A couple of weeks ago, I’ve worked on an executive briefing on my experience with internal digitalisation in large corporations. Based on my work in industrial manufacturing, insurance, pharmaceutical and professional services environments, this is my collection of
Motivation for internal digitalisation
Challenges that companies experience along the way
The role leadership & management has to place in digital transformation
It’s important to say, that not all aspects apply to each company but it’s quite striking how many aspects of motivation & challenges a lot of companies have in common…
It’s the time of year again. All experts are gathering around the crystal ball to predict what we will be doing in the next 12 months. Of course I need to chime in because if you operate under the “Digital Sherpa” metaphor the “Shaman” isn’t that far off…
So here we go with my 5 best shots:
All technology driven initiatives to digitally transform the mechanics of relationship management, business development or productivity will fail.
“On premises” is dead. If someone tries to tell you, it’s not: there some personal stake in maintaining the legacy involved.
We will see less Chief Digital Officers and more digitally empowered, mature and passionate people in leading and executing roles. It will become a very tough environment for consultancies.
The artificial separation of “intranet” and “internet” will be torn down because it literally makes no sense.
We will reflect on 2017 in December and make similar predictions again because corporate politics, power struggles and lack of disruptive thinking will keep things at a slow pace…no matter how quickly the field evolves.
Summary: This year’s SBC was primarily about change. Once in a while you actually got the feeling of being at a Human Resources conference. But as fairy dust there were a couple of presentations that stood out because they provided a new angle on a couple of things. Telenor reported on their experience with Facebook@Work. Jen Regruth Crites (@jen_k_crites) talked about actually “branding” a new IT solution. Laurence Fourcade from Kelios gave a striking presentation on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in the Digital Workplace. Europa-Park shared the insight how social connects the “unconnected” bees with a new software called “BeeKeeper”. And I am only mentioning a product here, because I really like a few aspects of their approach because of my work for the industrial manufacturing industry…and without further ado, here we go:
We knew it for some time. Finally everyone is acting on it.
Let me keep this short and crisp: “social” finally got its emphasis in real life. The days of IT-driven initiatives seem to be over for good. Literally everyone on stage made it clear that without properly orchestrating the symphony of change management, SBC (or business IT in general) initiatives simply are destined to fail.
Leadership needs to believe in and sponsor the efforts
Senior and middle management has to play an active role in the process
People have to be guided and taken on the journey in order to allow the new ways of working to really take effect
And the journey of change isn’t one of “campaigns” and “visionary promises” anymore. It’s about tangible value and a close connection to what people need help with. It’s about empowerment and allowing talent to really contribute its value to what the organisation wants to achieve.
All success stories that were presented this year showed, how essential the three bullets above were. Henry Haijes from ABM AMRO even added a slight twist to the culture/strategy quote from Peter Drucker:
“Influential power is eating organisation power” says Harry from ABN AMRO at #wcsocbiz – love the variation of the culture quote 🙂
Same goes for driving change throughout the entire organisation. Paul from the European Commission actually have a really compelling presentation on what it means to make sure that everyone is on board.
The P&G heritage: branding as a success driver for IT tool roll-outs
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in the Digital Workplace
Keeping the bees involved…
1. Facebook@Work at Telenor
John Alphonse gave a pretty compelling presentation about their “roll-out” of Facebook@Work. For me the story was particularly exciting because it was literally the first company to report on their experience. Essence: it seems to work really well after some serious ramp-up efforts.
x-silo insight facilitated by FB@Work
State of “collaboration” at Telenor
“Every employee should be part of each box” John said at the conference
After Facebook worked very(!) closely with Telenor to get all set-up for enterprise readiness and prepare of an official data security audit, an audit Telenor & FB passed in attempt #1, which is probably one of the most impressive things I took home from Berlin. Not though, that FB passed the test impressed me here, but actually the fact that FB actively worked with Telenor and used their help and advise to gear up for the requirements of the enterprise world.
The 2nd interesting angle John reported on was, that FB@Work actually started in the world of Telenor’s Shadow IT. You know Shadow IT: it’s what the official IT department cannot keep up with on people’s laptops, tablets and smartphones (…long live the cloud). Telenor, however, has decided that they want to be inspired by their Shadow IT and that they will keep investigating new options for business solutions that have been “tried” by voluntary guinea pigs.
