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Product Recommendation (Deliverable 2)

Page history last edited by Kirk Ockerman 7 years, 2 months ago

Product Recommendation

Summer 2013

 

Team Problem Solving (GSS) Home

List of Potential Products

Products Reviewed

Use Case Scenarios

Product Recommendation (Deliverable 2)

 

 


 

Background Info

 

Michael, a Senior Vice President of an international health care company approached our consulting firm requesting assistance to find a software solution that could be utilized within all departments and divisions of the company. He explained the challenges the company is experiencing by having offices scattered around the globe. He believes there is a software solution that can close the gap for his dispersed employees and departments to ultimately improve communication, team collaboration, team meeting productivity and help their employees make better decisions. The problem lies in that he doesn't know if there is a software solution that can be deployed across an organization of their immense size. Nor does he know what available solutions there are on the market and which products would meet the needs of the entire company.  He asked us to help him understand what solutions would best suit the needs of his company as well as provide him with a recommendation. 

 

In order for us to better understand the demands and requirements his company is seeking, we asked Michael to provide us with 3 scenarios that would define the challenges his teams currently face during team collaboration and meetings and, in addition, what specific requirements they have. 

 

 

Scenarios

 

Scenario 1

The company has a small in-office staff in each office on either side of the country and a sales staff who are remote and travel frequently. The sales staff are rarely in the office and do not have a quiet place for an impromptu meeting. The managers, who live on opposite sides of the country, need to make decisions and communicate with the sales staff quickly.  

 

Votes are given as yes/no responses with an option of extensive discussions when needed. The voting results aid the managers, but do not direct the final decisions. The ideas are presented in their weekly meetings.

 

Employees are notified in the meeting, emailed minutes, and notified by the solution once a new discussion is posted. All of the documents will be accessible from the decision making solution. Discussion requirements for the decision making solution should include a way to message each other and the other members of the staff both real-time and asynchronously.

 

Ideally, everyone would be directed to a decision making solution online where votes are cast and discussion can be had in real-time or at varying times. Any changes that are made to a specific decision must be notified to all employees and the voting and discussion process must restart within the designated time-window.

 

The team has requested a solution that should feature

 

  • Instant Messaging amongst team

  • Share documents amongst the team

  • Creating Polls to help make decisions

  • Votes can be changed up until the deadline

  • Ability to discuss the decision topics in real time and asynchronously

 

Scenario 2

One of the company's global headquarters, that designs health projects in many developing countries around the world, is starting a new sensitive health project in Africa. The company is appointing a project manager for the new health project in a less-developed, and non-English speaking country in Africa. The company has many qualified and effective employees who have been part of their many multinational projects.

 

The team members of the project will be from different field industries and cultural backgrounds and are generally not located near their managers. The company understands this job is tough, especially in a less-developed country, which needs more efforts to complete their mission with the lack of technology and security resources, and some other obstacles. Therefore, the company is looking for someone in the company who can lead this type of diverse project team to make quick decisions, follow-ups, and provide his/her team members with the right tools to ensure the quality practice facilitation of their meetings, and timeliness of the project deliverables.

 

The team’s ideal solution should

 

  • Notify all members of upcoming meetings

  • Create polls to help team members decide on candidates

  • Utilize reporting analytics to decipher results and data  

  • Prioritize candidates to understand who top candidates are

  • Communicate via discussion boards about candidates strengths and weaknesses

  • Keep meetings’ reports and decisions confidential and secure

  • Make alternative suggestions and recommendations

 

Scenario 3

A regional executive of the company has been informed that their 2015 building budget has been cut and that several of the projects in the planning stages need to be put on hold or potentially eliminated.

 

The VP has a team of Construction Managers, Project Executives, Project Managers, Planning Engineers, and Regional Controllers that are dispersed throughout the country. Since all team members will be impacted, and the budget cuts are not his doing, the VP wants his management team to collectively work towards deciding which projects should be cut or put on hold.

 

The management team will be working remotely and some of their time will be spent on virtual meetings held asynchronously and realtime. Having a system that will allow real-time interactivity will be critical. Important features include uploading documents such as spreadsheets and building plans, planning agendas for future meetings, setting deadlines, assigning tasks to individual team members, posting feedback/suggestions, voting, and generating reports. The VP will share the new goals and modified budgets to the management team to aid the team in their decision making.

