Tag Archives: digital workplace

4 ways to measure intranet benefits

It is not enough to set up a governance framework to underpin your strategy. They are prerequisites for a well-managed intranet.  You also need to measure and demonstrate the benefits the intranet provides for your organisation, especially if your strategy needs further investment in the intranet or its governance.  Implementing technologies, e.g. SharePoint, doesn’t come without a price tag.

Traditional Return On Investment (ROI) financial benefits usually have the biggest impact on your organisation, especially on those approving financial spend.  However, there are other types of benefits with significant value.  You need to consider all of the following to justify the benefits of good governance:

  • Financial benefits that impact on the bottom line of your organisation’s financial results
  • Quantified, non-financial benefits, such as improved productivity
  • Unquantified, non-financial benefits such as culture changes

Some benefits are easier to measure.  Other benefits have greater prominence with your stakeholders.  The amount of benefit measured may also vary.  Sometimes you may find the amount is so large, the benefits can be difficult to justify as achieved.  You will need to judge the best benefits to justify investment in the intranet.

An example would be a change in people’s behaviour that increases productivity with time saved.  This may appear to deliver a large amount of benefits.  However, showing what people do with that time saved can be harder.  Are they working better or on other work tasks, or are they relaxing and having more time to talk with colleagues?  It can be demanding finding a suitable benefit.

You can choose how to measure the benefits your intranet provides.  You can also decide when is a good time to measure the benefits e.g. interviewing people before and after a major change to assess its impact on their work activities.  There are different approaches to take when you measure these benefits.  Examples could be online polls, in-depth interviews, audit, etc.  You need to consider how much time you have to measure the benefits, what resources you can call upon, and whether you need external expertise.

There are also benefits that come under the category of cost avoidance.  Publishing standards for security or accessibility help to change people’s behaviour.  That reduces the risk of unnecessary costs from their previous behaviour.

When you are communicating the benefits, I help clients to provide examples that senior stakeholders will easily recognise.  It helps to get their attention and support when you demonstrate how the intranet benefits your organisation.  It will depend on the benefit you are measuring to decide on the best approach. Nevertheless, whatever approach you choose, talk their language, explain your methods, and show easy to understand examples and comparisons.  Your stakeholders will accept the benefits more quickly.

Book cover - Digital success or digital disastersFind out more detailed information and publishing standards best-practice examples in ‘Digital success or digital disaster?‘.  Try the introductory chapter for free.

How to get the right balance for governance

To make sure you get the right balance and gain the full benefits of an intranet or digital workplace, you need a clear strategy and purpose for how well it is managed.  By following the direction set by your strategy and principles defining its purpose the next steps are to develop the governance framework.

Defining the scope of your governance framework creates clarity for people in your organisation on what is included or excluded.  This is important if your intranet transforms into a digital workplace. As your intranet changes in its size and scope, so your governance framework will need to change to reflect this.

Create confidence that you have a clear purpose for the intranet.  Show how it supports yourorganisation’s goals.  This will make it easier for you to make the changes needed to the way your intranet is managed and developed. Your organisation should be clear about the reasons for these changes.  It will then be confident they will improve its effectiveness, and benefit people using the intranet.  Sharing your strategy and governance framework with your stakeholders will reassure them why they are supporting you.

You need to define your publishing model.  You should design it to provide the right conditions for a consistently good experience.  This applies whether people are publishing or accessing information or applications on your intranet.

It may be that you start with one model and then change to another in the future.  This will depend on your organisation and your intranet’s needs. Here are four examples of publishing models for you to decide which is most likely to meet your requirements:

  1. Centralised
  2. Decentralised
  3. Outsourced
  4. Hybrid

Once you have chosen the publishing model that will meet your requirements, you should follow the principles for good governance, as you develop a governance framework that includes:

  1. Scope
  2. Purpose
  3. Roles and responsibilities
  4. Publishing standards
  5. Publishing support

When developing your governance framework, consider including the different types of content – accredited and collaborative – and applications.  You should also factor in how people use the intranet when implementing your framework.

Once you have your scope and purpose outlined, you need to ensure everyone is clear about their responsibilities.  Having a hierarchy that links all the roles together and shows their responsibilities creates that clarity.  It also helps everyone to understand clearly how their activities affect other people.  Making it available on the intranet also gives it transparency and can prevent any confusion or misunderstandings.

