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Hi,

 

Some advice would be welcome. Thinking of investing in Evernote Business but want to be sure it's right for us before investing the finances, and more importantly to begin with the time and effort.

 

I'm a long term user personally and love Evernote Premium.

 

We're a High School with 100+ staff and 800 students. Almost everyone has an iPad. Admin staff have their own PCs. Teachers move from PC to PC.

 

Our existing 'knowledge' is spread over a lot of silos. We have two horribly messy network drives with GBs of documents which stretch over many years. Any sensible file structure has been lost over the years! It's this mess that I really want to tackle first. We use Google Apps. Gmail is used as unofficial storage by most staff. Sending out documents and revisions of documents. Gmail search makes this a better solution than it should be! Google Drive is increasingly used, but not by all.

 

I want a searchable, accessible knowledge storage system. Evernote Business should be perfect for this I think. But we're a school and even at 75% off it's expensive. 

 

We'd obviously want some key notebooks with important documentation in it, staff policies, document templates etc.. I'd also like staff to be able to collate resources around topics. A creativity notebook, an iPad notebook, an assessment notebook, data analysis notebook, etc etc.. Again in my head this seems perfect for Evernote Business.

 

Reading through the forums here though I'm getting concerned that this could quickly turn into as big a mess as our current network drives, admittedly with the advantage of being accessible anywhere for our staff and being far more searchable. With no hierarchy and no ability to rename notebooks are we going to quickly end up with hundreds of messy folders where it's hard to find the wheat from the chaff?

 

I'm also thinking of only investing in Business for certain staff who lead teams, then allowing others to use free accounts but to share important notebooks with them. Is this workable or are we going to spend our lives manually sharing folders with staff? Am I also denying the majority of our staff the opportunity to easily share and discover knowledge that might help them in their day job?

 

Students would definitely have to have free accounts. Haven't really thought that through yet as it's not the driving force behind this solution. Such a shame though that an affordable school-wide solution isn't available, would be a great tool for students to have access to. If they do start using Evernote heavily they'll quickly hit the 60Mb limit. It would be the perfect digital portfolio tool for them.

 

Feedback on the staff side of things welcome:

 

1. In large organisations does it become a disorganised mess of notebooks quickly?

2. Is a mix of Business / Free accounts practical or a logistical nightmare & stymied solution?

 

Thanks :)

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Hi,

 

Some advice would be welcome. Thinking of investing in Evernote Business but want to be sure it's right for us before investing the finances, and more importantly to begin with the time and effort.

 

I'm a long term user personally and love Evernote Premium.

 

We're a High School with 100+ staff and 800 students. Almost everyone has an iPad. Admin staff have their own PCs. Teachers move from PC to PC.

 

Our existing 'knowledge' is spread over a lot of silos. We have two horribly messy network drives with GBs of documents which stretch over many years. Any sensible file structure has been lost over the years! It's this mess that I really want to tackle first. We use Google Apps. Gmail is used as unofficial storage by most staff. Sending out documents and revisions of documents. Gmail search makes this a better solution than it should be! Google Drive is increasingly used, but not by all.

 

I want a searchable, accessible knowledge storage system. Evernote Business should be perfect for this I think. But we're a school and even at 75% off it's expensive. 

 

We'd obviously want some key notebooks with important documentation in it, staff policies, document templates etc.. I'd also like staff to be able to collate resources around topics. A creativity notebook, an iPad notebook, an assessment notebook, data analysis notebook, etc etc.. Again in my head this seems perfect for Evernote Business.

 

Reading through the forums here though I'm getting concerned that this could quickly turn into as big a mess as our current network drives, admittedly with the advantage of being accessible anywhere for our staff and being far more searchable. With no hierarchy and no ability to rename notebooks are we going to quickly end up with hundreds of messy folders where it's hard to find the wheat from the chaff?

 

I'm also thinking of only investing in Business for certain staff who lead teams, then allowing others to use free accounts but to share important notebooks with them. Is this workable or are we going to spend our lives manually sharing folders with staff? Am I also denying the majority of our staff the opportunity to easily share and discover knowledge that might help them in their day job?

 

Students would definitely have to have free accounts. Haven't really thought that through yet as it's not the driving force behind this solution. Such a shame though that an affordable school-wide solution isn't available, would be a great tool for students to have access to. If they do start using Evernote heavily they'll quickly hit the 60Mb limit. It would be the perfect digital portfolio tool for them.

 

Feedback on the staff side of things welcome:

 

1. In large organisations does it become a disorganised mess of notebooks quickly?

2. Is a mix of Business / Free accounts practical or a logistical nightmare & stymied solution?

 

Thanks :)

Hi. Welcome to the forums.

My initial thoughts are that you would have to adapt your system to fit Evernote's structure, and this will inevitably result in fewer notebook hierarchies, so there is going to be a learning curve and probably some resistance from people. One person's mess is another person's lifetime of memories organized by tags (for some people) titles (for others)! How well this works in your organization is probably as much up to you and training as it is to Evernote. If you can get everyone on board with letting go of rigid folder hierarchies and embracing tags, for example, you'll probably see some benefits from the change.

