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
I am looking forward to participating at the World Class Mobile and Social- Enabled Enterprises event on 5 and 6 June in Frankfurt, Germany.
If you are thinking of coming to one of the best mobile events in 2014 please use this code WCMSSPEAKYOURLASTNAME in the special requirements section on the registration form.
I will be running a workshop on mobile collaboration. I intend to cover how to can be worthwhile, making it easy, and gain the benefits of people collaborating while using their mobile device.
I will also be finding out more about the latest best practice case studies from Europe and North America and networking with the experts on mobile workplaces.
Recently I posted on how to develop an intranet strategy and about Jane McConnell’s report ‘The Digital Workplace in the connected organisation‘. So it is perhaps inevitable this post is about how you develop your strategy for a digital workplace.
A digital workplace strategy is different to an intranet strategy for the following reasons:
- A digital workplace is much wider than an intranet. It may well have the intranet at its core but knowledge sharing and completing online processes are also covered by a digital workplace.
- A digital workplace will have a higher profile so more senior managers in your organisation will need and/or want to be involved as they can influence its direction.
- The impact of the digital workplace as a business tool will have a wider and sometime unforseen impact on the organisation and employees who use it.
- There will be more ‘sacred cows’ and ways people behave which they are very protective or defensive about which you will need to prepare good sound reasons for their removal or need to change.
- There will be a stronger expectation for you to justify and be able to show the benefits to the organisation for developing a digital workplace that you must include in your strategy.
There are some key principles which you need to include with your approach when creating a digital workplace strategy. For more information read how to develop a digital workplace strategy.
I reviewed my predictions for 2013 and believe they are happening more as we move towards 2014. So what has 2014 got in store for us? Here are my five predictions:
Organisations will more seriously consider what approach will best meet their requirements. Factors that will need to be considered before a final decision is made are:
- How much will it save compared with the costs of keeping it within the firewall?
- Will you have better business resilience? Will it remove the single point of failure problem?
- What will be the levels of service?
- Who do you trust with your data?
- Will your content be secure?
I know a lot has been said about mobile and how it is driving the transformation of intranets towards digital workplaces. But how many employees still only use their smartphones for emails and texts? Organisations need to get serious about realising the benefits and consider:
- Increased productivity by people able to find information, complete tasks, share problems and knowledge when they need to without delay
- Save accommodation costs and reduced dedicated workspace so people share as and when they need it
- Support new ways of working with distributed teams and managers enabling and facilitating rather than controlling or limiting activity
- Fear of the unknown is not a good business reason to stop employees using mobiles for their work
- Bring your own device is a solvable problem when everyone wants to reach agreement over intellectual property, security and building trust and behaving sensibly
I am starting to see real examples of collaboration which showing through on business’ bottom line and getting the attention of senior manager. This will bring benefits as it is taking more seriously and investment decisions are easier but the pressure to continue delivering larger savings will also increase. Examples include:
- Project teams sharing and creating online documentation without having to meet face to face or email each other
- Solving problems more quickly using tools to find people with similar skills and experience
- Sharing knowledge that helps others to solve problem and the organisation’s culture increasingly supporting this way of working
Organisations are realising, especially if they are implementing SharePoint, that all the areas where content is published need to be managed. The problems of gaps in information managed and risks it can create are being recognised more. More robust frameworks are being developed and used. Examples include:
- Different types of content such as accredited e.g. policies, news articles, and collaborative e.g. comment in discussion group, blog post are being accepted
- All the different areas for content are being joined up e.g. content management, document management, project spaces, and news.
- A hierarchy which sets out roles and responsibilities help identify overlaps and gaps in managing information
- Publishing standards are being applied in smarter ways taking less time and effort with digital workplace teams
As intranets are transforming from their original purpose as communications tools towards digital workplaces that are critical business tools that people in that organisation increasingly need to rely on for their work, so their value is increasing and the need to measure that value. Examples are:
- Productivity savings are accepted in principle now even if the amount is not agreed by everyone
- The impact on property usage and type is becoming more linked to new ways of working
- The value an organisation places on a person’s digital assets e.g. knowledge in documents is starting to match that of any physical assets e.g. computer
- Business resilience is critical to organisations and along with plans to use the cloud are plans to benefit from a more distributed workforce that no longer has to be in just one location
This is my last post of 2013. I hope anyone reading this has had a great 2013, will have a relaxing break over the Christmas period, and be hoping for more success in 2014!
Posted in collaboration, communication, content management, digital workplace, governance, intranet, mobile, news, SharePoint, standards, value
Tagged blog, bt intranet, collaboration, communication, content, digital workplace, governance, intranet, mobile, publishing, sharepoint, standards, value
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