template. You can simply write all the text you have directly on one template from beginning to end and add fields for Salesforce data. This can work well as a quick and dirty solution for creating any document. However, it is a truly feasible option only for producing simple, short documents because of limited possibilities for content reuse.

Versatility with clauses. You can also create parts of the document text as separate snippets, called Documill Dynamo Clauses, store them in Salesforce and link to them from the document you are creating. This way, you can create a library of short texts to be used in multiple documents. All at once, content updates become much easier to make: you change a detail in a snippet once, and any document that will feature it will have the updated content.

Effectiveness with Excel data source. In a custom edition of Documill Dynamo, Excel can be productively used as a database for dynamic content in a document. However, since Excel offers only limited text formatting options, you may have to settle for a more Spartan layout.

Flexibility with hybrid. While versatile, this option is also easy to put to good use, if you are a Windows user and choose a custom edition. You can simply use together all the methods above when making a template and treat each part of the document in the way that works best for you.

 

Different document variants for different use cases

Do you need, say, three different variants of the same document, long, medium and short, for different uses? Here is what you can do with Documill Dynamo:

  • Create three different templates that use shared building blocks. Content updates remain easier, and Documill Dynamo allows you easily to set up a form that lets your users choose the right template each time with a click of a button
  • Give users options to add attachments. If you want to give your users a little more choice, you can create parts of the document as separate HTML or pdf attachments. Using Documill Dynamo’s forms, you can allow your users select the appropriate ones for each customer and case (see the figure below).

Figure 4. Select attachments to a document with a few clicks

 

Take care of content management

Are there any key considerations when deciding between the options above? Here is one: be careful with database and source file management: the more you have sources, the more complexity you will encounter in maintaining them.

So better organize all files well right from the start and keep it that way. Documill Dynamo allows you to simply store everything in Salesforce and make the best use of its version control feature, which Documill Dynamo fully supports.

Exploring the Value of Mobility in Enterprise Apps

The Market for Enterprise Apps

Today, there are currently well over two million apps on the Apple App Store (and similar figures for Google Play), with this figure predicted to reach five million by 2020. All of these apps are built for a mobile first experience – whether it is a smartphone or a tablet device.

The consumer world has led the way in innovation in apps since the emergence of the smartphone. While a majority of apps on the market are gaming apps, a large proportion of mobile apps now fall into the category of enterprise and productivity apps. And within this category, a huge selling point is mobility and being able to effectively run your business from your phone.

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest benefits to mobility with enterprise apps:

1. Usability and intuitive user experiences

When Sir Jonathan Ives first designed the iPhone, he undoubtedly crafted a beautiful product. The iPhone was a tour de force in technology and design. Consumer apps followed this trend. Enterprise apps have caught apace with the consumer world, forging a reputation for excelling in user experience design and simplicity – and yet still offering a breadth of functionality.

And with this, they have managed to fundamentally change the way businesses operate with the increased productivity seen through mobile apps. Their ease of usability has enabled the use of smartphones and tablets in the workplace to become ubiquitous in everyday work use-cases.

2. Less reliance on being tethered to the desk

The first enterprise companies to go mobile offered scaled-back versions of full desktop solutions. But what may have started out as simple email-based mobile apps for enterprises now offer entire enterprise solutions available for use on a smartphone.

Looking at one example of mobility within enterprise apps – field service solutions – have transformed operational efficiency and service capabilities for a range of industries. Solutions like these can be applied to financial services, professional services, telecommunications and many more.

They offer a range of in-the-field functionality that a desktop solution would not have offered – location based services, real-time dispatcher information, scheduling, and fleet management.

3. Enhanced service capabilities for a range of industries

Business models and value adding services can be built on top of a mobile-first mindset, acting as a source of competitive advantage. Consider how some of the most innovative companies in the world use mobile apps as a core part of their business model and offering.

  • Facebook and their various apps Messenger, Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram
  • Uber and the primary shop window into their business being their mobile app
  • Airlines and mobile apps becoming the primary medium of communication with passengers

4. Operational Efficiency

A solution that is built with a mobile user experience in mind can often bring an improvement in operational efficiencies. In the past user experience was an afterthought when enterprise solutions were translated across to a mobile devices.

This is essentially a paradigm shift in the architecture of enterprise solutions. The era of digitisation has led to new ways of introducing operational efficiencies.

For example, rather than just digitising existing processes, companies should use the opportunity of embracing mobile apps as a catalyst for re-considering entire workflows. And ultimately, making mobile and a user-centric strategy central to this.

5. Ubiquity of Mobile in the Workplace

A business that is equipped with mobile compatible enterprise solutions will quickly see how ubiquity brings some of the aforementioned benefits.

Everyday small tasks to business critical processes are bettered. From simple productivity tasks to field service management and value-added services for customers. In our personal life, people rely on mobile apps as though they are crutches to lean on to do day-to-day tasks.

The enterprise world exhibits the same behavior. It’s up to you to decide how to harness the potential of mobility and fully realise the value it offers.

Make your apps happen, today.

The future of app development is here – and it’s for everyone. Read How to Find the Right Platform for Building App e-book for a deeper dive into the limitations of traditional app building platforms, and discover how building on the Salesforce Platform can provide a better way.