When I first got involved in 1996 with intranets people could only access them from their desktop PCs at their normal place of work. The pages of content were hosted on a server probably in the same room or building they worked in. What was on offer was limited to news, policies and some tools e.g. People directory.
Haven’t things changed a lot since then as we move towards 2015!
Intranets are transforming into digital workplaces offering people an amazing choice in information and applications and wider use e.g. you can collaborate with people in different locations, share and rate content and complete processes online. You can access your intranet or digital workplace from any device e.g. smartphone, tablet and laptop from any place using wi-fi, etc., and at any time with data centres operating 24/7.
What does this mean for 2015? Here are my predictions.
1. Take the right direction
Intranets are now at a jumping off point to become digital workplaces. You need to make sure you take the right direction and invest in the right technologies, skills, and resources. In 2015 good digital workplaces will be created because there is a plan supported by a clear strategy. Your plan, based on agreed business requirements, will have prioritise actions, and stakeholder support. These are essential to have a digital workplace that supports your organisation.
2. consistently good experience
People will need to access your content and applications from any device, any time and from any place even more in 2015. Their experience needs to be consistently good every time with publishing standards within a governance framework applied to make this happen to all content and apps. People will then be familiar with what they access no matter what device they use. Good publishing standards will mean productivity gains will be achieved as people avoid stalling while they check before they use anything.
3. know where everything is
More organisations will consider moving to the cloud in 2015. But you need to manage this well to make this successful. You a good governance framework to manage all the content and applications, with an information architecture that has the same scope and approach. It’s no good trying to manage your content, etc., if you don’t where it is! And if you don’t know, how can people find what they need for their work? Plan the structure of your digital workplace to harmonise with your governance framework before you start.
4. show you are worth it
With the global economic climate unlikely to improve greatly in 2015, organisations will demand greater justification for any improvements you plan. You need to demonstrate the benefits your digital workplace can provide. Having a strategy, governance framework, and information architecture will indicate you do support your organisation’s goals. However, to show the full benefits you will need to look beyond traditional financial ‘ROI’ to wider benefits that also help your organisation. If you can do this, and you will have the resources you need in 2015.
Have you made any plans? Good luck and have a great 2015!
Posted in benefit, digital workplace, governance, intranet, mobile, plan, standards, strategy, value
Tagged benefit, bt intranet, digital workplace, governance, intranet, mobile, plan, standards, strategy, value
I have been fortunate to work with and view many sites, intranets, digital workplaces, mobile and collaborative spaces since 1996. Many technology features and fads aimed at helping people have a good experience have come and gone. However, throughout this time, having a clear strategy with good governance to support your intranet, has consistently been shown to help meet your organisation’s key priorities and add measurable value.
Your strategy sets the direction you need to move in with a clear scope and set of aims to be achieved, aligned with other related strategies and overall strategy for your organisation.
Your governance framework helps your strategy continue in the right direction. It will show how you manage everything and how everyone can work together. It will cover scope, purpose, roles and responsibilities, publishing standards and support, and resources needed.
The main reason for a strategy and governance framework is the benefits to be gained from applying it well. The time and effort are the same but the impact can vary so you don’t always achieve a consistently good experience.
Measuring all the benefits and showing the value to your organisation of a critical business tool will improve your credibility and help to justify future investment.
With that in mind I have re-designed my site to focus on Strategy; Governance; and Measuring Value.
Please contact me if you want to find out more.
Posted in benefit, best practice, collaboration, communication, digital workplace, governance, intranet, mobile, Office 365, SharePoint, strategy, value
Tagged benefit, best practice, collaboration, communication, digital workplace, governance, intranet, measure, mobile, sharepoint, strategy, value
On day 2 of the WCMS14 conference I ran a workshop about mobile collaboration. People can help each other or can ask for help to collaborate. Having mobile access means you can do this whenever you need to and not have to wait any more. To achieve this there are four areas to focus on:
- Make it easy
- Manage it smartly
- Technology has to meet business needs
- Involve people with mobiles
1. Make it easy
The main point is to create an overall consistent experience for people whatever device they use. With more mobile devices than traditional PCs being sold now, organisations should put the need of mobile people first.
By removing the barriers, mobile users don’t need extra logins to be able to collaborate online. It should also be possible to collaborate while offline and the tool synchronise and update automatically.
