Category Archives: mark morrell ltd

Extending a pioneering blog

As my career as an intranet pioneer has moved on from being BT’s intranet manager to running my own intranet business, I thought it was a good time after blogging for over 3 years to refresh my site.

The blog posts are still there for you to read, comment and share.  But you now have links to find out more:

  • About me
  • My experience
  • My services
  • My media engagements
  • Intranet experts (and my friends)

So, please find a few minutes to look at this extra information and contact me if I can help you further.

Any comments on the new site will be welcome……..as always. :-)

4 factors critical to good governance in a digital workplace

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.

Governance

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:

Ownership

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!

Consistency

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.

Standards

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.

Integrity

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.

7 ways to engage people in a digital workplace

In my last three posts on the digital workplace I have covered ‘Must have digital workplace principles’ then focused on the first principle ‘5 steps to a great digital workplace strategy’ 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 needs to become the natural way of working so everyone is more productive and your organisation more efficient with:

  • people working from any location (or mobile) rather than their office workstation
  • IT infrastructure for the same or similar experience wherever someone uses the digital workplace
  • everyone able to collaborate, search, complete tasks as well as read the latest news
  • individuals choosing tools – RSS, mobile, etc. – that help them
  • organisations measure the benefits and encourage you to use the digital workplace

Follow these ‘must have’ principles including strategy, engagement, governance, HR policies and IT infrastructure and you will have a great digital workplace.

I’m going to cover how people need to be engaged for a digital workplace to be successful.

Engagement

It is absolutely critical to your organisation to have people working who are fully engaged.  They are satisfied with their roles, happy with their work and their colleagues and look forward to working each day.  If not then the costs of lost productivity and extra time spent managing for the same or less output can be horrendous.

There are two audiences you need to engage:

  • For the success of your strategy: your stakeholders
  • For the ongoing success of the digital workplace: everyone

Stakeholders

You have to engage the people who will have biggest influence on your strategy and who will be affected the most.  These are your stakeholders.  They will represent the key functions of the organisation that are either the first priority and/or the biggest factor in whether it succeeds or fail.

Your stakeholders need to buy-in to your digital workplace strategy at the decision making level of your organisation.  You need to communicate clearly and timely what their involvement will be.  They won’t want any nasty surprises – just nice ones!

This is a similar approach to how stakeholders are engaged for successful SharePoint 2010 implementations.

Everyone

How do you get everyone to be comfortable with a digital workplace?  You need to make sure the ideal culture for a digital workplace is in place or planned for before you start.  There are seven factors you need in place for this to work:

  1. Everyone who will benefit is able to adopt this new way of working.  Some may already be working like this, some partly and others planning to.
  2. There is enthusiasm for working in a digital workplace.  It is seen as something positive, that people will want to do and be envious of those who already can.
  3. The culture in your organisation is strong on ‘doing things online’ so individuals can carry out their normal work tasks in a digital
    workplace.
  4. You are encouraged to share knowledge to help anyone in your organisation no matter where their location is or time zones they normally work in.  You may also be incentivised to do this.
  5. You can easily use the tools with no or minimal training to collaborate and share knowledge.
  6. Policies and processes that encourage everyone to use the digital workplace and don’t restrict innovation.
  7. Individuals can easily move from a physical location where they regularly meet their work colleagues to remote locations without feeling isolated because the digital workplace tools help to avoid this.

Applying this approach helps to create a buzz around the organisation for digital working.  People feel envious of those who have started.  There is impatience for everyone to benefit.

Organisations start to see improved productivity and levels of service, processes streamlined and absentee rates dropping.

In my next post I will cover how governance is another ‘must have’ principle for a successful digital workplace.

5 steps to a great digital workplace strategy

In my last post ‘Must have digital workplace principles’ I highlighted the framework your organisation needs to adopt to gain the maximum benefit.

To have a successful digital workplace (which I now define as ‘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 needs to become the natural way of working so everyone is more effective and productive and your organisation more efficient and successful.

  • people working from any location (or mobile) rather than their office workstation
  • IT infrastructure providing the same or similar experience wherever someone uses the digital workplace
  • everyone being able to collaborate, search, complete tasks as well as read the latest news
  • individuals choosing tools – RSS, mobile, etc. – that help them
  • the organisation measuring the benefits and encouraging you to use the digital workplace

Follow these ‘must have’ principles and you will have a great digital workplace include strategy, engagement, governance, HR policies and IT infrastructure.

Let’s first cover the five steps you need to take for a digital workplace strategy that will work.

Step 1: Alignment

It is vital that your digital workplace strategy is aligned with your organisation’s overall strategy. There is no point planning to invest time and resources to move in one direction if your organisation is going in the opposite way.  You need to be clear what your organisations’ future plans are and make sure your strategy shows how it will help to achieve them.

