Category Archives: benefit

Valuing information tip 2: can you rely on your content ?

What is it you can do for people to realise your content is of value, it is useful, reliable, and authoritative?  In my previous posts in the series of ‘Showing the value of your information’ I help you to show to people how valuable it is.

Making sure your content is up to date so people using it can rely on it is vital to showing its value to everyone. There are two main types of content: accredited and collaborative.  I will start with accredited in this post and cover collaborative in a future post.

Accredited content

Accredited content is authoritative and reliable.  People will use it with confidence, knowing it is current and relevant.  It is usually information that has a large audience.  A limited number of people can edit the information with access controlled by permissions.  Usually one person will have clear ownership.

Accredited content normally meets all of your publishing standards.  Here are some features which help show people it is of value:

  • Review date shown to reassure you the content is current and can be relied upon
  • Last updated date to show it is actively being managed too
  • Comply with your organisation’s Information Retention Policy
  • Remove content that is no longer relevant or accurate

How to show its value

When a policy is no longer needed the normal method is to remove it so people are no longer using something which is out of date and not relevant.  The best approach is to replace the content with an explanation of what has happened and a link to the most relevant content people should now use.

This shows the content was valued by the care taken to remove it, explain what has happened and help people find related information which will help them.  This also helps the related information to retain its value because of this approach.

Managing the risks from mobile

Recently I have talked a lot about mobile ranging from selling the idea to senior people, creating a great mobile experience, how to develop a strategy to what are good governance principles.
Some organisations are starting to realise the potential of mobile working can help employee’s productivity, engagement, and their work/life balance.  But the reality is a lot of organisations aren’t there yet.  Most will provide a poor user experience and be reluctant to invest time and money developing a rich mobile user experience.
Security and risk are concerns that often create the barriers to further mobile integration.  How can you overcome these barriers?
In this post I will cover how your organisation can provide useful functionality for your employees while still mitigating or addressing the following risks:

Fear of the unknown

There may still a perception by some people in Legal, Security, and Regulatory parts of your organisation that because they don’t fully understand how increased use of mobile devices to access tools and information or share knowledge and problems can help it must be ‘bad’.
The best way to handle this approach is to research what other organisations have done with mobile.  You should focus on:
  1. Successful examples of adoption
  2. Competitors with your organisation who are ahead of you
  3. Lessons to learn where mobile hasn’t worked
  4. Prepare how and what you are going to share
  5. Identify the right stakeholders

authenticating

People who do not fully understand why you authenticate can be over cautious and create many layers of authentication.  The ‘just in case’ approach will just strangle the use by mobile devices of the apps and content you need to use to help you with your work.

Why would you use your mobile to access something online that takes just a few seconds if you have to enter usernames and passwords several times before you can get to it that takes several minutes?  It’s just not going to happen.  You need to explain:

  1. What people are being asked to authenticate for e.g. use apps
  2. Why authentication is needed e.g. protect intellectual property
  3. How authentication can have maximum effect for minimal impact with ‘smart’ authenticating used only when needed and not duplicating at every level; different levels of authentication based on type of content or app to be used
  4. Building security into your mobile device so your authentication feeds through to the content and apps to be accessed if possible
  5. BYOD – is personal mobile devices the best way or should you stick with company mobile devices?

business continuity

Your organisation needs to be resilient and always able to survive whatever potential crisis it may face.  This means supporting your employees wherever and whenever they are using their mobile devices.  By having people in many locations your business is more resilient to these unforeseen events when they happen.  Mobile can help by:

  1. Removing the ‘single point of failure’ problem with office based people all in one location
  2. Accelerating the recovery time from a ‘crisis’ to provide service to customers especially if face to face visits are needed e.g. employees with mobiles in different locations
  3. Showing better value made in infrastructure and data centres investment with availability 24/7 for when mobile workers need to use it
Addressing these concerns with your key stakeholders will help you remove the barriers preventing you from giving your mobile users the functionality and good experience needed to help with their work.

Intranet governance first – intranet launch next

I have seen many intranets over the years.  One thing that always makes me sad is when I see a new intranet launched with a great design, clear structure, interesting content……but no or poor governance.

