It’s all starting to come together

In my first posting on this blog ‘Extending publishing standards into new content areas’ I mentioned BT’s aims this year to create the right form of governance for our extended intranet into new content types like social media covering blogs, wikis, etc.

I’ve realised this is becoming the holy grail for intranets now. 

If you can get it right you have everyone potentially being both a publisher and user of content on your intranet creates inspiring content that benefits the business overall.

The difficulty is getting the balance right between giving people the freedom and innovation to create content easily and quickly using the right technologies and the business benefit to be gained by managing the content so it can be easily found and used to accelerate problem solving and connecting people with communities of common interest.

So what has BT done so far?

Well, we have a clear policy and standards for everyone on how to use social media.  Apart from the obvious things about not making defamatory or slanderous comments, there are no anonymous postings.  You can say anything within reason about anything but people will know who has said it.  Interestingly this hasn’t stopped many people expressing critical views.  It’s encouraged a more constructive critique view to be given rather than just a rant!

We’ve extended standards that apply to all content types like usability and accessibility to social media content.  This is mainly through making the templates compliant with the right features displayed before being used. 

Some standards are being adapted or shown to be not needed with social media.  For example reviewing the content with owner doesn’t apply for wikis with the community updating the content if it isn’t correct.  If nothing is updated after a period of time – could be 3, 6 or 12 months – then the page of content will be given an amber light warning it will be removed if not updated and a red light warning removal is imminent.

Social media content is being created in templates which are distinctive from content which is authoritative and factual on policies, ways of working, key information people need to know which is managed more tightly.  Every page was a global navigation bar at the top of it.  We’ve changed the colour from white text on purple background for ‘formal’ content to black text on yellow background for ‘social media’ content.  Feedback from users so far has been positive saying it is different but not distracting them from their main purpose.

We have extended our intranet search engine to cover blogs and wikis and present back in one indexed set of results.  We’re checking with users how we can make these clear so they can easily see what type of content it is.

We’re not where we want to be yet but as you can see we have made great progress over the past few months and expect to have the balance right on governance for all content types that meets the best needs of the business in 2009.

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