Step 2: Scope

A digital workplace strategy is wider than most intranet strategies.  It’s more than the traditional role for information published online.  It needs to also cover:

  • where people will be working – mobile, home, cafes
  • how everyone will be working – laptops, smartphones, public PCs
  • what individuals will need for their work – processes, collaboration, email

Step 3: Priorities

You need to have plans for the:

  • short term (0 – 3 months)
  • medium term (3 – 12 months)
  • and long term (over 1 year)

You also need to prioritise the actions you plan to take based on what will benefit your organisation based on:

  • Most people will benefit from
  • Most savings for your organisation
  • Quickest to implement

Step 4: Stakeholders

You need to identify who will have the biggest influence on your strategy and who will be affected the most.  They may be the same people!

These are your stakeholders who you need to maintain good relationships with for your strategy to a) be implemented and b) have the greatest chance of succeeding.

They may be representing finance, your CEO (as well as your CEO), IT, HR and operational units.

Step 5: Resources

Who apart from you is going to create, support and implement your digital workplace strategy?  You will need a team of people, maybe a virtual team practicing digital workplace ways of working.

It is important you focus on the top priorities so you can achieve the maximum change with the resources you have.

As well as people you hopefully will have some budget which needs to be spent wisely so you can show the biggest gain from the money invested.

If you need my help, please get in touch.

In my next post I will cover how engagement is your next ‘must have’ principle for a successful digital workplace.

How to successfully implement SharePoint 2010

Many organisation have deployed or are planning to roll out SharePoint 2010.  They will use it as a collaboration platform and / or intranet.  But many organisations struggle to realise the full rewards that SharePoint 2010 will offer if implemented well.

Do you know how to use SharePoint 2010 successfully?

How is the best way to roll it out?

Should you migrate to SharePoint 2010?

How is SharePoint different from other intranet tools?

These questions and more are addressed in a workshop I will be running on 6 September with Samuel Driessen from Entopic (a great honour for me).  I will use my time as Intranet Manager at BT, along with first-hand experience implementing SharePoint 2010 to help you.  The workshop will cover:

  • What is SharePoint 2010?
  • What do you use SharePoint 2010 for?
  • How do you plan to implement SharePoint 2010?
  • How you roll out SharePoint 2010?
  • What SharePoint 2010 governance is needed?

And there will be time and space in the workshop to suit the needs and interests participants will bring with them about SharePoint 2010.

You can find out more and register now for the workshop.  I hope to meet many of you there! :-)

Create a brilliant digital workplace with me

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!

SharePoint 2010: the human dimension

A successful implementation of SharePoint 2010 depends greatly on having a strategy, stakeholder buy-in, plans that cover best practice and how the features are used.  But probably one of most important things often overlooked is the human dimension.

Now obviously people within an organisation need to understand how SP2010 can help them share knowledge, publish content, store documents and find people and information.  That’s a given but it is the people who have other key roles that can make or break an implementation’s success rate.

It is critical to the project how the key players manage the relationships between themselves.  As the intranet manager, your role is critical to the successful implementation of SP2010.  You need to:

  • have good relationships with all the key players who can hugely influence the rollout of SP2010
  • make sure everyone is clear on what will happen, when it will happen and how it will affect them
  • know how is the best way to communicate with each person – phone, blog, email, etc
  • be aware in advance with answers for any likely concerns people are likely to raise
  • understand business processes and know who to contact so they go smoothly without unnecessary delay
  • a basic understanding of IT but not to be an expert – just enough to help with technical issues so you get only nice, not nasty, surprises
  • know who to escalate to quickly resolve issues and prevent small problems growing to become showstoppers
  • have infinite amounts of patience to tolerate different priorities being pressed upon you
  • be tolerant of your stakeholders’ concerns
  • remember you can’t do this alone.  You must involve other people.
  • recognise and celebrate with everyone the successes

Without showing these behaviours your SP2010 implementation is likely to take longer to complete, achieve less success and involve more effort.

If you need any help from me, just ask……..

SharePoint strategy + implementation – ask a pioneer!

Are you planning to start using SharePoint 2010?
Do you need help with your SP2010 implementation?
Are you unsure of your SP2010 governance, standards, strategy?
Are you unsure how to use SP2010 for collaboration, content management, document management or search?
Are you looking at alternatives to SP2010?

If you have answered yes, maybe just nodded your head slightly, then I can help and work with you.

I have first-hand SP2010 experience of planning right the way through to post-implementation……and have got the scars to prove it!

Whether you need a call, demonstration (online or face to face), workshop, training, consultancy or implemention, I can help.

So just let me know by a comment, email – markmorrell.ltd@gmail com, Skype (mark.morrell58), call +44 (0) 771 338 5309 or even visit me in Brighton! :-)

Why not use my first-hand experience and wider intranet knowledge for your benefit?