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
In my post ‘Showing the value of your information’ I wanted to help you to show to people using your information how valuable it is. I asked ‘What is it you can do for people to realise your content is of value, it is useful, reliable, and authoritative?’ and what pitfalls should you avoid.
I want to show you how knowing who owns your content can help people realise how valuable it can be. When I was the BT Intranet manager there was a publishing standard which made it mandatory for all accredited content e.g. news article, company policy to show on every page who the owner was.
The smart part was to also link to the content owner’s contact details in the Directory, which were automatically updated, so you could easily choose the best way to contact the owner to seek further information or clarify anything.
If you don’t show the owner or editor of the content how can anyone feel they can rely on it.
For collaborative content e.g discussion groups, it isn’t so easy to show the owner. However it is possible to show who owns the community and any comments should have an owner that ideally is linked to their contact details. This allows for some communication to continue directly with the owner if more appropriate.
I don’t recommend anonymous postings to blog, micro blogging, or forums. If you have a comment to make you should feel confident that it will be accepted in the right spirit as long as it meets the terms and conditions e.g. no abusive content. The culture of your organisation should encourage sharing of ideas and problems and a mature debate on how to move forward with each one.
Lastly you need to have a good governance framework which covers roles and responsibilities for publishing and managing content. A publishing standard on how you show you own content will help too. Having a template for entering your details helps and a process for reminding when the content needs reviewing is essential.
Posted in best practice, collaboration, community, content management, governance, intranet, publishing, standards, value
Tagged best practice, collaboration, content, governance, intranet, publishing, standards, value
I was asked recently “How do you sell the idea of mobile to senior executives so they ‘get it’?” Good question! My experiences with mobile have shown me there are four questions you need to be answer when you need to promote the idea of mobile with senior managers and show the benefits a good mobile experience can bring. They are:
Who are your stakeholders?
You know you need to gain sponsorship and support for your ideas with mobile. But who are the right senior executives to be your key stakeholders? You need to identify the senior people who:
- Will be affected most by your ideas for mobile
- Will be most influential in your ideas being adopted
They may not be the most obvious person so think carefully about who you need to build a relationship with so they understand what you want to do and what their role will be.
Without their ‘buy-in’ your ideas for mobile will go nowhere fast and, sadly for you, will probably just stay as ideas.
What is your strategy?
Have a proposal you can use as a basis for any conversation with your stakeholders. This needs to be some form of a strategy that sets out:
- What you are aiming to do e.g. reduce time taken to solve problems
- Why you believe this is needed e.g. improved productivity
- What the scope of your strategy is e.g. apps, collaborating tools, governance
- What are your priorities e.g first phase connectivity, second phase apps development
- When will it be implemented e.g. 3 months for phase 1
You need to have this ready to show people and be able to answer questions about how it affects your organisation, stakeholders, and people who need to use mobiles or need to be more mobile in how they work.
What are the benefits?
You need to show what the likely benefits of people using mobiles and being more mobile can bring to your organisation. Any benefits that show on the bottom line will be taken more seriously. You need to consider:
- Reduced office space needed as people work more from different places e.g. home, local hub, while travelling
- Increased productivity as people don’t have to wait until they are using a PC in an office to act on requests or ask for help
- Reduced travel costs as people share online, on calls, on video using their mobiles any work problems they need help with
- More engaged people with flexibility to balance their personal life with work commitments and reduce stress
Some of these are obvious savings but can be harder to prove. Your approach needs to show how you would measure these as well as indicate the benefits that can be made.
How will you implement it?
Make sure you have thought through how you can going to turn your idea for mobile into reality. Don’t be so aspirational that senior execs can see it could be unrealistic and lose it and your credibility. But it needs to inspire people by showing it can be done and justify their sponsorship by:
- Getting approval and funding for it
- Deciding who will lead the project and accept who makes the decisions
- Having regular reviews of progress made
- Identifying resources available to make it happen
Don’t fall over at the last hurdle by not having a plan showing how you can implement your idea for mobile. It may show a lack of confidence in your abilities to make this happen.
You can find more information about mobile or contact me for advice.
Posted in benefit, collaboration, digital workplace, governance, intranet, mobile, plan, strategy, value
Tagged benefit, best practice, collaboration, digital workplace, governance, mobile, money, plan, strategy, value