 

All managers have company issued laptops that they use on their assigned jobs sites. Having mobile access to the shared documents and data via tablets or smartphones would be ideal, but not required.

 

The team will produce a full written report which will include an analysis of each of the projects in development and detail the implications of eliminating any project in its current development phase. The report will include analysis of which teams should be eliminated, or put on hold, to meet their new goals and budgets. The VP and his team will present the report and proposal to the executives of the company.

 

The team requires a solution which offers the ability to:

 

  • Create meetings and agendas

  • Assign tasks with deadlines to keep team members on task 

  • Allow uploading and sharing of documents amongst the team

  • Allow team to post comments in a discussion board to share ideas and collaborate 

  • Utilize a voting tool in order to help make decisions

  • Provide a reporting system to analyze voting outcomes and other decision making tools

  • Offer mobile access to system through smartphone or tablet

 

 

GSS Products in the market

 

Based on our research we have determined a GSS Group Support System would be most beneficial to the needs and demands of the company.


A Group Support System (GSS) is a collaborative software tool designed to improve and enhance the quality of online group meetings and group task support. GSS tools allow groups’ to work more effectively and productive by supporting parallel communication, deliberation structure, and decision-making activities. Some activities that are ideal with GSS are brainstorming, evaluations, and organization. GSS allows people to work collaboratively even if they work at different times (synchronously and asynchronously) and/or in different geological locations.

 

 

The following list of GSS products were considered during our research and review of the market. 

Wiq - http://questionsrevealinganswers.com

Group Systems ThinkTank - http://www.groupsystems.com 

SAP Streamwork - http://www54.sap.com/pc/analytics/business-intelligence/software/streamwork/overview/index.html 

MeetingSphere - http://www.meetingsphere.com 

Facilitate - http://facilitate.com 

StormBoard - https://www.stormboard.com 

YAM - http://yamlabs.com 

PowerNoodle - http://www.powernoodle.com 

Hexigo - http://hexigo.com/group-decision-making  

 

Possible Group Support Systems

(Further evaluation will be needed to determine if these are full GSS tool or DSS tools.)

1000Minds - https://www.1000minds.com

Lyza - http://www.lyzasoft.com 

Review19 -http://www.review19.com 

 

 

Products selected to review:

  1. Hexigo
  2. MeetingSphere
  3. StormBoard
  4. Y.A.M. - Yet Another Meeting

 

 

GSS Products Reviewed

 

 

 

We have included a Use Case Scenario Matrix below to better inform you of the features of each solution we considered for your needs. 

 

Scenario 1 Requirement / Product Overview 

 

Requirements

Does MeetingSphere satisfy requirement?

Does Hexigo

satisfy requirement?

Does StormBoard satisfy requirement?

Does YAM satisfy requirement?

Notifications

Users need to be updated by email about new meetings, meeting minutes, and new discussion posts

Yes -

MeetingSphere offers tools for users to receive invitations, meeting minutes and reports via email. However, the Portable option cannot send emails.

Unsure -

Further review will be needed. The access to the demo account didn’t allow for much experimentation.

No -

The system does send an email once a day about activity on the board. There is no way to set up or schedule meetings.

Yes -

Notifications Settings allow users to set email notifications for upcoming meetings, posts, meeting minutes, agendas.. etc.

Documents

Members will need access to shared documents within the system.

Yes -

The presentation tool allows users to view slide presentations, upload and share images, and documents

Yes -

Users have the ability to attach documents to a discussion. It must be downloaded and cannot be viewed on the site itself.

No -

Only images and videos can be attached. The sticky-notes have to be typed into and only allow for single sentences.

Yes -

Documents can be quickly and easily uploaded to a meeting. Once uploaded, a post is made visible for everyone to see.  Other team members can download the file.

Discussion

Real-time or asynchronous posting of comments is needed to discuss voting topics

Yes -

Discussion board allows for real-time and asynchronous posting of comments and ideas.

Yes -

Users may utilize the discussion board to comment on topics that are up for approval or vote.

Yes -

Members can comment on a sticky-note/idea which is a simplified version of a discussion.

Yes -

Within the meeting, members can post “notes” which others can comment on in real time. Posts are time stamped. They can be added at any time.

Instant Messaging

Real-time IM required for members collaborate and communicate.