As part of my World Café Hans Dekker (@hansdekker) from IKEA even suggested that it makes total sense to actually actively encourage Shadow IT. He believes that allocating accountability to people and putting them in charge of finding new and better options outside the standard governance is rather an opportunity than a threat. Quite frankly: I think he’s spot on. With a certain set of reasonable rules this might actually be the solution to one of the key challenges of IT organisations: herding cats.
Thirdly John added a little detail: communication, exchange & networking (formal, informal, project) happens in FB@Work – Documents are managed in SharePoint. Literally all vendors that were mentioned had their short coming in document handling. So Telenor employees were simply encouraged to post links to SP in the FB conversations:
In Facebook@Work the main part of conversations happens in (open & closed) groups – in contrary to the private version, in which the majority of posts are in the public/main feed.
I wonder if Microsoft ever considers the fact that they seem to stay (very) dominant in the “enterprise information management” part and that they should leave the field of “social glue” to the ones that know the real deal. However, after still not 100% delivering on a Yammer vision, maybe the acquisition of LinkedIn could add some momentum here. Who knows. Time will tell…
2. The P&G heritage: branding as a success driver for IT tool roll-outs
Jen Regruth Crites (@jen_k_crites) reported on how her Procter & Gamble learnings helped to support the roll out of a new IT tool. She simply asked the question: if a brand helps commercial organisations to differentiate and emphasise value, why shouldn’t IT departments apply this to delivering their “product” to employees. Jen answered that question with a striking presentation on how a well branded IT tool roll-out can make an impact: 6 months in the following KPI pretty much speak for itself:
54% of users recall the brand (starting from 3%)
375k EUR savings
83% Net Promotor Score
Active requests for MORE to the IT department
So FrieslandCampina (her gig at the time of the project) actually applied the Marketing 101 by the text book and even came up with a claim for the new UCC service:
Digital Meetings. Be there without going there.
3. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in the Digital Workplace
Laurence Fourcade’s (Keolis Group) presentation touched my inner beliefs when it comes to the value drivers of the future Digital Workplace:
Driving content quality will deliver search experience.
Keolis really approached the submission of documents to the intranet from a SEO driven angle and they tried to drive awareness for content IMPACT. For each item readers (online consumption) and downloads are displayed. Doing this actually can help editors or content owners to understand if the information provided has any reach (or relevance) within the organisation. You could even go as far as “x readers, no downloads” could stand for “na, this isn’t what I was looking for” from a searching point of view. Combined with the search query we’d enter a complete new game of content relevance and quality management.
Laurence made it clear as well that the UX for the upload interface is essential to the success of the approach. Thereby she made clear, that AGAIN the people are in the centre of all thinking, because an easy and intuitive upload mechanism that enforces SEO relevant aspects has to be user centric. Thereby the user (here the editor) is clearly the success factor that needs to be catered to.
The fact that I had at least 3 other in-depth conversations on Enterprise Search and search in general at the conference shows that it’s still one of THE subjects companies are struggling with. And I am still flabbergasted by Estée Lauder’s guts to actually run a “re-work” of their search index…from scratch. It’s one of the presentations that will stick to my mind for quite some time.
4. Keeping the bees involved…
I’ve always enjoyed working for industrial manufacturing clients. To guide organisations that usually perceive digital transformation as the next SAP roll-out into the world and value of information and knowledge work is very rewarding… However, there is one key challenge that still hasn’t been addressed properly: how do we keep the blue collar work force involved? They don’t have a PC or a user account. They often don’ even have an e-mail address. Two things the majority of current solution require (as an either or) to actually get someone on-boarded to the party.
Anselm Müller from the Europa Park theme parks presented their approach to keeping the bees connected with a new software called “Beekeeper“. Authentication does not go through AD or similar services. It’s rather a “sign up” service, which gives full control over content and access to the maintaining organisation. In it’s core it’s a social network with streams, groups and all.
The adoption of employees at Europa Park confirms the expectations and now the organisation even considers to gradually say “goodbye” to its conventional intranet. I cannot wait for that success story to hit a stage…
So far for my little digest. The summary of my World Café session on “driving people and corporate value with the Digital Workplace” will follow soon. So, stay tuned…
Summary: Berlin, October 1st and 2nd 2015. The European practitioners for modern intranets, social business collaboration and the Digital Workplace gathered in Berlin to exchange on their experience and share insight & learning. As part of the conference I had the opportunity to host a “World Café” session on stakeholder management. This article captures the essence of our discussion.
