A platform for better collaboration: The BayernCollab for universities
Team work: BayernCollab offers many functions for management, coordination and communication or information. Photo: Adobe
At the request of the Digitalverbund Bayern, the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre has set up the BayernCollab, a platform that supports team collaboration as well as inter-university projects and tasks.
Recording meetings or documenting work processes, sharing information or collaboratively editing and creating documents, creating and publishing a simple website - these are all functions of BayernCollab, an online platform that supports the organisation and collaboration of teams and institutions worldwide. It is based on the Confluence wiki software from the Australian company Atlassian. BayernCollab is currently being rolled out by the Leibniz-Rechenzentrum (LRZ) on behalf of the Digitalverbund Bayern (DVB / Digital Alliance Bavaria). The DVB brings together Bavarian universities to develop and pursue common IT strategies.
Positive experiences, practical tools
BayernCollab aims to promote inter-university cooperation and the coordination of working groups. To achieve synergy effects for the universities, the LRZ set up its own server cluster within a few weeks, installed the Confluence instance for shared use in Bavaria. The result is a cost-effective, dedicated platform and an alternative to the Atlassian cloud, which is not viable for universities for reasons of data protection, service reliability and scalability. The platform is configured to allow universities to administer and set up their own areas; if Confluence is already in use, existing pages with content and links can be migrated. The LRZ has been offering the service since autumn 2023, with 19 universities and around 133,000 potential users currently using BayernCollab, and a further 25 institutions expressing interest.
It was the positive experiences at the LRZ, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU), where departments, institutes and working groups have been using Confluence since more than 10 years, that accelerated the software selection process. In addition, Confluence, and therefore BayernCollab, is user-friendly and covers a wide range of usage scenarios. Using only a browser and no additional tools, users can collaboratively create and edit texts online. The platform is suitable for small teams as well as for institutions and can be used globally and across locations. Many tools and a handy editor are available for planning, organising and collaborating. Users define who has access to Collab pages and content and who can update or modify them. BayernCollab logs these changes. The invitation function can be used to publish individual pages.
Versatile Usage Scenarios
• At the LRZ, departments and teams use BayernCollab to share information, plan and document work steps or meetings. If minutes are frequently opened for all colleagues, sensitive data remains within the team or clearly defined user groups.
• BayernCollab also serves the technical documentation for IT service management and data security. Here you will find descriptions of all processes for creating IT services and instructions for dealing with emergencies. It also lists the technical resources required. This documentation is also the basis for the LRZ's certifications in both disciplines (ISO/IEC 20.000; ISO/IEC 27.001), which the auditors can easily verify.
• The Inter-University IT Service Centre for Information Security (HITS-IS) uses BayernCollab to organise teamwork at different locations and universities. Specialists exchange measures for IT security, document meetings and work results, list tools and devices, or document analysis data on incidents and solutions.
• The TUM’s Munich Data Science Institute (MDSI) uses BayernCollab to build simple, informative websites to communicate events and lectures to the public online. The page for the webinar series "Deep Dive into Cloud-Computing for Researchers" provides all relevant information.
Simple, but informative: The MDSI informs online about events on Collab pages.
• BayernCollab can also be used to easily create forms, e.g. for applicants or event registrations. This is why HR departments in particular work also with BayernCollab.
Especially the graphical tools and the possibility to publish information online and to link to social media make the platform interesting for science and research. The EU requires transparency, regular information and a dedicated web presence for the projects it supports: All of these tasks can be created and maintained with BayernCollab. (L. Ullmann/Simon Schlechtweg)