What’s New In LINQ
Contributor User Role
As a LINQ Administrator, when you create a new user in your organisation, you will now see a new type of user – Contributor. We’ve done the foundational work to introduce a new type of access into the LINQ workflow. When the work is complete, Editors will have full access to the LINQ capability in order to create sketches, Contributors will evaluate the insights gained from the sketch and publish the story to the Viewer, who will access the read-only Viewer to understand what it means to them. The full experience is not yet ready; you can assign Contributors, but right now, they will have the same access as Editors. In the New Year we will be communicating the additional users this adds to your current subscriptions.
Easier User Management
This month’s release has mainly been dealing with some background management utilities which provide more flexibility for us in terms of administration. As a result of those changes, managing your users is now much simpler. The “Guest” user – which was necessary due to the way we had developed our account creation process to revolve around a single access domain, is no more! Now you can add a user to your organisation using any email address they provide you with and you can set them with an appropriate level of access; Administrator, Editor or Contributor.
Publishing sketches - Major enhancements!
We have introduced a new Publish Sketch workflow and a slew of new privacy related control options when publishing a sketch.
- You can now choose to not publish specific data that may be deemed sensitive within your organisation and that you choose to make not visible to those that you are sharing the sketch with. These de-selectable fields include:
- Action duration and frequency
- Cost related properties
- Custom Properties
- Tags and flags
- Dashboards and Insights can now be individually published.
- It should be noted the removing some data deemed sensitive will affect the visibility and ability to select of some Insights and Dashboards
- You can now choose how the sketch is viewed on opening it with the Focus selection option.
- If an introductory note is included in the dialogue above, a pop-up appears when the sketch is opened.
- For viewers who are new to LINQ we have added a “Learn More” button which shows links to various introductory and training materials (the following pop-up also appears directly if an introductory note is not included)
- We have given you more control over the email send when you share your sketch. You can edit the Subject and Body of the email received by the recipient of the published sketch. We can also generate a URL to share in the event that you don’t want to send an email from within the LINQ environment.
- Note: LINQ publishes exactly what you seen on the screen, rather than the latest saved copy. If you make a change to the layout, flags or insights while in read-only mode and then you publish your sketch, it will publish the sketch with those unsaved changes rather than your last save point.
Sketch name length
We’ve changed the character limit for sketch names to 128 characters (just over 3x what it was before)
Clear Action Frequencies and Durations
Once you had added frequency and duration to an Action node, we gave you no way of clearing that data, so we’ve added a “reset” to the action node’s frequency and duration with the addition of the ‘Clear’ button to the action duration calculator. This simplifies refactoring of existing information supply chains. You can now copy and paste elements of your Information Supply Chain into a new sketch, reset duration and frequency and re-model these nodes accounting for new data.
Annual Hours / People Hours Distinction
With the ability to model ‘meetings’ in a LINQ sketch (many people connected to a single action), we have found that it is useful to distinguish between the annual hours of the action and the annual hours of the people involved. For example, a weekly meeting with four attendees may take one hour, the annual hours of the meeting equal 52 hours. However, the annual people hours total 208 hours.
To display this distinction, we have added three new properties to action nodes within the Balanced Scorecard dashboard and the Excel exports
- Annual hours – frequency X duration of the action
- People hours – frequency X duration of the action X number of people connected to the action
- System hours – frequency X duration of the action X number of systems connected to the action or connected to people who are connected to the action
Select All Nodes
If you have ever had trouble keeping track of nodes when following an upstream or downstream information flow – then do we have a new feature for you!
In the navigator panel we have added a new “Select All” button that selects just the nodes visible in the navigator view.
For example, in Downstream mode, the “Select All” button will select every node downstream of the focused node (including the focused node).
With all the nodes selected we recommend using tags to mark the nodes, then flags to highlight the nodes on the canvas. With these combined features it is a lot easier to keep track of a single information flow.
Bonus tip – you can use the find panel to remove a tag once you have finished following a flow – search for the tag, select all the results with SHIFT + click, and use the properties panel to remove the tag.
New Image Export and Print Improvements
We have added an option to export a sketch as a Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg) image.
This export type overcomes the size limits encountered with our PNG image export. You can now export any size sketch as a SVG image. SVG also has the additional benefit of being scale independent, allowing you to use the resulting image in both print and screen applications.