The framing of the session
I used a little drawing to introduce my personal learning from the past years in the field. From my experience the key layout of stakeholders exists on three levels:
It’s 2015 and the top management (c-level, board room) have bought into the fact that companies have to break up silos. Globalisation is reality and collaboration/communication has to bridge geographical and functional distance. Digital Business Agility (read about this in one of my previous posts) is essential in highly competitive markets.
The people in business operations drive from bottom up. They have a solid understanding on how connectedness and collaboration can improve business success. They are desperate for a more integrated world, improved information management and the ability to work independent from time, place or device – no matter if Generation Y or Silver Surfer.
Squeezed in-between is the middle management. They either get left out in the process from “let’s get connected” to “this is the new connected world” or they are not measured based on the new paradigms. Middle management happens in Excel and PowerPoint, in an abstraction of the real world and represents the “channel” TO the top management. In addition to that it’s a rough world. It’s competitive and not everyone (aka only a very very few) are willing to take risk and accountability for change. They are the ones that we have to really care for. They get caught in politics, games and objective struggles. “What’s in for me” gets more and more important on this particular level in the stakeholder map.
This will become particularly important if our ambition is to further increase the work and business criticality of intranet, Digital Workplace. Then accountability and governance have to be with the middle management. They will be in charge of making it work for the organisation. Therefore we need have to have middle management on board as of day one and make it theirs.
The conversation’s essence
Everyone agreed that more time has to be invested in understanding the real stakeholder map and how they stand with regards to the subject (supporter, promoter, opponent, neutral and/or allies)
Finding the right “value proposition” for the various stakeholder functions is key to get them on board and keep them on along the entire journey.
Executives and top management have to adjust success measurement and KPI to make “connectedness” and “networking of knowledge and people” part of the actual middle management scope of work. The fact that effectiveness will provide competitive edge has to start trumping the “just get it done” attitude.
We have to accept the fact that “business ownership” doesn’t come through a title when it comes to stakeholders for the Digital Workplace. A director is not in the middle of things. Field managers are. They are the ones that primarily seek enablement and support from digital services. We need to have them on board to ensure that “user centricity” is built into the project.
If you have opponents or “disbelievers” in the stakeholder center, get them close to you. Give them a key role, a key stake and the opportunity to shine with the project. Thereby you turn them through pure opportunism…and it’s WIN/WIN.
Pursuing something that has an impact through work criticality will lead to politics. And politics. And politics. Be prepared and don’t expect “yes” to mean “yes” or “I am in” to stand for “I will throw all necessary resource at you”. The future Digital Workplace is cultural and corporate change…and it’s political.
The conversation cards & transcript
We’ve collected a lot of angles on stakeholder management. Below the little moderation wall you can find a (more or less) transcript from the cards collected during the sessions (5 groups attended, approx. 50 participants in total).
Summary: In the long run the concept of “relevance” will undoubtedly replace the attempt to provide intranets that users can customise or personalise. Relevance targeting is driven by purposeful communications and clear objectives on the sender’s side. Evaluating the actual effect of distinct communication will allow communicators to continuously improve their skills and organisation to improve their channel mix and effectiveness.
Attending one of my client’s internal communications conference I felt inspired to document a workshop session with a little drawing:
It summarises important aspects of the sender/recipient relationship. It furthermore hints to where the long sought for KPIs for internal communications and the Digital Workplace can be found.
The beginning: a purpose.
I truly believe communications without purpose should simply be banned from internal digital channels. Actually, thinking about it again, it should be banned from all channels, no matter if analogue, digital, internal or outside facing. The purpose of communications is usually driven by an over spanning objective. Purpose and objective create the foundation for “relevance”, the “reason-why” for the creation of a message and delivery to a particular audience. The tonality has to resonate on both and make sure that the core of the message is clear and easy to understand.
Objective: reduce the risk of legal liability caused by wrongful handling of presents from suppliers.
Purpose: create awareness of a changed compliance guideline to the purchasing employees in Eastern Europe, Middle East & Asia.
Tonality: clear, straight forward, call to action (= go to the policy, read it, implement it) as the core element; background & change tracking should be stored in the context of the policy, not the communication, so it can be found even if people simply search for the policy itself and not the connected communication around it.
