Social Networking meets SharePoint! My Site is SharePoint’s answer to Web 2.0 social networking public sites like Facebook and LinkedIn specifically tailored for the corporate workplace. For any organisation especially those located across disparate locations it provides the ability to create synergy between those offices and users within offices. Today’s focus is on colleagues and the colleague tracker web part. Colleagues are those users that are part of your Workgroup plus those users you add manually that are not directly part of your Workgroup. Your Workgroup is automatically populated as part of the reporting hierarchy that can be set in each user’s Active Directory Profile which is then dynamically populated in the colleague tacker web part located under the My Home tab in My Site and the Organisation Hierarchy section under the My Profile tab in My Site.
Other colleagues can be manually added and grouped by each user individually. The role of the colleague tracker web part is to alert you of changes that have been made to your colleagues profiles and changes in user memberships. Other alerts include displaying your colleagues upcoming birthdays (if the colleague birth date profile field has been populated), when new blog posts have been added by your colleagues, out of office messages and upcoming anniversaries. You can modify what you want to be alerted on by modifying the properties of the web part. As you can see the colleague tracker web part located on the left is displaying new documents added across the SharePoint site from a particular colleague of mine and also an upcoming birthday for another colleague.
The below colleagues web part which is located by default under My Profile displays My Colleagues that are part of my Workgroup/Organisation Hierarchy from Active Directory and other colleagues that I have allocated against specific groups that have been created by me. Please note that after your My Site has been created you can choose as a user to remove the default colleagues.
As you can see, the colleague tracker web part becomes an invaluable tool in connecting colleagues highlighting any changes made by your peers. It assists in bringing people together throughout an organisation, and let’s face it we are living in a world surrounded by many social networking sites like those mentioned above. I will continue to delve further into My Site and how organisation’s of any size can really benefit from it in future posts.