Category Archives: benchmark

The Digital Workplace in the connected organisation

I have recently been reading Jane McConnell’s report ‘The Digital Workplace in the Connected Organization‘.  You will have to go a long way and use a lot of effort to find another research report that will be as interesting, insightful and better value for money.  If you haven’t bought a copy then please consider seriously doing so.

What is new this year?

The Digital Workplace Scorecard

The main innovation is the Digital Workplace Scorecard, which is based on the nine dimensions of the digital workplace model described in this report. The Scorecard works from self-assessment: scores are calculated based on several hundred data points from the responses to the online survey questions.

All participants receive (privately) their own scorecard and can compare themselves to others in their industry by looking at the industry-specific scorecards or to the Early Adopters. All industry scorecards are published in the report.

The digital workplace in the context of the organization

This year’s report represents a major step forward in understanding how the digital workplace impacts and is impacted by organizational processes, structures, leadership, culture and mindset. The survey covered these points in addition to the traditional questions about people capabilities, mobile services, finding expertise, sharing knowledge and so on.

Twenty-three “In Practice” Cases

“The Digital Workplace in the Connected Organization” contains 23 “In Practice” cases that are developed in more detail than in previous years. The organizations selected for these cases stood out during the data analysis process, either because of high scores or because their comments and examples are relevant to challenges many organizations are facing today.

There are so many great insights and highlights that I was spoilt for choice on what to write about.  Three highlights for me are:


Jane identifies this as a critical factor defined as ‘the values, expectations and ways of thinking that determine how people and organizations act’.  My experience with intranets successfully transforming into digital workplaces requires senior managers to lead and encourage employees to change their way of working.  Even more important is for senior managers to demonstrate by example how they are using it to help themselves for employees to follow.

just starting

Many organisations have just started to adopt digital workplace ways of working.  Many of my clients are in this position.  Factors like access to real-time information, finding out information from people you don’t know and resilience when bad weather or other problems can affect service.  Adopting the digital workplace can help to remove these major business issues with benefits of improved customer service and productivity savings.


As Jane says in her report ‘People are increasingly deciding how they want to work and which tools suit them best regardless of corporate policies.’ with organisations recognising this as becoming the new reality with many employees saying they are ‘discouraged but accepted’ when using personal devices for their work.  To me that feels like a major shift from a year ago and one of my 2014 predictions.

Overall this research can be referred to many times as you continue your jouney to a fully integrated digital workplace for your organisation.

The Digital Workplace Trends 2014 survey is now open!

The 8th annual survey – Digital Workplace Trends 2014 – is now open.  It will close mid-October.  You are invited to participate in the survey and in return you will receive:
  • A free copy of the “Digital Workplace Trends 2014″ report on 31 January 2014. (This report is commercialized at US$ 530 for non participants.)
  •  A customized Digital Workplace Scorecard. The scorecard is calculated based on responses to a selection of questions in the survey. It gives a sense of where the organization is at compared to other similar organizations. (Available in the first part of February.)
The survey will take you from 45 to 60 minutes to complete.  You can exit the online survey platform at any time, and return later to where you left off.  Just sign up to get started.
Themes covered this year:
  • What makes up the digital workplace
  • Impact on the physical workplace
  • Social collaboration
  • Enterprise social networking
  • Video and e-learning
  • Information discovery
  • Mobile
  • Business impact of the digital workplace on the organization
  • Leadership involvement
  • Strategy, governance and decision-making
  • Change and challenges
  • Preparation for the future workplace

Vendors, agencies and consultants can also be involved and get a free copy of the final report by bringing their clients to the survey.

The DW 2014 Quick Reference Guide can be downloaded and  there is a frequently asked questions page with a lot of information about how the survey works.

Information about the survey’s purpose and past survey participation is available.
Please get in touch with Jane McConnell if you have any questions or comments.

DW Trends 2013: ideal for DW and intranet practitioners

I have recently been enjoying reading through Jane McConnell‘s latest Digital Workplace Trends Report for 2013.  It is a feast of appetising information on the latest trends in the digital workplace.  It gives great hints and tips.  It is also very topical in view of the news about Yahoo! homeworkers and the known benefits of the DW that I have posted about recently.

The Digital Workplace Trends Report 2013 is very helpful for anyone who is involved with the digital workplace, whether you are starting to think about it, already planning how to transform your intranet, or wanting to check if what you have implemented is along the right track.

The real beauty in this great treasure trove of DW information for intranet practitioners will be:

  • Trends – seeing how areas have stalled, accelerated, and the reasons why
  • Layout – key findings shown as bullet points, graphs and bar charts to easily see key data
  • Case study examples – a great addition and fascinating to read about real examples
  • Dip in and out – choose to read one section, many, all sections.  Whatever you decide this report will suit your needs.

If this was a printed instead of a digital document it would already be well-thumbed through with the corners bent by the times I have been reading sections again and again to learn more each time.

Don’t miss out on this unique research about the digital workplace.

Are your intranet standards ‘smart’?

