In Gerry McGovern’s latest post he says ‘Digital transformation is cultural transformation first and foremost. Some time ago, I dealt with an organization that had just installed collaborative software. The problem was that the employees saw no benefit in collaborating. Surprise, surprise, collaboration didn’t happen. Collaboration, first and foremost, is a cultural thing, not a technological thing.’
While I agree with Gerry as far as he goes, I also believe the type of governance deployed for collaborative content can be a major barrier to people adopting these tools. Too often the governance used for accredited content e.g. policies and news articles, that are official and factual is also tried (and fails) for collaborative content.
A more ‘light touch’ form of governance is needed to remove the barriers that prevent people wanting to share their ideas or offer suggestions that may help someone with a work problem. Here are some examples of what I mean:
- Posting on a blog or contributing to a discussion group should not need you to ask for permission before you start. It should be ‘on demand’ so there is no delay between when someone needs to use a collaboration tool and being able to. Often the need is urgent and passes quickly so any barrier preventing its use could mean the content is lost forever.
- You should not need formal training before you use the collaboration tool. A) the tool should be so easy to use it isn’t needed and B) understanding how to comply with the publishing standards such as ownership and content review dates shouldn’t be required.
- Usability and design shouldn’t be something you need to bother with. The important thing is your content. Make sure the template you use has the right functionality that people can just start using and understand easily.
- Adapt and embed as many of your publishing standards that are relevant to collaboration into the templates e.g. navigation menus, field for contributor to enter their personal details.
Taking this approach shows how the culture has changed from a ‘command and control’ view of governance many years ago for a limited amount of corporate content. Now, many people can use a wide range of collaboration tools to publish their views and opinions and be comfortable with the experience and knowledge that the content is managed appropriately.
The governance adopted fits the cultural revolution and helps, not hinders, it. Long may that continue!
Posted in best practice, blog, collaboration, digital workplace, governance, intranet, podcast, standards, usability, wiki
Tagged best practice, blog, collaboration, digital workplace, engagement, governance, intranet, standards, wiki
When Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g) announced the best intranets of 2015 (hats off to Verizon as 3 times winners!) they said “While intranet teams continue to grow they simultaneously streamline processes and work faster, resulting in innovative designs. Common feature trends include: responsive design, search filters, flat design, and mega menus, to name a few.”
What did become clear to me is these intranets did not win by luck. What NN/g didn’t say this is also because they have good governance, applied effectively, to build the foundations for well designed (and managed) intranets.
What do I mean by good governance? Here are a few practical examples:
1. Have a clear strategy and direction set. This should be approved by your stakeholders who help its implementation by openly supporting it.
2. Have a governance hierarchy setting out the roles and responsibilities for people involved with the intranet.
3. Develop publishing standards, especially for Usability, based on business requirements.
4. Most importantly, have the means to combine all these features of governance in a great way that results in the wonderful examples we can see with the winners.
These intranets didn’t win by accident but through managing their intranets well. Good governance leads to great user experiences!
Posted in best practice, governance, intranet, standards, strategy, usability
Tagged best practice, governance, intranet, standards, strategy, usability standards
Do you know where everything is in your digital workplace? It’s an easy question for me to ask. However, the answer may be more difficult for you to answer.
In 2015, intranets are now at a jumping off point to become digital workplaces. People are increasingly using different methods to connect whenever they need to. When they connect it is to find information, use apps, share some news or ask for help with a work problem.
In my last two posts I have covered how this is a wonderful opportunity for you to make your digital workplace a great experience, encouraging more frequent use and improving the productivity of people using it for their work.
By combining a clear information architecture with a good governance framework you create a thriving digital workplace, not a barren desert where there is little chance of finding that oasis of vital content you need.
To successfully transform your intranet into a wider digital workplace where everything may be in the cloud with people accessing it from any device, anywhere and at anytime, you need to consider these steps:
- It is critical your governance framework and information architecture are synchronised and have the same scope. You should have one person with overall responsibility for making sure this happens. You also need a common understanding of what they both include. Making this transparent on your digital workplace so other people can see them helps any gaps or overlaps to be spotted quickly and acted upon.
- You need to agree what that scope should be. Is it for accredited content, collaborative content, and applications or only some of these? Whatever the scope is, you need to communicate it clearly with stakeholders. You also need it approved so you have the authority, should you need it, to contact anyone operating outside of its scope.
- Your governance framework needs to have the roles and responsibilities set out with a hierarchy showing reporting lines for strategic and operational activities. It also need to include the publishing standards for your content owners, editors and application owners to comply with. This is essential for a consistently good experience for anyone using your digital workplace.
- Your information architecture needs developing to meet the requirements of your organisation. It should become an overarching structure for all your content and applications. Get these right and you have the ingredients for a consistently good user experience, achieving two aims:
- Help people using your digital workplace to quickly find what they need for their work and to be more productive.