Your governance hierarchy should have three levels.  Firstly, the strategic level for roles responsible for setting the direction for your intranet.  The intranet owner, champion, stakeholder and a steering group are all roles who can have responsibility for your strategy.

At the hub level, the intranet manager is the conduit in the governance hierarchy between the strategic and operational levels.  This role implements the decisions made about strategy, direction and timing of implementation.  Good communication channels and decision-making help everyone to understand what is happening and how they may be affected.

Lastly, at the operational level, you have the intranet team members and the wider publishing community.  These roles are responsible for implementing the strategy operationally, with day-to-day activities of publishing, editing, managing, reviewing, updating and removing content.

Book cover - Digital success or digital disastersFind out more about practical best-practice examples in ‘Digital success or digital disaster?‘.  Why not read the introductory chapter?

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!

What is the right governance for a digital workplace?

My recent posts ‘What exactly is a digital workplace?‘ and ‘What is the difference between a digital workplace and an intranet?‘ generated some good discussions on Twitter and LinkedIn.  I want to stay with the digital workplace theme for my last post of 2015 and bring in how you manage it.

What is the right governance model for a digital workplace?  We know that a digital workplace is different from an intranet, even an advanced intranet, so how does that affect the way it is managed?

Maybe even more importantly is how you manage the transformation from an intranet to a digital workplace so you gain all the benefits and none of the drawbacks as it happens.

Who develops and implements the strategy?

Digital workplace principles need to be put into your own organisational context.  A group of senior stakeholders, representing key business areas and functions across the organisation, can steer your digital workplace strategy.  This enables a fuller, more complete picture of what is needed, the right direction to set, and who should lead, to be agreed and accepted.

What should everyone expect from a digital workplace?

Everyone should gain from a digital workplace although they will have different expectations depending on their roles and responsibilities.  This can vary from being more productive because all the applications and information are now accessible through to finding news and discussions with people who can help you solve work problems online.

Being able to connect whenever and wherever you need to from whatever device you have also reduces stress, avoids delays and improve your quality of working life.

What standards are needed for a digital workplace?

A governance framework is needed with publishing standards forming a key part.  Standards are needed for:

  • Legal requirements: accessibility, personal information available
  • Business requirements: usability, design, navigation, findability, ownership and information retention
  • Employee needs: terms and conditions that encourage people to want to work in a digital workplace
  • Security needs: confidential information protected, permissions model adopted
  • Technical support: platform functionality, server support, agreed levels of service.

Gaining confidence working in a digital workplace

Anyone who plans to work remotely, especially if they are the first person in that team, wants to have the same or better experience than where they currently work.  You gain confidence when the information and tools you need for work are always available to use.  You feel confident that your personal information is there for you (and only you) to use still.  You don’t feel any discrimination because you are working remotely from your manager, team, customers and other employees.

Only through consistently good experiences like this will it happen.

More informationBook cover - Digital success or digital disasters

For more information on how to develop the right strategy or governance framework I offer some great, practical advice, to help you in my book ‘Digital success or digital disaster?‘.  You can try it first by reading the introductory chapter to find out more.

What exactly is a digital workplace?

Recently several people have asked me what exactly is a digital workplace.  I start by defining the digital workplace as:

Work is what you do, not where you go to.”

While the digital workplace will vary depending on each organisation’s size, culture and structure, you will be able to all of these:

  1. Work in any location:  At home, in your own or anyone else’s office, on the train, or ideally anywhere that suits you at the time you need to.
  2. Complete tasks work online:  Make a room booking, checking a person’s contacts details, searching for information you need, or reading the latest news.
  3. Use any device:  Use your laptop, a shared PC, a smartphone  or tablet anytime, anywhere.
  4. Share information:  Be able to use collaboration tools to help other people.
  5. Solve problems: Ask for help from people you may not know in discussion forums and shared workspaces.
  6. Search:  From one place across all the places where information is and you have permission to access.

Of course, how your digital workplace is managed with a governance framework is critical to how good and integrated the experience will be.  You can find more here on how to get it right.

I will post next about the difference between an intranet and a digital workplace.