Tags: career path, digital workplace, intranet
I have written before about career paths and future job opportunities for intranet practitioners. I don’t believe the only option is to become intranet consultants like I chose to do after leaving as BT’s intranet manager. If you want to move to another organisation then IntraTeam’s job vacancies in LinkedIn is a good place to start looking.
This post is about career development and progression within your own organisation. It’s about taking advantage by the creation of the digital workplace to extend your experience and skills into wider and more strategic areas of your business. I also owe this post to a certain intranet professional (yes, you know who you are!) who I promised this to sometime ago.
At the moment many intranet practitoners are based in the Communications part of their organisation. For intranets it’s probably been the best place since intranets were created. Typically the first use of intranets was probably to improve communications which then developed into information management, standards, etc. While intranets mainly had that traditional purpose it made good sense to work there.
Being an intranet manager was a unique role, not always fully understood, and led to frustration when you wanted to take the next step on a career path. The question was in which direction and, more importantly, whether your organisation recognise your skills and experience could transfer to another role and business unit. Sadly for many frustrated intranet practitioners this didn’t happen.
The evolution of the digital workplace changes this. The digital workplace covers social intranets – collaboration with wikis, blogs, shared workspaces; applications – training, performance management, ordering services; micro-blogging – Yammer, Twitter along with the focus changing from the IT equipment chosen by the organisation to what an employee wants to continue using for personal and business use and the changing way in which people don’t need to be in one place to do their work and connect with the information and tools they use.
It means the natural base for ownership of the digital workplace is not in Communications. It needs to have broader ownership to reflect the extra functions a digital workplace with stakeholders who can either influence the strategy or be affected by it. Jane McConnell’s recommends a digital board which sounds right to me. After all, it will still need managing to be effective.
Being part of this digital board can raise your profile with more senior managers who have a broad, strategic, view of the organisation and how technology can enhance operations. Instead of being the big fish in an intranet bowl think of becoming a smaller fish in a bigger digital workplace bowl.
The digital workplace gives you new new career path opportunities to:
a) Expand your existing role to be more strategic and wider in its scope
b) Take on a new role connected to your intranet role because your skills and experience are better understood and appreciated
How is the best way to do this? Are there better examples?
Tags: benefit, best practice, bt intranet, career path, digital workplace, intranet, Mark Morrell, value
I read with interest the blog posts by Tony Byrne ‘Death of the Intranet‘ and by Martin White ‘Death of the Intranet: ‘The Times They are a-changin’‘. They are both interesting posts with provocative titles to catch the attention. It has caused some great discussions about intranets which is great. The biggest and most negative reaction I found has been from intranet practitioners who feel it is an over reaction and not how they see things.
Having recently been an intranet practitioner as the BT Intranet manager before becoming a consultant, I can see the subject from both points of view. I believe intranets are still live and kicking To adapt the famous quotation by Mark Twain after hearing that his obituary had been published in the New York Journal “The reports of the death of the intranet are greatly exaggerated” in my opinion.
I believe intranets are naturally evolving and maturing. Over the past 15 years intranets have been called many different names. Intranets have needed to adapt to changes in technology, different business requirements and climates. But they are still here and thriving. The digital workplace is a wider environment that intranets will be a vital component of. Yet another evolution for intranets to absorb and adapt to.
Wikipedia says ‘Increasingly, intranets are being used to deliver tools and applications, e.g., collaboration (to facilitate working in groups and teleconferencing) or sophisticated corporate directories, sales and customer relationship management tools, project management etc., to advance productivity. Intranets are also being used as corporate culture-change platforms. For example, large numbers of employees discussing key issues in an intranet forum application could lead to new ideas in management, productivity, quality, and other corporate issues.’ I agree with that from my experience of how intranets generally are being used.
Different tools to access intranets like mobiles won’t end the intranet. It’s just another opportunity to show how adaptable intranet can be in providing the information people need while on the move from their smartphones. Intranets are still the bloodstream for information and applications, properly managed and accessible any time, any place, any where and more and more using any device, that employees need to do their work each day.
I am writing a report about how the passion showed by intranet practitioners about their organisation’s intranet that they manage can help accelerate improvements. I believe it is the personality as well as the abilities of an intranet manager that can help achieve more. Intranet practitioners know better now than ever before how to feel the pulse of their intranet and organisation it supports.