KPI for success measuring (Examples)
Deliver on communication purpose
Unique visitors = effective reach of the message
Distinct & scaled rating of the message = feedback for the senders on quality, clarity & relevance
Click through rate = “conversion” from communication recipient to policy recipient
Time on (destination/reference) site = recipient involvement with the reference material
Receipt confirmation (if possible) = communication read & understood
Deliver on communication objective
Quantitative evaluation of the implementation through line managers (read, understood, implemented)
Cases of non-compliance in purchasing after the communications
Measuring success beyond media KPI
For a few years I have been chasing best practice and lighthouse solutions for success measurement in the context of intranet/DWP. So far the subject hasn’t really gotten the right attention and the majority of KPI we see in the field are “volume” KPI such as
members of a community or group
number of conversations
number of likes & shares
number of comments
To continuously improve the quality of Enterprise Information Management we have to deliver more insight to authors and publishers. The ones in charge for the mechanics and design of internal digital channels have to enable the ones in charge of the content to deliver on the requirements of all stakeholders. To date way too much guess work is involved.
How to get there?
Let’s simply stop asking for “analytics”. Let’s ask for Communications Insight & Intelligence. If I were in charge I would refuse to implement any KPI without a concept on
why measure? (reason-why)
how to report on the insight? (reporting format/frequency)
who will be reported to? (audience)
who is in charge of executing on insight? (accountability)
how shall KPI be interpreted? (figures > insight)
The last is probably the most important because at the end pure numbers mean nothing. The interpretation (and therefore the commentary for the report) is key for the actual execution on the insight. For that we have to pre-determine what particular figures mean and what has to happen with the learning, for example:
> recipients only now that the policy is there but they don’t know the detail
> implementation might fail
> actively research through line management
Low time-on-site at the reference material
> recipients only go to the site but don’t get involved
> implementation might fail
> actively research through line management
Why to pay more attention Communications Insight & Intelligence?
I believe that by implementing a more serious quality and impact measurement for internal digital channels we will achieve three things:
Provide support to the governing organisation and enable them to iteratively improve the channel effectiveness
Increase awareness for the fact that people have to pay attention to the alternative to e-mail communications
Establish intranet/DWP as a work critical and essential part of the people’s work: the Good Morning for every day that you don’t want to live without
Who to talk to in the field?
Probably Philip’s Dennis Agusi is one of the guys in the field that has one of the best ongoing cases in DWP analytics. You can find him on Twitter: @DennisAgusi
Check out the tweets about is presentation at the Intranet Reloaded 2015 at #intrelEU (add his twitter handle to your search query to filter out the distinct tweets). But be aware: they hired a data scientist to pull off their attempt…
When I started working in the field, Digital Natives and Social Media were the key drivers for a lot of companies. Resonating on my most recent conversation I came to realise that things have changed. Organisations feel that current and upcoming business challenges require fixes in today’s productivity support. Retaining talent and unleashing their potential isn’t achieved through Social Collaboration alone. The entire subject has finally reached the hallway towards the board room. For good.
It has been a while since I found enough food for a publication. This article is inspired by three sources:
My latest conversations with management and executive stakeholders for Digital Workplace initiatives
Key take away in this article
Digital Business Agility requires the Digital Workplace – my thoughts on what enablement of individual and organisational instances means to hyperawareness, informed decision making and fast execution.
Employee Engagement is what changes corporate culture – an extension to a beautiful model that could allow us to manage expectations better and make potential and success measurement more accurate.
DWP has to become the ERP for information & knowledge work – my proclamation that enterprise resource PERFORMANCE will get us on the CEO agenda for good.
Digital Business Agility requires the Digital Workplace
Michael Wide defines Digital Transformation as follows: “Digital Business Transformation is Organisational Change through the use of Digital Technologies and Business Models to Improve Performance.” If you carefully look at the statement it allows the interpretation that organisational change is driven by technology. I am pretty sure though that it’s now what he is trying to say. Over the past years – and through countless “here’s a new productivity platform, it can do everything, be happy!” project failures – we have learned: people need guidance. They need to understand why things are changing and what their stake and role is in this new world. No matter how close we move business IT to commercial services and what people love on their tablet at home, adoption isn’t something that comes for free. By the way: it doesn’t come for free for the big internet players either. They invest billions in software development, user research and experience design… The majority of companies however still start to hyperventilate if a Digital Workplace project asks for 5 millions over 3 years. ERP projects for 120 million are fine though.