To export a SVG image, select the “Export SVG Image” option from the image export button, in either the navigator panel toolbar or canvas toolbar.
Small improvements have also been made to the print system so that large sketches no longer have empty pages appearing before the sketch content. We have also fixed a Chrome related issue where occasionally no print content would appear.
New Excel Export
A new export option has been added to the canvas – “Full Export”. With this export, more advanced reporting from LINQ can be achieved with products such as Microsoft BI.
The “Full Export” option produces an Excel spreadsheet (.xlsx) that contains unique identifiers for each node, edge and LINQset, along with: node-to-edge relationships, node-to-LINQset relationships, properties and tags.
The original Excel export can be found under the option “Basic Export”
We’ll be sharing some insights created from the Full Export, so you can see the questions you are able to answer by making use of this data in Excel.
We have added a hover display for a Property field to include all text in that field.
Not only is this useful for Description of a text field when it is longer than the frame shows:
This can also be useful for the creation of custom fields containing a large amount of text where you would like that text to be easily visible – for example a “notes” field as shown here:
For more details please watch the release video.
Layout Undo and Property Description Label After Zoom
We have enabled the ability to undo an “Apply Layout” step when manually applied. This does not affect the underlying data but undoes the visual layout as decided by LINQ’s logic engine if this does not suit your visual aesthetic.
As you zoom out, the labels are automatically hidden for you.
For more details please watch the release video.
The new Insight Panel allows a LINQ Capture Expert or a LINQ User to easily and visually communicate “What if?” scenarios and quickly identify missing node data.
The Insight Panel is accessed by either clicking on or dragging the Insight link on the very right hand side of the screen.
Run ‘What if’? Scenarios
- Live analysis, right on the canvas. Immediately see the effect on Saving Potential relating to cost and time if certain tasks are not undertaken.
Build and Present Your Business Case
- Ready-made business case slides for common scenarios
- Showcase important information flows with supply-chain ‘photos’ and highlighting
Gain Buy-in and Collaborate
- Share presentations, supply-chains, and evidence based data with decision makers and stakeholders
Ensure data accuracy and completeness
- Easily identify Action and Data nodes that have missing or incomplete data. Navigate directly to the effected nodes and see the addition of data change outcomes in real-time.
For more details please watch the release video.
Balanced Scorecard Dashboard Update
We’ve given the Balanced Scorecard a make-over! It now provides more detail about what is going on inside your Value LINQsets. This diagram shows all of the improvements. You can find out more about Dashboards on our Support Site here.
Accessing learning materials and help
We’ve tidied up the menus in LINQ. It’s now clear where to go to manage your settings, where to go to get Help and how to access our learning resources. A simple change, but one which means you can more easily find what you need.
Editing many action nodes at once
When you have many Action nodes selected, you can now make changes to either duration or frequency and have this change applied to all selected nodes. This means that you can quickly move from modelling the cost of a single transaction to all transactions in a year in just a few clicks; select all of your relevant Action nodes, and in the Properties window, update frequency and hey presto, you’ve annualised your Information Supply Chain!
Balanced Scorecard Dashboard upgrade
We’ve improved the way sorting works in the Balanced Scorecard. Now it makes sense! You can also expand and collapse all with the click of a button. Access to your insights is easier and understanding how to communicate what you’ve found is becoming clearer. Watch this space for more improvements…coming soon…
Learning content for new users
If you’re a new user to LINQ, when you log in for the first time, you will have access to our new learning content; a series of 8 videos which will take you through the process of capturing and gaining insight from you Information Supply Chains. You can also access those videos from this link. Enjoy!
Editing inside a LINQset
You can now create new content directly inside a Value LINQset. You can paste copied nodes and make connections right where they are supposed to be, rather than working outside the LINQset and then connecting it up. It’s a small change, but a huge productivity gain!
A tour of the canvas
We’ve added a new helper to introduce all of the elements of LINQ. New users will see this when they log in, but anyone can access this tour from the Learn menu.
An updated Gallery
We’ve improved the presentation of the Gallery and added some new content under Learning LINQ. The new sketches work with the new video content, so you can watch the videos and follow along using the sketches provided.
A fresh new look
We’ve updated the look of the Explorer View. It still provides the same level of capability, but now looks the part too! We hope you like the brighter look and feel.
