Tags: benefit, communication, digital workplace, governance, intranet, sharepoint 2010, standards, strategy, value
Why is SharePoint 2010 so widely used? I believe it is because it offers for the first time one technical solution that meets many business needs rather than just one.
If you want to improve knowledge sharing you will have many tools to consider. Again if you need to manage your documents you will have a wide choice of vendors. But if your business has more than one need or can see how solving one will create other requirements then a solution like SharePoint 2010 comes become more attractive to consider.
What if your organisation needs employees to use your intranet while away from their place of work? There are huge savings in office costs and increases in productivity if employees can use the intranet to help them with their work while they are mobile.
Before we can consider if SharePoint 2010 can help meet these needs and provide these benefits there are other important steps to take first.
Why is your organisation considering mobile access to your intranet? You need to develop a strategy aligned to your overall business strategy that sets out how providing this need will help to improve the performance. Without a clear, agreed, mobile strategy in place there is little chance of creating a successful business case for a solution that can help employees. You need to research which content and tools are most needed while employees are mobile.
Who should be responsible for sponsoring the implementation of your mobile strategy? You need to find a senior representative who will champion this or, better still, a board or steering group of senior representatives from business functions across your organisation. Make sure the role is clear, and you have the authority to make the decisions needed, supported by funding.
Who needs to use a mobile device for their work? You need to be clear which employees will benefit from having a mobile device. It probably will not be everyone. Even if it is, you will have to prioritise who has the greatest need. Factors like the number of employees involved, time spent away from their place of work, what contribution they can make, will help decide the greatest need.
As well as having a champion for the use of mobile devices your governance framework needs to include the standards for owners of content and tools to follow so mobile devices can be used by employees. Roles and responsibilities need to include meeting the needs of mobile users for content and tool owners. The content and tools must not be a complete duplication of what exists already.
Will you let employees bring their own devices to work or will you provide your own? That decision is critical and will depend on your organisation’s corporate values, type of employees, security (more below on this), funding and speed of adoption. Once that decision is made you can then focus on what devices your organisation provides or you recommend employees have that offer the best experience for what they need to do while mobile.
How can you be sure the right people only are using your intranet? It is vital you have a representative from your Legal team involved as well as from IT. You need to find the right balance of secure but easy access. It is no good if it takes ages to authenticate who you are before employee can access your intranet. But you do need some intelligent software working in the background to ensure you know who is accessing content with a mobile device.
As I said at the beginning most organisations are either considering using SharePoint 2010 or are in various stages of rolling out to meet their needs. One of these is increasingly the need to provide content and tools that is needed by employees while mobile.
The problem with SharePoint 2010 is the ‘out of the box’ experience can be a bit underwhelming. It is a text only version which most mobile users of internet sites will feel is like going back in time. It may be improved by the next release of SharePoint but can your organisation afford to wait that long?
Tags: benefit, best practice, digital workplace, governance, intranet, Mark Morrell, publishing, standards, strategy, usability, users, value
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.
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
Tags: best practice, bt intranet, BT today, directory, homepage, killer content, research, value
There are a few ‘killer applications and content’ which have driven the usage of BT’s intranet. As well as the BT Homepage – our corporate portal, BT Today – our new sites and Directory – our people finder, Intellact, BT’s customer insight and market portal has been key to achieveing this.
Intellact provides a wealth of insight on the communications industry. Thousands of people in all parts of BT use these services to:
- Help understand customer needs and satisfaction.
- Monitor the global press – daily updates on business trends.
- Support business propositions.
Comprehensive, up-to-date, high quality research helps people make their decisions with:
- Business news
- IT research and advice
- BT commissioned market research
- Broker research
- Industry sector research
- Internet audience measurement
Business news is updated several times per day on Intellact. You can sign up to receive an email that reviews the days top news from UK and international newspapers, journals and newswires.
Intellact offers an unrivalled collection of published research covering ICT and other industry sectors with the option to contact analysts for further details.
Intellact can be searched in various ways and you can set up alerts so when a new research is available you are informed so you don’t miss anything.
Intellact helps BT give people what they need for their business needs and a competitive edge to BT.
Have a look at these Intellact examples.