Category Archives: research

Who has the best intranet team?

What is the purpose of your intranet team? 

How many people should you have in your intranet team? 

What should their roles be? 

How much money should your team have to improve your intranet? 

What is the right level of support from your senior managers?

All of these questions I used to ask when I was the BT Intranet manager and since I left BT I have found clients who also ask me the same type of questions about their intranet team.  Intranet teams mean different things depending on who is asked.  How do you define an intranet team? It is the importance your organisation gives to your intranet and the resources it gives that normally decide your chances of succeeding.

Luckily we have Uju is studying for a MSc in Information System Management & Innovation at Warwick Business School to help find the answers.  She is working with Professor John Baptista and in partnership with ClearBox Consulting.

Uju is researching intranet teams and how they are organised in various organisations within various industries. Factors to be considered include team structure, budget, geographical distribution, organisation size, industry, intranet usage etc. She is researching these topics using a survey and in-depth interviews. She will compare the results with relevant literature and best practice.

Can you please find a few minutes to help by completing Uju’s survey?  She will share the results with everyone who complete the survey at end of the research period.

Thank you in advance for your help from Uju and me. :D

The Digital Workplace in the connected organisation

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:

Mindset

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.

just starting

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.

mobile

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.

The Digital Workplace Trends 2014 survey is now open!

The 8th annual survey – Digital Workplace Trends 2014 – is now open.  It will close mid-October.  You are invited to participate in the survey and in return you will receive:
  • A free copy of the “Digital Workplace Trends 2014″ report on 31 January 2014. (This report is commercialized at US$ 530 for non participants.)
  •  A customized Digital Workplace Scorecard. The scorecard is calculated based on responses to a selection of questions in the survey. It gives a sense of where the organization is at compared to other similar organizations. (Available in the first part of February.)
The survey will take you from 45 to 60 minutes to complete.  You can exit the online survey platform at any time, and return later to where you left off.  Just sign up to get started.
Themes covered this year:
  • What makes up the digital workplace
  • Impact on the physical workplace
  • Social collaboration
  • Enterprise social networking
  • Video and e-learning
  • Information discovery
  • Mobile
  • Business impact of the digital workplace on the organization
  • Leadership involvement
  • Strategy, governance and decision-making
  • Change and challenges
  • Preparation for the future workplace

Vendors, agencies and consultants can also be involved and get a free copy of the final report by bringing their clients to the survey.

The DW 2014 Quick Reference Guide can be downloaded and  there is a frequently asked questions page with a lot of information about how the survey works.

Information about the survey’s purpose and past survey participation is available.
Please get in touch with Jane McConnell if you have any questions or comments.

How to help people to find your content

One of the areas that I get asked for help with is how to make it easier for people using their intranet to find the information they need for their work.

How people are able to find your information or site is critical to how good their experience of it is.  It’s no good having this fantastic source of knowledge on your intranet if no one can find it!

If you are making a major change to your intranet or maybe a smaller improvement to it e.g. launching a new site, it is very wise to test it with some volunteers who can feedback and influence any refinements so it gives the best experience when launched.

One way to help you is to create an information architecture – a structure and menu to help people find their way around your intranet easily – to test with people who could benefit from this new information to be launched.

An online testing tool can take the guesswork out of information architecture and help you check where the right place should be as well as the most suitable headings.

I have found ‘tree testing’ – a usability technique for evaluating the findability of information – is a good way with a simple text version of your intranet structure and hierarchy.  You can also use it to test the structure of a new site to check the content and headings are shown in the best way.

A small amount of funding for online testing can save you the time and effort second guessing where people may expect to find your content.  It will also help people who need to use your information having a better experience.

Can you recommend a tool that has helped you?

Why you need a mobile strategy

In my last post ‘Letting the mobile genie out of the bottle‘ I said mobile is one of the key drivers for the transformation of intranets into digital workplaces which could become mobile workplaces but progress is patchy.  I asked how do you manage this so it benefits your organisation and people while managing the risks of bring your own device (BYOD), intellect property, consuming and contributing content, and using apps that are available anywhere, anytime?

It is no surprise if I say a mobile strategy to set you in the right direction is a good start to make.  Setting the right direction for your organisation with mobile is critical.  To do that you need to know why is your organisation considering mobile access to your intranet.  You need to develop a strategy aligned to your overall business strategy and other strategies that may conflict, support, or overlap with your mobile strategy e.g. IT, Communications, Security.

Your mobile strategy will need to show how it will help to improve the performance.  You need to first research how productivity can increase with people more mobile.  You need to find out which content and apps are most needed while people are mobile.  Ask people what tasks need doing most or have the biggest impact if done with a mobile device.

Without a mobile strategy, with clear priorities shown, there is little chance of creating a successful business case that can help people and your organisation.  But who should be responsible for sponsoring the implementation of your mobile strategy?

You need to find a senior manager who will champion this or, better still, a group of senior managers from across your organisation.  Consider who will have the biggest influence on your mobile strategy.  Check out who will be most affected by your strategy.  Lastly, who has the biggest interest in a mobile strategy being adopted.

Involve these people and any people they nominate in developing your strategy and working out the best way to get your organisation to adopt.

When you have achieved this you will need governance so your mobile strategy sets out and continues in the right direction.  More on this in a future post.

Digital workplace environment benefits examples

This is the last in my series of posts showing examples of the savings organisations have made by shifting work to a digital workplace and new ways of working. It draws on my previous posts on how you need to plan your strategy, governance, and management of content, tools, and services for a digital workplace.  This is essential to transform your intranet into a digital workplace.  My previous posts in this series have covered productivity savings, reduced absenteeism, reduced staff turnover, and property costs savings.

