Who is collaborating?
GAT has been building sophisticated audits for the Google environment for some time. One feature we are particularly interested in is collaboration. We distinguish between connections and collaboration. If I share a document with 5 people, I’ve connected to 5 people, but if only 2 people read or edit that document, then only 3 people have been involved in the collaboration.
Likewise for email, if I email you and cc 10 others, I am not collaborating with 11 people. However, if 3 people respond to my email with suggestions of their own, then it is fair to say there are now 4 people involved in this collaborative event. Communication can be ‘one-way’ but Collaboration must be ‘bi-directional’.
We decided that a good way to understand collaboration domain wide would be to graph it and that is what we do in Collaboration Graphs in the Business Intelligence module.
In GAT select Business Intelligence, then Internal/External Collaboration. From here you can view the collaboration for everyone on your domain or you can select a group to focus on. By default and if GAT has been running for at least that period you can look at the last 6 weeks of collaboration but you can shorten or extend this period (if you have the data) if you want. Once the graph is drawn you can change the view in many ways. How to do that is what we will cover in this post. We are going to look at the buttons on the top bar and show you what they can do.
When we draw the graph first we lay the nodes down as we find them. This is fine if you have a small number of nodes, but if you have a large number the whole diagram can look very entangled. To sort out the ‘balls of twine’, we let you ‘cluster’ the nodes around their main connections, do this until you see very strong clusters form, then select ‘Stop Layout’, select ‘Spread’ and wait until there is an even and reasonable stable spread of nodes. Select ‘Stop Layout’ again and you should see all the main groupings of collaboration sorted out.
This button controls whether the nodes are moving into new positions. 30 seconds sorts most things out, but only you can judge.
Sometimes you zoom in to see the detail and find it hard to get your bearings, rescale just brings you back to the starting point before zoom or pan.
Colour by Intensity/Colour by Filters
The Collaboration Graph measures the intensity of collaboration by size and colour. Users are represented by the nodes and their collaboration is represented by edges (lines between the users). Some nodes are bigger than others, this represents the volume of collaboration that this user participates in, the wider edges represent more collaboration between two specific users.
Colour is also used. Some people are poorly connected (poor at collaborating with many people – low degree) and represented in blue. Others are well connected, collaborating with many people at once, we say these people have a high degree and are represented by more red. This type of colouring is called ‘Colour by Intensity’. Look for large red or yellow/orange circle – these are the key collaborators in every way.
In many cases though, where we are looking at an individual or a group, we say we are ‘filtering’ that user or group into focus, so we then want to ‘Colour by Filters’ to make these nodes stand out and be easily spotted. The default ‘filter’ is internal vs. external, so when you turn on ‘Colour by Filters’ for the main domain, blue NOW represents the internal users and red NOW represents the external users. Picking a single user or group will highlight them in green.
This controls the names that ‘pop up’ when you point at a node. There are four values
Pointer means just the name at the tip of the pointer appears
Neighbours is the same as pointer but it also shows the names of all the nodes connected to the one you are pointing at
Domain puts labels on all the nodes in your domain that are in the present graph
All shows all the labels for all nodes, useful if the graph is sparse.
We currently track collaboration across three areas, email, document sharing and calendar appointments. The default view for the graph is to show the combined collaboration from all three areas, however, the auditor can select to look at the collaboration in any one category by selecting the appropriate filter choice from this drop-down menu.
Does pretty much what it says. When you have a graph of interest we will turn it into a PDF for you to add to a report.
At the graph level, you have a choice of Graph or Pairs
The graph is made up of many different pairs and combinations of relationships, sometimes you just need to see that on a numerical table. Pairs gives you that view and lets you filter and save as a spreadsheet.
Collaboration Graphing has many more features, these are covered by other posts in this site.