When I first got involved in 1996 with intranets people could only access them from their desktop PCs at their normal place of work. The pages of content were hosted on a server probably in the same room or building they worked in. What was on offer was limited to news, policies and some tools e.g. People directory.
Haven’t things changed a lot since then as we move towards 2015!
Intranets are transforming into digital workplaces offering people an amazing choice in information and applications and wider use e.g. you can collaborate with people in different locations, share and rate content and complete processes online. You can access your intranet or digital workplace from any device e.g. smartphone, tablet and laptop from any place using wi-fi, etc., and at any time with data centres operating 24/7.
What does this mean for 2015? Here are my predictions.
1. Take the right direction
Intranets are now at a jumping off point to become digital workplaces. You need to make sure you take the right direction and invest in the right technologies, skills, and resources. In 2015 good digital workplaces will be created because there is a plan supported by a clear strategy. Your plan, based on agreed business requirements, will have prioritise actions, and stakeholder support. These are essential to have a digital workplace that supports your organisation.
2. consistently good experience
People will need to access your content and applications from any device, any time and from any place even more in 2015. Their experience needs to be consistently good every time with publishing standards within a governance framework applied to make this happen to all content and apps. People will then be familiar with what they access no matter what device they use. Good publishing standards will mean productivity gains will be achieved as people avoid stalling while they check before they use anything.
3. know where everything is
More organisations will consider moving to the cloud in 2015. But you need to manage this well to make this successful. You a good governance framework to manage all the content and applications, with an information architecture that has the same scope and approach. It’s no good trying to manage your content, etc., if you don’t where it is! And if you don’t know, how can people find what they need for their work? Plan the structure of your digital workplace to harmonise with your governance framework before you start.
4. show you are worth it
With the global economic climate unlikely to improve greatly in 2015, organisations will demand greater justification for any improvements you plan. You need to demonstrate the benefits your digital workplace can provide. Having a strategy, governance framework, and information architecture will indicate you do support your organisation’s goals. However, to show the full benefits you will need to look beyond traditional financial ‘ROI’ to wider benefits that also help your organisation. If you can do this, and you will have the resources you need in 2015.
Have you made any plans? Good luck and have a great 2015!
Posted in benefit, digital workplace, governance, intranet, mobile, plan, standards, strategy, value
Tagged benefit, bt intranet, digital workplace, governance, intranet, mobile, plan, standards, strategy, value
I have written many blog posts on SharePoint based on my first-hand experience from developing strategies through to the full implementation of features such as TeamSites, MyProfile, etc.
One of the most common requests I get from clients is “How is the best way to manage their intranet while using SharePoint?” This question is asked because SharePoint is a ‘big beast’ and needs a more rigorous and broad governance framework that is good enough for the challenge.
Your approach needs to consider:
- Restricting use: stopping some features from being used e.g. SharePoint Designer
- Encouraging best practice: making sure guidance and training are available
- Preventing problems: checking content before it is published
Each of these approaches can support your governance strategy for
SharePoint. The key is to understand what you need to use SharePoint for most of all.
My first-hand experience at BT and from working with clients is that well planned and managed governance is good enough to gain the benefits from using SharePoint. It is how you approach this which is the critical success factor!
You can out more information on how to build good SharePoint governance to help you.
Posted in benchmark, best practice, content management, digital workplace, governance, intranet, plan, publishing, SharePoint, SharePoint 2010, standards
Tagged benchmark, best practice, bt intranet, content, digital workplace, governance, intranet, plan, publishing, sharepoint 2010, usability standards
Intranet strategies can vary from one type of organisation to another. I have found from working with clients there are several common reasons why this is so:
- Size: A small start-up company with a close-knit team will have a different approach to a global organisation with over 100,000 employees in many locations.
- Type: What makes sense for a large manufacturing company won’t necessarily work for a government body or a small business.
- Purpose: What is different about your organisation? What is its purpose e.g. online marketing company, charity or public sector?
- Complexity: A global based organisation in different time zones with many activities compared with a small team who know each other by their first names.
- Culture: Is it a command and control approach or a more transparent, collaborative, open to criticism way that your organisation adopts?
I reviewed my predictions for 2013 and believe they are happening more as we move towards 2014. So what has 2014 got in store for us? Here are my five predictions:
Organisations will more seriously consider what approach will best meet their requirements. Factors that will need to be considered before a final decision is made are:
- How much will it save compared with the costs of keeping it within the firewall?
- Will you have better business resilience? Will it remove the single point of failure problem?
- What will be the levels of service?
- Who do you trust with your data?
- Will your content be secure?
