March 15, 2008
The Great Potential of Microsoft OneNote 2007
Knowledge Gathering and Sharing Platform
A few weeks ago Matt Putnam sent me some notes in a Microsoft OneNote 2007 file and I've been hooked ever since. The more I learn about this tool, the more potential use I see for CEI team collaborations as well as for CRM projects. I wanted to take a few minutes and share some of what I've learn about this application so far. I would love to hear about other ideas for uses in regards to CRM projects.
First I guess I'll talk about how I use OneNote on a daily basis and then go from there. If you've walked by my desk then you've seen the mountain of yellow legal pads with notes from every project that I've worked on. Phone calls, training notes, technical notes etc…..it is ridiculous the amount of paper that I go through. Now, the only notes platform I use is OneNote. So far, I have a notebook setup for CEI projects and person information (accounts, passwords etc). I password protect the sections with personal information. Each section in any notebook can be password protected. In each notebook I have a section setup for whatever topic I need. Think of the giant notebook binder that you had in grade school with the dividers for Science, Math, Social Studies, and History. My CEI notebook, for example has a section for each project that I'm working on. Within each section I have an endless number of pages.
Here's what my CEI notebook looks like at the moment……
...and here are the pages within the Heartland Payment Systems section.
You can begin writing notes anywhere on the page and move sentences around on the page, grouping your thoughts very quickly either during the meeting or call or shortly afterwards. Later you can email the notebook or section as needed. Formatting is insanely easy as well. Dropping, dragging, and overlapping text boxes make formatting a quick and dirty.
Also screen captures can be done with a quick Windows Logo + S and inserted directly into a page in your notebook. The screenshots were captured that way. OneNote also has technology what will recognize text in a screenshot (from a photographs for example and make it searchable and selectable. Pretty cool stuff.
You can copy documents directly into your notes. Check this one out. By the way…left me know if you can open this word file from a blog post (I doubt it).
Points of Integration: CRM, Outlook (appointments, tasks, contacts), SmartPhones
Getting into the more interesting features of OneNote, we obviously expect Work, Excel, PowerPoint integration, but OneNote had Outlook integration of appointments, contacts, and tasks as well. You could be on a conference call and set a follow up directly from the notes you're taking without going to Outlook. When you see the task in Outlook, there's a link that opens the page of the OneNote notebook that you set the task on. And of course, these activities get promoted to SmartPhones and other mobile handhelds.
Even more interestingly, there is a CRM add-in that will enable CRM users to post rich content notes about customers. Since OneNote supports 2-way Mobile synchronization we could even embed audio recordings of phone calls and meetings with customers in a OneNote page from a Smartphone.
CRM/SharePoint/One Note Integration - Enabling Team collaboration
An interesting idea would be to have a shared notebook for CEI Teams to post notes from meetings etc in SharePoint to leverage team collaboration. Mark Wilson and I just recently started using OneNote to share our notes on the Heartland project and found it to be very effective and efficient. Our notebook could easily be setup on a SharePoint sub-site for other remote collaborations between CEI teams.
Real Time Notebook Sharing
One of the most eye-brow raising features that I came across is OneNote's real time sharing capabilities. I can see some immediate uses for this feature set. Yes, notebooks can be emailed to recipients as attachments and/or WebPages, but it also features REAL TIME sharing. I can set up remote session through OneNote (like GoTo Meeting) and share notes that get updated by ALL participants in real time. At the end of the session, every participant gets a copy of the notes. That could put a new spin on discovery conference calls with customers or our 7am meetings.
OneNote has the ability to post blogs directly from a notebook. In fact, I just posted a blog yesterday through OneNote. Honestly, the formatting was a bit spacey, but I wanted to test the functionality to see if it actually worked. It does. After finishing this post, I plan to simply right click on this notebook page and "Blog this…" to TypePad. When I do that, Visual Studio will open and prompt me to clicked "Publish". I'll enter my TypePad credentials and receive the message below. "This post was published to Customer Effective Blog….." Pretty simple. Here's another link on some other blogging features. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3v3ohO_22kk
All in all, there are a lot of features in the OneNote application that I could see leveraging in projects as well as internally. Check it out for yourself and let me know what you find...