Several people have asked me what my predictions are for 2013 for intranets and digital workplaces. I couldn’t resist the temptation to give my view from more of a practitioner’s perspective than maybe others have done. So as that legend in his own lunchtime, Tony Blackburn on Pick of the Pops (c’mon you’re not that young to not know him in the UK at least! :) ) says “Ok pop pickers, here is the fabulous five!”.
1. Not just a flexi fortnight
In 2012 we had the fantastic experience of the London Olympics and Paralympics. Many blue chip and dyed in the wool organisations with office workers in London had a big shock and had to wrench their employment practices quickly into the 21st century by letting people work away from the office at home or other more local places. People were trusted to work as normal for each of these games events. Amazingly it all went smoothly with many organisations realising here was a quick way of helping to save costs with pressure on their business performance.
I predict many ‘flexi fortnight’ organisations will invest heavily in making the digital workplace permanent in 2013 and help change many people’s work/life balance for the better as well as improve overall business performance. They will need help though!
2. SharePoint will be ‘good enough’
SharePoint 2010 and increasingly 2013 will continue to be the major technology deployed by large organisations transforming their intranets into digital workplaces. Why? Well, there are not many alternatives to choose from now or likely during 2013. Organisations may not choose it for the right reasons ‘herding sheep’ is sometime the image that comes to my mind. Where the real challenge will be is the perennial areas of strategy and governance.
I predict many organisations will need help unpicking poor decisions taken without the full knowledge of what SharePoint is capable of. We know that it can be capable of many good things if in the right hands – then again the opposite happens too.
3. ‘Social media’ a threat to internal comms?
And the problem is partly the term ‘social media’ which is misleading in my humble opinion. I always use terms which are more practical and relevant when talking with clients. The same should apply for intranet/digital workplace practitioners when talking to their internal partners and customers. So we’re helping people to find other people with similar interests to help solve a problem quicker, easier and maybe cheaper rather than ‘knowledge management’ and improving communications by people showing how much they value it by sharing, liking, rating, and commenting on it rather introducing ‘Facebook’ or ‘social media’.
I predict internal communications will ‘get it’ and see this as a big opportunity to gain better employee engagement. Use the right terms and examples to get a better understanding of what it’s all about.
4. Security and compliance taken more seriously
We have seen several high-profile examples of organisations with previously strong reputations and brands suffer severe setbacks because of insecure processes and training and not complying with regulations and legal requirements. It really is time that organisations looked at ALL the legal and regulation requirements as a joined up picture for what is needed in a digital workplace. There has always been a risk that sensitive information can be mislaid since the written word many centuries ago so it’s not a new problem.
I predict organisations will ensure their digital workplace governance and processes are robust using software and education to make sure the right behaviour is encouraged to minimise risks of sensitive and commercial information being found by the ‘wrong’ people.
5. Intranet practitioners become INTRANET or DIGITAL WORKPLACE PRACTITIONERS
Yes, it’s my shorthand method of saying the profile for practitioners will grow in 2013. I do believe as intranets transform into digital workplaces, organisations are realising the value they give them. I also believe your profile will increase as you engage with more senior managers over wider areas that are relevant to a digital workplace than just to intranets. I sincerely hope the value you provide in your role will be recognised and rewarded.
I predict 2013 is the year when many intranet practitioners will find by the end of it their career on a much stronger path with many people showing more interested in wanting to be part of this journey and more willing to help you.
Whatever happens in 2013 I hope you achieve your ambitions!