I know a lot has been said about mobile and how it is driving the transformation of intranets towards digital workplaces. But how many employees still only use their smartphones for emails and texts? Organisations need to get serious about realising the benefits and consider:
- Increased productivity by people able to find information, complete tasks, share problems and knowledge when they need to without delay
- Save accommodation costs and reduced dedicated workspace so people share as and when they need it
- Support new ways of working with distributed teams and managers enabling and facilitating rather than controlling or limiting activity
- Fear of the unknown is not a good business reason to stop employees using mobiles for their work
- Bring your own device is a solvable problem when everyone wants to reach agreement over intellectual property, security and building trust and behaving sensibly
I am starting to see real examples of collaboration which showing through on business’ bottom line and getting the attention of senior manager. This will bring benefits as it is taking more seriously and investment decisions are easier but the pressure to continue delivering larger savings will also increase. Examples include:
- Project teams sharing and creating online documentation without having to meet face to face or email each other
- Solving problems more quickly using tools to find people with similar skills and experience
- Sharing knowledge that helps others to solve problem and the organisation’s culture increasingly supporting this way of working
Organisations are realising, especially if they are implementing SharePoint, that all the areas where content is published need to be managed. The problems of gaps in information managed and risks it can create are being recognised more. More robust frameworks are being developed and used. Examples include:
- Different types of content such as accredited e.g. policies, news articles, and collaborative e.g. comment in discussion group, blog post are being accepted
- All the different areas for content are being joined up e.g. content management, document management, project spaces, and news.
- A hierarchy which sets out roles and responsibilities help identify overlaps and gaps in managing information
- Publishing standards are being applied in smarter ways taking less time and effort with digital workplace teams
As intranets are transforming from their original purpose as communications tools towards digital workplaces that are critical business tools that people in that organisation increasingly need to rely on for their work, so their value is increasing and the need to measure that value. Examples are:
- Productivity savings are accepted in principle now even if the amount is not agreed by everyone
- The impact on property usage and type is becoming more linked to new ways of working
- The value an organisation places on a person’s digital assets e.g. knowledge in documents is starting to match that of any physical assets e.g. computer
- Business resilience is critical to organisations and along with plans to use the cloud are plans to benefit from a more distributed workforce that no longer has to be in just one location
This is my last post of 2013. I hope anyone reading this has had a great 2013, will have a relaxing break over the Christmas period, and be hoping for more success in 2014!
Posted in collaboration, communication, content management, digital workplace, governance, intranet, mobile, news, SharePoint, standards, value
Tagged blog, bt intranet, collaboration, communication, content, digital workplace, governance, intranet, mobile, publishing, sharepoint, standards, value
Some organisations are starting to realise the potential of mobile
working can help employee’s productivity, engagement, and their work/life balance. But the reality is a lot of organisations aren’t there yet. Most will provide a poor user experience and be reluctant to invest time and money developing a rich mobile user experience.
Security and risk are concerns that often create the barriers to further mobile integration. How can you overcome these barriers?
In this post I will cover how your organisation can provide useful functionality for your employees while still mitigating or addressing the following risks:
Fear of the unknown
There may still a perception by some people in Legal, Security, and Regulatory parts of your organisation that because they don’t fully understand how increased use of mobile devices to access tools and information or share knowledge and problems can help it must be ‘bad’.
The best way to handle this approach is to research what other organisations have done with mobile. You should focus on:
- Successful examples of adoption
- Competitors with your organisation who are ahead of you
- Lessons to learn where mobile hasn’t worked
- Prepare how and what you are going to share
- Identify the right stakeholders
People who do not fully understand why you authenticate can be over cautious and create many layers of authentication. The ‘just in case’ approach will just strangle the use by mobile devices of the apps and content you need to use to help you with your work.
Why would you use your mobile to access something online that takes just a few seconds if you have to enter usernames and passwords several times before you can get to it that takes several minutes? It’s just not going to happen. You need to explain:
- What people are being asked to authenticate for e.g. use apps
- Why authentication is needed e.g. protect intellectual property
- How authentication can have maximum effect for minimal impact with ‘smart’ authenticating used only when needed and not duplicating at every level; different levels of authentication based on type of content or app to be used
- Building security into your mobile device so your authentication feeds through to the content and apps to be accessed if possible
- BYOD – is personal mobile devices the best way or should you stick with company mobile devices?
Your organisation needs to be resilient and always able to survive whatever potential crisis it may face. This means supporting your employees wherever and whenever they are using their mobile devices. By having people in many locations your business is more resilient to these unforeseen events when they happen. Mobile can help by:
- Removing the ‘single point of failure’ problem with office based people all in one location
- Accelerating the recovery time from a ‘crisis’ to provide service to customers especially if face to face visits are needed e.g. employees with mobiles in different locations
- Showing better value made in infrastructure and data centres investment with availability 24/7 for when mobile workers need to use it
Addressing these concerns with your key stakeholders will help you remove the barriers preventing you from giving your mobile users the functionality and good experience needed to help with their work.
Posted in application, benefit, intranet, mobile, strategy, value
Tagged applications, benefit, bt intranet, digital workplace, mobile, value