Category Archives: strategy

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 equality for a better work/life balance

I have read with interest recent articles and events that show how intranets and digital workplaces are helping to create a greater sense of freedom and better work/life balance leading to more equality.

It is a view I have held for many years since I experienced the benefits working from home at BT with flexible hours and clear responsibilities and priorities to help me.

Equality

In the UK official figures show that women aged 25-54 are more stressed than their male colleagues, with this pressure peaking for those aged 35-44, when many women are juggling family responsibilities, such as caring for children and elderly parents.

One way of relieving some of that stress would be flexible hours and location policy.  However this can normally only be achieved if the culture is right and you have remote access to the information and work processes on the intranet.

Reduced working hours

In Spain, the employment minister, Fátima Báñez, announced a push to let Spaniards finish work at 6pm, rather than 8pm. The government has also said it is willing to consider, as part of a series of measures designed to improve work-life balance, reversing the Franco-era decision that put Spain in the wrong time zone.

Some companies in Sweden are moving to a six-hour working day in a bid to increase productivity and make people happier.  “The eight-hour work day is not as effective as one would think,” says the CEO of Filimundus.

“To stay focused on a specific work task for eight hours is a huge challenge.  In order to cope, we mix in things and pauses to make the work day more endurable.  At the same time, we are having it hard to manage our private life outside of work.”

The aim is for people to be more motivated to work more intensely while in the office.  Again without access to the right information and work processes on the intranet this will be more difficult to achieve.

Work/life balance

Working Families is a UK work-life balance organisation. The charity helps working parents and carers and their employers find a better balance between responsibilities at home and work.  They also share best practice with case studies highlighting the achievements of winners and nominees for Top Employers for Working Families Special Awards.

Work related stress already costs Britain 10.4 million working days per year. The human costs of unmanaged work related stress extends far beyond this. A key way to protect your mental health against the potential detrimental effects of work related stress is to ensure you have a healthy work-life balance.

Summary

The examples for the Flexible Working category show this is not rocket science.  It is something that organisation of different type, size and purpose can succeed with.

I am NOT claiming that a good intranet or digital workplace will magically lead to this happening.  There are many factors to be considered and acted upon.

What I AM claiming is that a strategy for people having access to the right information and work processes whenever and wherever it is needed.  Careful planning to implement the strategy is essential.  Making sure everything is well-managed and can be relied upon being accessible and reliable.

It doesn’t happen by chance or overnight.  Organisation need to realise the value of their intranet or digital workplace first and to understand how it is the foundation for improving people’s productivity.  That’s where we need to step up to the mark!

Secrets of a well managed SharePoint intranet presentation

Recently I had the privilege to speak at SharePoint Congress 2016 about the secrets of a well-managed SharePoint intranet.  Using my book ‘Digital success or digital disaster‘ as a reference I covered the need to have an effective strategy to set the right direction for your intranet.

You need a good governance framework to make sure you continue in the right direction.  It give the strong foundation to manage your intranet on a daily basis.

What became clear from my conversations with intranet professionals during the day is that governance has a higher priority now.  Each version of SharePoint is more complex and challenging to be managed effectively.  What was needed and how that can be implemented are big questions that people find difficult to answer completely.

My presentation can help answer some of these questions.  They can be found here along with other related presentations that may be helpful to you.

Book cover - Digital success or digital disastersIf you want more help on governance you can find out more detailed information and examples in ‘Digital success or digital disaster?‘.  Why not try the introductory chapter for free or contact me?

 

The secret of a well-managed SharePoint intranet

A ‘well-managed SharePoint intranet‘.  How often to see those words in the same sentence?  Not that often.  Why?  Because SharePoint’s complexity can overwhelm you when managing your intranet.

There are many publications on how well a SharePoint intranet can be designed and managed, but there are few written by people like me who has first-hand experience achieving this. As the former BT Intranet manager, I developed the strategy and implemented a SharePoint intranet and, since leaving BT, help many clients as the Intranet Pioneer with their SharePoint challenges.

I will show why one SharePoint intranet will succeed while others will fail. At Congres 2016 on 22 September in Utrecht my keynote presentation ‘The secret of a SharePoint intranet‘ will cover how you can have a well managed SharePoint intranet.

Using examples from my book ‘Digital Disaster or Digital Success‘ I will show you how the right strategy, governance framework and smart publishing standards give you a well-managed SharePoint intranet. I will help you avoid the most common mistakes people make. I will also show the benefits you gain from taking the right approach.

I hope to see you at Congres 2016. It is a fantastic chance for you to hear from great speakers covering the topics you want to find out more about. And there’s all that great networking!

If you can’t attend Congress 2016 then you can find out more about managing SharePoint successfully from my book. I plan to post my slides in October after the event takes place.

The right intranet strategy in 6 steps

In my first post in this series ‘What are the benefits of good governance?’ I said that intranets are now at a jumping off point to become digital workplaces. With an increasingly complex set of information, collaboration tools and applications developing your intranet, setting your strategy in the right direction is critical.  Your governance framework needs to support this strategy and manage everything in your intranet.

