Recently I posted on how to develop an intranet strategy and about Jane McConnell’s report ‘The Digital Workplace in the connected organisation‘. So it is perhaps inevitable this post is about how you develop your strategy for a digital workplace.
A digital workplace strategy is different to an intranet strategy for the following reasons:
- A digital workplace is much wider than an intranet. It may well have the intranet at its core but knowledge sharing and completing online processes are also covered by a digital workplace.
- A digital workplace will have a higher profile so more senior managers in your organisation will need and/or want to be involved as they can influence its direction.
- The impact of the digital workplace as a business tool will have a wider and sometime unforseen impact on the organisation and employees who use it.
- There will be more ‘sacred cows’ and ways people behave which they are very protective or defensive about which you will need to prepare good sound reasons for their removal or need to change.
- There will be a stronger expectation for you to justify and be able to show the benefits to the organisation for developing a digital workplace that you must include in your strategy.
There are some key principles which you need to include with your approach when creating a digital workplace strategy. For more information read how to develop a digital workplace strategy.
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.
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.
Posted in benchmark, best practice, digital workplace, engagement, intranet, mobile, research
Tagged benchmark, best practice, digital workplace, engagement, mobile
Intranet strategies can vary from one type of organisation to another. I have found from working with clients there are several common reasons why this is so:
- Size: A small start-up company with a close-knit team will have a different approach to a global organisation with over 100,000 employees in many locations.
- Type: What makes sense for a large manufacturing company won’t necessarily work for a government body or a small business.
- Purpose: What is different about your organisation? What is its purpose e.g. online marketing company, charity or public sector?
- Complexity: A global based organisation in different time zones with many activities compared with a small team who know each other by their first names.
- Culture: Is it a command and control approach or a more transparent, collaborative, open to criticism way that your organisation adopts?
It is not often that I recommend on my blog information to read that I believe is helpful and easy to read. Today is an exception (not just because I played a very small part in its creation)!
ClearBox Consulting with Kilobox Communiqué noticed that while on the top level of intranet sites there is good quality content, as you get into the lower levels standards start to drop. Often people have been trained on the publishing tool but had little guidance on how to get the most from an intranet as a channel e.g. how to write headlines, how to phrase links, etc.
They have created an excellent set of 10 FREE guidelines, each 1-2 pages long, covering the following topics in plain English:
- Effective headlines: help people choose what to read
- Images: attracting interest and conveying meaning
- Links: how to link to pages and files
- Layout: how to structure articles for scanability
- How to help people search for, and find, your content
- Content: write for your audience, not for your boss
- Documents vs pages: when to use PDF, Word, and other formats
- Engage: writing to start a conversation
- Channels: how to reach the right audiences with your content
- Mobile content
I recommend you read and share these with your publishers to help improve the overall experience people have with your intranet.
Thanks Sam and Wedge!
Posted in best practice, communication, content management, engagement, help, intranet, mobile, publishing
Tagged best practice, communication, content, engagement, help, intranet, mobile, publishing
I reviewed my predictions for 2013 and believe they are happening more as we move towards 2014. So what has 2014 got in store for us? Here are my five predictions:
Organisations will more seriously consider what approach will best meet their requirements. Factors that will need to be considered before a final decision is made are:
- How much will it save compared with the costs of keeping it within the firewall?
- Will you have better business resilience? Will it remove the single point of failure problem?
- What will be the levels of service?
- Who do you trust with your data?
- Will your content be secure?
I know a lot has been said about mobile and how it is driving the transformation of intranets towards digital workplaces. But how many employees still only use their smartphones for emails and texts? Organisations need to get serious about realising the benefits and consider:
- Increased productivity by people able to find information, complete tasks, share problems and knowledge when they need to without delay
- Save accommodation costs and reduced dedicated workspace so people share as and when they need it
- Support new ways of working with distributed teams and managers enabling and facilitating rather than controlling or limiting activity
- Fear of the unknown is not a good business reason to stop employees using mobiles for their work
- Bring your own device is a solvable problem when everyone wants to reach agreement over intellectual property, security and building trust and behaving sensibly
I am starting to see real examples of collaboration which showing through on business’ bottom line and getting the attention of senior manager. This will bring benefits as it is taking more seriously and investment decisions are easier but the pressure to continue delivering larger savings will also increase. Examples include:
- Project teams sharing and creating online documentation without having to meet face to face or email each other
- Solving problems more quickly using tools to find people with similar skills and experience
- Sharing knowledge that helps others to solve problem and the organisation’s culture increasingly supporting this way of working
Organisations are realising, especially if they are implementing SharePoint, that all the areas where content is published need to be managed. The problems of gaps in information managed and risks it can create are being recognised more. More robust frameworks are being developed and used. Examples include:
- Different types of content such as accredited e.g. policies, news articles, and collaborative e.g. comment in discussion group, blog post are being accepted
- All the different areas for content are being joined up e.g. content management, document management, project spaces, and news.
