Tag Archives: people finder

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.

What is the right governance model for a digital workplace?

Thank you to everyone who read my last post ‘What is a digital workplace?‘ and contributed to a great discussion helping to define it.  Staying with the digital workplace theme I want to show you the views given in my workshop at IntraTeam 2012 event ‘How to build the right governance model for the digital workplace‘ which produced some great responses.

The workshop covered four areas needed for the right level of governance: Ownership, Consistency, Standards, and Integrity. The outcome was:

Who should be responsible for developing and implementing the digital workplace strategy?

Digital workplace principles need to be put into your own organisational context.  A board of representatives from across the organisation is needed to coordinate a digital workplace strategy.  This board can have decision or advisory status.  Alternatively you could have a central business unit responsible for strategy, processes, planning and implementation.  While there was no clear decision on who led the digital board or business unit there was a consensus it was NOT to be anyone from Communications!

What should everyone expect or need when using a digital workplace?

Everyone should gain a better work/life balance from a digital workplace although managers and their team members will have different expectations.  The digital workplace should have all the information and tools you need integrated, easy to access and to find.  You are able to connect from any device you have.

What standards are needed for a digital workplace?

A governance framework is needed with standards forming a key part with tools to enforce them.  Standards are needed for:

  • Legal requirements: accessibility, personal information available
  • Business needs: usability, design, navigation, findability, ownership, information retention and employee terms and conditions need to encourage the digital workplace
  • Security needs: confidential information restricted, permissions model adopted
  • Technical support: platform functionality, server support, agreed levels of service.

How do employees gain confidence with the digital workplace?

Anyone who plans to work remotely, especially if they are the first person in that team, wants to have the same or better experience than where they currently work.  You gain confidence when the information and tools you need for work are always available to use.  You feel confident that your personal information is there for you (and only you) to use still.  You don’t feel any discrimination because you are working remotely from your manager, team, customers and other employees.

What is missing?

Please help me and the other intranet professionals at the workshop by commenting on the outcomes.

Create a brilliant digital workplace with me

To have a successful digital workplace (which I define as ‘work is something you do, not a place you go to’) it is vital organisations have the right strategy, culture, environment and infrastructure to exploit the benefits fully.  It needs to become the natural way of working so everyone is more effective and productive and your organisation more efficient and successful.  For me a digital workplace can include:

  • people working from any location (or mobile) rather than their office workstation.
  • IT infrastructure providing the same or similar experience wherever somone uses the digital workplace
  • people being able to collaborate, search, complete tasks as well as read the latest news
  • people choosing how to do ‘things’ – RSS, mobile, etc. – that help them
  • the organisation measuring the benefits and encouraging people to use the digital workplace

So, does your intranet look or feel like a digital workplace?

Is it meeting your organisation’s needs – now or in the future?

Does it offer the right tools that people are able to use easily?

Have you the right governance and standards to make your digital workplace successful?

If you have answered no, maybe just shaken your head sideways, then I can help and work with you.

I have first-hand experience of creating, implementing and managing a digital workplace that is one of the best in the world.

Whatever help you need, maybe a call, presentation (online or face to face), workshop, training, consultancy or implemention, I can help.

I will be posting in more detail over the next few weeks on the principles for a great digital workplace to entice you. :-)

So, why not use make your life easier and use my first-hand experience and wider intranet knowledge for your benefit?

Just let me know with a comment, email – markmorrell.ltd@gmail com, Skype (mark.morrell58), call +44 (0) 771 338 5309 or even visit me in Brighton!

BT Intranet SharePoint 2010 examples

I have read a lot about what SharePoint 2010 can do but I have seen few examples of it being used with an intranet.  When I was the BT Intranet manager I was heavily involved in the strategy, plans and implementation of SP2010.  It was the biggest change to BT’s intranet since it’s creation.  It is a huge programme as BT migrates all its existing content from the publishing tools it is using now for document and content management as well as collaborative tools like wikis and blogs.  I’m going to show you examples of how SP2010 is being used on BT’s intranet.  These were shown to Intranet Benchmarking Forum members at the SP2010 Special Interest Group.

You may find more help from my SharePoint page.  You can also contact me for more help.

BT’s Knowledge Management and Collaboration (KMC) programme has formal BT Board approval and has published its strategy setting out the priorities and timelines.  The KMC programme has a governance model so the implementation is effective, well managed and you can see how the different boards fit together and their responsibilities.

First priority has been on sharing knowledge more easily.  You can choose SP2010′s people finding tool from an index list on the global navigation bar at the top of every page on the BT Intranet.

This links to MyProfile which is like the existing Directory but has flexibility for you to add more information about yourself to help people.  By clicking on ‘Browse in organisation chart’ you can move from MyProfile to MySite and can see how your role fits within BT and relates to other people.

MySite has several tabs including one for Whereabouts so people can see what you are doing.  This information is automatically downloaded from your Outlook calendar.  Another tab, Overview, enables people to see topics and skills you can help others with.

MySite content shows to people with the right permissions what you have published in SP2010.  This helps people to find others who have a shared interest without any extra effort needed by you.

People using SP2010 for the first time will go to the Welcome page for SP2010.  We don’t mention the technology in the title but what it helps people to do.  There is a lot of information shown but new users say this is what they need at this stage.

You can request to publish on a TeamSite for project work or document sharing.  It will extend to other needs as SP2010 replaces existing publishing tools and what activity they help people to do.

There is a help site for anyone using SP 2010.  It helps anyone using SharePoint 2010 for anything rather than just publishing.

All these examples are shown in this slide presentation.