Yes -

A Chat window to allow all members to participate in a real-time chat session.

No -

There isn’t an instant messaging system

Yes -

Members have one instant message window on the board.

No -

No instant messaging capability offered.

Voting

A.Team will need to be able to vote providing a Yes or No type vote.


B. Voting also needs to be editable until due date of vote.

Yes -

A. The Rating Tool allows users to evaluate factors in different ways: Numeric scale, Multiple selection, Rank order, Budget allocation


B. Votes can be edited unless cleared

No -

A. Users may utilize the Agree and Disagree buttons  for comments.  There isn’t a specified voting system.


B.  This isn’t applicable.

Yes -

A. Each member has a predefined number of votes and can allocate their votes to any sticky-note idea. Members can allocate  more than vote per sticky-note idea.


B. Votes can be added and deleted by the user.

Yes -

A. The system offers a simplistic Positive, Neutral, Negative voting system. Isn’t customizable to just yes / no.


B.You may edit your vote. However there isn’t an ability to set deadline for vote.

 

 

Scenario 2 Requirement / Product Overview 

 

Requirements

Does MeetingSphere satisfy requirement?

Does Hexigo

satisfy requirement?

Does StormBoard satisfy requirement?

Does YAM satisfy requirement?

Notifications

Members need to be notified of upcoming meetings

Yes -

The meeting organizer can send out an email invitation as well as calendar invites to notify members of a new meeting.

No -

This system does not offer this feature..

No -

The system does send an email once a day about activity on the board. There is no way to set up or schedule meetings.

Yes -

Notification are emailed to all users once meeting has been created with invite to add to calendar.

Polling

Create polls to help team members decide on candidates

Yes -

Yes polls can be created to help decide on candidates. Polling is customizable to the needs of your decision making criteria.

Yes -

You may utilize the discussion board for this.

No -

There is no polling system. There is only adding votes to a sticky-note idea.

Yes -

Offers polling in Positive, Neutral, Negative format for decision making.


**Also offers SWOT Analysis which may be more appropriate for assessing a potential candidate.

Reporting & Analytics

Utilize reporting analytics to decipher results and data  

Yes -

The system offers a very extensive reporting system that will allow all team member to analyze the data or decision tools.

No -

This feature is not available.

Yes -

Reports are offered to paid accounts. Reports can be exported as a pdf, excel spreadsheet and as a log of all activity.

No -

Reports are not offered within the tool.

Item Prioritization

Prioritize candidates to understand who are top candidates

Yes -

Within the Brainstorm Tool, You can create a list of potential candidates and then create categories in order to prioritize. Great feature since it is very customizable to your needs.

Yes -

Users can prioritize specific decisions in this case candidates.

No -

No way to prioritize sticky-notes. Members can drag and drop the sticky-notes to areas of the whiteboard to signify prioritization.

Yes -

Members can create a priority analysis, however functionality is very very limited and users may not see this as a the best option.

Discussion Boards

Communicate via discussion boards about candidates strengths and weaknesses

Yes -

Discussion board allows for real-time and  asynchronous posting of comments and ideas.

Yes

Users may utilize the discussion board to comment on topics that are up for approval or vote.

Yes -

Members can comment on a sticky-note/idea which is a simplified version of a discussion.

Yes -

Within each meeting anyone can create a discussion topic, (Candidate Name) upload documents and discuss and share ideas. Would work well.

Data Security

Keep meetings’ reports and decisions confidential and secure

Yes -

The system allows executing security policies to maintain meetings discussions, and reports, decisions secured.  

Unsure -

Further review will be needed. The demo account doesn’t provide information nor does the website.

Yes -

The system provides SSL encryption for all members and boards.

Yes -

Only members invited to meeting would be able to see and access confidential information. Offers SSL encryption for Power User Subscription users.

Alternatives

Make alternative suggestions and recommendations

Yes -

The Brainstorm Tool gives users the ability to simultaneously contribute and create ideas , so it exposes them to a wide range of alternatives

No -

This platform is for specific decisions and discussion.

No -

This system only allows additional sticky-note ideas to be added to the board.

Yes -

Similar functionality to Discussion Board. Any meeting member can create a discussion topic. So alternatives could be added here for recommendation.

 

 

Scenario 3 Requirement / Product Overview


Requirement

Does MeetingSphere satisfy requirement?

