GigJam: Unleashing the human process

The past ten years have seen an unprecedented investment in technology to support business processes. With the rise of web service front-ends to existing applications, the adoption of new SaaS offerings, and the proliferation of mobile devices, the always-connected workforce is now real.

What has not changed much is the time and effort these connected users have to spend, unaided by their business apps, to work with others to get things done.

Let’s say there is a supply bottleneck and some orders need to be delayed. Someone needs to pull the right people together, explore the customers’ relative importance, consider alternate supply options, get account managers bought on the respective impact, and make the changes with everyone agreed. Guess what part of this process the order management application supports? Editing orders. The rest of this task descends to a flurry of meetings, phone calls and emails with screenshots to ensure everyone is on the same page.

It shouldn’t be this hard.

But, it’s simply not possible for app developers to anticipate all the ways people involve others on the spur of the moment: to get them working on parts of a task, to seek input leading to decisions, to get buy in and closure on things. Which is why it is not at all surprising that:

  • A user can select flights and hotels in a self-service travel booking app, but the app cannot know that the user wants to coordinate choices with colleagues also visiting the same customers.
  • A salesperson uses a clothing catalog app to assist customers, but the app cannot support a teenager’s need to get different friends inputting on different choices in real time, and then involve a parent to narrow down what fits the budget.
  • Executives use a talent management app to reward and reassign employees, but they go outside the app to involve other managers to explore and tweak various reward and org permutations.

What’s truly needed is a way for people to spontaneously divvy up the information and actions needed to get work done, to keep track of each part, and bring it all to closure with others.

That’s why we are excited to announce GigJam, a breakthrough way for people to involve others in their business tasks.

This is how the order reprioritization exercise looks with GigJam.

As you see in the video, GigJam is simple to use: you just summon the information you need, circle and cross to divvy up, and tap on people to involve them.

Whether people are face to face, or available by phone, or busy at the moment, it doesn’t matter – each will get the information and tools they need, and their work will be synchronized.

The heavy lifting is all under the covers:

  • The summoned information and associated actions come from the business’s existing applications and SaaS via REST APIs, with OAuth 1 and 2 authentication.
  • When a user divvies up and sends information to another person, it is in the spirit of screen sharing or casting, with the twist that each person can have a different view, and any field or row or even a UI affordance like a scroll button can be redacted. The recipient gets only the UI the sender intended, with information flown through a cloud proxy for the sender’s device.
  • The business’s overall process logic and security policies are thus honored.

GigJam is designed for the emerging workforce that is more connected, more available and more social than ever before.  With GigJam, a business can expect a dramatic transformation of every process where humans have the potential to exercise discretion and work with others, colleagues as well as customers.

In this vision, involving other people is so easy and secure that even when a task is traditionally meant for one person, now others can get involved for greater efficiency and effectiveness. In this vision:

  • A physical therapist who previously worked alone to create a rehab protocol now involves the patient and the patient’s family (each interacting from their own devices), all the while making sure that sensitive physician’s notes and the patient’s records are appropriately shielded.
  • An engineer assigned to inspect an aircraft fuselage can opportunistically accelerate the work by divvying up some of it for a couple of colleagues who happen to be nearby and free, while still maintaining personal responsibility through the ability to review the colleagues’ input before committing it.

While so much of our industry is today focused on coming up with new forms of instant messaging and news ways to share documents, media content and links, GigJam takes on the next big challenge in productivity: task work. The way it does it: allowing people to extract and share the very molecules of work itself, and involve others in completing them.

Not just talking, not just knowledge share, but getting work done.

Darryl Rubin, Vijay Mital and the Ambient Computing Team

Comments (14)
  1. Tim Montpetit says:

    Very cool ….Fascinating ….connections mimicking the human electrical system ….onwards

  2. Alan Lepofsky says:

    Read my initial review here:
    "Gigjam is the latest in the serious of moves that Microsoft is making as they focus on personal and team productivity. Customers, partners and competitors should pay close attention as the concepts in Gigjam could play a large part in shaping the future of
    way people work."

  3. Cristian Arrieta says:

    Amazing app, keep this proyect up it’s just amazing

  4. Nermeen Hamed says:

    This is pretty cool

  5. Detail says:

    Light on detail at the moment, maybe because the video is so slow to load. Does this require a software integrator to get it working with my existing apps? Middleware for other apps?

  6. Jason Gumpert says:

    Coverage of Project GigJam on

    "The demo showed off some unique new interfaces and also some interesting on-the-fly data integration and mapping scenarios. Building a core integration like customers and sales orders each time a customer issue comes up may not be a production-worthy approach,
    but the demo served to show off the idea that both data and actionable tasks can be brought together to accelerate work in a flexible way."

  7. Anonymous says:

    На Международной партнерской конференции, которая проходит в Орландо (Флорида, США), Microsoft продемонстрировала

  8. Anonymous says:

    Microsoft shows off new GigJam service for ‘getting work done’

  9. Timothy says:

    Do you have to draw X’s and O’s? What about mouse+keyboard users? Are there more KB+M friendly alternatives to do those tasks without having to draw awkwardly with a mouse?

  10. Is it possible to connect a BI tool to analysis a given task, such as how many hours were required to complete it, did completion time vary based on other factors etc.

  11. Cesar G. says:

    Sounds promising. I just hope that it works better than the video in this post…

  12. __hAl__ says:

    I echo Timothy, above: showing the touch and talk capabilities is good, but there should be demo video of silent (no talking) use with keyboard and mouse. If KB+M requires drawing, admit it. If using the software requires talking to the computer, then
    no thanks.

  13. Christian Buckley says:

    I am hosting a #CollabTalk tweetjam on July 31st at 9am PST on GigJam and would LOVE to have a couple folks from the ambient computing team join us on the panel. You can reach me via Twitter at @buckleyplanet or email at cbuck @

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