- Help publishers and app owners to easily find the right place for their accredited and collaborative content, and applications.
Try to avoid a piecemeal approach by implementing only some of these steps. That can lead to confusion and a poorer experience as people keep adjusting to the changes. It will also lead to less productive employees and less frequent use of your digital workplace.
That is something you need to avoid by considering how all the steps can be adopted and the full benefits gained for your organisation. Now, that’s a good message you want to communicate, isn’t it! :)
Posted in benefit, best practice, digital workplace, governance, intranet, publishing, standards, value
Tagged benefit, best practice, digital workplace, governance, intranet, intranet applications, measure, publishing, standards, users, value
I have been fortunate to work with and view many sites, intranets, digital workplaces, mobile and collaborative spaces since 1996. Many technology features and fads aimed at helping people have a good experience have come and gone. However, throughout this time, having a clear strategy with good governance to support your intranet, has consistently been shown to help meet your organisation’s key priorities and add measurable value.
Your strategy sets the direction you need to move in with a clear scope and set of aims to be achieved, aligned with other related strategies and overall strategy for your organisation.
Your governance framework helps your strategy continue in the right direction. It will show how you manage everything and how everyone can work together. It will cover scope, purpose, roles and responsibilities, publishing standards and support, and resources needed.
The main reason for a strategy and governance framework is the benefits to be gained from applying it well. The time and effort are the same but the impact can vary so you don’t always achieve a consistently good experience.
Measuring all the benefits and showing the value to your organisation of a critical business tool will improve your credibility and help to justify future investment.
With that in mind I have re-designed my site to focus on Strategy; Governance; and Measuring Value.
Please contact me if you want to find out more.
Posted in benefit, best practice, collaboration, communication, digital workplace, governance, intranet, mobile, Office 365, SharePoint, strategy, value
Tagged benefit, best practice, collaboration, communication, digital workplace, governance, intranet, measure, mobile, sharepoint, strategy, value
There are a lot of comments, opinion, discussions about the Digital Workplace but very few pieces of hard evidence that demonstrate what it means to you and your organisation. There is even less evidence that is free AND reliable that you can find too!
But there is one way to have this for free by completing the Digital Workplace Survey.
The Digital Workplace Survey is in it’s 8th year and provides insight into short and long term trends in the digital workplace. This is useful, not just for staying in touch with trends and planning minor enhancements in your own workplace, but also in strategising the future roadmap and major updates. It’s a great tool to share with senior management as it shows what other organisations are doing in the space via survey results, expert commentary and case studies.
Participating organisations receive a free copy of the report and a customized Digital Workplace Scorecard which can be used to compare against similar organisations.
There are only 10 days to go before it closes on 21 November so don’t delay participating!
Everyone whether they have a disability or not needs to have the same experience when using any intranet information or applications. Employees with a disability may use devices to help them. Your intranet needs to be compatible with these to avoid risking breaking the guidelines and any law that applies in the country where the person works.
Accessible content is also easier to adapt to use with mobile devices e.g. smartphones, tablets, and laptops with their different screen sizes. Try thinking of accessible content as being a step further on from it meeting your usable standard.
If your intranet has information or applications that are not accessible to all employees, you will be breaking the web accessibility guidelines. Legislation and codes of practice based on the latest World Wide Web, Web Accessibility Initiative (W3C Accessible content WCAG 2.0 AA) guidelines will apply in most countries. US Section 508 and UK DDA 1995 are two examples. These guidelines are at three levels, A, AA, and AAA covering the most basic problems to the most advanced problems experienced by people with a disability when using your intranet.
Many organisations find it difficult to see the benefits from publishing standards. I remove the barriers to show the benefits from each publishing standard in this series of posts. Publishing standards aim to:
- Reduce the risk of sensitive information leaks
- Improve the overall user experience
- Make people using your intranet more satisfied with it
- Improve people’s productivity
- Improve people’s quality of work
Knowing that you are helping people with disabilities to use your intranet gives three main benefits:
- People with disabilities using your intranet will have the same or similar experience to anyone else. This will encourage more frequent and extensive use because the intranet is accessible and usable and meets the needs for everyone.
- You can encourage your publishers to make their content and applications accessible to meet their legal requirements. There is the added, sometimes overlooked, benefit that accessible content also displays well in other devices such as tablets and smartphones if it meets accessibility standards.
- Your organisation complies with a legal requirement. It can also see investment made in your intranet has the benefit of being available in other devices that help with new ways of working and while mobile.
My next post on navigation will be the last in this series. I hope you have found them helpful.
Posted in benefit, best practice, digital workplace, governance, intranet, SharePoint, standards, value
Tagged accessibility, benefit, best practice, digital workplace, governance, intranet, publishing, standards, value