I recall in my previous role how I would champion again and again something I believed passionately about would improve BT by its adoption sometimes against sceptical line management as well as partners like IT and some stakeholders. Of course, judgement is critical as your reputation will suffer if you keep getting it wrong. My point is that passionate intranet role models are being created which other intranet practitioners can benefit from and will continue to help intranets improve in the years ahead, not die.
The development of the digital workplace will be seen not as a threat but more as an opportunity for two reasons:
- The intranet will fit well within the digital workplace and grow in influence on the back of it as more senior stakeholders see how the organisation will benefit from adoption.
- The digital workplace role will be another step an intranet practitioner can consider when looking for their next career move (more on this in a later post).
Intranet managers don’t feel intranets are dying – quite the opposite in fact. They believe intranets are moving into a more critical role for the organisations they support. More and more they are seen as providing a business critical role. This is a long way from just being another communications channels. While I see intranets that are struggling to show value and be taken seriously by their senior stakeholders, there are many intranets growing in value and championed by practitioners who have learnt how to seek support and sponsorship and can talk the language of the business not just the technology.
I believe senior stakeholders, as with intranets, have matured in the last few years. They understand better how intranets have added value, shown benefits in the wider sense and don’t think in straitjacket terms of just ‘return on investment’ so loved by Finance for business case submissions.
For me intranets are a living organism at the heart of organisations, managed by passionate people and increasingly championed by senior stakeholders who ‘get it’ about intranets and can see how they will continue in the wider digital workplace that is unfolding now.
Tags: blog, career path, Mark Morrell
As my career as an intranet pioneer has moved on from being BT’s intranet manager to running my own intranet business, I thought it was a good time after blogging for over 3 years to refresh my site.
The blog posts are still there for you to read, comment and share. But you now have links to find out more:
- About me
- My experience
- My services
- My media engagements
- Intranet experts (and my friends)
So, please find a few minutes to look at this extra information and contact me if I can help you further.
Any comments on the new site will be welcome……..as always.
Tags: career path, intranet
After 15 great year’s involvement with BT’s intranet, including 8 years as the BT Intranet manager, it’s time to move on to fresh opportunities. Today is effectively my last day in BT before I go on holiday until the end of June.
As BT”s intranet manager, I have transformed the BT intranet strategy, governance, standards, knowledge sharing and publishing to an industry leading level of excellence. The Intranet Benchmarking Forum have evaluated it as the best intranet overall and in each of their categories. An achievement I am very proud to be responsible for!
With the successful implementation of SharePoint 2010 over the past 12 months, what future challenges within BT are there for me? I feel this is the right time to use all my experience gained while BT’s intranet manager along with my SP2010 experience to broaden my horizons.
I have had some great offers made to me already to use my knowledge with intranet strategy, governance, standards, innovation, etc, in the wider global intranet community.
They helped me decide to freelance. I am interested in working with different organizations on their intranet related projects.
I will become more involved with the IBF team rather than just as a member. It will be great to continue with a fantastic bunch of people led by Paul Miller and develop my experience and skills further.
It also means I can continue this blog and use it to share more of my knowledge and experience.
If you want to stay in touch you can read and comment on my blog posts. I’m also on LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora, Foursquare, Facebook and Yammer if you add me to your network or you can email me directly email@example.com.
The past 15 years have been great fun. I would like to continue in the next stage of my life with all my intranet friends around the world connected with me still.
Tags: bt, career path, intranet, Mark Morrell
Already there have been comments made to help intranet people with their skills, experience and future career paths.
So, don’t delay – join today!
Tags: bt, career path, intranet
There is no easy answer and no clearly defined path. This maybe because intranet manager is a relatively new role but also it doesn’t fit nicely into an established development and succession plan.
The skills and experience which intranet people have – strategic, communications, project management, technology, people and relationship management – can lead you into many career paths.
This abundance of talent should be seen as strengths that can be used in many other roles in the same organisation not as weaknesses because they are too diverse to fit into one natural path.
There isn’t much advice for intranet managers. LinkedIn groups tends to be how to help with intranets rather than their managers. So, we agreed to create a LinkedIn group for intranet managers to help other intranet managers.
I hope the recorded discussion is made available for people to listen to after IBF24 is finished – not just because I’m talking but the points made to help intranet managers.