A big day out on BT’s intranet

Last Thursday (2nd July) I hosted a visit to BT Centre in London for 30 intranet representatives who are members of the Intranet Benchmarking Forum to demonstrate our intranet and give them time to surf our intranet and test it out for themselves.

I was very pleased (and a little relieved) they were really impressed by what they saw and tested out on BT’s intranet.

The areas covered include BT’s Homepage; Blog Central; BTpedia; Podcast Central; BT Today and RSS.  I also covered the full value of BT’s intranet.

It wasn’t all good news.  BT’s continuing problems with poor usability of our applications bought from vendors like Oracle was highlighted with one quote “You don’t need training to use Amazon” summing things up.

It was rewarding to see our efforts to make our intranet (one of ?) the best in the world be confirmed by 30 peers.  Thank you! 🙂

7 responses to “A big day out on BT’s intranet

  1. That quote reminds me of a presentiation I saw from a bank CIO, who stated his bank saw more $$ transactions per day with their online banking than in all of their branches put together. And nobody ever trained any customer on how to use their online banking system. 🙂

  2. Hi Mark

    I hope this is the right area to post this but could not locate your email address to discuss these issues.. I manage an Intranet in a medium size local authority.

    Why are Intranets so important and Intranet 2.0 so important to organisations and companies? Is it just a buzz surrounding the web at the moment?

    I expect on 99% of Intranets the most popular 3 areas if you asked employees are:-

    1.) Employee Search / Directory
    2.) Internal Job Vacancies
    3.) Employee Classifieds

    And more importantly how would you sell an Intranet and the new Intranet 2.0 to the CEO or board?

    What can it bring to the company?
    Will an Intranet save us money and how?
    Will our employees waste time on the Intranet instead of doing their day jobs?

    I would say that employers and senior management are negative about Intranets in general whether its 1st generation Intranets or Intranet 2.0

    Many give prority to their externals websites and the customers they serve rather than the Intranet and it’s employees. It has been said that as an Intranet doesn’t deal with the public/customers it should have a lower priority as the website in terms of importance and investment.

    I have read reports that mention that 39% of employees under 25 would consider leaving their post if Facebook was banned? Why do they need facebook during their working day to help them conduct their job? For example why do accountants in the finance dept or even social workers in the social services dept need to access Facebook, twitter or any other Web 2.0 tool to help them in their job?

    Why do they need twitter like tools such as Yammer in the workplace, when they already have email and more importantly the most effective form of two way communication the telephone?

    In large companies (5000 employees +) where not all employees are office based, how would an Intranet or Intranet 2.0 be important to them, as they don’t have access to a PC everyday. How can an Intranet be key to the companies success?

    What is the purpose of an Intranet – a communications tool? or can it offer an organisation more than this. How do you ensure that employees have to visit the Intranet to conduct their daily jobs instead of visiting the Intranet just as an afterthought.

    Many Intranets have just become document dumping grounds, where departments have been told to get it on the Intranet with no actual thought or strategy which results in thousands of docs dumped on the Intranet, many out of date and more importantly which nobody (or only a minority) actually reads.

    I have read studies posted on BA and BT namely on their self service offerings via their Intranet such as their payslips onlin and these are the killer apps I feel that could enable senior management buy in for Intranet investment. However this brings further problems for self service to work these apps need to be accessed via single sign on.

    In my organisation and I am guessing it is the same in 90% of other organisations worldwide, employees have to remember up to 15 passwords for many of the disperate systems that they have to access.

    Finally how can you educate senior management etc on value of the Intranet and what risks can we possibly face by not having an effective Intranet and.or using Enterprise 2.0 tools? Where are the actual examples of the cost savings or how it can improve how their employees carry out their daily tasks?

    • Ian,

      That seems like a cry from the heart from you. The main thing is to take strength from what organisations and their intranet managers have been able to achieve and, most importantly, learn why they have been able to do this.

      You ask good questions which although I don’t necessarily agree with, do understand where you are coming from and why you need answers.

      BT’s intranet is really good but it wasn’t always easy to make the improvements needed. BT and its intranet are different to yours. If you read my earlier posts it will help you with some of the answers. Please tell me where I can help you further.

      Make sure you have senior sponsorship; clear, realistic goals and involve your users in any new initiatives.

      There are many people who are more expert than me on why you should do things ‘this way’ rather than ‘that way’ such as James Robertson, Janus Boye, Jane McConnell and Toby Ward to name just four. My advice is from practical (hard bitten) experience.

      Keep in touch with how things are going.


  3. Hi Mark

    Good to hear from you, just out of interest which questions don’t you agree with and why?

    My predicament is – although we now have senior management sponsorship they still don’t really understand the benefits an Intranet can bring to an organisation.

    What is the best way of showing senior management the savings an Intranet can bring and what efficiencies in working it can bring to its staff etc?

    They see it just as a place to post news, view jobs and find employees in the online directory. Basically many see an Intranet as not part of an employees daily workload, how did you overcome this at BT.

    Even though each organisation is different and therefore their Intranets – the basic principles of why you need an Intranet and what benefits they cab bring should be the same?

    Where are the actual examples of the cost savings or how it can improve how their employees carry out their daily tasks?

    What is your email address if I wanted to continue the discussion offline?


  4. Left this off the last post – and perhaps most importantly what technologies are you using at BT to power your Intranet – is it Sharepoint or a mix of Sharepoint and a CMS (off the shelf cms or custom made?)

  5. Pingback: All intranet content is not the same « Mark Morrell

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