Category Archives: news

4 factors critical to good governance in a digital workplace

In my last four posts on the digital workplace I have covered ‘Must have digital workplace principles’, ‘5 steps to a great digital workplace strategy’, 7 ways to engage people in a digital workplace and lastly ‘Create a brilliant digital workplace with me’.

To have a successful digital workplace (my definition is ‘work is what you do, not where you go to’) organisations must have the right strategy, culture, environment and infrastructure to exploit the benefits fully. It becomes the natural way of working so everyone is more productive and your organisation more efficient with:

  • people work from any location as well as their office workstation
  • IT infrastructure for the same or similar experience
  • everyone can read news, collaborate, search and complete tasks
  • individuals choosing tools – RSS, mobile, etc. – that help them
  • organisations measure benefits and encourages digital workplace

Follow these ‘must have’ principles including strategy, engagement, governance, HR policies and IT infrastructure and you will have a great digital workplace.

Governance

It is important the whole of the digital workplace is managed so that it brings benefits to the organisation, individuals and collectively, everyone.  It should mean the feeling that ‘things are better’ permeates through to everyone and encourages even greater use of the digital workplace.

It means the level of governance balances the rewards to be gained while avoiding any risks.  That doesn’t come naturally but through good governance of the digital workplace including:

Ownership

Who is responsible for developing the strategy, implementing the digital workplace and ongoing management of it?  It is difficult for one person to have overall responsibility for so many key roles and activities.  Neither is it best for it to be one person.

The best solution is to have a steering group made up of stakeholders from key parts of the business most affected by the digital workplace.  These stakeholders should be senior people with decision making authority not someone who has to refer back to his/her line manager and delay matters.

There may be dedicated roles for people responsible for collaboration, ways of working, etc, but they should ultimately report in to the steering group.

The worse solution is to have competing groups of people each implementing conflicting standards, designs and ways to use the digital workplace.  That will be a disaster and must be avoided!

Consistency

You really need a consistent level of governance across your digital workplace.  By consistent I don’t mean the same.  I mean it is what everyone using the digital workplace would expect or need.

For publishers/site owners who are publishing in the digital workplace accredited types of content (policies, factual stuff) the expectation is for a more rigorous approach than for collaborative content where opinions and views require a lighter touch.

For people using the digital workplace to view information and news, use workflow applications or collaborate with each other, they expect the look and feel of the digital workplace to be similar.  Tools needs to be branded in line with the business’ colours and designs.  Features need to encourages everyone to use them more such as help links, contact points, easily laid out and functional designs.

All the different parts of the digital workplace need to be integrated so they are seen as one whole entity not a different set of silos, resources with some electronic sticking plaster added to make them look as if they are connected when they don’t give that impression to anyone using them.

Standards

One approach is to have a set of standards based on the needs of the organisation (information retention), regulation (who has permission to see what), legal (web accessibility) and technical (DNS policy).  These can be applied appropriately across the digital workplace for each activity.  So for formal type content (policies and procedures) it’s most likely all the standards will apply.  For applications (HR processes) it’s probable that most will apply too.  But for collaboration you will apply a lighter touch.

Alternatively you can create standards that only apply to certain information and applications to meet the purpose people need to use it for.

It is about getting the balance right again.  You don’t need to be too restrictive and stifle innovation and collaboration.  But you don’t want it to be too loose so that the business and individuals risk non-compliance with a legal or regulatory requirements.  It’s not easy but getting it right is critical and benefits everyone and the business.

Integrity

This is the real litmus test, the crunch point for me.  Do people have confidence in the information and tools they are using in the digital workplace?  Does everyone feel encouraged to use the digital workplace more after each time?

The answer has to be ‘YES!’ to these questions.  That is the outcome your strategy and plans should aim for.

However you do this it must balance the needs of the business with those of people working well in a digital workplace.

My next post will cover the HR policies which enable digital working.

Intellact: BT’s customer insight and information site

There are a few ‘killer applications and content’ which have driven the usage of BT’s intranet.  As well as the BT Homepage – our corporate portal, BT Today – our new sites and Directory – our people finder, Intellact, BT’s customer insight and market portal has been key to achieveing this.

Intellact provides a wealth of insight on the communications industry. Thousands of people in all parts of BT use these services to:

  • Help understand customer needs and satisfaction.
  • Monitor the global press – daily updates on business trends.
  • Support business propositions.

Comprehensive, up-to-date, high quality research helps people make their decisions with:

  • Business news
  • IT research and advice
  • BT commissioned market research
  • Broker research
  • Industry sector research
  • Internet audience measurement

Business news is updated several times per day on Intellact.  You can sign up to receive an email that reviews the days top news from UK and international newspapers, journals and newswires.

