Content that is easy to use does not appear like that by magic. It is having standards on usability, supported by training and guidance, that helps to make this happen.
Many organisations find it difficult to see the benefits from publishing standards. I remove the barriers to show the benefits from each publishing standard in this series of posts. Publishing standards aim to:
- Reduce the risk of sensitive information leaks
- Improve the overall user experience
- Make people using your intranet more satisfied with it
- Improve people’s productivity
- Improve people’s quality of work
Information must be usable and valuable to people who need to use it. Features and functionality need to make it easier for people not just implemented for the sake of it. They should help people to share views, discover other people and their skills, find the right information and use what they find with the minimum of effort and time taken.
Your publishing standard should encourage employees to engage and influence the look and feel of your intranet as well as sites, applications, and tools. Embracing this approach through research, feedback with clear and transparent methods will help embed this and help to improve the overall consistency of your intranet user experience.
Knowing that you are helping people to use information easily on your intranet gives three main benefits:
- People using your intranet will have an easier and better experience. This will encourage people to use it more frequently and extensively because the intranet is consistent and usable and meets their needs
- You can encourage your publishers to use the publishing templates with the usable design, layout, features and functionality be showing that more will use view their information.
- Your organisation can be reassured the investment made in your intranet is justified by the increased use made by people to help with their work.
Posted in benefit, best practice, digital workplace, governance, intranet, publishing, standards, usability
Tagged benefit, best practice, content, digital workplace, governance, standards, usability, usability standards, value
I have written many blog posts on SharePoint based on my first-hand experience from developing strategies through to the full implementation of features such as TeamSites, MyProfile, etc.
One of the most common requests I get from clients is “How is the best way to manage their intranet while using SharePoint?” This question is asked because SharePoint is a ‘big beast’ and needs a more rigorous and broad governance framework that is good enough for the challenge.
Your approach needs to consider:
- Restricting use: stopping some features from being used e.g. SharePoint Designer
- Encouraging best practice: making sure guidance and training are available
- Preventing problems: checking content before it is published
Each of these approaches can support your governance strategy for
SharePoint. The key is to understand what you need to use SharePoint for most of all.
My first-hand experience at BT and from working with clients is that well planned and managed governance is good enough to gain the benefits from using SharePoint. It is how you approach this which is the critical success factor!
You can out more information on how to build good SharePoint governance to help you.
Posted in benchmark, best practice, content management, digital workplace, governance, intranet, plan, publishing, SharePoint, SharePoint 2010, standards
Tagged benchmark, best practice, bt intranet, content, digital workplace, governance, intranet, plan, publishing, sharepoint 2010, usability standards
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:
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
Posted in best practice, content management, governance, help, intranet, plan, publishing, standards, strategy, training, value
Tagged best practice, content, governance, help, intranet, plan, publishing, standards, strategy, usability standards, value
I have seen many intranets over the years. One thing that always makes me sad is when I see a new intranet launched with a great design, clear structure, interesting content……but no or poor governance.
It is sad to see all the time, effort, and money slowly being wasted away as the effects of little or no governance inevitably start to take effect with more and more problems appearing as the weeks go by.
What governance problems? Where do they appear? What is their impact? Well, I’m thinking about these examples:
There is content published everywhere but no one to contact if you want to find out more or query anything that you have read. You spend lots of wasted time trying other people and ways to find out who is the right person to speak to.
No review date
You are not sure if the information is still up to date. It may be a policy, a news article, or a guide to help with a work activity. You don’t know if it is the current version and no one else seems to know either so again, you waste time trying to check if it can be relied upon.
review date is out of date
Even worse than having no review date can be finding it has been passed and the information is available but could be out of date. You waste time checking it is still reliable and wonder why it hasn’t been updated or removed. Maybe your confidence in the integrity of other content drops and you waste more time checking or use other sources?
No last updated INFO
It helps reassure people that a site is active and give them confidence the content is reliable and up to date if a last updated date is shown at the bottom of each page of content whenever it is edited.
It saves time if you have a standard feature for feedback in the same place on every page. It means people can easily ask questions, offer extra information, or clarify its use. Without it, people waste time trying to look for a feedback box, link, or heading. If there isn’t then people try to use other ways to find out what they need to know and can get dissatisfied with the intranet.
These are just some of the problems poor or no governance can cause when you launch a new intranet or site. It is possible to have a good, strong, governance in place for your intranet launch for no extra cost or time taken.
To find out how to do this the smart way please contact me.
Posted in benefit, best practice, governance, intranet, publishing, standards, usability
Tagged benefit, best practice, governance, intranet, publishing, standards, usability, usability standards
In my previous post in this series on mobile ‘Good governance signals right mobile direction’ I said mobile is one of the key drivers for the transformation of intranets into digital workplaces which could become mobile workplaces but progress is patchy. It is no surprise if I say setting the right direction for your organisation with mobile is critical. Having some good governance principles helps you to continue in the right way and underpin your strategy.
We also need to give people a great mobile experience. But what exactly does that mean? Here are my thoughts on what is needed to achieve this in my last post in this series.
Firstly, you need to make sure the people who will benefit the most are able to use a mobile device. You need to be clear who will benefit from having a mobile device. It probably will not be everyone. Even if it is, you will need to prioritise who has the greatest need. Factors like the number of people involved, time spent away from their place of work and what contribution they can make, will help decide the greatest need.
When you have the right people then you can find out what information and which services they most need, when they need to use them and how they need to use them, to be able to design and test for a good mobile experience.
Secondly, you need to choose which mobile devices are the best tool to help people with their work. For example, is it a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, or maybe a combination of more than one of these that is needed? Will you let people bring their own devices to work or will your organisation provide them? These decisions are critical and will depend on your organisation’s corporate values, type of employees, security, funding and speed of adoption. Once these decisions have been made you can then focus on how you start to create a good mobile experience.
Once you know how to support the type of devices and size of screens being used, and the main purpose people will be using their mobile device for, you can start to create a good mobile experience.
Lastly, you need to make sure you have the right infrastructure to support the needs of mobile workers in your organisation. This means access to the information and tools needs to be 24/7 and not just normal working hours. It means business continuity plans must include how people will still have mobile access to what they need for work. Your organisation needs to consider the different mobile operating systems and devices it will support; what is the cost; what should be the limit; which systems and devices will have most overall benefit?
You also need to give a fast connection when mobile workers need it for their work to the information and tools. Why would you want a mobile device if you find it takes ages to connect to any content or services you need to use?
Good mobile experience
So, what is needed for a great mobile experience? These bullet points help summarise the posts on mobile:
- A mobile strategy aligned to business needs
- Supported by a governance framework
- Helping meet the needs of people using mobile devices
- Research and test with mobile users
- Get the infrastructure in place
- Have a policy on using mobile users for business purposes
If you need any more information please contact me.
Posted in digital workplace, governance, help, intranet, mark morrell ltd, mobile, user testing, value
Tagged digital workplace, governance, intranet, intranet applications, mobile, publishing, research, usability, usability standards, user testing, users