Michael also introduces the model of Digital Business Agility in his framework:
This is probably the strongest case for two aspects of the Digital Workplace:
Integration with the outside facing channels & social media
Corporate Social Networking
The fact that it is become more and more business (and success) critical to stay on top of market, customers & competitors requires scalability. Collecting information, enriching it from multiple angles and making it available to the right stakeholders at the right time is a foundation of the internal enablement of hyperawareness. The Digital Workplace has to close the gap between the “outside” world and the internal information flow. Hyperawareness is not just about speed though. It is about “making sense” as well. Just being aware of something doesn’t help if consequences and options aren’t clear. A Digital Workplace has to provide the mechanics to classify information in a meaningful way and provide the right internal context. The delivery has either to follow urgency/importance rules or be driven by relevance, which requires a clear profiling of individuals and organisational instances.
Informed Decision Making
Michael already makes hyperawareness and connectedness corner stones of informed decision making. The Digital Workplace has to facilitate the process and allow companies to stay able to take decisions even in the scenarios of
geographical distribution of key decision makers
continuous organisational change (e.g. consolidation or M&A)
distribution of essential knowledge across hierarchical levels
The Digital Workplace won’t solve any of the scenarios though. All it can do is to enable people to stay on top of things no matter what the surrounding conditions are. At this point I would like to emphasise that leading informed decision making in dynamic business environments will become a key skill of leaders and managers. Companies have to stop procrastinating. In too many instances I have witnessed the “the next one in my position can take the decision” syndrome. This isn’t helping though because the third element in Wade’s model is:
Today’s knowledge is tomorrow’s old news. We live in a time where a multi-day turnaround of customer requests, no matter if B2C or B2B, isn’t sustainable. Speed matters. It is driven by a new level of market transparency and the globalisation of markets. Customer’s aren’t bound to their local environment anymore. Today’s world offers a global market for goods and services – and jobs. If Fast Execution cannot be argued through customer value (even though it should) it can definitely be argued through employee satisfaction and eventually retention. Talking to business stakeholders and employees the main complaint is: speed of change. A lot of talk. No walk. Visions of a bright future and great opportunities have lost their leverage to keep people on board. In this context a little wake up call for change makers: talent and high performers are the first ones to leave after badly managed change, because they can. They will find and pursue other opportunities. One character trait of the new generation at the workplace is “mobility” – geographical and employment related. In an age where communication across the globe is better than before and hire-to-retire isn’t an option for the most, talent retention becomes a completely different ball game. This leads me to the second external source of inspiration:
Steve Smith’s article on “How Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs influences Employee Engagement”.
You can find the full article here. I’ve stolen the key image though, to have the reference point to my next thought right here:
expectation management on leadership and management level
potential & success evaluation
We have to make sure that executives and managers realise that the only way to unleash the intellectual power of an organisation is to engage with it. Engagement however can mean different things:
create the right environment for people to engage or achieve self actualisation
go ahead and be a role model; don’t expect bottom up change management for corporate culture
engage with the engaged and give them a voice and visibility so they can reach the level of self actualisation through impact
None of this can be delivered by a Digital Workplace but it can make all three hell of a lot easier and pleasant.
Potential & Success Evaluation
One of my key questions around a new service on the roadmap for a Digital Workplace is “What’s the expected impact? How big is the audience and – independent of its size – what’s its foot print in the company?”. It’s a false promise to believe that you can reach everyone. It’s a much better aspiration to only reach a few but make it really matter. Then success measurement will happen on a different scale as well. “Volume” (my most hated KPI in internal DWP measurement) suddenly has to be replaced by “impact”. It doesn’t matter anymore how many people join a community, how many likes a document has or how many shares a profile got. The substance deriving from the community and the effect of all the likes and shares will be way more important. This means that you can happily rely on the distribution Steve’s pyramid implies. If the upper two segments really kick it then you’re all good… Maybe one additional aspect: success measurement could go as far as measuring “transition” within the pyramid. Maybe moving people up the pyramid could turn into a nice management goal, couldn’t it?