Many Actions to One Information Asset
We’ve extended the LINQ language to allow you to connect many actions to one information asset. When the action that is being undertaken is the same, but is performed by different people at different times, creating the same information, this relationship helps to show shared actions through your business. We’ve described more scenarios here. There is also a video going into more depth here.
Many People to One Action
We’ve extended the LINQ language to allow you to connect many people to one action. When the action is a meeting which is attended by many different people, it is valuable to be able to describe the people involved accurately and fully determine the cost of holding that meeting. We’ve described more scenarios for you here. There is also a video going into more depth here.
Tagging & Flagging
We have created Tags and Flags so that you can easily categorise, organise and highlight important nodes or Value LINQsets in your sketch. You can now add a Tag and turn on a Flag against any node in your sketch, highlighting that there is something important about them, drawing attention to them or reminding yourself where to continue your work when you return to LINQ. The new Visualisation Panel controls Flag visibility and provides insight into nodes that have Tags assigned to them. Find out more here.
Copy & Paste across Sketches
It’s now super fast to make use of content you’ve already captured. You can select your existing content from one Sketch and paste that into an existing sketch you own, have had shared with you (as an editor) or create the start of a new sketch using that content. All your valuable information, including custom properties will be available for you to re-use. Learn more here
We’ve updated our URL property so you can now connect to any type of content that you already have in your business from the LINQ nodes. You may want to record a web address using a URL, a document stored in your Document Management System using an Intranet link or to a file on your own PC or on your file system. Now you can! LINQ becomes a visual catalogue to your organisational information asset.
Record your conversations
We’ve created a new Information Node subtype for Verbal Information. You can use this to show that information doesn’t make it into a system but forms part of your information flow. This node helps to highlight risk and bottlenecks. Learn more here
Recording Organisational Cost
That organisation which supplies content to you has a cost to your business. That could be the cost of the information provision or the SLA that you have with them. You can now record the cost against the Organisation node. Simply enter the cost in the Cost field and this property will be available in the Dashboards.
Custom Node Properties
Against any node type, you can now create your own properties to document more knowledge about your information flow. These can either be text or numeric and can be associated with any of the node types. You might want to record Risk against Information, or Team against People. Now you can.
Custom Properties travel with your sketch when you share it internally or externally. Find out more here.
Multi-node Property Editing
When you select several nodes in your sketch, either on the canvas, or via the Find Panel, you will be able to update properties for those selected nodes in one go. Even if you select nodes of different types, common properties across your selection can be edited at once.
This is really useful for correcting spellings, mass update of node descriptions, or changing the node subtype to enhance your sketch. Find out more here.
Enter any action time & duration
We’ve removed the 24 hour validation on the Action Calculator. You can now take a more transactional approach to describing the actions that take place in your business. Perhaps you know that your team performs 5000 transactions per day. Previously you would have had to reconcile that down to what one person in the team did, rather than thinking about the team as a whole.
Now you can go to town and consider teams as easily as individuals through your business. Of course, all of this drives the insights delivered through the People Dashboard. Learn more about the People Dashboard here.
URLs for Everyone
LINQ is really great at providing a ‘big picture’ view of your business. But how can you use LINQ to navigate from your big picture view, to detailed documents and supporting data?
The answer is the URL (uniform resource locator to its friends).
You can use URLs everywhere in the supply-chain. LINQ information, people, systems and actions all get their own URL fields, and you can use them to point to anything you want on the internet, or intranet.
Just click on the URL to jump to that location.
People Dashboard V2 - Bring your HR to life!
People dashboard V2 is out. We think we have created something special, a powerful tool that brings HR to life.
People dashboard takes everything LINQ knows about people and your business, and helps you drill into:
- The outcomes people support, and the linkages to what people do
- The information they create, and the strategic value to the organisation
- The work they do, and the interactions of that work in the wider organisation
- The systems they use, and the utilisation of those systems
We know the new dashboard is really useful for hiring, on-boarding and planning. You can see how a person’s activities fit into the wider business, what their work supports, and you’ll know what training to provide when people move around the organisation.
We can’t wait to see what you will do with it!
The best, and most successful transformations always start with an ‘Aha!’ moment. That instant when you discover something you didn’t know about the business, and now you can see a much better way.
