Tag Archives: money

Selling the idea of mobile to senior execs

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.

Great examples of Digital Workplace productivity savings

This is the first in a series of posts showing examples of the benefits and savings organisations have gained by shifting work to a digital workplace.  It draws on my previous posts on how you need to plan your strategy, governance, and management of content, tools, and services for a digital workplace.  This is essential when transforming your intranet into a digital workplace.

I will be using examples from the Digital Workplace Group’s report ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working?‘ that show what can be achieved if your organisation can take the right approach.  My first example is how improved productivity can lead to huge savings in your time working and show on your organisation’s financial bottom line.

How to make the savings

I have posted on what you need to do to make productivity savings:

  • Usability: clearly labelled content that’s easy to find
  • IT capability: right tools to make best use of digital workplace
  • Security: confidence in privacy of sensitive content
  • Involvement: contribute to plans, make your needs known

What can be achieved

Organisations that have implemented these successfully have found:

  • Improved productivity is the benefit that will have the most impact with senior management
  • Work that happens in traditional offices is often inefficient
  • Employee engagement is stronger with flexible working
  • Engaged employees work harder and better
  • Increased productivity through people working half the week from home
  • Flexible work programmes improve productivity
  • Investment is needed to increase productivity through new ways of working programmes

Examples

  1. BT now has 15,000 homeworkers out of 92,000 people who are 20% more productive (I know!  I have been a homeworker for many years)
  2. Microsoft improved productivity by 28 minutes per person per day ($86m) through use of unified communications technology
  3. UPS homeworkers increased productivity by 17% and job satisfaction by 86%

There are more examples and details in ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working‘.  My next post in this series will cover declines in absenteeism.

How to be more productive in a digital workplace

OK, so you now have a digital workplace strategy showing the direction you need to move in; a governance framwework to show who is responsible for what with standards, etc, to give you a fantastic online experience; policies and values that encourage you to use a digital workplace and benefit from them.

Now I will show how you can be more productive using a digital workplace:

Usability

It is critical that the time you use in a digital workplace is not wasted.  That means having clearly labeled information, direct route to the information, able to use the information whatever device (laptop, tablet, smartphone) you have, and be able to edit the information as well as read it.

And it’s not just information, you need to find people who can help you or you want to share some knowledge with.  Having an easy to use people finder helps as well as finding collaborative content in discussion groups with other people with similar needs or interest.

Finally if you are mobile your time is limited.  You need fast access to apps and services you need to use e.g. booking travel, hotel room, invites for meetings, hire care.  The list is long but you need to get to each task in a short time and complete each task quickly.

IT capability

You need to have the right tools and access to gain the full benefits from a digital workplace.  Your organisation needs to fund and provide laptops, smartphones, tablets as well as an internet connection and monitor screens for homeworking.  Having the right choice of devices means you can always use the digital workplace whenever you need to – checking people finder, completing tasks, sharing information.  This means you can be more productive and aim for a better work/life balance.  No more waiting to get to an office before you can do your work.  And with the right device you can do your work better, maybe faster too.

You need reliable access to your digital workplace when you need it.  If your organisation gets it wrong then you probably won’t use the digital workplace so much.  Your IT network needs to be reliable for speed and availability.  If it is frequently down for a hour or so you won’t trust it and become reluctant to use it.  If it is slow then you will vote with your feet and stay in a physical office where you can contact people and work better.

Security

You must be confident you have secure access to your digital workplace.  Your organisation needs to be confident it will not be abused by anyone away from their physical workplaces.  For example if you want to check your pay record online you want 100% confidence only you can do this.  Likewise if you need to access sensitive information online the organisation also needs 100% reassurance only those with the right permissions, like you, can use it.

To be fully productive you need to use these services with confidence about how secure they are in a digital workplace.

Involvement

Your organisation needs to develop and have available the things you need to do your work.  Research will be needed before your digital workplace can be used.  You should be involved and asked questions like:

  • What is the information you need?
  • What applications do you need for your work?
  • What collaborative tools do you to share?
  • Will any device work in your digital workplace?

All of these need to be addressed before you need them.  It may take your organisation time, effort, and money to research fully what is needed.  However it will be seen as an investment in the months afterwards when you start using your digital workplace because it helps you to be more productive.

Please contact me if you need my help or leave a comment on this post.  My next post will cover how the weather can help your digital workplace.

Tips to help you achieve a Digital Workplace

When you are proposing a Digital Workplace to your organisation you need to decide how to present this to your senior managers as well as what the benefits will be.  Here are a few tips I have found have helped me and my clients to succeed:

1. Don’t use any technical terms

Find out who you will be presenting, meeting, or discussing your proposal with.  Use the language that your audience understands best.  Don’t use technology terms or abbreviations.