Conclusion: The DWP has to become the EPR for knowledge and information work
If Digital Business Agility can be substantially enabled by the right services delivered by a Digital Workplace, if Employee Engagement can be facilitated by the right opportunities to express, connect and deliver impact of knowledge…where should we take it? I believe we should take it to the next level. Today, in August 2015, ERP projects to optimise process flow and standardisation in work execution still (and sadly) trump business productivity and communication projects. One reason might be the wrong way of putting it on the executive agenda. ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. If we give the acronym a new twist and turn it into
Enterprise Resource PERFORMANCE
then we might be able to move up a notch on the CEO’s agenda. I’ve learned (the very very hard way) that EFFICIENCY doesn’t matter to most (not all though!!) decision makers. EFFECTIVENESS – the ability to grow without hiring – seems to be a much stronger argument.
Do things right the first time (aka re-use)
Utilise resource to the max and avoid “down time” (aka avoid admin overload)
Use resource where it work’s best (aka talent management)
Combine resource for economy of scale (aka connectedness)
I believe this is the new way to go:
Effectiveness – Performance – Growth
Let’s go…the board room awaits us!
(*) I felt the need to slightly disagree with the “I’ll leave if something much better comes a long” bullet of the engaged cluster. Gallup puts engagement before satisfaction as a key driver for employee performance and retention. So I didn’t believe initially that engaged people will leave that easily, not even for a “much” better opportunity. It would not resonate with the characteristic of people that consider themselves “vital to the business”. If you are really vital and then jump ship you might end up losing your face, which would get known beyond company borders. Then I looked at myself and my past business moves and I realised: engaged people do jump ship. Cautiously, but they do jump eventually.
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.
There is no navigation on #Kuoni workspace, users will have to use search – user driven !!!! #IntrelEU
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.
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
“I want everything out possibly think of on one page surfaced in little boxes” was NEVER said by ANYONE – yup @everestk at #IntrelEU
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.
“we cannot evolve and we are constrained in companies that aren’t open” says Yasmin from @Swisscom at #IntrelEU
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?”.
application of a youngster for a position in the executive board – in front of the #IntrelEU crowd. careful what you say now 😀 awesome 🙂
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…
My personal favourites of sharing and input were…
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.
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!!)
Over the past weeks I’ve hosted various workshops on the subject of the Digital Workplace and Advanced Intranet. There was one thing all the workshops had in common: the participants suddenly were unclear what “collaboration” actually meant to them. For everyone it was clear that today’s intranets (not even close to work critical, rather an editorial graveyard) had to evolve to become the first step in the evolution of a Digital Workplace. It has to grow together with efforts and initiatives around collaboration, which are managed separately in almost all companies.
What does collaboration stand for?
It really depends who you ask. For IT departments collaboration usually is driven by the bells and whistles of a (social) collaboration platform. Their perspective is to make everything available so people can pick and choose what might suit their requirements. For business functions collaboration in a lot of instances is the ability to have at least documents in one place and use live collaboration abilities (aka chat, desktop sharing etc.) to fight data redundancies and travel efforts (and cost). For the management collaboration often ends up in the field of innovation (one big family striving for world domination) or cross-functional and -border synergies.
Get 10 people in one room and you have 15 opinions on collaborations…and probably 17 definitions.
After spending time to gather the aspects that could define the field of collaboration and trying to determine where the “act of collaboration” would actually create value participants of all workshops ended up with one common denominator:
Collaboration is more than the fact that people work work together and share files in the same place. It’s about creating assets that can be re-used by others and utilise the expertise that was created in previous team efforts. It’s about making sure that what we do happens in accordance with the framework (#FluffyHandcuffs) that is required by the organisation. It’s about connecting to experience and expertise of others that might help us to be faster or better in quality.
I am pretty sure that all readers of this post will say: yeah, but that’s totally obvious. Believe me, it’s not.
The biggest luxury in a project I have experienced recently is a pre-study that has “define what collaboration means to us” as it’s only objective. As a side effect, and this is becoming obvious already, it will create a coalition around the subject because we were able to connect to a lot of business stakeholders in the process of defining the field.
A final recommendation for the process of specifying “collaboration”: make “what is it not?” and “why is it special to us?” part of the evaluation. It will help you to scope what you’re doing against other initiatives – or build bridges to them since running them separate would cause disconnection and redundancy.
Summary: On April 23/24 2013 Berlin was the place to be for European intranet and enterprise 2.0 professional. From 8am in the morning until 6pm at night participants had the chance to exchange experience. Speakers from various industries shared their best practice and the DOs and DONTs when it comes to evolving the intranet into a digital workplace. In this article I am sharing my key take aways and sincerely hope to meet some of my readers next year. A word of warning: I’ve not cut a long story short – intentionally. Some parts of my recap might seem “common sense” but the level of awareness for the key success factors has experienced a substantial shift. Value creation has moved into the focus of almost all hands-on drivers in the field.
