Succeed with SharePoint. Here’s how…

Introduction

People still have a feeling of trepidation when using SharePoint, especially for the first time. How to use the right features in the right manner? How to adopt the right approach so everyone benefits? It can take a lot of effort, hard work and time with SharePoint. And that just seems to be the beginning of the daily challenges you have to act upon.

It is important to treat SharePoint in the same way you would with any other technology. Yes, it may have more features. Yes, it can seem overpowering by its reputation. Yes, it can even transform the way people in your organisation work. It can be done but it is not easy. Based on my experiences here is how to do it with detailed examples here.

Strategy

It is no good just developing a ‘SharePoint strategy’. While that may serve the needs that SharePoint can deliver, it is not a guarantee it will meet all your business requirements.

Business requirements

Whichever approach is taken – user stories, user journeys, etc. – make sure the requirements have been agreed with your stakeholders first, including what is mandatory, desirable or optional.

Standards

Key SharePoint features e.g. Content Owner can match your Standards for publishing e.g. Ownership. You need to make sure your key features give a consistently good experience.

Roles and responsibilities

You can set up roles and responsibilities at every level to align with SharePoint. One of the biggest headaches is the name of the roles used by SharePoint and the complex responsibilities each role has. It can be easy to allocate a level of responsibility to the wrong role because it has a different name

Summary

Successfully implementing and managing SharePoint gives publishers and users confidence. People accessing information know it can be relied upon and be available consistently across all SharePoint sites and site collections. Publishers are aware of how to seek permission to publish and how to access pages, they understand SharePoint features and how governance is embedded. Find out how…!

Digital Workplace Strategy & Design

I have been involved in the digital workplace for over 20 years as a practitioner and consultant.  I found Digital Workplace Strategy & Design very helpful and it will be of help to everyone connected or interested in this critical area that is growing with importance.

Digital Workplace Strategy & Design explains the why, the what and the how to transforming your organisation so it can achieve the full range of benefits a digital workplace should offer, putting the user – employees – as the main focus.

This book is more than just how to use technology.  It is about changing the whole focus of your organisation.  How to change employees behaviour?  What is the overall value of a service?  What do people really need to help with their work?  These questions and many others that want to ask will be answered in this book.
Following the six guiding principles will help you to understand how a new approach will succeed where maybe other attempts have failed.  Adopting the five steps to creating a digital workplace strategy will help you to design the services that employees demand.
With diagrams, examples, quotes and case studies this books gives a comprehensive view of why the digital workplace is critical to all employees and how organisations need to adopt the right approach.  It is a book that you can come back to for specific sections to refresh your memory after absorbing the learning from your initial reading of this book.
I wish I had Digital Workplace Strategy & Design with me when I first started my career and benefit from Oscar and Henrik’s combined wisdom each working day.  However you can do that by reading this book and change your organisation’s approach!

Ssshh! Secrets to SharePoint’s success

Wherever I go people ask me “Is SharePoint ‘good’ or ‘bad’?” and “How do I manage SharePoint successfully?”.  My answer is covered in a new chapter to “Digital Success or Digital Disaster” that explores the pitfalls and benefits of using SharePoint to underpin your intranet, and shows how you can implement it successfully.

Everyone has heard horror stories of how intranets have failed or succumbed to the perils of SharePoint. But people have seen examples of how SharePoint has transformed intranets successfully.  Somewhere in between is the reality that most of us experience.

SharePoint has been described as being like the best sweet shop in town. Anyone can have all the sweets on all the shelves to try. The problem is that you are outside the shop saying “Be careful what you try. Too many sweets can be bad for you.”

That analogy has proven to be oh so true, time and time again. Even after many new versions and enhanced features in SharePoint, improving what it offers, intranet practitioners can still have a feeling of trepidation when confronted with SharePoint, especially for the first time.

So how is the best way to use SharePoint?  What features can meet your requirements?  How does moving to Office 365 work?

Al of this can be done following my approach in “Digital Success or Digital Disaster” without too much hard work, missed deadlines or sleepless nights!

Launch of DigitalMode!

I am delighted to announce the launch of DigitalMode with my Co-founder, the one and only Julian Goode! DigitalMode will help you make that elusive digital breakthrough for your business by:

  • Engaging new customers using different ways to communicate
  • Managing digital channels to sustain the improvements
  • Showing the benefits you will gain with tangible examples
  • Improving satisfaction of your customers
  • Increasing the growth of your business

DigitalMode will help you to grow your business in a digital world using our unique innovative approach. DigitalMode can help you:

  • Increase your revenue
  • Market more effectively
  • Engage your audiences
  • Improve customer insight
  • Plan strategically
  • Manage your content

Find out now about DigitalMode!

The secrets to a SharePoint success!