What could you get out of Evernote? As an educator myself, I have a Premium account and use Evernote with all of my classes by creating a notebook that I share with my students. Presentation slides, handouts, photographs of notes on the chalkboard, class notes the students have taken and contributed to the notebook, reading notes, etc. are all in there so that the students are sharing with me and their classmates how they are digesting the material. There is a huge potential here to create a collaborative classroom, something I have been working hard to achieve.

http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=767

It seems safe to me to begin by rolling out Premium (if not Business) to faculty who express interest and a willingness to tackle the learning curve. See how it goes, take the lessons you learn from it, and apply them to the next semester in a kind of slow rollout to the entire school.

If my school had Business, we might have hundreds of these shared notebooks available for all of the faculty and staff to access. Teaching a class on the American Revolution? One search in your account will pull up all of your notes from graduate school, all of your colleagues's course materials for the subject (perhaps your predecessor's notebooks), and perhaps readings or web clippings related to the topic. You'll make your presentation slides, handouts, and notes to contribute to the ever-expanding database so that someone a year or two later could do the same search and come up with even more data. Obviously, the same potential exists for staff as well. I am guessing that a bunch of this data is already on servers all over the place, but the problem is that no single search can look through it all, so it is forgotten.

Anyhow, these are some of the possibilities I see. I've never personally seen a school put Business to use, though. I'd email some of the people who have actually gone through this process of integrating Evernote into their schools.

Nicholas Provenzano is the Education Ambassador for Evernote

http://www.thenerdyteacher.com

Contact Evernote

https://evernote.com/schools/for_schools/

Some links

http://blog.evernote.com/blog/2012/02/14/evernote-for-schools-site-resource-for-using-evernote-in-education/

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Hi Daniel,

 

Just to add to Grumpy's post, I think the key point for you to take on board is that someone needs to dedicate themselves to bringing the information into Evernote. I am guessing this will be a long drawn out process and if I was in your situation I would certainly only have one or at a maximum two people involved in that process before I took the decision to roll it out amongst all of your staff.

 

The critical point to take on board as Grumpy has pointed out is to make Evernote work for you by adapting how you deal with data. That needs to be done, initially on a small scale to iron out any problems that you identify along the way.

 

As to Business, I can see some great benefits with a centralised database of information. Perhaps you will need a few 'key' Business users, a lot of Premium users then the students using free versions. Those students who find Evernote to be a useful tool, I am sure will take their own decision to upgrade to Premium.

 

Best regards

 

Chris

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My advice is to set up a trial account for 2 or 3 or 10 users and test it.  My personal opinion is that until stacks are shareable, and folders easily renamable, it is not a serious solution for most business/educational applications, especially if you're going to have 100+ users all adding content.  People can talk about tags til they are blue in the face, but using them for personal use, or business use where you only have a few contributors, is an entirely different thing than having 100 people use them, with no meaningful business tag functionality such as the ability to enforce tags.  i.e. An admin cannot create a predefined set of tags that everyone has to use, nor can an admin require the use of tags etc.

 

I predict you'll end up with chaos, but it's entirely possible I'm wrong, which is why I think you should give it a try.  Even if it had none of those weaknesses, for a roll-out like this you should still give it a trial before jumping in full speed.

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My advice is to set up a trial account for 2 or 3 or 10 users and test it.  My personal opinion is that until stacks are shareable, and folders easily renamable, it is not a serious solution for most business/educational applications, especially if you're going to have 100+ users all adding content.  People can talk about tags til they are blue in the face, but using them for personal use, or business use where you only have a few contributors, is an entirely different thing than having 100 people use them, with no meaningful business tag functionality such as the ability to enforce tags.  i.e. An admin cannot create a predefined set of tags that everyone has to use, nor can an admin require the use of tags etc.

 

I predict you'll end up with chaos, but it's entirely possible I'm wrong, which is why I think you should give it a try.  Even if it had none of those weaknesses, for a roll-out like this you should still give it a trial before jumping in full speed.

I don't necessarily agree about tags, but I definitely agree about the testing and slow rollout to users; this goes for any solution you choose.

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Just to be clear I love tags and in fact PREFER a tagging type solution for business.  Or to put it more accurately, meaningful metadata, a folder hiarachy is inherently flawed.  The issue is that when you've got hundreds of users, to make it work, you need to be able to enforce a structured metadata system.  People can still add their own tags too, but there has to be a structured metadata system.  For instance, for a business a document could require being assigned to an account or a project, a department etc.  Without that, you've got chaos when you've for hundreds of users.  YMMV

 

Absent that, a folder structure is needed, because that helps to bring order.  That's why EN business desperately needs shared stacks.

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Shared stacks does seem like an obvious omission - don't quite understand it myself. If they're good enough for individual users then in principle surely they should be there for businesses?!?

 

Thanks for the feedback. Kinda confirmed my feelings. It may be worth a test but it's still difficult to know how it will scale which is the key question.

 

Premium isn't really an option, the 75% Business discount for schools makes it considerably cheaper than individual Premium accounts.

 

With tags is there any way at a business level to tidy them up? Mass deleting or find and replace of similar duplicates?