2. Really understand what your organisation needs

What is the overall strategy for your organisation?  What are the key priorities?  How can a digital workplace support them?

3. Find a quick win

Try to identify something within your control, needs little time or money to achieve, but will make your senior managers look up and take notice because of the difference it will make when achieved.

4. Find something which will have a big impact

Maybe a difficult and inefficient process?  Maybe an activity that can make a big saving in money?  Maybe something which affects everyone?  It has to make a difference that will get everyone’s attention.

5. Show slides with before and after scenarios

You need to make sure you explain clearly with examples of what is happening now and how it will change afterwards.  Your examples need to show money saved, time saved, extra revenue, better productivity, etc.  They can be shown words or graphic but they must be clear and easily understood.

6. Be honest about timescales

Senior managers quickly get turned off from a project if the reality is different to the expectation you have set.  Make sure you can justify what you are showing.

5 tips to succeed with an intranet business case

I recently discussed this subject with some intranet practitioners in Copenhagen at an IntraTeam community of practice meeting. Several people there had yet to experience the excitement of knowing a business case had been approved or the disappointment of one being rejected.

I know how both of these experiences feel from first-hand experience when I was the BT intranet manager! It was the frustration rather than the disappointment with the rejection of a business case that has stayed with me longer. Frustration because I couldn’t get the people deciding to ‘get it’ and realise how much it would improve the intranet, the experience of people using it, and the business overall that I felt so passionately about.

How to succeed

You need to ask yourself if a business case is needed at all. Maybe by using open source technology there will be no costs that need you to ask for funding? Maybe you do need to later when you have something more convincing, more persuasive even more tangible, in the benefits you can demonstrate have been achieved by what you are doing.

Tip 1: Pick your timing to give yourself the best chance.

You need sponsors, preferably senior sponsors, better still the CEO as your sponsor. The more strategic and senior the level of support gained by you in your organisation, the better your chances of success and your efforts and time to achieve it will be rewarded.

Tip 2: Build up your relationship with your stakeholders.

You need to be complete in your business case.  That means include all the costs – technology, licences, support, training, and implementation. But don’t forget all the savings – paper, accommodation, time, benefits – productivity, better decision making, risks avoided to brand, and reputation. There could also be revenue generated from extra sales because what you offer could mean more time and ability to compete than before for new business.

Tip 3: Don’t leave off something which could come back to bite you and affect your credibility with future business cases.

You need to consider the wider context for your business case. Is your organisation looking to expand or is it just trying to survive? What is your organisation’s strategy? Is your intranet strategy in line with it? Is your business case connected to your strategy (make sure it is!)? You need to align what you will achieve with the organisation’s values – teamwork, openness = collaboration tools.

Tip 4: Choose your agenda and use the language your audience will recognise.

You need to make your business case as compelling as possible.  That means showing as many savings – money not leaving the organisation – and income – extra money coming in – that can justify.  While there will be many benefits from productivity and reduced risks, it is the bottom line that will be the main focus and the hardest to achieve.

Tip 5: Focus on the savings and benefits which are most important to your organisation.

Lastly don’t forget to use every weapon in your artillery to help convince your sponsors of what your proposal will achieve. In addition to the five tips you can highlight how it fits with the organisations’ values, the downside of not approving the business case and risks being taken by that decision.

Good luck, be passionate about your business case. GO FOR IT AND WIN!

Measuring the value SharePoint 2010 can bring to your organisation

You have developed a strategy.  You have built a governance framework.  You got the buy-in from stakeholders.  You factored in the benefits and drawbacks of different approaches.  You have started implementing SharePoint 2010.

So now, how do you to measure the value to show the investment made has been justified?  Easy to say but harder to show!

I believe you can measure the value at three levels.  These are:

1. Improved productivity

  • SP2010 can help speed up how quickly a business problem can be solved.
  • You can measure how many fewer people are now involved.
  • Compare the time taken now with solving similar faults to what was previously taken.
  • Maybe the skills and grade of people needed previously to solve the problems are not needed now.
  • Using SP2010 tools to improve the quality of the content, preventing mistakes made in the past, such as accessibility and link checks.

All of these can lead to large amounts of financial savings.  The challenge of course is to show what people did with the time saved.  More effectiveness rather than more efficiency needs to be demonstrated.

2. Reduced costs

  • SP2010 can reduce the cost of licences, technical support, servers, and helpdesks used with existing publishing tools.
  • Reducing the variety of tools used the licences (and administration) can save money.
  • As existing tools get old they may need increasing support to keep them running.
  • Servers need updating which costs too.
  • SP2010 should be easier to use than existing tools saving training, helpdesk and online guidance and support costs.

