Tag Archives: strategy

How to manage your intranet

After you have developed a clear intranet strategy as explained in my post ‘How to develop an intranet strategy‘ you then need to follow this with an implementation plan, publishing standards and a governance framework.

While every intranet is different there are some common factors that need to be considered so your intranet supports your business requirements:

  1. The size of your organisation will affect how you manage your intranet.  If it is based in one location and you know everyone by their first name then it is likely you can manage your intranet on your own.  If it has many thousands of people in many locations you will need a different approach and involve other people to help you manage your intranet.
  2. The type of organisation will affect how you manage your intranet.  Is it streamlined on administration, informal decision-making?  Or is it more formalised, committee driven, when making decisions on how publishing standards and intranet roles and responsibilities?
  3. The culture of your organisation will affect how you manage your intranet.  Is it a very top down, command and control, culture with feedback discouraged?  Or is it more open, democratic and consensual?  Whether it is either or a mix of both will influence your approach to managing your intranet.

My first-hand experience and from working with clients is that intranets can be managed well no matter what size, type or culture your organisation has.  It is how you approach this which is the critical success factor!

You can out more information on how to manage your intranet to help you.

How to develop a mobile strategy

Recently I posted on how to develop an intranet strategy and how to develop a digital workplace strategy.  One of the key factors either strategy must consider is the growing needs of people who use mobile devices to access information needed to help with their work.  I believe it is so important that it justifies its own strategy to help achieve the full benefits.

When developing a strategy for people who are mobile it is important you consider the following factors:

  1. Research with mobile workers what exactly their requirements are.  Don’t guess!  And don’t accept the experience is good enough just because the content or app can be accessed from mobile devices.
  2. Involve mobile workers in testing as you develop your intranet to make sure it will be a good experience for mobile devices before it is launched.  Don’t assume it will just be alright on the day.
  3. Be clear how many different operating systems your organisation can justify supporting.  While wanting to support the different operating systems for mobile devices it is stupid to aim to support every system.  A balance between IT costs and capabilities with mobile users’ needs to be agreed.
  4. Decide on your approach to responsive or device specific designs for mobile users.  Do you want/need to publish the same content in more than one place?  Is the management of one piece of content too heavy for all types of devices that need to access it?

There are some key principles which you can apply to help you create a mobile strategy for your organisation.  Find out more information on how to develop a mobile strategy.

How to develop a digital workplace strategy

Recently I posted on how to develop an intranet strategy and about Jane McConnell’s report ‘The Digital Workplace in the connected organisation‘.  So it is perhaps inevitable this post is about how you develop your strategy for a digital workplace.

A digital workplace strategy is different to an intranet strategy for the following reasons:

  1. A digital workplace is much wider than an intranet.  It may well have the intranet at its core but knowledge sharing and completing online processes are also covered by a digital workplace.
  2. A digital workplace will have a higher profile so more senior managers in your organisation will need and/or want to be involved as they can influence its direction.
  3. The impact of the digital workplace as a business tool will have a wider and sometime unforseen impact on the organisation and employees who use it.
  4. There will be more ‘sacred cows’ and ways people behave which they are very protective or defensive about which you will need to prepare good sound reasons for their removal or need to change.
  5. There will be a stronger expectation for you to justify and be able to show the benefits to the organisation for developing a digital workplace that you must include in your strategy.

There are some key principles which you need to include with your approach when creating a digital workplace strategy.  For more information read how to develop a digital workplace strategy.

How to develop an intranet strategy

Intranet strategies can vary from one type of organisation to another.   I have found from working with clients there are several common reasons why this is so:
  1. Size: A small start-up company with a close-knit team will have a different approach to a global organisation with over 100,000 employees in many locations.
  2. Type: What makes sense for a large manufacturing company won’t necessarily work for a government body or a small business.
  3. Purpose: What is different about your organisation? What is its purpose e.g. online marketing company, charity or public sector?
  4. Complexity: A global based organisation in different time zones with many activities compared with a small team who know each other by their first names.
  5. Culture: Is it a command and control approach or a more transparent, collaborative, open to criticism way that your organisation adopts?
There are some key principles which you can apply to help you create a great intranet strategy, no matter what organisation you are in.  Find out more information about how to develop an intranet strategy.

