Tags: benefit, best practice, digital workplace, governance, intranet, Mark Morrell, publishing, standards, strategy, usability, users, value
In my last four posts on the digital workplace I have covered ‘Must have digital workplace principles’, ‘5 steps to a great digital workplace strategy’, 7 ways to engage people in a digital workplace and lastly ‘Create a brilliant digital workplace with me’.
To have a successful digital workplace (my definition is ‘work is what you do, not where you go to’) organisations must have the right strategy, culture, environment and infrastructure to exploit the benefits fully. It becomes the natural way of working so everyone is more productive and your organisation more efficient with:
- people work from any location as well as their office workstation
- IT infrastructure for the same or similar experience
- everyone can read news, collaborate, search and complete tasks
- individuals choosing tools – RSS, mobile, etc. – that help them
- organisations measure benefits and encourages digital workplace
Follow these ‘must have’ principles including strategy, engagement, governance, HR policies and IT infrastructure and you will have a great digital workplace.
It is important the whole of the digital workplace is managed so that it brings benefits to the organisation, individuals and collectively, everyone. It should mean the feeling that ‘things are better’ permeates through to everyone and encourages even greater use of the digital workplace.
It means the level of governance balances the rewards to be gained while avoiding any risks. That doesn’t come naturally but through good governance of the digital workplace including:
Who is responsible for developing the strategy, implementing the digital workplace and ongoing management of it? It is difficult for one person to have overall responsibility for so many key roles and activities. Neither is it best for it to be one person.
The best solution is to have a steering group made up of stakeholders from key parts of the business most affected by the digital workplace. These stakeholders should be senior people with decision making authority not someone who has to refer back to his/her line manager and delay matters.
There may be dedicated roles for people responsible for collaboration, ways of working, etc, but they should ultimately report in to the steering group.
The worse solution is to have competing groups of people each implementing conflicting standards, designs and ways to use the digital workplace. That will be a disaster and must be avoided!
You really need a consistent level of governance across your digital workplace. By consistent I don’t mean the same. I mean it is what everyone using the digital workplace would expect or need.
For publishers/site owners who are publishing in the digital workplace accredited types of content (policies, factual stuff) the expectation is for a more rigorous approach than for collaborative content where opinions and views require a lighter touch.
For people using the digital workplace to view information and news, use workflow applications or collaborate with each other, they expect the look and feel of the digital workplace to be similar. Tools needs to be branded in line with the business’ colours and designs. Features need to encourages everyone to use them more such as help links, contact points, easily laid out and functional designs.
All the different parts of the digital workplace need to be integrated so they are seen as one whole entity not a different set of silos, resources with some electronic sticking plaster added to make them look as if they are connected when they don’t give that impression to anyone using them.
One approach is to have a set of standards based on the needs of the organisation (information retention), regulation (who has permission to see what), legal (web accessibility) and technical (DNS policy). These can be applied appropriately across the digital workplace for each activity. So for formal type content (policies and procedures) it’s most likely all the standards will apply. For applications (HR processes) it’s probable that most will apply too. But for collaboration you will apply a lighter touch.
Alternatively you can create standards that only apply to certain information and applications to meet the purpose people need to use it for.
It is about getting the balance right again. You don’t need to be too restrictive and stifle innovation and collaboration. But you don’t want it to be too loose so that the business and individuals risk non-compliance with a legal or regulatory requirements. It’s not easy but getting it right is critical and benefits everyone and the business.
This is the real litmus test, the crunch point for me. Do people have confidence in the information and tools they are using in the digital workplace? Does everyone feel encouraged to use the digital workplace more after each time?
The answer has to be ‘YES!’ to these questions. That is the outcome your strategy and plans should aim for.
However you do this it must balance the needs of the business with those of people working well in a digital workplace.
My next post will cover the HR policies which enable digital working.
Tags: best practice, content, digital workplace, governance, intranet, Mark Morrell, people finder, standards, strategy, value
To have a successful digital workplace (which I define as ‘work is something you do, not a place you go to’) it is vital organisations have the right strategy, culture, environment and infrastructure to exploit the benefits fully. It needs to become the natural way of working so everyone is more effective and productive and your organisation more efficient and successful. For me a digital workplace can include:
- people working from any location (or mobile) rather than their office workstation.
