With every intranet I have helped to create, encouraging people to be more effective and improve their productivity, two things have been at the forefront of my mind. You need to:
- Be clear who is responsible for the content, design and structure of it.
- Have a governance framework that supports stakeholders, partners and publishers.
While it is vital you have a big impact when you launch a new intranet, it is not just about creating a great design on day 1. It is the ongoing need to appeal to people to continue using it. Content and applications that people need are, of course, helpful but having good governance is the only way to make sure the benefits of day 1 continue consistently through to day 100 and onwards during the lifetime of your intranet.
After nearly 20 years working with intranets, I appreciate how important it is to have a governance framework that:
- Keeps your strategy moving in the right direction
- Sets out who is responsible for managing it
- Matches publishing standards with business requirements
- Supports content owners and editors
These can be the crucial factors that help your new intranet. Quicker adoption, increased usage and higher satisfaction are all achieveable if you take the right approach with governance.
I find these factors encourage people using your intranet to be more effective and improve their productivity, bringing greater benefits to your organisation. It helps your stakeholders to see how your intranet can be a critical business tool that supports their key priorities!
Posted in benefit, best practice, governance, intranet, SharePoint, standards
Tagged benefit, best practice, engagement, governance, intranet, sharepoint, standards, value
In Gerry McGovern’s latest post he says ‘Digital transformation is cultural transformation first and foremost. Some time ago, I dealt with an organization that had just installed collaborative software. The problem was that the employees saw no benefit in collaborating. Surprise, surprise, collaboration didn’t happen. Collaboration, first and foremost, is a cultural thing, not a technological thing.’
While I agree with Gerry as far as he goes, I also believe the type of governance deployed for collaborative content can be a major barrier to people adopting these tools. Too often the governance used for accredited content e.g. policies and news articles, that are official and factual is also tried (and fails) for collaborative content.
A more ‘light touch’ form of governance is needed to remove the barriers that prevent people wanting to share their ideas or offer suggestions that may help someone with a work problem. Here are some examples of what I mean:
- Posting on a blog or contributing to a discussion group should not need you to ask for permission before you start. It should be ‘on demand’ so there is no delay between when someone needs to use a collaboration tool and being able to. Often the need is urgent and passes quickly so any barrier preventing its use could mean the content is lost forever.
- You should not need formal training before you use the collaboration tool. A) the tool should be so easy to use it isn’t needed and B) understanding how to comply with the publishing standards such as ownership and content review dates shouldn’t be required.
- Usability and design shouldn’t be something you need to bother with. The important thing is your content. Make sure the template you use has the right functionality that people can just start using and understand easily.
- Adapt and embed as many of your publishing standards that are relevant to collaboration into the templates e.g. navigation menus, field for contributor to enter their personal details.
Taking this approach shows how the culture has changed from a ‘command and control’ view of governance many years ago for a limited amount of corporate content. Now, many people can use a wide range of collaboration tools to publish their views and opinions and be comfortable with the experience and knowledge that the content is managed appropriately.
The governance adopted fits the cultural revolution and helps, not hinders, it. Long may that continue!
Posted in best practice, blog, collaboration, digital workplace, governance, intranet, podcast, standards, usability, wiki
Tagged best practice, blog, collaboration, digital workplace, engagement, governance, intranet, standards, wiki
When Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g) announced the best intranets of 2015 (hats off to Verizon as 3 times winners!) they said “While intranet teams continue to grow they simultaneously streamline processes and work faster, resulting in innovative designs. Common feature trends include: responsive design, search filters, flat design, and mega menus, to name a few.”
What did become clear to me is these intranets did not win by luck. What NN/g didn’t say this is also because they have good governance, applied effectively, to build the foundations for well designed (and managed) intranets.
What do I mean by good governance? Here are a few practical examples:
1. Have a clear strategy and direction set. This should be approved by your stakeholders who help its implementation by openly supporting it.
2. Have a governance hierarchy setting out the roles and responsibilities for people involved with the intranet.
3. Develop publishing standards, especially for Usability, based on business requirements.
4. Most importantly, have the means to combine all these features of governance in a great way that results in the wonderful examples we can see with the winners.
These intranets didn’t win by accident but through managing their intranets well. Good governance leads to great user experiences!
Posted in best practice, governance, intranet, standards, strategy, usability
Tagged best practice, governance, intranet, standards, strategy, usability standards
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
When I first got involved in 1996 with intranets people could only access them from their desktop PCs at their normal place of work. The pages of content were hosted on a server probably in the same room or building they worked in. What was on offer was limited to news, policies and some tools e.g. People directory.
Haven’t things changed a lot since then as we move towards 2015!
Intranets are transforming into digital workplaces offering people an amazing choice in information and applications and wider use e.g. you can collaborate with people in different locations, share and rate content and complete processes online. You can access your intranet or digital workplace from any device e.g. smartphone, tablet and laptop from any place using wi-fi, etc., and at any time with data centres operating 24/7.
What does this mean for 2015? Here are my predictions.
1. Take the right direction
Intranets are now at a jumping off point to become digital workplaces. You need to make sure you take the right direction and invest in the right technologies, skills, and resources. In 2015 good digital workplaces will be created because there is a plan supported by a clear strategy. Your plan, based on agreed business requirements, will have prioritise actions, and stakeholder support. These are essential to have a digital workplace that supports your organisation.
2. consistently good experience
People will need to access your content and applications from any device, any time and from any place even more in 2015. Their experience needs to be consistently good every time with publishing standards within a governance framework applied to make this happen to all content and apps. People will then be familiar with what they access no matter what device they use. Good publishing standards will mean productivity gains will be achieved as people avoid stalling while they check before they use anything.
3. know where everything is
More organisations will consider moving to the cloud in 2015. But you need to manage this well to make this successful. You a good governance framework to manage all the content and applications, with an information architecture that has the same scope and approach. It’s no good trying to manage your content, etc., if you don’t where it is! And if you don’t know, how can people find what they need for their work? Plan the structure of your digital workplace to harmonise with your governance framework before you start.
4. show you are worth it
With the global economic climate unlikely to improve greatly in 2015, organisations will demand greater justification for any improvements you plan. You need to demonstrate the benefits your digital workplace can provide. Having a strategy, governance framework, and information architecture will indicate you do support your organisation’s goals. However, to show the full benefits you will need to look beyond traditional financial ‘ROI’ to wider benefits that also help your organisation. If you can do this, and you will have the resources you need in 2015.
Have you made any plans? Good luck and have a great 2015!
Posted in benefit, digital workplace, governance, intranet, mobile, plan, standards, strategy, value
Tagged benefit, bt intranet, digital workplace, governance, intranet, mobile, plan, standards, strategy, value