Two years ago I published my book ‘Digital success or digital disaster?‘ that unlocked how you can successfully manage your intranet by following the examples and practical advice given in each chapter.

I avoided describing specific technologies however, one technology is quite pervasive – Microsoft SharePoint – and I have encountered it many times, both good and bad, in my work.  Wherever I go people ask me “How do I manage SharePoint successfully?”.

My answer is covered in a new chapter that explores the pitfalls and benefits of using SharePoint to underpin your intranet, and sets out ways to make sure you implement successfully using the principles that I set out apply to intranets.

Everyone will have heard of a horror story of how an intranet has failed or succumbed to the perils of SharePoint. But people will also have seen examples of how SharePoint has transformed an intranet quickly and with little effort.

Somewhere in between these two versions lies the truth that most intranet managers have experienced. It seems to take a lot of effort, hard work and time to implement SharePoint. And that just seems to be the beginning of the daily challenges you have to act upon.

SharePoint has been described as being like the best sweet shop in town. Anyone can have all these sweets on all the shelves to try. The problem is that you are outside the door to the shop and saying “Be careful what you try. Too many sweets can be bad for you.”

That analogy has proven to be oh so true, time and time again. Even after many new versions and enhanced features in SharePoint, improving what it offers, intranet managers still have a feeling of trepidation when confronted with SharePoint, especially for the first time. So how do you educate and communicate with people who use SharePoint? How do they use the right features in the right manner? How do you adopt the right approach so everyone benefits?

It can be done but it is not easy. I know from my experience shared in this new chapter. I will show you the secret of a well-managed intranet using SharePoint, setting out the steps you need to take to achieve this without too much hard work, missed deadlines or sleepless nights!

‘Digital success or digital disaster?’

When an intranet loses its usefulness over time, and people become disengaged and end up working around it rather than through it, I often find that governance has been neglected.Book cover - Digital success or digital disasters

Even a strong and appropriate strategy will founder if the governance isn’t in place to execute it.  Governance is the foundation for a great intranet, and by ‘great’ I mean an intranet that everyone find easy to use, helps them with their work, and supports their organisation’s goals.

I have blogged about intranet governance but my book offers a lot more than I could ever drip-feed via short posts.  This book helped crystallise my thinking around governance, and delve deep into my past experiences as intranet manager and consultant.

Take a look at my book called ‘Digital success or digital disaster?’ if you have a problem with your intranet, collaboration site, digital workplace or mobile workspace that needs better governance.

It is published through Intranätverk and offers you my experience, guidance, and tips for you to consider as a toolkit to improve how you manage your intranet.

Collaborative intranets for engagement must be accessible to everyone first

My thanks to @dianarailton who tweeted an article ‘UK retailers still failing to meet web accessibility standards‘.  With so many barriers in stores if you are disabled, shopping online from the comfort of your home is an attractive option.  Furthermore, under the Equality Act 2010 all retailers must provide access to their goods online as well as in store.

There were several common themes why all of the web sites failed to meet the Level AA of the WCAG 2.0 guidelines.  This means that disabled people would face difficulty in buying a product on each site, with half of the sites completely inhibiting people at certain points in their journey.

The Equality Act 2010 applies to intranets as well as external sites in the UK.  Other countries have similar laws their intranets need to comply with.

Are you serious about engaging with people and collaboration?

How can an organisation engage with all its employees if a minority cannot use the intranet?  How do employees collaborate using the tools on the intranet if some people cannot access them?  First, your intranet must be accessible for this to achievable.

When I hear people talk about making their sites accessible, some still think as long as the design can be read by JAWS for people who are blind.  It does!  But the scope is far wider than that for a site to be truly accessible to everyone.

It is accepted that 10-20% of people have some form of disability.  This includes people whose finger joints become stiff or eyesight needs glasses and the size of text to be enlarged.  Most of these disabilities happen just through the normal ageing process and wear and tear on life at work and home.

For your intranet to be fully accessible these barriers that prevent employees fully engaging and collaborating must be removed.

How to make your intranet accessible?

Wearing my governance hat I believe you need to take the following steps:

  1. Have a governance framework that covers how content is published and who is responsible for creating and managing it.
  2. Have an Accessibility publishing standard that refers to the WCAG guidelines and explains how a publisher creates accessible content.
  3. Have publishing templates that mean content can be enlarged to allow everyone to read it.  Have images with mandatory fields to describe what they show as alternative text for people unable to view the images.
  4. Provide training to help educate your publishers to understand why this is important and how they comply.
  5. Audit random samples of content to ensure it complies with the Accessibility standard.

If you put all these steps in place you will have a solid foundation for your intranet.  You can encourage people to engage with your organisation and to collaborate with each other.

You can then be confident you can reassure your stakeholders this will happen.