It is sad to see all the time, effort, and money slowly being wasted away as the effects of little or no governance inevitably start to take effect with more and more problems appearing as the weeks go by.

What governance problems?  Where do they appear?  What is their impact?  Well, I’m thinking about these examples:

No owner

There is content published everywhere but no one to contact if you want to find out more or query anything that you have read.  You spend lots of wasted time trying other people and ways to find out who is the right person to speak to.

No review date

You are not sure if the information is still up to date.  It may be a policy, a news article, or a guide to help with a work activity.  You don’t know if it is the current version and no one else seems to know either so again, you waste time trying to check if it can be relied upon.

review date is out of date

Even worse than having no review date can be finding it has been passed and the information is available but could be out of date.  You waste time checking it is still reliable and wonder why it hasn’t been updated or removed.  Maybe your confidence in the integrity of other content drops and you waste more time checking or use other sources?

No last updated INFO

It helps reassure people that a site is active and give them confidence the content is reliable and up to date if a last updated date is shown at the bottom of each page of content whenever it is edited.

feedback

It saves time if you have a standard feature for feedback in the same place on every page.  It means people can easily ask questions, offer extra information, or clarify its use.  Without it, people waste time trying to look for a feedback box, link, or heading.  If there isn’t then people try to use other ways to find out what they need to know and can get dissatisfied with the intranet.

These are just some of the problems poor or no governance can cause when you launch a new intranet or site.  It is possible to have a good, strong, governance in place for your intranet launch for no extra cost or time taken.

To find out how to do this the smart way please contact me.

Selling the idea of mobile to senior execs

I was asked recently “How do you sell the idea of mobile to senior executives so they ‘get it’?”  Good question!  My experiences with mobile have shown me there are four questions you need to be answer when you need to promote the idea of mobile with senior managers and show the benefits a good mobile experience can bring.  They are:

Who are your stakeholders?

You know you need to gain sponsorship and support for your ideas with mobile.  But who are the right senior executives to be your key stakeholders?  You need to identify the senior people who:

  • Will be affected most by your ideas for mobile
  • Will be most influential in your ideas being adopted

They may not be the most obvious person so think carefully about who you need to build a relationship with so they understand what you want to do and what their role will be.

Without their ‘buy-in’ your ideas for mobile will go nowhere fast and, sadly for you, will probably just stay as ideas.

What is your strategy?

Have a proposal you can use as a basis for any conversation with  your stakeholders.  This needs to be some form of a strategy that sets out:

  • What you are aiming to do e.g. reduce time taken to solve problems
  • Why you believe this is needed e.g. improved productivity
  • What the scope of your strategy is e.g. apps, collaborating tools, governance
  • What are your priorities e.g first phase connectivity, second phase apps development
  • When will it be implemented e.g. 3 months for phase 1

You need to have this ready to show people and be able to answer questions about how it affects your organisation, stakeholders, and people who need to use mobiles or need to be more mobile in how they work.

What are the benefits?

You need to show what the likely benefits of people using mobiles and being more mobile can bring to your organisation.  Any benefits that show on the bottom line will be taken more seriously.  You need to consider:

  • Reduced office space needed as people work more from different places e.g. home, local hub, while travelling
  • Increased productivity as people don’t have to wait until they are using a PC in an office to act on requests or ask for help
  • Reduced travel costs as people share online, on calls, on video using their mobiles any work problems they need help with
  • More engaged people with flexibility to balance their personal life with work commitments and reduce stress

Some of these are obvious savings but can be harder to prove.  Your approach needs to show how you would measure these as well as indicate the benefits that can be made.

How will you implement it?

Make sure you have thought through how you can going to turn your idea for mobile into reality.  Don’t be so aspirational that senior execs can see it could be unrealistic and lose it and your credibility.  But it needs to inspire people by showing it can be done and justify their sponsorship by:

  • Getting approval and funding for it
  • Deciding who will lead the project and accept who makes the decisions
  • Having regular reviews of progress made
  • Identifying resources available to make it happen

Don’t fall over at the last hurdle by not having a plan showing how you can implement your idea for mobile.  It may show a lack of confidence in your abilities to make this happen.

