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Case Study: APQC
"PBworks automated the document management process with almost no effort on my part. There was no merging or worry about version control."
In support of global benchmarking, APQC created the Process Classification Framework™(PCF), a complete taxonomy of universal business processes performed by every business, from organizations the size of AT&T or Boeing to solo practitioners and small businesses. The PCF describes and defines over 1,500 individual processes and activities, and allows every business, no matter what its industry, to speak a common language.
One of the big challenges facing APQC was organizing and managing the PCF's twice-yearly updates. To ensure that every industry worldwide could use each new edition of the PCF, APQC needed a way for a wide variety of people, including academics, consultants, and industry practitioners to collaborate on the exact definition of every word.
That's when John Tesmer, Operations Manager for APQC's Open Standards Benchmarking Collaborative™ (OSBC) research, turned to PBworks. After considering a variety of wiki solutions, John selected PBworks as the only solution that could meet APQC's particular needs:
- Easy to use for non-technical people
Most of the people involved in the project were analysts with MBAs, not technologists. PBworks provided a simple, easy-to-use solution that project members picked up quickly and without formal training. Tesmer simply arranged a conference call and walked the participants through a demo to show them the basics of creating and editing pages.
- Accessible to authorized users across different organizations and geographies
Participants came from many different organizations and locations, including IBM, MIT, and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "SharePoint wasn't externally hosted, and we couldn't open it to others," said Tesmer. "We needed a secure, public web portal to collaborate and share ideas."
- Editing and commenting
"Commenting was extremely important for our project's success," said Tesmer. "PBworks' comments feature let people who didn't feel comfortable editing others work to contribute to the discussion, ask for clarification, or add observations."
- Ability to cut and paste from Microsoft Word
"We loved PBworks' editing tool," Tesmer said. "It was miles ahead of other wiki editors. Pasting from Word saved everyone hours of work." And once the content was in PBworks, the document management process became simple.
"It's a challenge to manage a Word document with more than two people," said Tesmer. "PBworks automated the document management process with almost no effort on my part. There was no merging or worry about version control. The wiki was always current."
- Robust security and role-based access controls
"I selected PBworks for its security model," said Tesmer. "It was simple. The easy to manage readers and editors assigned one password for each contributor level to ensure proper content and rights management."
- Ability to export to Word, PowerPoint, PDF
Once the PCF team finalized the definitions, PBworks's ability to export content in different formats made it easy for APQC's graphics team to design and create a final document.
As the man in charge of system, tools, and process for APQC's benchmarking division, John Tesmer is in a unique position to understand best practices for organizational productivity. That's why he and APQC use PBworks for enterprise collaboration.