Like every year the international community around intranets and the Digital Workplace gathered in Berlin to share experience and seek inspiration for the next step. This year was dominated by down to earth steps towards the future of information work. Migration & consolidation are in third gear. Relevance, personalisation & decluttering are key drivers of today’s initiatives. Social is still there…but we have learned a lot. In particular that we have to listen, understand and resonate on what’s going on in this new sphere of communication & collaboration. Plus: we have seen the first set of KPI that go beyond media metrics (aka traffic & volume). Thank you @DennisAgusi…

Let me start with my final comment as the chairman of day 2

I am proud and humble to be part of a community that never searches the lime light. We meet at in Berlin to exchange, to share, to inspire each other and to learn. Over 200 people have one guiding principle: make the life of our colleagues, the consumers of intranets and the Digital Workplace easier. Provide relief to their daily challenges and deliver everything they need to do their job with less effort and more fun.

We don’t go on stage to brag. We go on stage to share success, failure, progress and challenges.

It’s an amazing attitude.

Taking a massive leap the pragmatic way

This year’s IntraNET.Reloaded was kicked of by from Swiss travel company Kuoni. In a bold move they have banned the classic concept of navigation and real estate from their internal channel. Built on Colygon’s MatchPoint/Snow collaboration platform Kuoni has taken branding to a new level: color brush up and a logo. The rest of the service provided to its users comes pretty much out of the box. In addition to the fact that the team was able to get the project through the door in an almost inhumane time frame the users seem to love it! With that move Kuoni has even succeeded in merging collaboration and communication in one environment – something that is part of the releases yet to come in many companies.

Big. Bang.

Christophe RALITE (@CRALITE) from Nexans proudly reported on a big bang in which the organisation consolidated 85 intranets and various collaboration spaces into one SharePoint 2013 based first release on their journey to a full blown Digital Workplace.

Well, in all fairness: the big bang was more an experience for the users since they left the office shutting down the “old world” and were greeted by the “new world” the next day. Content and intranet owners had roughly 12 months to clean-up, de-rubbish and classify/tag their data before the migration.

Law unleashed.

Angela Rositter (@brightrossi) from Linklaters LLP provided an amazing insight into what it means to consolidate all internal channels and the (business critical) knowledge management into one central solution. I mean, is there another type of business that is more driven by secrecy, confidentiality and “closed shop” thinking than a law firm? However, the awareness that a key to future success and a growth in billable hours lies in the effective use of knowledge, experience and expertise was motivation enough to give it a change.

Intranet and digital veteran Angela passionately reported on her journey towards the new single source of truth for Linklater LLP’s lawyers around the world. On step being the consolidation of 145 top navigation items (crucial and must-have of course) into 5 pillars of content and substance.

Little Boxes & Content Marketing

Probably one of the most spot-on statements at this year’s IntraNET.Reloaded. Kathryn Everest (@everestk) from Jive complemented it with another very interesting angle: display advertising start losing ground to social and content marketing. Since our field has continuously been inspired by applications & performance in the internet we might want to pay attention to this development too. It might stand for the fact that contextual relevance and the monetisation of interaction and involvement are stronger than static content that keeps hammering onto the same target groups over and over again.

Governance. Governance. Governance.

The majority of the “challenge your peers” sessions seemed to hover around on of my favourite subjects. For the most attendants it has become crystal clear that continuity and consistency in user experience, content/document management and information architecture is an essential foundation for what we all ask for: de-clutter the internal channels!! Relevance and profile based information delivery is only possible if the ground work has been done and kept alive.

Awards for user focus, togetherness and relevance.

This year’s IntraNET.Reloaded awards (1st place) were given to KPN, Allianz Turkey and Roche.The fact that the user played a key role in all three solutions definitely was a driver for the votes.

What happens if you let a DATA SCIENTIST play the magic harp…

Dennis Agusi (@DennisAgusi) from Philips gave a 35 minute pitch for the beauty of data analytics for their intranet and social channel. I was and still am in awe. For the first time the crowd had the chance to look at KPI that went beyond classic traffic, volume and social interaction measures. In too many instances pride is taken in the thousands of participants and happiness is driven by thumbs up and sharing. Dennis gave an impressive example for what it means when you show publishers/authors deep insight on x-functional interaction or clear indicators on content quality and involvement.

