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 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
The way people do their work is shifting from a physical workplace to a digital workplace. This gives organisations an enormous opportunity to change their business model and create competitive advantage by deciding early how to take advantage of the digital workplace.
From my own experiences and knowledge I can see the risks if organisations delay and or make the wrong decisions. I have blogged about this in the past and how it affects engaged people are in their organisation, how effective collaboration will be and whether tools like SharePoint 2010 will help.
I have just read a great whitepaper written by Stephan Schillerwein on ‘The Digital Workplace: Redefining Productivity in the Information Age’ which offers a business perspective on the future of information and knowledge-based work practices and technologies in organisations.
Stephan says “Today, information-related work constitutes the number one activity for any organization – both from a quantitative as well as from a qualitative perspective. And despite decades of investment in information technology, information and information work is still badly managed and a source of unparalleled waste in employee productivity.
The Internet has reshaped industries, changed the way business is done and affected all areas of our lives. If the Internet were an industry sector, its weight on GDP would be larger than any of the industries of mining, utilities, agriculture, communication or education.
The same cannot be said for internal systems and practices in dealing with information, like for example intranets and the many other information management tools that exist in enterprises today. Their impact on organizations is in no way comparable to that of the Internet and the impact it has had on all aspects of human life and activity.
It therefore seems fair to say, that while mankind, as such, has definitely moved into the information age, organizations have done so only in very limited ways. This impacts productivity and performance in major ways and to a significant extent – even if not always visible to our eyes which typically still evaluate information-based work using the bygone standards of industrial age business orthodoxies.”
Anyone who has an interest in the digital workplace, engagement, search and collaboration will find this worth reading.