To coincide with my last post ‘Why you need a mobile strategy‘ in my current series on the mobile workspace, I was interviewed by the Journal of Internal Communication for an article about the potential of mobile devices when developing internal communications strategies. I gave my views on the importance of people using mobile devices to be communicated with and to communicate and collaborate with other people while away from their normal place of work.
People have always been outside of the office space however, mobile technology now enables you to get messages out to them quickly – something that wasn’t possible in the past. This doesn’t only affect remote workers or employees who travel a lot: work is increasingly shifting towards mobile devices.
The traditional situation where employees were using a desktop and ‘consuming’ communications during specific hours of the day is over. Increasingly, they will want to share things anytime, anywhere, and to be updated instantaneously. So there’s a whole new audience out there that internal communicators need to get to know.
You can read ‘The benefits of incorporating mobile devices into your strategy’ in full for free here.
From my time working in BT and with clients such as Centrica, internal communicators sometimes feel left behind or threatened by it. Actually I believe it is the opposite! This is a great opportunity for internal communicators to take a more strategic, value-add, position and plan how to take full advantage of the benefits this new way of working technology is offering.
If you want more information or advice please get in touch.
Tags: communication, digital workplace, governance, intranet, plan, strategy
Communicators’ first priority is to communicate. Their first reaction to collaboration between employees using blogs is to increase the frequency of communications and their prominence on the intranet.
But digital workplaces are used by employees primarily to do things or find information or people, not to read communications. They still do read communications but it is not their main purpose or first priority.
This is a dilemma that communications will need to resolve as they find a new role that continues to add value to the organisation that is more strategic. It is NOT a good approach to seek to own the digital workplace from the view of communications being its main purpose. It isn’t.
While communications still has a key role, increasingly it is human resources, knowledge management and business functions that are largely affected by or have a high influence on how the digital workplace is created that are increasingly involved.
A group of senior representatives who are stakeholders in the digital workplace should form something like a digital board, responsible for strategy, high-level decisions, and priorities for collaboration, communications, tools, and mobile use.
This group should have cross-organisational recognition and support that needs to be seen to be acting in their interests. A clear strategy and prioritised action plan for the short term with owners and timescales will achieve that.
But there still needs to be a leader of the digital board whose authority is accepted. The obvious choice would be the CEO of the organisation. However the reality is the CEO probably won’t have enough time to focus on leading the digital board.
The next best solution is for the CEO to nominate someone or, if not possible, for there to be a senior person who is naturally seen as the ideal candidate by other digital board representatives. The main criteria are someone whose finger is on the pulse of the organisation, is involved and aware of the key decisions being taken, and has the respect of everyone involved.
It is essential to have the right people in place who own the digital workplace strategy and future direction it will take that will benefit both the organisation and everyone working in it.
Am I unfair in my views on internal communications?
Who do you believe are the best people and functions to own the digital workplace?
Tags: best practice, content, intranet, publishing, sharepoint 2010
For each approach it is the conflict between minimising the impact on performance of the business with the extra cost of contractors while retaining the knowledge and experience of using SharePoint 2010. There isn’t just one answer and it can be a difficult choice to get right.
Using contractors to rebuild
My last approach covers your organisation hiring external contractors with SharePoint 2010 knowledge and expertise to rebuild your content. Contractors should be able to rebuild all types of content, whether simple or complex, without need for training.
It minimises the involvement of your content editors with rebuilding of content to focus on their business activities. It gives you flexibility on when you train your content editors to be able to update and create content, either during or after the rebuild has been completed.
You can also start your rebuild at short notice providing your contractors are available.
Your organisation can save the costs and effort of training content editors before the rebuild until much later. The impact on operational performance is minimised.
All your content is rebuilt by contractors skilled in SharePoint 2010. You may use some of the contractors on a permanent basis to re-train your content editors and to continue offering expert advice and guidance. Your contractors can be your ‘Super Users’.
You have the flexibility to increase or reduce the time taken to rebuild all your content by hiring more or less contractors.
Hiring external contractors with SharePoint 2010 experience will increase the costs of your organisation’s rebuild. Your content editors will not be so easily able to develop their knowledge by not rebuilding their content and learning from this experience.