You need to make sure SP2010 is a good fit for your organisation’s needs to save costs.  That means getting your strategy and priorities right first!

3.  Increased revenue

  • People can be more productive saving time and effort with sales bids.
  • People can create and share knowledge more easily giving organisations a competitive edge.
  • Customer service improves with problems solved quicker leading to increased customer loyalty.
  • Better customer solutions with better collaboration through using SP2010.

If your SP2010 strategy is closely aligned to your organisation’s strategy it can exploit this opportunity to add overall value that shows through on the bottom line.

Getting the best value from managing BT’s intranet and portal

I have been invited to speak at a pan-European Conference on Intranet and Portal Management.  It will cover portal and intranet evolution, enhanced internal communication and collaboration, and steps towards an Enterprise 2.0 platform.

I have been asked to talk about ‘Getting the best value from managing your intranet and portal’.

For those who are interested but are unable to make the conference you can find my slides here.

Please spare a thought for me.  I will need to wake up at 04:30 to catch a train, plane and taxi to the venue in Berlin for my presentation at 11:15 local time.  I hope I stay awake during my presentation…………………and the audience do too! :-)

BT today – BT’s great intranet news site

I’ve mentioned in previous posts BT today as BT’s main intranet news site for the latest news affecting everyone in BT.  But I don’t feel I’ve given it full justice until now.  The problem is where to start as it has so much to offer!

BT today was one of the first sites on BT’s intranet when it was launched in 1994.  It meant people could find out the latest news, whenever they wanted to and reduced the overload (and cost) of information being sent to everyone each day.

Since it’s launch BT today has been one of the most popular sites on BT’s intranet.  BT raises several tens of thousands of pounds from digital advertising on the site.  It has now grown to include:

I’ve shared some examples of BT today for you to see these.

Along with BT Homepage and Directory, the BT today news site is one of the key sites that encouraged people to start using the BT Intranet.  Offering a wider range of news services has encouraged people to use it more, and more frequently.

Future plans include more use of photos for each story, larger photos where suitable for stories and people able to comment on each story.

Make money from your intranet like BT does

In a recession every penny spent investing in BT’s intranet is closely monitored.  So the chance to generate some revenue is very welcome.  Whenever I say BT makes money from its intranet to people they raise their eyebrows and ask the obvious questions “What?” and “How?”. 

Here are two examples showing ‘what’ and ‘how’ BT’s intranet has made money.

External advertising on intranet

BT allows external organisations to advertise on one intranet site only.  This is our corporate news site, BT today.  People in BT have accepted for years that adverts appear in the magazine as they do for other newspapers.

We extended advertising to the BT today news site in a way that didn’t distract users from their main purpose for using the site – finding the latest news – while encouraging them to click on the adverts.  It brings in valuable revenue – tens of thousands of pounds each year.

We haven’t had any complaints about adverts being too invasive or distracting.

Sponsored links on search engine

BT has a business partnership with Yahoo!  Intranet users have a BT Yahoo! internet search option.  It means Yahoo! gets more clicks to its internet search and BT gets a % of the sponsored links people in BT click on when searching.  This has come to several thousands of pounds over the past year.

These internet search links appear on BT Homepage and Search BT, our intranet search engine with a short message promoting the benefits to BT.

I know what BT’s intranet is worth. What about yours?

Last August I posted about BT testing out a new methodology that gives a fuller picture of the overall value your intranet gives your organisation and promised to update you on progress made.

Well, it has taken a long time BUT it has been successful!

I now know how much BT’s intranet is worth in £s, how that is worked out, the different levels of value and can start to use it for future investment funding decisions.

BT has measured the exploited and unexploited value of our intranet in terms of the business processes it delivers. It breaks down into three main types of business value:

  • cash saved and revenue generated
  • time savings converted into cash
  • less tangible benefits such as risk reduction, increased satisfaction and emissions savings

I can’t reveal the exact figures as they are sensitive – sorry. What I can say is that for every £1 invested there is £20+ exploited value achieved and £5 unexploited value still to gain. As BT invests many £millions you can see what a breakthrough this can be in the value everyone can see in our intranet!

BT worked with IBF to develop their financial value tool and have shown the methodology to be sound. The results are as accurate as the information you provide on costs, etc, for the tool to assess.

In the 1990s methodology was developed to measure the value of brands and shown as an organisation’s financial asset. This can now start to happen in a similar way over the next few years with intranets.

Wouldn’t it be good to know what your intranet is worth and contributing directly to your organisation’s bottom line?