A recipe for managing your intranet

There are many ingredients that go into your recipe for how you can manage your intranet well.  Few organisations are excellent with how they manage their intranet.  Even fewer are prepared for their intranets to transform into digital workplaces and take advantage of the benefits on offer.

It is no good looking at a menu for managing an intranet and choosing a few items from the menu that are easy to do.  If you are expecting by doing this people using your intranet will get an improved, consistent, experience you will be sadly disappointed.  If only it is that simple! :)

From first-hand experience as the BT Intranet manager and from the wider view when consulting helping clients with the right approach for their intranet this is my recipe to successfully manage your intranet.

Starters, entree or first course

  1. Have a set of business requirements: your business strategy, values and priorities will help you
  2. Have a set of user requirements: satisfaction surveys, online polls, feedback will be good indicators
  3. Know who your stakeholders are: the senior managers who will champion and support you

Main course

  1. Develop your intranet strategy: scope and align it with your business strategy
  2. Set a few key priorities: what will benefit your business most
  3. Create your governance hierarchy: roles, responsibilities, reporting lines
  4. Define your publishing standards: base them on business, legal and user requirements
  5. Design your information architecture: where people using your intranet expect to find content, etc.

Afters, Dessert or sweets

  1. Measure the benefits: Track your progress with your project plan
  2. User satisfaction: Survey people to assess any change in their views
  3. User engagement: Analyse your statistics for changes in usage

Following this recipe should give you a dynamic intranet, engaging content with plenty of energy for future improvements!  Why not give it a try or would you add any side dishes or change the menu? :)

SharePoint: what does good look like?

A little while ago I asked ‘Is SharePoint ‘good’ or ‘bad?‘.  I believe it is how an organisation implements SharePoint that helps you feel if it is good or bad.

Building on this theme I will be presented the keynote address at IntraTeam’s event in Gothenburg on 4 December ‘SharePoint: What does good look like for?’.

I will cover how your approach is critical to achieving a good SharePoint experience – for you as well as for people using it – with the need for a strategy that sets the right direction and a governance framework to help you keep moving in that direction every day.

I will also be showing examples of what I believe good looks like with SharePoint.  I can’t share all of these publicly with you I’m afraid – you will have to be at the event to see all the examples – but I can share some here.  I hope you find them useful along with my steps to a good SharePoint experience.

If you need any further information or help with SharePoint please get in touch.

Selling the idea of mobile

I have the great privilege of delivering the keynote address on 13 November at the IntraTeam Event in Stockholm.  I will be showing delegates how to sell the idea of mobile to senior executives with examples of how a good experience along with a great plan can convince decision makers in your organisation.

This builds on previous posts on mobile which you may have missed before over the past year.  I have shared my presentation here for you to find out more mobile.

I am looking forward to meeting some old friends as well as make new friends during this conference.  If you can’t make the conference then you can follow on Twitter #IES13 to find out what is happening.

If you can’t make the conference but would like to meet up with me please contact me as I have some limited free time on 12 – 14 November while I am in Stockholm.

 

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.

Is SharePoint ‘good’ or ‘bad’?

Many people have asked me if I think SharePoint is ‘good’ or ‘bad’?  It’s a great question to ask but it is harder to give the right answer based on my experiences with SharePoint creating strategies, leading project teams, implementing  governance frameworks or just using the many features.

I have seen with each SharePoint version – 2003 to 2013 – how some new features help but other features can hinder how an organisation needs to use it….but one thing is clear, Microsoft don’t package up ‘good’ or ‘bad’ versions of SharePoint.

I believe it is how an organisation implements SharePoint that helps you feel if it is good or bad.

Here are five factors that can help you decide if SharePoint is ‘good’ or ‘bad’:

Strategy

It is important you have a strategy for your intranet or digital workplace that SharePoint can be shown will help to achieve. A strategy helps set the direction you are moving in.  It helps identify key priorities you need to achieve to help your organisation.  Timescales also help to manage expectations and show what is practical from what is aspirational.