It may be difficult to hire the right number of contractors with the skills and experience for the funding you have or within your timeframe.
Contractors have to learn the context and background to why content is published in the way chosen by your organisation. Your editors may save time not rebuilding their content but they will still need to explain what is needed to be done and why to contractors as well as checking and auditing what has been rebuilt before it can be published.
By assessing each of these approaches you can help to choose which will best suit what your organisation needs. You can factor in funding, timescales, editors’ skills and experience, when deciding what to do.
I have been directly involved in several SharePoint 2010 content rebuilds. If you need any more help please contact me.
Tags: best practice, content, governance, intranet, publishing, sharepoint 2010, training
Have you decided what is the right approach to review and rebuild your content in SharePoint 2010?
I will post about the different approaches organisations can take towards who is best placed to rebuilding the existing content in SharePoint 2010 in my next few posts. This builds on my other SharePoint 2010 posts.
Firstly, I want to set out what content editors need training for. This usually happens when you are implementing SharePoint 2010. You may already be using an earlier version of SharePoint or different publishing tool. However it can be used as ‘business as usual’ when you have new content editors who replace existing publishers.
I’m not talking about the training content here. There are many good training courses – both online and face to face – that can help you with that need. I’m also leaving aside the ‘super users’ who have administrative rights for site collections, etc., and just focusing on the vast majority of people who need to publish content.
Content editor training
This training should be ‘just in time’ so content editors can start using it immediately. The longer there is a delay between when you have been trained and you start using it, the greater the risk you will do something wrong or differently because you have forgotten.
Where it is a straight forward and simple activity online training can meet this learning need. However for more complex activities face to face training may be the best way.
A good tip is to reinforce any face to face training with short online videos or podcasts that ‘show and tell’ how to d it the best way. Use the test of ‘Is it easier to go through the online training module than to contact someone for help and advice.
Content editors need to first review their existing content. Is it still relevant? Does it need to be re-written? The aim is to only have the content that is still needed. Most migrations find a very high percentage of content is deleted for various reasons when reviewed. That content should be updated for accuracy, tone of voice, and any change of context e.g. to fit with any other content in another web part that could be merged.
The content rebuild should be the first task after your training. You need to have all your content ready before you can link it together.
Content linking and styling
Once all the content has been rebuilt you can restore the links and fix any broken links as the content will have entirely new addresses (URLs). Then you review each page to ensure that it is styled and written correctly.
Content structure and navigation
The final stage will be checks on the intranet homepages/portals, global and site navigation menus, that any content needs to be ready for launch.
My next post will cover the first approach you can consider for how you rebuild your content.
Tags: best practice, collaboration, governance, intranet, sharepoint 2010, strategy
As part of your SharePoint 2010 strategy you need to get the governance right for your organisation’s intranet – restricted if you are highly regulated, looser if you are creative and innovative - for publishing and for accessing and using the information. Setting the right level of permissions for people publishing and using SharePoint 2010 is critical to the value it can bring to your organisation.
What level of control do you need centrally? What level of control do publishers need? You need to understand the key roles when using SharePoint 2010. Getting the balance right and assigning permissions to MySites, TeamSites and MyProfile is critical to your organisation gaining the full benefits expected.
You must be very careful about who you give site collection administrator rights to. There are other levels of permission you can give publishers to create pages and sub-sites, edit content or just read only for some parts of the site collection without making them site collection administrators. Site collection administrators are responsible for training, awareness and education of authors.
To encourage collaboration and innovation using SharePoint 2010 you may want to have looser control and remove unnecessary barriers that prevent this happening. But you really want tighter management of the corporate memory in documents with an audit trail and limit permssion rights here.
The roles needed for publishing and managing the site information are:
Site Collection Administrators
A site collection administrator manages a collection of sites.
- A governance model will help decide how many site collection administrators are needed and who they will be.
- Sets the level of permissions for anyone using the Site Collection and content and are trained on how to use it.
- Review the content published for best practice and help make sure it is managed properly.
- Make sure policies, such as information security and information retention, are understood and followed.
- Make sure the Site Collection is reviewed regularly and either renewed or deleted.
A site administrator manages the site.
- The site collection administrator sets permissions for whoever will be the site administrator.