SharePoint 2010 special interest group

I recently met with other members of the Intranet Benchmarking Forum who are planning to or implementing SharePoint 2010.

My take on the meeting was how many issues we had in common – whether from a technical or business perspective.  The main issues were governance, engagement and cost savings.  There were others raised but these seemed the main ones to me.

Governance

Well, I realise I am not the only one who is learning as I go on what is the best governance model to use.  And there is still very little ‘expert opinion’ available that I really trust to follow apart from an IBF report by Martin White which is really helpful about SP2010 generally but sadly has only 2 pages on governance.

You need a model that takes account of the different publishing needs – formal, accredited type content as well as collaborative – and the whole lifetime of SP2010.  The model needs to cover the roles and responsibilities for everyone who uses SP2010.

The role of site collection administrator is critical to  this.  Giving it to everyone isn’t right – neither is it if no-one has that authority.  Somewhere in between feels best with enhanced permissions for people to publish and set permissions for what other people can do with the content on the site collection.

Engagement

Rule no.1, no.2, no.3, etc – make sure the first impression people have of SP2010 is always a good one!

The first implementations of SP2010 in organisations seem to be around collaboration, social networking to improve engagement between people and with the organisation.  Better engagement = committed + more productive people.  So rolling out People Finder helps you search for other people.

MyProfile means when you find the person, apart from the automatically updated content shown such as contact details, place in the organisation, etc, you have the opportunity to add information that sets you apart from others like on Facebook and LinkedIn.

I recommend you seriously consider implementing MySite at the same time as MyProfile.  You need to be very careful what permissions you give people (site collection administrator issues!) but the benefits of the extra features should outweigh the drawbacks.

Cost savings

The wider benefits can only be gained if you think big with how you use SP2010.  By this I mean replacing existing tools and technology that is dated, expensive, hard to maintain so you show large savings.

By using SP2010 to replace content and document management tools as well as collaboration you gain the wider benefits of SP2010 integration, full range of features and consistency.  It can give a much better overall experience for everyone.

So, that’s my take on this SP2010 meeting.  I’ll share my presentation slides in my next post.  What’s your view from first hand experience of SP2010?

Meeting mobile intranet users’ needs

Last Friday I was interviewed by the Intranet Benchmarking Forum about how BT was meeting our intranet users’ needs who use a mobile device.  I also came across a great blog post and an internet report on mobility (over 40mb!).

So, I thought I would share what BT has done and what I would like to do in this post as it is becoming a hotter topic.

I posted about BT Intranet mobile users in June 2009 which links to examples.  I feel progress in 2010 will move in different ways for content than for applications.

Content

Now: BT’s intranet standards make sure a PDA heading is on the templates used by our content management system for publishing information.  It means mobile users can click on this to see a text version of the same content.  Changes made to the main version automatically update the PDA version so people can rely on the content being the same.

Future: With the increased capability of mobile devices used by people in BT I want to make sure the coding (CSS) used for the content is capable of sizing up or down for any device and enable images to also adjust their size.  This means we only need one version that is usable and accessible to any device (mobile, laptop, desktop PC, etc) saving on costs and giving users a better experience.

Applications

Many of my regular readers will know my views about the poor usability of applications for intranet users and my concerns with Oracle’s applications on BT’s intranet.

For applications two versions are needed.  The full, standard, functionality is available for people to use but for mobile devices only the cut down, key functionality is available.

For example with BT’s Directory I can check a person’s contact details, manager, organisation chart, whereabouts, team members and their whereabouts.  For mobile devices only the contact details for the person found are available as that is the main reason why people use it.

The difficulty for me is persuading software vendors used by BT for intranet applications to understand why this is important and what is needed.  It should keep me busy during 2010!

BT Directory – connecting people easily

When BT’s intranet started in December 1994 one of the key demands from people was to easily find and connect with other people in BT.  Along with the BT Homepage and BT today, BT Directory was one of the ‘killer application/content’ that encouraged people to want to use BT’s intranet because it gave them a tool that helped make their life easier.

Today Directory is still as critical as when it started.  It is the easiest and quickest way to find out who you need to contact in BT.  I have shared some examples of BT Directory for you to see.

Ease of use (slides 1 and 2)

It is very easy to find anyone in BT.  You can use Directory to find people from any page on BT’s intranet using the Global Navigation Bar (GNB).  You can see I have entered my name as an example of what you do, then just press ‘Go’.  Their details will appear from Directory (slide 3).  You can also click on the Directory heading in the GNB to enter to use all the features on Directory (slide 2).

People information (slides 3 – 5)

You can find a person’s contact details – office and mobile phone nos., email, address -  their job title, manager and what part of BT they work in.  Again, I’ve used myself for the example (slide 3). 

You can also check their whereabouts (downloaded automatically each day from Outlook Calendar) to be able to choose when to contact them and if their office or mobile no. is better.  It helps when planning calls or meetings too (slide 4).

You can also see who is in their team as well as their manager and where in the BT organisation structure a person is.  I’ve used myself to show my team and where in BT – Group Communications – I fit in (slide 5).

Extra features (slides 6 – 9)

You can use a power search to find someone by just knowing their phone no., which location they may be at, part of their name or even initials (slide 6).

You can find out who else has a particular work interest, activity or title.  The example shows how many people with a connection with ‘intranet’ in BT (slide 7).

Mobile users can also use a cut down version of Directory to find people’s contact details (slide 8).  The results shown are the key contact details you will need (slide 9).

As social media tools continue to grow in BT, Directory will be a hub to help you find out more useful information to help them connect easily and quickly with the best people who can help you.