1. Understanding

You need to develop a clear strategy that will set the direction and pace of improvement for your intranet. Firstly, you need to have a good understanding of what type of organisation you work in and where it is going. Once you know and understand the strategy of your organisation, you will be able to set the right direction for your intranet, ensuring that it supports the organisation’s strategic priorities.

2. Alignment

If you want your intranet to be relevant and valued, this must happen. It must also align with other strategies for business areas and functions that may affect your strategy e.g. IT and Communications. The strategy will set out the scope it covers and help you to develop the right governance framework you need for the intranet.

3. Governance

The strategy also needs to show that governance on a day-to-day basis will be at the heart of your plans, to help keep your strategy on course and in the right direction. It will be the firm foundation for you to build your improvements needed for the intranet to meet your organisation’s needs in the future.

4. Priorities

You can group the activities needed around the quick wins you can gain in the short term; the bigger achievements in the medium term that may take more resources as well as time to meet; with strategic benefits you can deliver in the longer term. Be realistic about the amount of benefits you can deliver so you do not raise expectations too high. You also need to be clear how you will measure these benefits to demonstrate the changes. This is critical to your integrity with stakeholders’ views and opinions on you and your intranet.

5. Understanding

You need to aim for a strategy that ts with your organisation’s values and purpose, not just its priorities. It is no good trying to get everyone to run before walking. You need to understand what the intranet needs most and how you can deliver that. Getting that right makes it much easier to apply the best governance that is most appropriate and will help.

6. Communication

Lastly, your stakeholders have to agree and adopt your strategy. To increase your chance of success, make sure you present your strategy in a way they can easily understand. Your approach should be to invest as much time connecting with your stakeholders as aligning your strategy with their plans and policies. Follow this approach and you will be more successful in gaining approval for your strategy and requests for funding with business cases.

Book cover - Digital success or digital disastersIf you can’t wait for my next post, you can find out now about how to develop the right governance framework.  For practical best-practice examples try my book ‘Digital success or digital disaster?‘.  Read the introductory chapter to find out more.

What are the benefits of good governance?

This is the first post in a series of posts helpng you to find out what the benefits of good governance.

Intranets are now at a jumping off point to become digital workplaces. Organisations are no longer just talking about ‘digital’. They are now starting to take steps, sometimes slowly and tentatively, towards transforming their online content and apps into something that is better coordinated. People are connecting better now with their digital workplace or intranet whenever and wherever they need to be. This is helping them to be more productive and effective at work.

While this is great news for you, there is also pressure to make the right decisions. You need to choose the right direction and invest in the right technologies, skills, and resources. This could be called your ‘once in a career’ opportunity to turn all your long-held dreams into the digital reality you have wished for. It can also place a great amount of responsibility on you to get it right.

So, what do you need to do? How can you turn this into the proudest moment in your career rather an underwhelming disappointment? For your intranet to transform successfully into that wider digital workplace where people can collaborate, have mobile access and apps on demand, you need to consider what steps to take.

In my next post I will start to explain how a strategy supported by governance will give you the strong foundation you need to improve your intranet. The strategy for the intranet will set the direction to help people to be more productive and effective with their work. Your governance framework will keep you moving in the direction you have set for your strategy. It will support it by giving people the consistency they require.

Combined, these will encourage people to use the intranet more. They will be confident with the integrity of the content and applications that help them. To achieve this, your intranet needs to become (or remain) a critical business tool that supports your organisation’s key priorities. It has to benefit the people who access it for their work whenever and wherever they need to.

Book cover - Digital success or digital disastersIf you can’t wait for my next post, you can find out now about how to develop the right strategy and governance framework.  For practical best-practice examples try my book ‘Digital success or digital disaster?‘.  Read the introductory chapter to find out more.

A license to share the ebook with publishers across your organisation is available.

How to make a great start to 2016!

The start of a new year gives you the chance to make a fresh approach.  One area you may consider is improving how you manage your intranet, digital workplace, collaboration tool or site.

Have you a clear strategy that is aligned with other business area or function strategies?  Is it supported by a strong governance framework?  Most importantly, do people have a consistently good experience?

I have found having these helps people to be more productive and effective.  A consistently good overall experience helps achieve these benefits.  People need this every time they go online.  Whatever they want to do, they need to be able to rely on it.  It needs to give them confidence that it will always meet their requirements.

This benefits their organisation too.  People use it more frequently.  They are confident they can easily find what they need.  They know they can rely on the integrity of the information and applications.  Most importantly, it will help them with their work.  Organisations recognise it supports their business requirements.  They are viewed as valuable, even business critical, in achieving their strategic goals.

How do you achieve this consistently good experience?  Is it using a publishing technology?  Is it the visual design?  Is it the access people have?  It may well be that some or all of these do contribute to this.

However, having a clear strategy aligned with your organisation’s strategy, supported by a strong governance framework definitely helps.

Book cover - Digital success or digital disastersBased on 20 years experience, I have written for you ‘Digital success or digital failure?‘.  It is a practical, experience-based approach to growing and managing a successful intranet, digital workplace, collaboration tool or site.

Every approach is based on my experience with many practical examples, strategic guidance and quick tips to help you plan or turnaround an unloved intranet, digital workplace, collaboration tool or site.

Buy a copy of my book and keep it by your side so you can refer to it whenever and wherever you need to!