Research with mobile users what they need most to help them collaborate online, what experience it needs to be and identify tools with the best adoption rates and understand why.
Manage it smartly
It is important that any governance is built to help people collaborate while mobile and not hinder this aim. By extending existing publishing standards to cover mobile use appropriately you continue with one governance framework. The same applies to roles and responsibilities for content and app owners as well as intranet managers.
The findability of content is critical. Having one search engine that covers all the information architecture helps to achieve this. The decision over whether you have one version of the content or app which is responsive to different designs or different versions for each size screen will depend on the information architecture you develop and on security needs.
How long is it before information become knowledge? Your answer to that will decide whether all your collaborative content stays online and is searchable or is archived after a period of time or inactivity or removed permanently. There are no right or wrong answers but you do have to decide what is best for your organisation.
Technology has to meet business needs
Make sure you have the right solution for the right business requirements. This means being very clear what you need before you start to research the technology that can meet your business needs. It will probably also mean you don’t choose the top solution, partly due to the costs, but also because it provides features and functions that you have no immediate or foreseeable need for.
Any technology for mobile collaboration bought or developed needs to be configurable and shown to work with existing systems and platforms.
You need to consider how many operating systems your organisation will support for the different mobile devices used for mobile collaboration. This needs to cover the issue of BYOD. A balance needs to be struck which may be something like x number of operating systems will be guaranteed to give a good mobile user experience and support y mobile devices. You can choose other mobile devices but you should not expect to be guaranteed a good mobile experience.
Involve people with mobiles
You should not assume what collaboration tools people with mobile devices need. You need to research their needs not just make something accessible from a mobile device and say the experience is good enough.
Involve people at the earliest stage of developing the user experience. As soon as the development is good enough for basic use it should be thrown open to mobile users to test out. They can feedback any problems or improvements that will help them to collaborate better to be acted upon.
A perpetual beta development status can be adopted for the mobile collaboration tools to avoid long delays in improvements, the need for major re-launches. Small, incremental, changes can be made quickly based on clear feedback and involvement from mobile users.
Lastly the testing can be a formal User Acceptance testing approach or more informal and open to anyone with a mobile device to use at any time. The process needs to be transparent and a playground/sandpit available where all development can be tested out. This may need IT to change its approach!
- Remove barriers that prevent adoption
- Have one governance framework
- Right mobile collaboration tools that meet needs
- Involve people who use mobile
Posted in best practice, beta testing, collaboration, governance, mobile, publishing, search, standards, usability, user testing
Tagged best practice, beta testing, collaboration, governance, intranet applications, search, standards, usability, user testing
I am looking forward to participating at the World Class Mobile and Social- Enabled Enterprises event on 5 and 6 June in Frankfurt, Germany.
If you are thinking of coming to one of the best mobile events in 2014 please use this code WCMSSPEAKYOURLASTNAME in the special requirements section on the registration form.
I will be running a workshop on mobile collaboration. I intend to cover how to can be worthwhile, making it easy, and gain the benefits of people collaborating while using their mobile device.
I will also be finding out more about the latest best practice case studies from Europe and North America and networking with the experts on mobile workplaces.
Recently I posted on how to develop an intranet strategy and how to develop a digital workplace strategy. One of the key factors either strategy must consider is the growing needs of people who use mobile devices to access information needed to help with their work. I believe it is so important that it justifies its own strategy to help achieve the full benefits.
When developing a strategy for people who are mobile it is important you consider the following factors:
- Research with mobile workers what exactly their requirements are. Don’t guess! And don’t accept the experience is good enough just because the content or app can be accessed from mobile devices.
- Involve mobile workers in testing as you develop your intranet to make sure it will be a good experience for mobile devices before it is launched. Don’t assume it will just be alright on the day.
- Be clear how many different operating systems your organisation can justify supporting. While wanting to support the different operating systems for mobile devices it is stupid to aim to support every system. A balance between IT costs and capabilities with mobile users’ needs to be agreed.
- Decide on your approach to responsive or device specific designs for mobile users. Do you want/need to publish the same content in more than one place? Is the management of one piece of content too heavy for all types of devices that need to access it?
There are some key principles which you can apply to help you create a mobile strategy for your organisation. Find out more information on how to develop a mobile 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