Category Archives: podcast

Successfully transforming BT’s intranet using social media

I will be speaking at the Advanced Intranet and Portals conference in Amsterdam held on 27 and 28 May.  It aims to ‘Connect your employees to anybody, anywhere, and drive business growth through social media, Web 2.0 and collaboration tools whilst increasing employee usability and engagement’.

I will use Twitter to share any nuggets of knowledge that I uncover while attending the conference.  Already there is a lot of interest around Sharepoint 2010 which BT is planning to use.

My presentation will cover:

  • Analysing the need to use social media tools and knowing how to get it adopted in your organisation
  • Drawing up guidelines to minimise the information, security, legal and brand risks
  • Selecting an effective governance strategy that minimises risk and increases adoption
  • Studying whether a social media working group and/or Chief Social Media Officer will enhance internal promotion, adoption rates and general management
  • Meeting the demand from younger and new users
  • Overcoming internal barriers and resistance
  • Weighing up the benefits from social media

If you are not able to attend you can view my presentation slides here.

The social intranet at BT

The presentation that may never be heard or seen!  

I was invited by the Quadriga University in Berlin to present on the social intranet at BT.  Sadly the travel disruption caused by volcanic ash means it has been cancelled until a later date in 2010.

With the development of social media tools, intranets have become more than a depository of information and established themselves as platforms of dialogue.

My presentation covers:

I hope you find it of interest online without me talking about it. :-)

BT’s intranet is 15 (yes, 15) years old

Just before Christmas 15 years ago a few grey pages appeared and flickered away on a computer screen in BT for the first time.  

What began as a small pilot project to look at the problem of “information overload” has led to being one of the best intranets globally with everyone in BT using it.

It’s now such an intrinsic part of the way that the company does its business that it is hard to imagine business life without it.  A BT person now uses the information network for a variety of tasks at work and also works with processes and systems which are intranet based.

 These include ‘killer applications’ at the start of our intranet that I have posted about before – BT Homepage, Directory, BT Today and more recently social media tools like Blog Central, BTpedia and Podcast Central.

Information and activities supported by the intranet include sales and marketing data, fault resolution, service planning and provision, facilities management, human resources support, senior executives’ sites and business intelligence.

All our key BT-wide applications most people need to use are online – whether booking a room, claiming expenses, ordering a PC, performance marking or training – saving time, paper, effort and transforming costs.

So what about the future?  I can’t predict for the next 15 years but I’ll post about the next 15 months soon.

Social networking on BT’s and other intranets

In Jakob Neilsen’s latest Alertbox, he covers BT’s intranet and 13 others in a report.  BT’s intranet has embedded wikis, blogs, podcasts and RSS feeds so they are available to every user as part of their normal intranet experience every day.  He says:

Community features are spreading from “Web 2.0″ to “Enterprise 2.0.” Research across 14 companies found that many are making productive use of social intranet features.

Through several rounds of research on intranet portals, we’ve repeatedly reached the same conclusions:

  • When Intranet information architectures are structured according to the org chart, employees have a hard time finding their way around. It’s better to structure information according to how people use it, rather than what department owns it.
  • Role-based personalization lets portals bring information to users in centralized views, rather than forcing users to navigate an immense information space to find individual (and dispersed) locations.

Social features on intranets Community features are spreading from “Web 2.0″ to “Enterprise 2.0.” Research across 14 companies found that many are making productive use of social intranet features.

A big day out on BT’s intranet

Last Thursday (2nd July) I hosted a visit to BT Centre in London for 30 intranet representatives who are members of the Intranet Benchmarking Forum to demonstrate our intranet and give them time to surf our intranet and test it out for themselves.

I was very pleased (and a little relieved) they were really impressed by what they saw and tested out on BT’s intranet.

The areas covered include BT’s Homepage; Blog Central; BTpedia; Podcast Central; BT Today and RSS.  I also covered the full value of BT’s intranet.

It wasn’t all good news.  BT’s continuing problems with poor usability of our applications bought from vendors like Oracle was highlighted with one quote “You don’t need training to use Amazon” summing things up.

It was rewarding to see our efforts to make our intranet (one of ?) the best in the world be confirmed by 30 peers.  Thank you! :-)

I now receive only the information I need

I’ve posted recently about how people in BT are using other social media tools that benefit both people and BT.  These include wikis, blogs and podcasts.  These are all available for people in BT to use even if they are mobile.

BT is reducing the amount of information people receive or need to find on BT’s intranet by using RSS, Twitter and grouping individual emails into one that summarises non-urgent news. 

It means I have the power to decide what I want to receive, when I want to receive it and when I need to read it and use it that helps me most.

Here’s what BT has done:


BT uses Feedreader as the newsreader on your PC.  It is able to capture all the feeds to information you wantb to know have been updated.  It saves you time checking and re-checking sites to see if anything has changed or new happen.  More and more intranet sites are using RSS for this purpose.  This isn’t just for blogs but more traditional content and news.  I’ve examples of some of the 100s of RSS feeds we have and my own Feedreader (your blog could be there!).


BT encourages people to use Twitter for conversations with people and communities with the same interests.  BT also its own groups on Twitter.  For example everyone in the team I’m in has access to a group Twitter account to share information that can vary from business to personal stuff.  As we are a virtual team working from many locations it helps build that common bond between ourselves that limited face to face contact can prevent.  I’ve examples of my Twitter profile and some of our team conversations.

‘Round up’ emails

To reduce the number of individual emails that go to everyone about non-urgent but necessary information we need to be aware of, a ’round up’ email that summarises all the emails is sent out.  This means I know what is urgent, maybe more important than other emails, and have more time to cover what is summarised when it is sent once every 2 weeks.  I’ve an example of the latest ’round up’ email sent to me.