- IT infrastructure providing the same or similar experience wherever somone uses the digital workplace
- people being able to collaborate, search, complete tasks as well as read the latest news
- people choosing how to do ‘things’ – RSS, mobile, etc. – that help them
- the organisation measuring the benefits and encouraging people to use the digital workplace
So, does your intranet look or feel like a digital workplace?
Is it meeting your organisation’s needs – now or in the future?
Does it offer the right tools that people are able to use easily?
Have you the right governance and standards to make your digital workplace successful?
If you have answered no, maybe just shaken your head sideways, then I can help and work with you.
I have first-hand experience of creating, implementing and managing a digital workplace that is one of the best in the world.
Whatever help you need, maybe a call, presentation (online or face to face), workshop, training, consultancy or implemention, I can help.
I will be posting in more detail over the next few weeks on the principles for a great digital workplace to entice you.
So, why not use make your life easier and use my first-hand experience and wider intranet knowledge for your benefit?
Just let me know with a comment, email – markmorrell.ltd@gmail com, Skype (mark.morrell58), call +44 (0) 771 338 5309 or even visit me in Brighton!
Tags: applications, bt intranet, intranet applications, oracle, research, usability, usability standards
I recently posted about the latest user satisfaction with BT’s intranet but forgot to mention one key area which really troubles me. Self service applications.
You will know my concerns on their usability and the problems trying to improve it. Well, the research confirmed all of these and showed me how much users are prepared to put up with because they have no choice.
But it is the huge loss of productivity because of the time taken completing tasks, asking helpdesks, colleagues or searching for online guidance or having to be trained to do these tasks which is my aim too.
I am working with my IT partners in BT and with our suppliers of self service applications like Oracle to improve the ‘out of the box’ usability.
This will take time but it is tackling the problem at the root source so should ultimately bring many benefits to BT and other customers of these applications.
Tags: applications, intranet applications, oracle, usability, usability standards, user testing, users
At this meeting Oracle and founding members will:
- get to know each other
- collect usability issues
- determine common issues to work on and
- set goals and direction to improve usability of enterprise applications.
The usability issues I will be raising are:
- Out of the box usability must be high
- Better usability does not mean more features. It means features must be more usable.
- Think of users when offering help.
- Don’t focus on making error messages better, aim to prevent users making errors.
I’m sharing some slides I plan to use at the meeting. Anyone want to add anything?
Tags: accessibility, applications, best practice, bt intranet, content, publishing, standards, value
My intranet could be breaking the law! Why? What? How?
Well if you have information or applications that is not accessible to everyone then you could be. Everyone, whether they have any impairment or not, need to have the same experience when using any intranet information or applications.
In BT we aim to achieve WCAG 2.0 standard. This is above the likely legal requirement for UK DDA 1995 and, more importantly, sets best practice for all users of BT’s intranet so they have a good experience whatever they use, whether they are impaired or not.
How are we doing this? Well, apart from my last post on how to use it as a lever for wider improvements, BT:
- Prevents web accessibility errors by training, clauses in contracts to buy web services, standards embedded in content templates
- Identifies and corrects web accessibility errors using an automated checker tool
- Guides users on how to use your browser, computer more accessibly.
Follow the right approach and you won’t get a nasty surprise. It only takes one discriminated user and you could have a really big problem to solve.
Prevention is much, much, cheaper and better than curing a problem like this.
Tags: accessibility, applications, bt intranet, intranet applications, usability standards
I sometimes come across sites and applications on BT’s intranet which could be more usable. I find it can be easier to pick up with the owner or developer about its accessibility as a lever to improve other areas such as usability. Why you may ask?
Well there are some improvements which are a matter of opinion. What is usable to one person maybe very unusable to another. They are subjective.
But accessibility is NOT subjective. Either a site is accessible or not. Also in most countries there is a legal requirement for web services (this includes intranets) to be accessible. The level required may vary.
Accessibility standards are available to everyone on the internet. So whether a site or application is developed, published or managed inside or outside of your organisation, the information will always be there.
When a site or application’s accessibility is being updated it is a great opportunity to improve the usability and make other changes at the same time.
So ideally you can improve a site or application so it is legal and improved in other ways to give a better overall experience for all users.
Preventing accessibility problems as well as correcting existing problems is very important for your users as well as your organisation’s legal responsibilities.
I’ll post soon about what BT does on web accessibility.