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Shared stacks does seem like an obvious omission - don't quite understand it myself. If they're good enough for individual users then in principle surely they should be there for businesses?!?

 

Thanks for the feedback. Kinda confirmed my feelings. It may be worth a test but it's still difficult to know how it will scale which is the key question.

 

Premium isn't really an option, the 75% Business discount for schools makes it considerably cheaper than individual Premium accounts.

 

With tags is there any way at a business level to tidy them up? Mass deleting or find and replace of similar duplicates?

Tags can be tricky. My recommendation would be to establish an "official" tag structure early into it. For example, all administration tags begin admin- so that you have admin-hr or admin-tax_form. A note listing all of the "official" tags and a shared link to it ought to keep a lot of things straight, I imagine. If no one else is using the admin- prefix, those will stay relatively clean and organized, I guess. People will create all kinds of ad-hoc tags (just as they have probably done with folders already over the years). You can't manage it all, but you can put the tools in place early to avoid problems down the line with duplicates and the like for the critical stuff (for example, a few rules like all lower case, underscores for spaces, all singular). It is also a simple matter to create tables of contents to organize things without having to move anything around as you would have to with a traditional notebook/folder based system (see my shared notebook for an example).

Anyhow, this is all speculation on my part. I'd definitely reach out to people with hands on experience with Evernote at a school. As for Premium, it is actually VERY inexpensive. Why? You only need one person to purchase it. Share the notebook with everyone in your office. They can make notes, modify them, etc. And, they can't make tags in the notebooks you share, so you have 100% control across the organization. If you want to "lock" notes, put them into a notebook and share publicly (as I have with my shared notebook) or share individually without giving modification privileges.

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I don't know if this is a viable option for you, but what about using a private Google+ Community in combination with personal Evernote Premium or Free accounts?

 

Everyone could use his/her Evernote account to collect/create whatever content and share interesting/important notes to the appropriate categories in the Google+ community.

 

What do you think about this approach?

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I have thought about using Google Plus as part of this too. But to be honest I think introducing two new apps for all the staff is just too much to expect to get the necessary traction to be successful.

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My advice is to set up a trial account for 2 or 3 or 10 users and test it.  My personal opinion is that until stacks are shareable, and folders easily renamable, it is not a serious solution for most business/educational applications, especially if you're going to have 100+ users all adding content.  People can talk about tags til they are blue in the face, but using them for personal use, or business use where you only have a few contributors, is an entirely different thing than having 100 people use them, with no meaningful business tag functionality such as the ability to enforce tags.  i.e. An admin cannot create a predefined set of tags that everyone has to use, nor can an admin require the use of tags etc.

 

I predict you'll end up with chaos, but it's entirely possible I'm wrong, which is why I think you should give it a try.  Even if it had none of those weaknesses, for a roll-out like this you should still give it a trial before jumping in full speed.

 

I'm voting for chaos... and would like to echo the feature request: EN please fill this obvious gap and let administrators create and share stacks AND control tags. I have real-life experience with enterprise content management/portal systems that are chaos because the average users 1) have no idea of following even published naming conventions 2) want "everyone" to find their content so the apply every possible tag to it, making tagging meaningless in the long run. While this is not directly applicable to EN structure, the devolution to chaos is.

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My advice is to set up a trial account for 2 or 3 or 10 users and test it.  My personal opinion is that until stacks are shareable, and folders easily renamable, it is not a serious solution for most business/educational applications, especially if you're going to have 100+ users all adding content.  People can talk about tags til they are blue in the face, but using them for personal use, or business use where you only have a few contributors, is an entirely different thing than having 100 people use them, with no meaningful business tag functionality such as the ability to enforce tags.  i.e. An admin cannot create a predefined set of tags that everyone has to use, nor can an admin require the use of tags etc.

 

I predict you'll end up with chaos, but it's entirely possible I'm wrong, which is why I think you should give it a try.  Even if it had none of those weaknesses, for a roll-out like this you should still give it a trial before jumping in full speed.

 

I'm voting for chaos... and would like to echo the feature request: EN please fill this obvious gap and let administrators create and share stacks AND control tags. I have real-life experience with enterprise content management/portal systems that are chaos because the average users 1) have no idea of following even published naming conventions 2) want "everyone" to find their content so the apply every possible tag to it, making tagging meaningless in the long run. While this is not directly applicable to EN structure, the devolution to chaos is.

 

 

If you look at EN for Business, it's seems clear that whoever designed it does not think about or understand business needs, and thinks about everything from an  individual standpoint only.  So instead of having shared stacks, they went with every user being able to create there own stacks, even if that's utterly ridiculous and a user can't see what stack a notebook was shared to, thereby taking away all context!  But yahoo, the user gets to decide.  Admins can't rename notebooks because, supposedly (barf), users requested being able to rename their own notebooks to whatever they want, and could get confused if a notebook changed name!  Sheer insanity and I still want to know why if that's the case, everyone doesn't get to give notes a different name ;) (EN always ignores me when I ask them that)!  After all, maybe I want to give a note a different name that whoever created it ;)!  We should all be able to have our own unique note names, right?!

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