“Summer’s almost gone” – says a song by The Doors. Indeed it is. Here at Quandora, our team worked hard over the past two months at bringing our Questions and Answers product always closer to customers’ expectations. We listened to them carefully and translated their wishes into a set of product features that we implemented. We decided to package this set of features – along with the usual ongoing performance optimizations, bugfixes, and minor enhancements-, under the label Quandora 1.1.0 “Late summer release”, effectively available into Quandora’s current and future instances starting from tomorrow, 28th of August.
Below is a list of the most important features in this release.
User synchronization for Google Apps
Quandora provides Google Apps login since the beginning. We went a step further with Google Apps integration: now it is possible to use Google Apps’ users directory as a source for Quandora users base.
Concretely, that means that you don’t need to duplicate the users management to reflect changes in your company’s team. An account deleted on Google will be disabled in Quandora (we do not delete it to keep the history). New Google accounts are automatically created in Quandora. And changes in Google accounts details are passed on Quandora’s.
This feature is accessible via the new Google Apps tab from the Adminstration panel.
Restricted access per knowledge base
It may happen that a certain knowledge base requires a higher access control because of confidentiality constraints. Quandora now allows to specify a group of users that have access to each knowledge base.
The next step, to be implemented in the next release: providing an option to map Google Apps groups with Quandora groups. Again, this will avoid duplicate work, in the sense that a domain administrator only have to manage its users in one place – Google Apps.
Knowledge base templates
As any knowledge management professional knows, the biggest challenge for KM tools within organizations is achieving the initial critical mass of content. It’s the chicken and egg problem: people are not interested to visit an empty base, but in the same time, content cannot be built without people.
One of the ways Quandora addresses this challenge is now by providing templates to initialize the knowledge bases. For the moment, we provide two templates: “Sales and Marketing”, oriented towards the sales and marketing teams, and “Human Resources”, dedicated to HR topics.
A template is a set of several tens of predefined questions that will be automatically created in the base if the administrator chooses the option.
Those questions are, of course, pretty generic, but they are nonetheless common questions people ask all the time. Having them in the system provides useful content and incites people activity. It also provides examples of questions, helping people understand how Quandora should be used.
Of course, you are free (and encouraged) to edit, delete, or duplicate the questions to reflect the company’s specifics. They are meant to be used more like guidelines than actual content.
What’s next: more templates to be available very soon – “Customer support” and “Professional services”.
Invite people to answer
Why is it sometimes so hard to make people contribute to a common knowledge sharing effort? People are usually open and social, and love to help the others if they can. The proof, they do it all the time when asked in person.
“In person” – this is maybe one key issue. A collective call for contribution may not reach the individuals as much as we would hope, because they don’t necessarily feel personally concerned. As opposed to that, asking a specific person to help with an answer rarely fails to bring results.
This is why we created in Quandora an option to invite people to answer specific questions. The idea is, if you see a question and realize you know somebody that may have the answer, you can ask him or her to answer by using a dedicated button.
In order to add more interactivity and human feel to Quandora, we implemented a real-time, in-context notification system, providing the people with feedback right on their Quandora screen. Those notifications let people know in real time about things like somebody voting them, earning badges, getting answers to their questions, etc. They encompass all the notifications people can already receive by email, and more.
Also, and very importantly, this system is the base for the future mobile notifications system that will be soon available in Quandora.
I hope you will enjoy the new features. As always, we’re happy to hear from you for any question, feedback, or suggestion.