You can find more information about mobile or contact me for advice.

Is SharePoint ‘good’ or ‘bad’?

Many people have asked me if I think SharePoint is ‘good’ or ‘bad’?  It’s a great question to ask but it is harder to give the right answer based on my experiences with SharePoint creating strategies, leading project teams, implementing  governance frameworks or just using the many features.

I have seen with each SharePoint version – 2003 to 2013 – how some new features help but other features can hinder how an organisation needs to use it….but one thing is clear, Microsoft don’t package up ‘good’ or ‘bad’ versions of SharePoint.

I believe it is how an organisation implements SharePoint that helps you feel if it is good or bad.

Here are five factors that can help you decide if SharePoint is ‘good’ or ‘bad':

Strategy

It is important you have a strategy for your intranet or digital workplace that SharePoint can be shown will help to achieve. A strategy helps set the direction you are moving in.  It helps identify key priorities you need to achieve to help your organisation.  Timescales also help to manage expectations and show what is practical from what is aspirational.

You should not just have a SharePoint strategy.  That can lead to you delivering technology solutions that don’t meet the aims of your organisation or cover wider aspects of cultural change.  Your strategy must not be based on SharePoint: it should be wider and align with your organisation’s overall strategy and related areas e.g. IT, Comms, HR, etc. and measure the benefits.

Governance

You need to have a governance framework that underpins your strategy in the long and short term.  This means having clear roles and responsibilities, linking these together into a hierarchy with publishing standards, training and processes for new content editors.

Without a governance framework people could be unclear on the purpose of each SharePoint tool e.g. MySite, TeamSite, and how is the best and most appropriate way to use them.  Without a governance framework there can be chaos and a digital mess that can be very difficult to untangle and gain any benefit from for a long time.

Planning

Have a clear plan for why you need to use SharePoint, what you need to achieve, how you plan to achieve it, and when you need to complete each phase by.  This helps you to see what is the best approach and prioritise the way you introduce SharePoint to people in your organisation.

If you are planning to replace many existing online tools e.g content and document management systems and/or collaborative tools it is critical that you consider the impact that actions taken in an earlier phase could have knock-on effects during a later phase (which maybe 1-2 years ahead) e.g. permissions, SharePoint Designer.

Without any plan the consequences for your organisation and people’s online experience could be disastrous.  SharePoint is a very powerful tool and needs to be managed carefully!

education

You need to have a strong communication and training approach to anyone who will be touched by SharePoint whether that is your CEO, content editor or casual user or contributor.

People publishing and using SharePoint information need to appreciate that it is not all the same in its value (something I will be writing about in the future) e.g. a policy is unlikely to change frequently and be inaccurate but an opinion expressed in a discussion group may be inaccurate, incomplete, change next day.

People need to understand the differences in the information they use and behave accordingly in their judgement and actions based on how much value they place on it.

SharePoint is more than a change of technology, it can change business policies, processes and how people behave when they have a problem or want to share some helpful information.

business need

I have heard how IT have approached the business saying “we have this free tool option on top of X product that we’ve bought which we’re going to use for Y purpose”.  It’s a natural reaction to test out something for free but many organisations have found it doesn’t work out the way it is planned.

Firstly, you need to make sure you have a business problem that SharePoint is a good (note I didn’t say the best) technology solution to solve.  Sometimes I have seen the introduction of SharePoint create problems that didn’t exist before.

Make sure you involve people who will be affected by any changes you plan to make as early as possible who can also test these to see if they do help as you expect SharePoint to and feedback any issues to be acted upon before it is launched.

Your organisation needs to be clear on what the problems and their root causes are before considering whether technology, and if so, which solution e.g. SharePoint can best help resolve the problem.

summary

I hope this can help you to appreciate there are factors that influence why people feel SharePoint is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ apart from the technology itself.  It is more likely to be how you have approached and implemented SharePoint rather than the tools and features people can use that affects your view when you think about it more deeply.