Aha! moments happen when you…
- See where your information goes, and what it contributes to
- Learn about other parts of the business and what they do
- Understand the true flow of the business
This week we release phase one of the LINQ people dashboard – it’s your way to:
- See how your work aligns to the strategic goals of business
- Understand what happens to the information you make and how much it gets used by others
- Identify activities getting in the way of what really counts
Let us know what you think.
We can’t wait to hear about your Aha!
This week’s release is all about polishing LINQ. We got feedback about naming and renaming sketches – it didn’t quite feel right – so we’ve tweaked that for you.
‘Save’ and ‘save as’ now pop up a dialog so you can choose a new name.
We also made ‘renaming’ obvious with a dedicated button in the sketch list. You can also do it the old way by clicking directly on the sketch name.
Transfer and Delete a Project
Finished with your consulting project?
LINQ now includes a phased delete process for closing down your LINQspace.
The delete process has a project-definable transfer period where members can send project sketches to your clients, or back to your organisation’s LINQspace for use in later projects.
Your important projects are protected from accidental deletion, by a two person confirmation system.
LINQ usage page
We’ve built a very handy usage page, where you can see a condensed overview of your organisation’s billing structure.
Do you need to put your consulting project on hold?
Parking a LINQspace keeps all of your project sketches, while turning off access to the project.
While your project is parked you’ll pay a lower fee; and you can reactivate your project at any time.
Send LINQ Sketches to Another Organisation
Send-a-copy now supports sending sketches to LINQ friends in other companies.
Great for collaboration! Now go out there and make the world a better place!
Increased Resolution for the Action Duration Calculator
We’ve increased the duration resolution in the Action Duration calculator. Now you can calculate Action duration and frequency down to 1 second intervals or up to 10 years.
Faster Ways to Insert Nodes into your Chain
Drag and Drop an Information or Action node onto a green or orange connection to automatically insert new nodes into your chain.
Or, double click on green or orange connections to do the same thing.
LINQ Engine Upgrade - V8 Turbo!
This weekend we switched on a major upgrade to LINQ’s engine. Over the course of six weeks we’ve done the software equivalent of:
- Swapping our 1.6 litre engine with a tuned V8
- Adding a turbo, and super-charger
- Squeeze in some electric motors
And then we painted some sweet flames down the side!
So what will you notice?
LINQ loads and saves are faster now, and search is much faster.
But the real change is behind the scenes. We’ve laid down foundations for the new analytics features you’ve heard us talk about, and improved the way we deal with concurrent modifications.
From here on it’s ‘pedal to the metal’ for LINQ. We’re looking forward to delivering new ways for you to see and transform your business.
The LINQ development team.
Connection Hints and Helpers
Almost every new LINQ user comes across times when LINQ won’t let you connect something to something else. LINQ helpers recognize those moments and explain why, and how you can use LINQ to get maximum results.
Already an expert? Well that’s awesome! You can just click ‘Got It!’ on the helper and it will stop appearing for that situation.
Pro tip: The on/off switches for all the helpers are in the ‘My Settings’ menu.
Introducing the ‘Something Happens Here’ Node
The ‘Something Happens Here’ Action node (it looks like this: ‘?’) is a great way to mark the parts of the chain that you know must exist, but you don’t know enough about what happens in there.
You can add the ‘Something Happens Here’ node to the canvas just like the other Action nodes.
Adding users to LINQ is much simpler now: add users to our template spreadsheet, and import them all at once.
LINQ administrators, you can find this option under ‘User Management’.
Where Does This Connection Go?
Click on any connection on the canvas, and the navigator panel will show you what is at both ends.
Excellent for finding your way around big sketches!
Over the coming weeks we are adding features that make it easy for new users to get started with LINQ.
The first helper describes what the connections between nodes mean. You can turn them on and off in My Settings menu (under the cog icon).
Custom Naming of Value LINQsets
You can now label Value LINQsets (groups) so that you can find your content quickly. And they are included in the Excel export.
We have added the first of our LINQ Dashboards – the LINQ Balanced Scorecard.
Now you can compare cost and value from any of your information supply chains in a easy-to-read table.
Information Output Indicator
We’ve had a customer or two asking for a indicator to identify the information nodes that are supply chain outputs (these are the ones that allow you to enter value). We added a little bar indicator on information nodes that are outputs.
Where does that information come from? What’s involved in producing that report? Who uses that information and where does it go?
