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
In my last two posts about the digital workplace I have covered an example of how field-based people use the digital workplace. I then covered how people’s perception of the digital workplace should be more than just considering it is for office-based people only.
But is the digital workplace the best term to describe the new ways of working that people are adopting? Is a term like ‘digital working’ a better description than ‘digital workplace’?
Firstly I don’t get too bothered about terms. As long as there is a common understanding between me and the people I am communicating and working with then that is fine with me. But it does help if that understanding can be easily achieved using a term that is meaningful.
I describe this simply as ‘Work is something you do, not a place you go to’. In a digital workplace you can:
- Work from any location or while mobile
- Have the same or similar online experience
- Collaborate, search, and complete tasks online
- Choose what tools you can use to do this
- Feel comfortable whenever you are using it
- Be confident you can use it when you need to
- Have a better work/life balance
There are other, more detailed, definitions that describe the digital workplace.
But isn’t that explained as well by the term ‘digital working’? It removes any ambiguity about it only referring to office-based rather than field-based or mobile people’s ways of working.
Is it better and maybe more meaningful to use the active term ‘working’ rather than something passive like ‘workplace’? Does the increasing use and influence of mobile working also mean we should consider using ‘digital working’ now?
What are your views on these terms? What best suits how your people in your organisation now work? Is it ‘digital workplace’ or ‘digital working’ that we should be using? I would love to hear from you.
Posted in collaboration, community, digital workplace, engagement, governance, intranet, mobile, search
Tagged collaboration, digital workplace, engagement, governance, mobile, search
I have read a lot about what SharePoint 2010 can do but I have seen few examples of it being used with an intranet. When I was the BT Intranet manager I was heavily involved in the strategy, plans and implementation of SP2010. It was the biggest change to BT’s intranet since it’s creation. It is a huge programme as BT migrates all its existing content from the publishing tools it is using now for document and content management as well as collaborative tools like wikis and blogs. I’m going to show you examples of how SP2010 is being used on BT’s intranet. These were shown to Intranet Benchmarking Forum members at the SP2010 Special Interest Group.
You may find more help from my SharePoint page. You can also contact me for more help.
BT’s Knowledge Management and Collaboration (KMC) programme has formal BT Board approval and has published its strategy setting out the priorities and timelines. The KMC programme has a governance model so the implementation is effective, well managed and you can see how the different boards fit together and their responsibilities.
First priority has been on sharing knowledge more easily. You can choose SP2010′s people finding tool from an index list on the global navigation bar at the top of every page on the BT Intranet.
This links to MyProfile which is like the existing Directory but has flexibility for you to add more information about yourself to help people. By clicking on ‘Browse in organisation chart’ you can move from MyProfile to MySite and can see how your role fits within BT and relates to other people.
MySite has several tabs including one for Whereabouts so people can see what you are doing. This information is automatically downloaded from your Outlook calendar. Another tab, Overview, enables people to see topics and skills you can help others with.
MySite content shows to people with the right permissions what you have published in SP2010. This helps people to find others who have a shared interest without any extra effort needed by you.
People using SP2010 for the first time will go to the Welcome page for SP2010. We don’t mention the technology in the title but what it helps people to do. There is a lot of information shown but new users say this is what they need at this stage.
You can request to publish on a TeamSite for project work or document sharing. It will extend to other needs as SP2010 replaces existing publishing tools and what activity they help people to do.
There is a help site for anyone using SP 2010. It helps anyone using SharePoint 2010 for anything rather than just publishing.
All these examples are shown in this slide presentation.
Posted in best practice, collaboration, governance, intranet, search, SharePoint 2010
Tagged best practice, bt intranet, collaboration, directory, engagement, people finder, sharepoint 2010, strategy, 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.
Posted in best practice, intranet, news, research, search, value
Tagged best practice, bt intranet, BT today, directory, homepage, killer content, research, value
In my last post ‘Great intranets help make efficient people’ I talked briefly about the BT A-Z. BT Intranet users find this a very useful service helping them to quickly find a site.
Research of people in BT finds they navigate to what they need from the BT Homepage by using the search engine, deep linking from the many headings grouped functionally or use the BT A-Z.
People who use the BT A-Z have a reasonable idea they know the site exists and what its name could be. Cross-referencing of sites helps people to find it under more than one letter.
I’ve shown what the BT A-Z is in these examples.
The BT Homepage sets out the BT A-Z in one horizontal line with plenty of space between each letter to save users one click if there was just a BT A-Z heading and be able to easily get the letter they need (slide 1).
For each link in the BT A-Z, there is a heading followed by a simple explanation of what it points to so people know before they click on it if it is likely to be what they are looking for (slide 2).
On the left hand side of every page of the BT A-Z are icons which help to show to users what to expect when they click on the link (slides 2-4).
As well as giving people a full list of sites, if you know it is just information or a service you need for that letter you can choose that option from right hand menu to reduce what you need to check (slides 3 and 4).
If you have mobile/PDA access, you can still use the BT A-Z and see a list of sites to click on with (most important!) a mobile icon against those which will support that type of access (slide 5).
Posted in best practice, help, homepage, intranet, search, standards, usability
Tagged best practice, bt intranet, help, homepage, search, standards, usability, users