Please leave a comment with your views and contact me if I can help in any way.

Resistance is futile – the digital workplace is coming

I had the great privilege to present the keynote at the first Intranatverk conference in Gothenburg last month.  All my expectations before I went were surpassed.  For those of you who didn’t go, you missed a real treat.  The good news is Kristian Norling plans to repeat Intranatverk so look out for future announcements!

I talked about how “Resistance is futile – the digital workplace is coming”.  Showing how a better way of working – for people and for organisations – using new ways of working like the digital workplace, is something I feel passionately about.  Adopting the digital workplace can help improve how we work now and achieve the many benefits other organisations have achieved already.

Why would you choose alternatives with benefits like these?  The examples of Google and Yahoo! will prove to be wrong and need U-turns if these organisations want to avoid falling behind their competitors who take the right approach to transforming their intranet into a digital workplace.

People benefit by:

  • Working from any location or while mobile
  • Having the same or similar online experience
  • Collaborating, searching, reading, and using apps online
  • Choosing which mobile devices to use
  • Feeling comfortable whenever they are using it
  • Being confident they can use it when they need to
  • Having a better work/life balance

Organisations benefits with:

  • Less wasted property space and costs
  • Improved productivity
  • Lower absenteeism rates
  • Reduced people turnover
  • Stronger business continuity
  • Less environmental impact

The approach needed is to:

  • Develop and align your strategy with other strategies
  • Engage with senior managers to sponsor, endorse, and support your strategy
  • Connect with everyone affected so they feel positive about this new way of working
  • Create a governance framework that benefits the organisation and everyone using the digital workplace
  • Implement policies that engage employees and encourage this shift of working
  • Support the digital workplace with an IT infrastructure so it is available 24/7 and enables you to quickly use the content and tools you need for work
  • Have flexible places to work – home, mobile, hubs, suitable work places – depending on what you need to do

Read more about these benefits, watch the video of my presentation and the brilliant sketchbook of the key points by Francis Rowland.

Digital workplace environment benefits examples

This is the last in my series of posts showing examples of the savings organisations have made by shifting work to a digital workplace and new ways of working. It draws on my previous posts on how you need to plan your strategy, governance, and management of content, tools, and services for a digital workplace.  This is essential to transform your intranet into a digital workplace.  My previous posts in this series have covered productivity savings, reduced absenteeism, reduced staff turnover, and property costs savings.

I will be using examples from the Digital Workplace Group‘s report ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working?‘ that show what organisations taking the right approach can achieve.  This example covers how changing to new ways of working can improve your organisation’s green reputation and have a good impact on the environment.

How to reduce the environmental impact

Governments, organisations, and people are realising more what their impact on the environment can be.  More importantly there are options we can take which can reduce the impact we have by changing our behaviour to work.  Simply we can now bring our work to us more rather than have to travel to it.  So, as well as striking a better work/life balance we can also reduce our impact on the environment by:

  • not commuting to work
  • video and conference calls with other people instead of every meeting being face to face
  • less office space to be heated and lit
  • when travelling is necessary, doing it outside of peak commuting hours if possible
  • using collaboration tools that replicate what used to happen when people were in physical workplaces

What organisations can achieve

  • Reducing environmental impact is a key factor of an organisation’s Corporate and Social Responsibilities commitments.
  • If US employees with compatible jobs and a desire to work from home did so half the time, it is estimated the nation could cut its Persian Gulf imports by 47%. The greenhouse gas impact would be equivalent to taking the entire New York State workforce off the road. (Wow!)
  • Reducing an organisation’s liability to environmental taxes and penalties by changing behaviour.
  • Significant savings can be achieved through reduction in business travel. For example: Ernst & Young (£2.5m a year) and Cisco ($10.3m a year).
  • Digital workplace technology has the potential significantly to reduce the negative environmental impact of organisations.

