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
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 previous post in this series on mobile ‘Good governance signals right mobile direction’ I said mobile is one of the key drivers for the transformation of intranets into digital workplaces which could become mobile workplaces but progress is patchy. It is no surprise if I say setting the right direction for your organisation with mobile is critical. Having some good governance principles helps you to continue in the right way and underpin your strategy.
We also need to give people a great mobile experience. But what exactly does that mean? Here are my thoughts on what is needed to achieve this in my last post in this series.
Firstly, you need to make sure the people who will benefit the most are able to use a mobile device. You need to be clear who will benefit from having a mobile device. It probably will not be everyone. Even if it is, you will need to prioritise who has the greatest need. Factors like the number of people involved, time spent away from their place of work and what contribution they can make, will help decide the greatest need.
When you have the right people then you can find out what information and which services they most need, when they need to use them and how they need to use them, to be able to design and test for a good mobile experience.
Secondly, you need to choose which mobile devices are the best tool to help people with their work. For example, is it a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, or maybe a combination of more than one of these that is needed? Will you let people bring their own devices to work or will your organisation provide them? These decisions are critical and will depend on your organisation’s corporate values, type of employees, security, funding and speed of adoption. Once these decisions have been made you can then focus on how you start to create a good mobile experience.
Once you know how to support the type of devices and size of screens being used, and the main purpose people will be using their mobile device for, you can start to create a good mobile experience.
Lastly, you need to make sure you have the right infrastructure to support the needs of mobile workers in your organisation. This means access to the information and tools needs to be 24/7 and not just normal working hours. It means business continuity plans must include how people will still have mobile access to what they need for work. Your organisation needs to consider the different mobile operating systems and devices it will support; what is the cost; what should be the limit; which systems and devices will have most overall benefit?
You also need to give a fast connection when mobile workers need it for their work to the information and tools. Why would you want a mobile device if you find it takes ages to connect to any content or services you need to use?
Good mobile experience
So, what is needed for a great mobile experience? These bullet points help summarise the posts on mobile:
- A mobile strategy aligned to business needs
- Supported by a governance framework
- Helping meet the needs of people using mobile devices
- Research and test with mobile users
- Get the infrastructure in place
- Have a policy on using mobile users for business purposes
If you need any more information please contact me.
Posted in digital workplace, governance, help, intranet, mark morrell ltd, mobile, user testing, value
Tagged digital workplace, governance, intranet, intranet applications, mobile, publishing, research, usability, usability standards, user testing, users