Intellact offers an unrivalled collection of published research covering ICT and other industry sectors with the option to contact analysts for further details. 

Intellact can be searched in various ways and you can set up alerts so when a new research is available you are informed so you don’t miss anything.

Intellact helps BT give people what they need for their business needs and a competitive edge to BT.

Have a look at these Intellact examples.

Get a great intranet by involving everyone

When I posted about the latest results for BT ‘BT Intranet 2010 benchmark results‘ I promised to give examples the Intranet Benchmarking Forum highlighted as global best practice.

The first example was about our content.  IBF said all pages across BT’s intranet contain author and date information.

My next example is about how involving everyone can make your intranet more valuable to your organisation.  IBF said BT’s intranet supports our values to be open and straightforward in dealings with colleagues.

BT’s intranet builds on this by supporting collaboration with anyone in BT including senior managers.  We do this in several ways with online chats, blogs, and collaboration tools including:

  • Blog Central now has over 500 blogs with over 80% having posted at least once in the last month
  • BTpedia now has over 2,500 wiki articles with new articles added every few days and the top article having over 125,000 views
  • Podcast Central now has over 1,000 podcast episodes with over 20 added in the last week
  • On our newsdesk site, BT Today can express their views on BT-wide subjects that anyone can add to as well as comment on news stories.
  • BT’s CEO, Ian Livingston, has regular online chats where anyone can ask a question he will respond to for about one hour.

Free live demo of BT’s intranet

I’ve just realised this is my 100th post (how have you suffered so many you ask yourselves?).  When I look back at my first post I realise how much has happened with BT’s intranet that I have posted about.

Anyway, this is not a nostalgic post but a free offer.  Yes, there is such a thing as a ‘free (BT) lunch’ on offer for you!

On 2-3 June the Intranet Benchmarking Forum are holding a free, online, 24 hour virtual tour of many organisations’ intranets.  It’s called IBF24.  You can find out more by clicking on the IBF24 link.

BT’s intranet will be the first shown on the tour.  I will be demonstrating BT’s intranet and taking questions around 12:30 UK time for about 30-40 minutes.

So you have a chance to see how BT has benefited from the social media tools I have posted about before like BTpedia, Blog Central, BT Today, RSS and podcasting.

If you don’t get a chance to ask a question please comment on this post and I’ll reply.

I’m looking forward to IBF24.  I hope you can join me.

The future for BT’s intranet?

At the end of 2009 I posted about BT’s intranet being 15 years old and the progress made in that time.

BT’s intranet has constantly evolved to meet the changing needs of the business and how it best helps people to be able to do their work as effectively as possible.

BT’s intranet has always aimed to be simple and easy to use.  People use it to complete an activity such as a room booking, check the latest news and more recently, publish and use opinions and views with people that have the same interests across BT.

So what’s my view on its future for 2010?  It’s likely to see BT’s intranet:

  • become even easier to use, wherever you are – at home, coffee shop or BT building – whenever you want to and with any device – your PC, BT’s computing kit or mobile – and the real difference will be the experience will be the same.
  • ease of use will also mean you won’t need to keep authenticating to use applications and content protected behind passwords.  Just login once and then loading up your browser will give you faster access to what you need.
  • people will find it as easy to publish content they want to share or own as sending an email and be able to search for all the different types of information on BT’s intranet from one search page that gives you what you need.

Maybe these are not earth shattering aims?  But I know if I can help achieve any of these people in BT will benefit more from using our intranet. 

And that’s what my role as BT Intranet manager is. 🙂

BT today – BT’s great intranet news site

I’ve mentioned in previous posts BT today as BT’s main intranet news site for the latest news affecting everyone in BT.  But I don’t feel I’ve given it full justice until now.  The problem is where to start as it has so much to offer!

BT today was one of the first sites on BT’s intranet when it was launched in 1994.  It meant people could find out the latest news, whenever they wanted to and reduced the overload (and cost) of information being sent to everyone each day.

Since it’s launch BT today has been one of the most popular sites on BT’s intranet.  BT raises several tens of thousands of pounds from digital advertising on the site.  It has now grown to include:

I’ve shared some examples of BT today for you to see these.

Along with BT Homepage and Directory, the BT today news site is one of the key sites that encouraged people to start using the BT Intranet.  Offering a wider range of news services has encouraged people to use it more, and more frequently.

Future plans include more use of photos for each story, larger photos where suitable for stories and people able to comment on each story.