I have reviewed many intranets and have been amazed at the variety of publishing standards and how they are enforced.  These vary from no publishing standards through to everything being locked down depending on the importance of complying with standards.  More importantly it is the amount of time, effort, and money that is used to enforce people to comply with the standards when they publish information.

I sometimes think organisations lose the plot and forget to look at the costs being spent for the  benefit being gained.

Your intranet needs standards to make sure your organisation complies with business, user, regulatory, and legal requirements in any country it operates in.  The best approach is to have ‘smart’ standards that need the minimum time, effort, and cost which achieving the maximum effectiveness and benefits.  How many of these questions can you answer “yes” to?

  1. Do you train your publishers on what your intranet standards?
  2. Do you also train your publishers on why your intranet has these standards?
  3. Do you educate and support your publishers with guidance to understand more about your standards?
  4. Do you embed any of your standards in the publishing templates e.g. branding, navigation menu?
  5. Do publishers need to comply with your standards before their content is published e.g. images need to have alternative texts before they can be used?
  6. Do you review content for compliance?
  7. Do you remind your publishers if their content is non-compliant?
  8. Do you remove content if no action by your publishers to comply?
  9. Do you measure how compliant your intranet is?
  10. Have you measured it more than once?

If you answered “yes” to all these questions then award yourself a gold medal!

If you answered “no” to any of these questions perhaps you had better contact me?

Help with intranets, digital workplaces, collaboration and SharePoint

Thinking about what is the best way to implement SharePoint 2010?

Are you looking for good examples of managing intranets?

Are you planning how to transform your digital workplace?

Maybe you want to use collaboration tools to increase employee engagement?

Now you can find helpful information on all these areas in one site.  It combines my first-hand experience managing BT’s intranet with my knowledge and help improving other intranets to show how you can improve your intranets and digital workplaces.

If I can help you further please contact me whenever you want to.

Digital Workplace Trends 2012 report

If you are going to spend any of your own or your organisation’s hard earned cash this year then it will be difficult to find a better reason for spending it than on Jane McConnell’s excellent Digital Workplace Trends 2012 report.  It is packed with great research, trends and insights on intranets and the digital workplace that will help you focus on what need your top priorities in 2012.  It is impossible to do the report justice by covering it in any depth in a blog post so I’ll pick out three key findings that interested me most.

1. The intranet or digital workplace is the ‘way of working’ in the organisation.

Jane says “the essential place for accessing all or most of what people need to work” is the digital workplace for employees.  As I have been saying during 2011 ‘work is what you do, not where you go to’ and recommended how you can achieve this with my digital workplace principles.  This is a big ‘win-win’ for organisations saving costs and employees more engaged and a priority for 2012.

2. Internal social collaboration has become well-established

Jane says “social collaboration is well-established at enterprise-wide level or within some parts of the organisation”.  It is good to see organisations accepting the benefits will come from this approach.  I have said that engaged people who are able to  communicate and collaborate more easily with other employees using these tools will prosper with the right culture and governance.

3. A fully functioning, high-level digital board making decisions

Jane says “the digital boards makes decisions for both internal and external digital channels ranging from the intranet to external web sites, and include collaborating and social networking”.  This is great to hear.  At last more intranets and digital workplaces AND the people who manage them are being recognised by their organisations and taken more seriously.  The digital workplace strategy for how they are managed is critical.

Very few organisations achieve all three criteria so for most it is an aspiration which can be the focus for their improvement priorities in 2012 ready for the Digital Workplace Trends 2013 survey.

How beautiful is your intranet?

Like London buses that arrive in twos and threes, here is another fantastic chance for intranet professionals to gain the recognition they deserve.
The Intranet Benchmarking Forum are running their ‘My beautiful intranet’ competition now.  The winners will be announced in the final hour of IBF 24 which I will be guest hosting with Paul Miller, IBF CEO and Founder.
You just need to do three things now.
My beautiful intranet 
1. My beautiful intranet
Enter by sending a screenshot of your intranet before IBF 24 starts on 17 May.  You can also vote for the entries submitted so far.
2. IBF 24 17-18 May
IBF 24If you haven’t heard of this already, where have you been?! :-)
What can I say about IBF 24 that hasn’t been said already?  Now into its third year, IBF 24 just keeps getting better and better! 
IBF 24 is a FREE 24 hour online interactive broadcast from the Intranet Benchmarking Forum, showcasing live intranet tours and the latest from industry thought leaders.
Where else can you in 24 hours join thousands of the world’s intranet, digital and online practitioners plus many others?
3. IBF 24 last hour
I will be guest hosting the final hour with Paul Miller.  The winners of My Beautiful Intranet’ will be announced along with loads of exciting news.  So, please join me for the final countdown…………..and the previous 23 hours too!

When will mobile priorities come first?

When will organisations start designing and creating applications, web pages and social media tools with mobile devices as the first priority before PC users?

More and more people are using smartphones for their work.  While travelling or working remotely from their normal place of work they need to use their intranet.

But we still design for PC users as the first priority.  This can mean it is more difficult than it need be when using a smartphone on your intranet wasting unnecessary time or having to involve others taking them away from their work.