Examples

  1. During 2010, consolidation enabled Hewlett Packard to close 16 data centres and 447 computer labs and reduce floor space by around 12,000 square metres, while maintaining HP’s presence in all the world’s major regions and their ability to support customers worldwide. In turn, HP estimates that this consolidation avoided 260,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2) emissions.
  2. Through its award winning flexible working programme, in 2009/10 Ernst & Young avoided 6.8m air miles from using video-conferencing facilities. And in 2010/11, it achieved a 24% reduction in distance travelled by road per head, and a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions per head, compared with 2006/07. It also achieved a 5% reduction in distance travelled by rail and CO2e emissions per head in 2010/11 compared with 2006/07. Its flexible working strategy has been supported by a £650,000 initial investment while the potential annual direct cost savings from business travel avoidance is £2.5m.
  3. In its 2010 CSR report, Cisco makes an explicit link between using collaboration solutions internally (principally WebEx and telepresence) to host a staggering 19.3m hours of virtual meetings. This represents an annual saving of 47,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year and a general reduction of 12% of Cisco’s output in greenhouse gases since 2007.
  4. Capgemini’s carbon emissions have fallen by 12.6% since 2008 as a result of its TravelWell programme, which included providing technology alternatives to non-essential travel. It has also achieved WWF UK’s ‘One in Five Challenge’ (reducing business flights by 20% in five years). A founder sponsor of the challenge, Capgemini achieved this in the first year, reducing flights by 4,508.

I hope these posts have made you pause and think about how you can help your own organisation.  You can contact me if you want more help.

There are more examples and details in ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working.

Big property savings examples in digital workplace

This is the fourth in my series of posts showing examples of the savings organisations have made by shifting work to a digital workplace.  It draws on my previous posts on how you need to plan your strategy, governance, and management of content, tools, and services for a digital workplace.  This is essential to transform your intranet into a digital workplace.  The previous posts covered productivity savings, reduced absenteeism, and lower staff turnover.

I will be using examples from the Digital Workplace Group‘s report ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working?‘ that show what organisations taking the right approach can achieve.  This example covers how less, better utilised, physical workspace can save large amounts of money and impact on your organisation’s financial bottom line.

How to make the savings

  • Transform the physical workplace into a digital workplace where employees can take advantage of its benefits.
  • Dedicated versus flexible workspace – do you need the same workspace every working day?
  • Reduce the number of buildings you need if more people are working at home or away from their dedicated workspace more often.
  • Increase occupancy rates by matching the workspace to the people who actually use it rather than have empty desks while people are working elsewhere.
  • Lower your costs by accurately forecasting your physical workspace needs based on trends in digital working.

What can be achieved

  • Traditional offices are expensive, inefficient, inflexible, and difficult to scale (particularly down).
  • About 60% of a company’s desks are vacant at any time.
  • The average business could save $2,500 to $5,000 a year in property and related costs for each half time teleworker.
  • Savings from real estate reduction through new ways of working programmes are making the headlines globally: Cisco ($1.1bn), BT (£60m), Deloitte ($30m),
    IBM ($450m), US Patent & Trademark Office ($19.8m), GlaxoSmithKline ($50m) and more.
  • Investment in the digital workplace is a prerequisite for enabling employees to work effectively while reducing office space.

Examples

  1. BT’s Agile Worker programme saves approximately £6,000 a year for every full-time homeworker at BT. In 2009, with 10,168 homeworker par ticipants, BT saved approximately £60m, largely based on reduced estate costs.
  2. On any given day, more than 115,000 IBM employees around the world work in a non-IBM office. 40% of the IBM workforce operates without a dedicated office space. The employee/desk ratio is currently 4:1, with plans to increase the ratio to 8:1 in field locations. IBM calculates that it saves $450m a year in reduced facility infrastructure and associated initiatives through agile working.
  3. By transforming its sales team from office based to mobile, YELL reduced its property costs by £1.5m ($2.5m) a year and drove efficiency through reduced downtime.
  4. Through its Global Workplace Initiative, HP has increased its office space utilisation from an average of less than 40% to nearly 80% in just three years. The ratio of employees to desks ranges from 2:1 to 20:1 and varies by job, location, and other factors.

There are more examples and details in ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working.  My next post will cover the environmental benefits.