Does Hexigo

satisfy requirement?

Does StormBoard satisfy requirement?

Does YAM satisfy requirement?

File Share/Upload

Team will need to upload spreadsheets and documents in real time in order to share with group while on conference calls.

Yes -

Users can share and upload their database with group simultaneously

No -

This doesn’t apply.

No -

Only images and videos can be attached. The sticky-notes have to be typed into and only allow for single sentences.

Yes -

You can import from Google Docs, DropBox, & Hard Drive up to 50MB. Once uploaded a post is created in the meeting and other can download file.

Mobile

Team would like to have Mobile Connectivity through Smartphone or Tablet

No -

The platform does not support mobile connectivity.

No -

This product does not support this feature.

No -

The website works on a mobile device, but none of the features function.

No -

Mobile accessibility and Apps are not available.

Meeting Scheduleing

Creating Meetings & Agendas and notify members of new meeting.

Yes -

Meetings and Agendas are easily created with software.

No -

This product does not support this feature.

No -

There is no way to set up or schedule meetings.

Yes -

Simple meeting creation using calendar, adding invitees, and creating agendas.

Creating Tasks with Deadlines

The team will need to assign tasks to team members to divide up workload and keep them on track.

Yes -

Within the Action Tracker, you can assign tasks to team members, and create logs for their tasks to keep track of progress.

.










Yes -

Users may prioritize discussions with a deadline.

No -

There is no way to assign or create a task. Members can only create sticky-note ideas.

Yes -

You can assign tasks to team members and set due dates to action items keep track of progress.

Discussion Board

Team needs to be able to communicate ideas and suggestions to central location.

Yes -

Discussion board allows for real-time and  asynchronous posting of comments and ideas.

Yes

Users may utilize the discussion board to comment on topics that are up for approval or vote.

Yes -

Members can comment on a sticky-note/idea which is a simplified version of a discussion.

Yes -

As long as the discussion happens within a meeting; anyone can create a discussion topic,  upload documents and make posts on other member’s ideas.


**No other place to add discussion posts inside system. Could be slightly confusing to team.

Voting

In order to come to consensus on decisions voting will be required.

Yes -

When having many ideas that a group has to decide between them, the Rating Tool, provides users with the right tools to vote on factors in different ways: Numeric scale, Multiple selection, Rank order, Budget allocation.




No -

A. Users may utilize the Agree and Disagree buttons  for comments.  There isn’t a specified votinig system.

 

Yes -

A. Each member has a predefined number of votes and can allocate their votes to any sticky-note idea. Members can allocate  more than vote per sticky-note idea.

 

Yes -

Yes system very simplified voting tool with Positive / Neutral / Negative format.

Data & Reports

Team will need access to data generated by voting and other decision making tools

Yes -

In general, users have the ability to connect from different tools, so they can import and export reports. Voting inputs can be exported to different format(Excel,Csv)

No -

Reports are not a feature with this product.

Yes -

Reports are offered to paid accounts. Reports can be exported as a pdf, excel spreadsheet and as a log of all activity. The vote specific data is mixed in with all other data.

No -

Reports are not offered within the tool.

 

 

 

  

Final Product Recommendation

 

Michael, the scenarios and requirements you provided detailed the need for a solution that could meet the demands of a large scale organization to help improve team collaboration, meeting productivity, and facilitate effective decision making. The scenarios specified the requirements for data security, group voting, meeting scheduling, real time discussion, file sharing, and reporting and analytics, just to reiterate a few .  

 

Based on our review of the products mentioned in this report. We have come to a clear conclusion that the MeetingSphere solution stands out from the rest of the products on the market. MeetingSphere appears to meet a majority of the needs your organization requested based on your requirements and our review.

 

meetingSphere

 

MeetingSphere is a full-fledged version of a Group Support System based on the requirements. As one of the few systems to include a way to create meetings and tasks with deadlines, a robust output of data sets for further analysis, and a way to notify all members of activity in real-time, we believe MeetingSphere is the answer to your Group Support System solution.


During our research, we have concluded that MeetingSphere will require a fair amount of training for your users before the full benefits of MeetingSphere will be realized. There is a great deal of customization and detailed settings to be learned before this solution will shine as the best tool for your corporation.

 

 

 

 

 

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