Tag Archives: governance

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.

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.

The lowdown on publishing standards

Publishing standards are key to providing the right foundation for your intranet.  Your organisation will invest in the technology needed to publish information but technology will not be enough.  For people to be more productive, they need to be confident in the integrity and reliability of what they use and technology alone does not deliver that.

Publishing standards make that critical difference.  They form the basis for your intranet’s user experience to be consistently good.  These standards need applying to different types of content and tools.  You can set up publishing standards based on the following requirements:

  • Information policies
  • User needs
  • Legal
  • Regulation

The publishing standards you should consider are:

  • Ownership
  • Timeliness
  • Security
  • Findability
  • Usability
  • Accessibility
  • Navigation
  • Copyright
  • Compliance

As well as making your intranet the best experience for people using it, you also need to make it a good publishing experience.  The better the processes and support offered, the more likely it will be that publishers will follow the standards.  Make it easy for publishers to seek the right guidance by providing it on the intranet, saving everyone’s time.

With confidence in the integrity of your intranet content and applications, people will want to use them more frequently and become more productive.  To ensure that this happens, you also need to take steps to ensure publishers comply with each standard.  Compliance, implemented in a smart way, can be simple, effective, and of great benefit to your intranet users.

Find 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?

Why you need good principles for good governance

Always remember why you are developing your governance framework. With this framework, your strategy has clear direction, relevance, and resources needed to continue the momentum created. The framework is essential for a well-managed intranet from which your organisation benefits and which provide a consistently good experience. This is what people love to find and will encourage them to use it more to help them more with their work.

The purpose of a governance framework is to ensure you balance business needs with the user experience. Every intranet is different depending on the size, type, and culture
of the organisation it supports. However, there are some key governance principles that are common to their success.  These principles are:

  1. Know your organisation
  2. Define the scope
  3. Put people first
  4. Achieve the maximum
  5. Compare and benchmark
  6. Do what you say you will do
  7. Keep it legal

You can find a detailed explanation of each principle in this post with slides.

While these principles will vary in importance to you when you develop your approach to good governance, they are all important. In particular, you ignore the first at your peril. It is critical that you know your organisation well so you can plan and prioritise as you develop your governance framework.

Once you are clear on the first principle, you can follow through the other six and apply them appropriately depending on what you require for good governance. Keeping to these principles will help you to set the right direction you need to take and adapt to any changes that affect your organisation.

It may take more time and effort to follow these principles when creating the governance framework. However, when you set this against time saved in future if your framework is awed, it will feel a wise investment. Having a firm foundation in place at the outset will give you the confidence to move forward in the right direction and with the right approach.

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

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.