What might have slipped one or the other attendant’s attention: Philips has unleashed this powerful steering tool based on a custom built application and has hired a data scientist (a SCIENTIST!!) to pull the right strings and make sense of big data.

The Young Generation and an HR Executive share the stage.

Ruggero Crameri (@RCrameri) from Swisscom told me in the briefing for the introduction that they had been asking themselves the same question for years: “We keep talking about the new generation and executive stakeholders, but why are they never on stage?” As a consequence and – real representatives of the future of our corporate talent – and Dr. Hans Werner, Yasmin Ogi and Melanie Willhelm entered the stage.

Yasmin made it clear to the audience that “closed shop thinking” and “secrecy” do not fit with the attitude of the new generation at the workplace. “We are a generation of openness and sharing. It’s not about individual knowledge, it’s about collective power.” set the stage what came next.

Swisscom is literally re-inventing itself. A self governing environment and a crowd driven optimisation of content, knowledge and results is the framework of the new digital way of working at Switzerland’s leading telco. Dr. Hans Werner openly shared his initial challenge with the subject that it hasn’t been always easy to follow the radical path the internal project team decided to walk. But in the end it has paid off and his passion for the subject was obvious in the way he talked about the results that the new way of working delivers to the company.

In order to make a point even applied for a new job at Swisscom: “This year I will end my apprenticeship – wouldn’t it make sense if you had a seat for the Young Generation in the board?”.

Power. Scope. Politics.

I am not sure if it’s better to run a World Café session with 5 groups or to be part of the attendants and experience more than one subject. Well, this year I had no choice and moderated my session around “Managing the Digital Workplace in a distributed organisation”. In order to spark conversation I provided three angles and their “hidden reality” to the subject to the participants: How to balance local, regional and global needs & how to deal with power that derives from a strong economical position of e.g. a division or geography and their access to budget or decision makers? How to balance common value vs. closeness to the business logic & how to avoid a scope and/or complexity that turns smart projects into multi year ordeals? How to get commitment, resource and budget from business stakeholders & how to we make sure that the commitment doesn’t disappear with the next round of rough times ahead? The final result of 5 rounds of conversation and sharing looked like this…

 

IMG_0424

My personal favourites of sharing and input were…

Balancing Needs

  • If you want to balance needs you need to listen. A lot. Again. Again & again.
  • Asking for budget from a weak position in order to actually improve the position can be tricky…kind of a catch 22.
  • Allow yourself to build islands, if you have a solid concept on how to connect them later
  • Ask why five times. Then you really know what the requirement is about.

Common Value vs. Business Logic

  • It’s not that easy to evaluate potential of something that wasn’t used before…or hasn’t even existed before.
  • Build the case on the fact that “WE believe” (the strong coalition) not a single opinion or believe.
  • If you start to think like entrepreneurs you have a good chance to come up with solid arguments.

Commitment

  • It’s now always easy to pass the “front desk” or the “blockers” if you want to get access to the actual decision makers (aka the executive floor)
  • PowerPoint won’t get you cash. You need a proof for what you pitch.
  • Trust is key.
  • You might want to turn “blockers” into active or even leading parts of your initiative in order to suppress and neutralise their negative influence.
  • Find the right moment and tone to “pop the question”.

In addition to the conversation around the three angles all groups elaborated on the fact that it’s not the executive floor or the work force that prove to be challenging in change situations. It’s the middle management that is lead and therefore manages via Excel files. What is preached and asked for from the top doesn’t find it’s way into the objectives of the ones that have to carry the responsibility and help people through this process. That managers then are hesitant is more than natural.

So far so good.

Oh, by the way: my 30 mins on stage in slides and as a little sketching video (thanks WE CONECT!!)

The slides…

 

Now it’s another 6 months until I will attend the Social Business Collaboration…and I cannot wait to see what the folks that deliver the substance of that conference will bring to the table.

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