The navigator now works as a resizable split screen, complete with independent zoom controls. Now you can run an analysis view alongside your supply-chain.
Getting the big picture just got a lot easier with LINQ.
LINQspaces for consultant partners
LINQspaces are independent, access-controlled, workspaces designed to make working with external organisations easy. Each LINQspace has independent user lists, independent sharing, and the sketches inside a LINQspace are completely separate from other LINQspaces.
External guest users
Now you can share your great ideas and LINQ sketches with people outside of your organisation. You can set up a guest user for an external user and share with them without worrying – LINQ ensures they can’t get the special access rights that internal users can.
What if you have no sketches of your own? Maybe, you just need someone to give you an example, or a start-point you can build up from. LINQ Gallery has what you need.
The Gallery has sketch examples, templates, and videos for a variety of applications. Over time, this will be the place to discover:
- Best practice information supply chains for your organisation and the wider industry
- Tutorials to get the best out of LINQ
- Information Supply Chain building blocks
The ‘Jono Freebie’ - Bookmarks
Our lead dev Jono snuck a little present into LINQ. You can bookmark the sketch you are working on in your browser, and return to it later.
We’ve made you a new workspace specially designed to make finding, managing and sharing LINQ sketches much easier.
When you start LINQ, you go straight to our new explorer with all your sketches front and centre. Click on the sketch to see who has access, collaborate with a few clicks, and see who’s been working hard on your sketches while you were away on your vacation.
And, because it’s so cute, we put a mini version on the canvas too.
Click and Add
Last release we made drawing a supply-chain faster and easier. This time we made it quicker and simpler.
Click and drag from an existing piece of a supply-chain and then click where you want the next bit to appear. LINQ figures out what node is likely to come next and adds it for you. Use your mouse wheel to ‘spin’ through all the type options like: a file, a database, paper etc.
Hey! LINQ is reading your mind.
Export to Excel
What do you do when you have a great LINQ sketch, but you need to share the information to other applications? You export to Excel (or OpenOffice).
LINQ exports all of the information about nodes, values, costs, and LINQ sets into a handy spreadsheet, and summarizes everything for you too. All you have to do is click the export button.
To help you get the most out of our Share feature, we’ve made some changes to the toolbars on the Canvas page. You’ll see some new tools when you’re working on a shared sketch, and there’s also a new way to edit the name of your sketch (just hover and click on the name!). We’ve also combined the file menu with the sketch name too, so now there’s just one simple place to manage your sketches.
The new drag-and-drop auto-connect feature lets you build Information Supply Chains even faster than before. Now dropping a node from the Palette onto another node will automatically connect the two nodes together for you.
See the Value of External Information Suppliers
LINQ now shows you the value of the information you source or consume from external organisations. This allows you to determine the value the external organisations represents to your internal information supply chains. This can provide insight into the importance of these organisations to your business outcomes and help you asses and mitigate the risk to your business should that external supply be impacted for any reason.
Improved Supply Chain Information Reuse
The best Information Supply Chains produce useful, reusable, information all along the chain. LINQ now supports intermediate information outputs in a chain; typically derived information which connect directly to other business outcomes, and lets you value them independently to the top level information outputs supporting business outcomes.
Fast Node Connections
Connecting nodes is now really fast! Drag a node onto the canvas, and then immediately click and drag on a node to connect it to another node – you don’t have to click it to select it first. If you are wondering how to move a node, select it, hold down CTRL and drag it.
Share A Copy
The new Send a Copy function allows you to send a copy of your diagram to another user in your organisation so they can see what you’ve been working on, or help complete your capture.
Expand And Collapse All LINQsets
Expand and collapse all of the LINQsets in your diagram in one click using the tools in the toolbar. In conjunction with QuickLINQ, these tools deliver a simple diagram visualisation which can help focus on value.
Prevent annoying diagram layout redraws in the middle of your capture by using the Pause Layout button. This temporarily turns layout redraw off so you can quickly hook your nodes together. Un-pause to redraw your diagram.
Quick Node Description Entry
You can now quickly add your node description by selecting the node and typing. No need to select the description attribute, just type! You can edit existing descriptions by double clicking the node label.
Search For Nodes
The new search tool lets you search through the content you have attributes to your nodes. You can search for content against any attribute and filter by node type to quickly get to the node you are looking for.