- A hierarchy which sets out roles and responsibilities help identify overlaps and gaps in managing information
- Publishing standards are being applied in smarter ways taking less time and effort with digital workplace teams
As intranets are transforming from their original purpose as communications tools towards digital workplaces that are critical business tools that people in that organisation increasingly need to rely on for their work, so their value is increasing and the need to measure that value. Examples are:
- Productivity savings are accepted in principle now even if the amount is not agreed by everyone
- The impact on property usage and type is becoming more linked to new ways of working
- The value an organisation places on a person’s digital assets e.g. knowledge in documents is starting to match that of any physical assets e.g. computer
- Business resilience is critical to organisations and along with plans to use the cloud are plans to benefit from a more distributed workforce that no longer has to be in just one location
This is my last post of 2013. I hope anyone reading this has had a great 2013, will have a relaxing break over the Christmas period, and be hoping for more success in 2014!
Posted in collaboration, communication, content management, digital workplace, governance, intranet, mobile, news, SharePoint, standards, value
Tagged blog, bt intranet, collaboration, communication, content, digital workplace, governance, intranet, mobile, publishing, sharepoint, standards, value
In my last two posts about the digital workplace I have covered an example of how field-based people use the digital workplace. I then covered how people’s perception of the digital workplace should be more than just considering it is for office-based people only.
But is the digital workplace the best term to describe the new ways of working that people are adopting? Is a term like ‘digital working’ a better description than ‘digital workplace’?
Firstly I don’t get too bothered about terms. As long as there is a common understanding between me and the people I am communicating and working with then that is fine with me. But it does help if that understanding can be easily achieved using a term that is meaningful.
I describe this simply as ‘Work is something you do, not a place you go to’. In a digital workplace you can:
- Work from any location or while mobile
- Have the same or similar online experience
- Collaborate, search, and complete tasks online
- Choose what tools you can use to do this
- Feel comfortable whenever you are using it
- Be confident you can use it when you need to
- Have a better work/life balance
There are other, more detailed, definitions that describe the digital workplace.
But isn’t that explained as well by the term ‘digital working’? It removes any ambiguity about it only referring to office-based rather than field-based or mobile people’s ways of working.
Is it better and maybe more meaningful to use the active term ‘working’ rather than something passive like ‘workplace’? Does the increasing use and influence of mobile working also mean we should consider using ‘digital working’ now?
What are your views on these terms? What best suits how your people in your organisation now work? Is it ‘digital workplace’ or ‘digital working’ that we should be using? I would love to hear from you.
Posted in collaboration, community, digital workplace, engagement, governance, intranet, mobile, search
Tagged collaboration, digital workplace, engagement, governance, mobile, search
I have the great privilege of delivering the keynote address on 13 November at the IntraTeam Event in Stockholm. I will be showing delegates how to sell the idea of mobile to senior executives with examples of how a good experience along with a great plan can convince decision makers in your organisation.
This builds on previous posts on mobile which you may have missed before over the past year. I have shared my presentation here for you to find out more mobile.
I am looking forward to meeting some old friends as well as make new friends during this conference. If you can’t make the conference then you can follow on Twitter #IES13 to find out what is happening.
If you can’t make the conference but would like to meet up with me please contact me as I have some limited free time on 12 – 14 November while I am in Stockholm.
Posted in benefit, digital workplace, engagement, intranet, mobile, plan, strategy, value
Tagged benefit, digital workplace, engagement, intranet, mobile, plan, strategy, value
In my last post ‘BT field-based workers use the digital workplace‘ I talked about the benefits and drawbacks of people who work remotely adjusting to huge changes in the way they work.
It made me think of when I have discussed with clients or people at workshops or after presentations who had the view the digital workplace only affected people in offices or more specifically ‘knowledge workers’. They were surprised this wasn’t the case.
So, let me say now very clearly (big drum roll please) the digital workplace is for all employees. In fact it can extend to their customers, suppliers, and other third parties who they share a working relationship with.
A digital workplace’s prime aim is to help and support employees whether office, mobile or home-based, to be more effective. That will mean being more productive – no delays finding what you need, completing tasks when you need, sharing knowledge online with other people – and effective so your organisation benefits too.
Examples of how other employees, not office workers, can benefit from using a digital workplace are:
- Retail staff using tablets to stock-take on products and order more.
- Retail staff at check-outs having latest news shown on equipment they also use for payment of products.
- Mining of minerals using vehicles and tools operated from remote locations away from the mining area.
- Meter readings for customers’ use of utilities e.g. gas, electricity, and water uploaded in real-time for bills to be created and issued while the person is still continuing to visit other customers.
- Parcel deliveries tracked using GPS by customer service to monitor and send updates to the delivery person’s mobile device.
- Field engineers able to use mobile devices to receive customer information before visiting and update with the outcome before moving on to their next customer.
These are just a few examples to illustrate the point I am making here. The digital workplace affects all employees. The level of impact will be different depending on the work but it is hard to think of work that is NOT influenced in some way by a digital workplace with news, collaboration, online tasks and processes.
What examples can you think of?
Posted in benefit, collaboration, communication, digital workplace, engagement, intranet, mobile
Tagged benefit, communication, digital workplace, engagement, mobile, value