Friday, November 13, 2009

Sharing the Work

Managing multiple portals for multiple partners is even easier. It's grounded, however, in the art and science of true collaboration.

This is a public blog, so the proprietary technical details are available to customers in our Client Resource Center, and of course via the Help Desk. But we have released Single Sign-On tools that let you manage access to multiple portals across an entire network, administrative tools to control access better, and sub-sysop tools to distribute management tasks by portal.

The concept here is important. As multi-agency and multi-sector partnerships grow across a region, state (or for some of our customers nationally and internationally), system administration tasks can grow considerably. So with these enhancements we make it easier to share the work load.

What this assumes, however, is a true sense of collaboration. This is not "cooperation;" this is about working with other organizations who share common objectives. Doing so requires focusing time, money, and expertise from each partner.

As a former grants officer, I tried to spot efforts along a continuum. If grant applicants wrote in their narrative about how two or more organizations shared common objectives, they were probably describing cooperation. If they were conducting common training for their staffs, for example, they were probably aligning their work (although both organizations were probably doing the same work...).

What the foundation's board was trying to find, however, were partner organizations dividing up the work or taking on distinct aspects of an integrated whole. In other words, two organizations were collaborating well when each organization took on an important and related, but different task. As a grants officer if I could see this in their budgets; it became real at that point and we had a success story to tell the donors.

So it is with VisionLink's Community Operating System; we are working to build systems that truly allow each partner to do the work they need to do confidentially, and to work collaboratively with another partner organization where appropriate. It's nearly magical when it works.

Douglas Zimmerman
President & CEO
VisionLink