When will the tipping point come and first priority be to check that anyone with a smartphone can have a great experience using a new intranet tool?

When the Intranet Benchmarking Forum last benchmarked BT’s intranet they said “BT’s intranet is designed to support mobile workers so it is fully accessible from mobile devices.  Mobile users use a text-based interface.”

People in BT can use their Blackberrys to:

With the rollout of SharePoint 2010 it is critical that people can use their Blackberrys to do this.  As you can see from comparing these screenshots showing SP2010 sites using a PC and Blackberry that is possible.

How long before the experience is as good or even better when you use a smartphone compared to a PC though?

5 simple ways to benchmark your intranet

In my last post ‘Measuring the value SharePoint 2010 can bring to your organisation’ I covered how you justify the benefits SP2010 may bring to your organisation.

Now I want to widen this on to show you five examples how you can benchmark and assess the value your intranet adds to your organisation.  They meet all your budget needs (some are free!).

1. Benchmarking the whole or part of your intranet

This is the gold standard for intranet benchmarking.  The Intranet Benchmarking Forum can benchmark all your intranet, the financial value it brings or just some areas e.g. governance and strategy, communications and culture, performance and metrics or usability.  They will soon benchmark using their digital workplace maturity model (a phrase getting a growing acceptance).  You also can share your benchmarking results with other members and learn more on best practice, etc.

The benchmarking does cost depending on what you want.

2. Benchmark with people who use your intranet

The Worldwide Intranet Challenge gives you a free opportunity to ask people using your intranet to complete a set of questions modelled on previous experience to find what most intranet people need to know about their intranet.  You can benchmark your findings with other intranets.

If you want to use it again there is a cost but you will have the first set of results to compare your progress with and measure the improvements.

3. Share best practice with intranet communities

Meeting other intranet professionals and sharing similar/same experiences is very difficult to put a value on.  It is very high in my opinion!  Meeting people at conferences (and some of the speakers too) is great value but you don’t go to many and can’t choose who will attend.

Maybe joining a group of intranet professionals regularly to discuss common issues of interest gives more value? You choose!

IBF, IntraTeam and J Boye are three communities that immediately come to mind.  Some offer introductory free attendance but if you are serious you need to subscribe and stay for at least one year.  I find the more you put in to these groups, the more value you gain from them.

4. Share best practice online

You can join many online communities for free that can help you to benchmark (more informally) your intranet with others.  You may need to spend more time and effort rather than money building up relationships to the level of trust you need to share the, shall we say, not so good parts of your intranet with others.  You need to find out what role people have first too (consultant, intranet professional, thought leader).

LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Yammer are the obvious places to start but there are other good places to join online communities I may not be aware of.

5. Benchmark with an intranet ‘expert’

Finding out what is best practice and how your intranet measures up to this standard needs a lot of care and attention.  You can misunderstand raw data on intranets and not place it in the right context.  Paying an intranet ‘expert’ who has years of experience, able to share knowledge easily and give you what you need can be money well spent for the benefit it can gain.

There are far too many intranet experts for me to mention them all and their fields of work vary. The people who immediately come to mind that I would recommend are Jane McConnell, Martin White, Janus Boye, Michael Sampson, Kurt Sorenson and James Robertson but there are other great intranet leaders who can help you.

So, you have 5 examples to benchmark your intranet.  Before you act, think about:

  • what you need to do
  • how much funding you have
  • what are your timescales.

I’m sure there are other examples that people reading this may want to share that have helped them.  Please post a comment!

Intranets Live: Functional designs

A few days ago I had the great privilege to co-host the February Intranets Live show with Paul Miller from the Intranet Benchmarking Forum (IBF) and Marc Wright from Simply Communicate.

I was invited because BT’s intranet has been benchmarked by IBF in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 for global best practice and its financial value.  And (I hope) because I had some good views to contribute to the discussion too!

As usual it was an excellent blend of discussion and live intranet tours.  With Heineken, who won a spot in the Nielsen Norman Group Intranet Design Annual 2011: Year’s 10 Best Intranets, and IBM showcasing their intranets and Amy Schade from the Neilsen Norman Group on the other top 10 intranet winners for 2010 it focused naturally on design and functionality.

IBM is celebrating 100 (wow, 100!) years since their creation and showed how they have integrated social networking into their intranet.  The functionality was very strong and had great feedback from IBM people.

Heineken showed the intranet their marketing and communications people use.  The branding was excellent – made me green with envy – and fitted what was needed for people using it.

Both IBM and Heineken’s intranets are very different but each are right for the purpose and type of organisation they support.  The NNGroup’s top 10 intranets showed how intranets can be designed functionally to meet different needs and functions can be designed so they are usable to everyone.

My main takeaway from the session was the different types and models of intranets.  You need to align with your business culture, connect with the strategy and listen to and meet the needs of people who use them.

Do that and you could be a winner of Nielsen Norman Group’s 10 Best Intranets of 2011.  Go on…………you know you want to! ;-)