Reduced staff turnover savings in a digital workplace

This is the third in my series of posts showing examples of the savings organisations have made by shifting work to a digital workplace.  It draws on my previous posts on how you need to plan your strategy, governance, and management of content, tools, and services for a digital workplace.  This is essential to transform your intranet into a digital workplace.  The previous posts covered productivity savings and reduced absenteeism.

I will be using examples from the Digital Workplace Group‘s report ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working?‘ that show what organisations taking the right approach can achieve.  This example covers how reduced staff turnover can improve engagement save costs impacting on your organisation’s financial bottom line.

How to reduce staff turnover

I posted on ‘How an engaged newbie can become a top performer‘ which showed that:

  • Performance management where you are measured on outcomes rather than time spent at work
  • Having the right collaboration tools in place with a good governance framework in place is needed
  • Having the right tools to connect from a hub, home or while on the move keeps you in touch with everyone

What organisations can achieve

  • Recent studies have found clear links that show new ways of working have a positive impact on staff turnover.
  • The value of reduced turnover from people telework for half the week is estimated at an annual $3,350 per teleworker.
  • If a quarter of a business’ workforce leaves each year, and the average pay is $35,000, it could easily cost a 1,000-person organisation $4m – $10m a year to replace employees.
  • Employees with flexible working arrangements are more likely to be satisfied, productive and committed – and stay with their employer in the long term.
  • The digital workplace is a key component in reducing absenteeism through flexible work options.

Examples

  1. More than 91% of Cisco’s 2,000 survey respondents say being able to telework issomewhat, or very, important to their overall satisfaction.
  2. In a 2009 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, 80% of HRprofessionals felt that flexible work arrangements have a positive impact on employee retention. Some 75% felt it helps them attract employees. And 86% felt it improved employee commitment.
  3. In Accenture’s 2012 Women’s Research – The Path Forward, 64% of respondents said that they stay in a job longer if offered flexible working.
  4. Canada’s Top 100 employers competition has found that employees who are given the option to telecommute report greater loyalty.
  5. 82% of Fortune Magazine’s 100 best companies to work for in 2011 offer telecommuting opportunities to workers.

If I was working in Yahoo! or Google I would want to consider how this evidence stacks up with their policies on homeworking.  Wouldn’t you?

My next post in this series will be on property savings.

Great examples of digital workplace savings:absenteeism

This is the second in my series of posts showing examples of the benefits and savings organisations have gained by shifting work to a digital workplace.  It draws on my previous posts on how you need to plan your strategy, governance, and management of content, tools, and services for a digital workplace.  This is essential when transforming your intranet into a digital workplace.  The first post ‘Great examples of Digital Workplace productivity savings‘ covered productivity.

I will be using examples from the Digital Workplace Group‘s report ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working?‘ that show what can be achieved if your organisation can take the right approach.  My second example is how reduced absenteeism can lead to savings in your time working and show on your organisation’s financial bottom line.

How to make the savings

I posted on how to encourage people to be more engaged with their organisation:

  • Policies that encourage you to move to a digital workplace
  • Recognise and reward the right behaviours that make a DW succeed
  • Working styles that encourage productive and effective working

What can be achieved

  • Studies indicate significant costs to employers from absenteeism. For example, average direct and indirect costs of all categories of absence are estimated at about 35% of payroll.
  • The value of reduced absenteeism from half-time telework is estimated at an annual $1,900 per teleworker.
  • Improvement in overall work-life balance, and reduction of stress, are key factors in reducing absenteeism enabled by new ways of working.
  • The digital workplace produces significant and sustained reductions in absenteeism and the direct and related financial gains from this are dramatic.

Examples

  1. A study showed 63% of BT homeworkers take fewer sick days than office-based people
  2. And 74% of BT homeworkers have a “good” or “very good” work-life balance
  3. Surveys showed 4% of US people have called in sick to work because they couldn’t face their journey to work
  4. US Dept. of Labour estimated 3% to 5% of the workforce was absent on any day in 2010.  So, any slight improvement means large sums of money saves.

There are more examples and details in ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working.  My next post will cover declines in staff turnover.