- Advise authors how to access and use SharePoint, grant or remove access to the Site.
- Regularly review the content published by authors on your Site for best practice and help make sure it is managed properly.
- Agree and implement the structure and access control permissions required for your Site lists and document libraries.
- Make sure policies, such as information security and information retention, are understood and followed by authors publishing on the Site.
- Make sure the Site is reviewed and either renewed or deleted by acting on the site expiry messages.
An author publishes content to the areas of the site they have permission to use.
- The site administrator sets permissions for whoever will be an author and the areas of the Site they can use.
- Make sure policies, such as information security and information retention, are understood and followed when publishing to the area(s) of the Site with permission to use.
- Make sure the expiry messages are acted upon and content is reviewed and either renewed or deleted.
My next post will be on SharePoint Designer.
Tags: best practice, engagement, governance, intranet, sharepoint 2010, standards, strategy, training, value
Based on my experience and knowledge gained when I was the BT Intranet manager and helping other organisations implement many SharePoint 2010 features I can help you too using my checklist.
SharePoint 2010 may be “the best sweetie shop in town” for all its range of features for people to use but the need for effective governance raises for intranet professionals a different set of challenges. The strategy for SharePoint 2010 governance has to be very different to other publishing or collaborative tools.
I believe there are three approaches which can give your organisation the right governance it needs with SharePoint 2010. You don’t have to use just one. You can combine some of each to find the right blend for your organisation. What works best for you will depend on a number of different factors. Among them:
- Restricting use – stop some features from being used
- Encouraging best practice – guidance and training
- Preventing problems – check content before it is published
Each of these approaches can support your governance strategy for SharePoint 2010. The key is to understand what you need to use SharePoint 2010 for.
Tags: benefit, beta testing, intranet, money, strategy, user testing, value
I recently discussed this subject with some intranet practitioners in Copenhagen at an IntraTeam community of practice meeting. Several people there had yet to experience the excitement of knowing a business case had been approved or the disappointment of one being rejected.
I know how both of these experiences feel from first-hand experience when I was the BT intranet manager! It was the frustration rather than the disappointment with the rejection of a business case that has stayed with me longer. Frustration because I couldn’t get the people deciding to ‘get it’ and realise how much it would improve the intranet, the experience of people using it, and the business overall that I felt so passionately about.
How to succeed
You need to ask yourself if a business case is needed at all. Maybe by using open source technology there will be no costs that need you to ask for funding? Maybe you do need to later when you have something more convincing, more persuasive even more tangible, in the benefits you can demonstrate have been achieved by what you are doing.
Tip 1: Pick your timing to give yourself the best chance.
You need sponsors, preferably senior sponsors, better still the CEO as your sponsor. The more strategic and senior the level of support gained by you in your organisation, the better your chances of success and your efforts and time to achieve it will be rewarded.
Tip 2: Build up your relationship with your stakeholders.
You need to be complete in your business case. That means include all the costs – technology, licences, support, training, and implementation. But don’t forget all the savings – paper, accommodation, time, benefits – productivity, better decision making, risks avoided to brand, and reputation. There could also be revenue generated from extra sales because what you offer could mean more time and ability to compete than before for new business.
Tip 3: Don’t leave off something which could come back to bite you and affect your credibility with future business cases.
You need to consider the wider context for your business case. Is your organisation looking to expand or is it just trying to survive? What is your organisation’s strategy? Is your intranet strategy in line with it? Is your business case connected to your strategy (make sure it is!)? You need to align what you will achieve with the organisation’s values – teamwork, openness = collaboration tools.
Tip 4: Choose your agenda and use the language your audience will recognise.
You need to make your business case as compelling as possible. That means showing as many savings – money not leaving the organisation – and income – extra money coming in – that can justify. While there will be many benefits from productivity and reduced risks, it is the bottom line that will be the main focus and the hardest to achieve.
Tip 5: Focus on the savings and benefits which are most important to your organisation.
Lastly don’t forget to use every weapon in your artillery to help convince your sponsors of what your proposal will achieve. In addition to the five tips you can highlight how it fits with the organisations’ values, the downside of not approving the business case and risks being taken by that decision.
Good luck, be passionate about your business case. GO FOR IT AND WIN!