I will be using examples from the Digital Workplace Group‘s report ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working?‘ that show what organisations taking the right approach can achieve.  This example covers how changing to new ways of working can improve your organisation’s green reputation and have a good impact on the environment.

How to reduce the environmental impact

Governments, organisations, and people are realising more what their impact on the environment can be.  More importantly there are options we can take which can reduce the impact we have by changing our behaviour to work.  Simply we can now bring our work to us more rather than have to travel to it.  So, as well as striking a better work/life balance we can also reduce our impact on the environment by:

  • not commuting to work
  • video and conference calls with other people instead of every meeting being face to face
  • less office space to be heated and lit
  • when travelling is necessary, doing it outside of peak commuting hours if possible
  • using collaboration tools that replicate what used to happen when people were in physical workplaces

What organisations can achieve

  • Reducing environmental impact is a key factor of an organisation’s Corporate and Social Responsibilities commitments.
  • If US employees with compatible jobs and a desire to work from home did so half the time, it is estimated the nation could cut its Persian Gulf imports by 47%. The greenhouse gas impact would be equivalent to taking the entire New York State workforce off the road. (Wow!)
  • Reducing an organisation’s liability to environmental taxes and penalties by changing behaviour.
  • Significant savings can be achieved through reduction in business travel. For example: Ernst & Young (£2.5m a year) and Cisco ($10.3m a year).
  • Digital workplace technology has the potential significantly to reduce the negative environmental impact of organisations.

Examples

  1. During 2010, consolidation enabled Hewlett Packard to close 16 data centres and 447 computer labs and reduce floor space by around 12,000 square metres, while maintaining HP’s presence in all the world’s major regions and their ability to support customers worldwide. In turn, HP estimates that this consolidation avoided 260,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2) emissions.
  2. Through its award winning flexible working programme, in 2009/10 Ernst & Young avoided 6.8m air miles from using video-conferencing facilities. And in 2010/11, it achieved a 24% reduction in distance travelled by road per head, and a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions per head, compared with 2006/07. It also achieved a 5% reduction in distance travelled by rail and CO2e emissions per head in 2010/11 compared with 2006/07. Its flexible working strategy has been supported by a £650,000 initial investment while the potential annual direct cost savings from business travel avoidance is £2.5m.
  3. In its 2010 CSR report, Cisco makes an explicit link between using collaboration solutions internally (principally WebEx and telepresence) to host a staggering 19.3m hours of virtual meetings. This represents an annual saving of 47,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year and a general reduction of 12% of Cisco’s output in greenhouse gases since 2007.
  4. Capgemini’s carbon emissions have fallen by 12.6% since 2008 as a result of its TravelWell programme, which included providing technology alternatives to non-essential travel. It has also achieved WWF UK’s ‘One in Five Challenge’ (reducing business flights by 20% in five years). A founder sponsor of the challenge, Capgemini achieved this in the first year, reducing flights by 4,508.

I hope these posts have made you pause and think about how you can help your own organisation.  You can contact me if you want more help.

There are more examples and details in ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working.

Big property savings examples in digital workplace

This is the fourth in my series of posts showing examples of the savings organisations have made by shifting work to a digital workplace.  It draws on my previous posts on how you need to plan your strategy, governance, and management of content, tools, and services for a digital workplace.  This is essential to transform your intranet into a digital workplace.  The previous posts covered productivity savings, reduced absenteeism, and lower staff turnover.

I will be using examples from the Digital Workplace Group‘s report ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working?‘ that show what organisations taking the right approach can achieve.  This example covers how less, better utilised, physical workspace can save large amounts of money and impact on your organisation’s financial bottom line.

How to make the savings

  • Transform the physical workplace into a digital workplace where employees can take advantage of its benefits.
  • Dedicated versus flexible workspace – do you need the same workspace every working day?
  • Reduce the number of buildings you need if more people are working at home or away from their dedicated workspace more often.
  • Increase occupancy rates by matching the workspace to the people who actually use it rather than have empty desks while people are working elsewhere.
  • Lower your costs by accurately forecasting your physical workspace needs based on trends in digital working.

What can be achieved

  • Traditional offices are expensive, inefficient, inflexible, and difficult to scale (particularly down).
  • About 60% of a company’s desks are vacant at any time.
  • The average business could save $2,500 to $5,000 a year in property and related costs for each half time teleworker.
  • Savings from real estate reduction through new ways of working programmes are making the headlines globally: Cisco ($1.1bn), BT (£60m), Deloitte ($30m),
    IBM ($450m), US Patent & Trademark Office ($19.8m), GlaxoSmithKline ($50m) and more.
  • Investment in the digital workplace is a prerequisite for enabling employees to work effectively while reducing office space.

Examples

  1. BT’s Agile Worker programme saves approximately £6,000 a year for every full-time homeworker at BT. In 2009, with 10,168 homeworker par ticipants, BT saved approximately £60m, largely based on reduced estate costs.
  2. On any given day, more than 115,000 IBM employees around the world work in a non-IBM office. 40% of the IBM workforce operates without a dedicated office space. The employee/desk ratio is currently 4:1, with plans to increase the ratio to 8:1 in field locations. IBM calculates that it saves $450m a year in reduced facility infrastructure and associated initiatives through agile working.
  3. By transforming its sales team from office based to mobile, YELL reduced its property costs by £1.5m ($2.5m) a year and drove efficiency through reduced downtime.
  4. Through its Global Workplace Initiative, HP has increased its office space utilisation from an average of less than 40% to nearly 80% in just three years. The ratio of employees to desks ranges from 2:1 to 20:1 and varies by job, location, and other factors.

There are more examples and details in ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working.  My next post will cover the environmental benefits.