You should not just have a SharePoint strategy.  That can lead to you delivering technology solutions that don’t meet the aims of your organisation or cover wider aspects of cultural change.  Your strategy must not be based on SharePoint: it should be wider and align with your organisation’s overall strategy and related areas e.g. IT, Comms, HR, etc. and measure the benefits.

Governance

You need to have a governance framework that underpins your strategy in the long and short term.  This means having clear roles and responsibilities, linking these together into a hierarchy with publishing standards, training and processes for new content editors.

Without a governance framework people could be unclear on the purpose of each SharePoint tool e.g. MySite, TeamSite, and how is the best and most appropriate way to use them.  Without a governance framework there can be chaos and a digital mess that can be very difficult to untangle and gain any benefit from for a long time.

Planning

Have a clear plan for why you need to use SharePoint, what you need to achieve, how you plan to achieve it, and when you need to complete each phase by.  This helps you to see what is the best approach and prioritise the way you introduce SharePoint to people in your organisation.

If you are planning to replace many existing online tools e.g content and document management systems and/or collaborative tools it is critical that you consider the impact that actions taken in an earlier phase could have knock-on effects during a later phase (which maybe 1-2 years ahead) e.g. permissions, SharePoint Designer.

Without any plan the consequences for your organisation and people’s online experience could be disastrous.  SharePoint is a very powerful tool and needs to be managed carefully!

education

You need to have a strong communication and training approach to anyone who will be touched by SharePoint whether that is your CEO, content editor or casual user or contributor.

People publishing and using SharePoint information need to appreciate that it is not all the same in its value (something I will be writing about in the future) e.g. a policy is unlikely to change frequently and be inaccurate but an opinion expressed in a discussion group may be inaccurate, incomplete, change next day.

People need to understand the differences in the information they use and behave accordingly in their judgement and actions based on how much value they place on it.

SharePoint is more than a change of technology, it can change business policies, processes and how people behave when they have a problem or want to share some helpful information.

business need

I have heard how IT have approached the business saying “we have this free tool option on top of X product that we’ve bought which we’re going to use for Y purpose”.  It’s a natural reaction to test out something for free but many organisations have found it doesn’t work out the way it is planned.

Firstly, you need to make sure you have a business problem that SharePoint is a good (note I didn’t say the best) technology solution to solve.  Sometimes I have seen the introduction of SharePoint create problems that didn’t exist before.

Make sure you involve people who will be affected by any changes you plan to make as early as possible who can also test these to see if they do help as you expect SharePoint to and feedback any issues to be acted upon before it is launched.

Your organisation needs to be clear on what the problems and their root causes are before considering whether technology, and if so, which solution e.g. SharePoint can best help resolve the problem.

summary

I hope this can help you to appreciate there are factors that influence why people feel SharePoint is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ apart from the technology itself.  It is more likely to be how you have approached and implemented SharePoint rather than the tools and features people can use that affects your view when you think about it more deeply.

Please leave a comment with your views and contact me if I can help in any way.

Intranet Pioneer: more mobile and collaborative

Welcome to the new Intranet Pioneer site.  I hope it helps you even more than before.  As well as my regular blog posts remaining centre stage I have added two areas that I can help you with.

Collaboration

A good collaboration strategy to set the right direction with a solid governance framework to sustain you on your journey are key ingredients to a successful outcome.  Using my knowledge gained from first-hand experience I can also help you choose the right tools to help you improve customer service, problem solving and idea creation.

Mobile

Using my first-hand experience and knowledge gained from helping clients implement mobile solutions I can walk you safely through the minefield of security, bring your own device, and creating apps and content that are right for each mobile device.  A good strategy to set the right direction with a solid governance framework to sustain you on your journey are key ingredients to a successful outcome.

Whether you need help with strategic advice, developing a governance framework, project planning or practical implementation, or detailed guidance and support, please contact me to find out how I can support you.