SAP StreamWork is designed to help you with your collaborative work and decision making. The recent release, code-named R2 Steam (second quarterly release since the launch) hasn’t changed that. What has changed is the focus on how we communicate and share updates on the collaboration in the activity. In the past, the focus in SAP StreamWork has been on the individual work items such as files and discussions and tools such as the consensus and pro/con decision tools. While these items will continue to be a focus and we will continue to heavily invest in new tools and APIs for tool builders, we have discovered that often the really interesting content in SAP StreamWork activities are the conversations and comments that are attached to the work items.
On the SAP StreamWork team we often see this in our use of the e-mail feature notification. Using the e-mail feature we get updates on the comments that people are making on the items. For instance, if we have some interesting content posted into a tool like the SWOT analysis, this will kick start an even more important conversation than the work item itself.
With this recent release we’ve added new ways to communicate in the activity. You can now communicate at the activity level, and the primary focus of the activity homepage is now on events and updates of the activity and less focused on the items themselves. This change in focus has accompanied our move to align with the Activity Streams (http://activitystrea.ms/) xml format and focus to allow SAP StreamWork to be an Activity Streams XML producer and consumer. This new ability allows SAP StreamWork to both produce and consume Activity Streams Atom XML data. These activity streams can be consumed by other feed based applications, but even more importantly, SAP StreamWork can now aggregate multiple feeds into one viewable stream of activity in the SAP StreamWork “Updates” page. This allows you to keep an eye on all of your work in one place no matter where that might be.
Profile Updates – You can now post profile updates to your network of followers. This feature allows you to either post to everyone who follows you in SAP StreamWork, or you could choose to post to only your followers who are also part of your organization. This feature is a good way to call out to your network for help or information on a specific topic. The important thing to remember is that people will only receive this update if they care enough to follow you.Activity Profile Updates – These updates are a way to post news or updates into the SAP StreamWork activity without requiring the update to pertain to a specific work item. This allows you to have more generic communication at the activity level instead of the item level. Activity profile updates will only ever be seen by people who are participants of the activity. Even if you happen to be following the user who posted the update, you can only ever see the update if you are both a participant and a follower of the activity.
Follow Activities – You can now follow or stop following activities. What does this mean? By default you will be following every new activity that you join. Following activities means that updates from activities that you follow will show up in your global “Updates” page. This allows you to scan through your updates page looking for items you need to make action on. There will be some occasions where you want to continue to have access to an activity but you don’t want to continue to receive updates from it via the global Updates page or via e-mail. Choosing to stop following an activity allows you to turn off all e-mail notifications for this activity as well as updates to your update feed.
Anyone who has used similar features in other products will know that we are in the very early days of our feeds and updates features. In the past few months we have focused a lot on the plumbing and working out just how Activity Streams and feeds will work in SAP StreamWork. In the next few weeks and months you will see iterative additions in functionality. Specifically, we will be focusing on actionable functions that you can take on individual events such as commenting on profile updates and other work based events. Always with a focus on helping you collaborate to do your work and make sound business decisions.
What did I skip?
SAP StreamWork Feed API – I could write a couple other blog posts on this topic, so I decided to only briefly discuss this topic today. Watch my blog for an update on the Feed APIs to learn how SAP StreamWork can be both a source and destination for Activity Streams feeds enabling you to get all your work updates in one place.