My personal key take away from INTRANET.Reloaded, Berlin (2013)
When Communications & IT join big things can happen
People centricity is not just reflected through “social software” anymore (Or: The social radio and the hidden dream team)
Cultural change – it’s less of hen and egg than before
Key asset of the new workplace: relevant content
The requirements document is not a wish list
1. When Communications & IT join forces big things can happen
The status-quo still seems to be more of a two class society. In some organisations the business and technology folks haves moved closer together. In others there’s still a lot of platform, bells & whistles and “just get it out of the door” thinking. That leaves business professionals frustrated and demotivated when they are either bullied or slowed down by there sous-terrain peers (maybe it’s some kind of reaction on the lack of daylight…). Whenever business and IT decided to work hand in hand on the endeavour towards real business IT results where exciting. In particular the presentation of StoraEnso on the current status of their journey towards a digital workplace was impressive. What I particularly loved (yes…emotion!) was their mantra to
“…make sure that employees simply have clarity on where to go for what piece of information.”
This is one of the “common sense” things. However, to take this as a motivation to merge collaboration and communication initiatives and replace the “old” world with a completely new digital service concept for employees is heart warming. It’s consequent. It’s smart. Here’s what StoraEnso shared as their general advice to the participants of the conference.
(c) StoraEnso 2013 | Presented by Ulrika MacGregor & Charlotte Sperling (@charlottesp)
The same applies to the Sonae’s presentation (Portugal; check the #sonae hashtag combined w/ #intrel13). I strongly recommend to “steel with pride” from their quadrant on driving the digital workplace initiative (http://t.co/mtZq2dpyzf).
(c) Sonae 2013 | Presented by João Piedade (@jp3dro)
2. People centricity is not just reflected through “social software” anymore
Or: The social radio and the hidden dream team
Almost all speakers emphasised the importance of “seeking to understand before seeking to be understood”. Running conceptual pre-studies and making sure that the results of the project will meet actual business needs has been an essential part of the impressive and promising case presentations. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of how need/requirements are evaluated. Talk to anyone who has applied the Xmas approach of how useful wishful thinking of frustrated users eventually is. More to this a little bit later in this article.
In particular Novozymes (Danmark, @frankhatzack) made two very strong points. Their analogy of the new abilities to drive communication and collaboration through social media inspired services with a social radio is just beautiful!
“Following the flow of activities in a company is like listening to a social radio. You have to make sure that you’ve tuned into the right channels and silence the noise.”
This goes hand in hand with the so often used quote of “There is no information overload, just a filter failure” by Clay Shirkey. Using the social radio requires the users to be aware of the general principles and the way one can use the dials to fine tune personal relevance.
Secondly “the hidden dream” concept is something that should be on the agenda of all drivers of innovation/best practice/idea management initiatives. Novozymes figured out that the most powerful ideas came from the “long tail” of users submitting ideas. It’s not the ones with the loudest voice, it’s the ones that rather post less quantity but strive for higher results – and bear in mind that innovation usually involves more than one point of view. To unveil the hidden dream teams is an amazing opportunity that lies within a company’s organisation. New ways of surfacing experts, expertise and experience that derive from socialised business IT definitely helps with this task.
3. Cultural change – it’s less of hen and egg than before
For years change management has been trending in the context of enterprise 2.0 and the future of information work. @frankhatzack from Novozymes made clear: digital doesn’t go well with pure hierarchy. There a general agreement that top management (aka the C-suite) is happy to request and lead change. The employee base is happy to tap into the new opportunities – adoption rate and speed depending on the demographical structure. Middle management however has a proper challenge with their change of role. The more connected the nodes of an organisation are and the more automated informations logistics become the less “controllable” it will be. #FOLC was established as an acronym at the conference this year: Fear Of Loosing Control. All endeavours have to address that fear as much as they have to pick up on potential #FOMO amongst employees: Fear Of Missing Out. Adding new channels and new opportunities requires to make sure that each single employee is able to work in full certainty and clarity that the relevant stuff will find her/him. For StoraEnso that was a key driver to treat intranet and digital workspace as ONE.
What has settled in is the fact that change in work culture and the digital workplace have to come hand in hand. It’s a give and take. Making cultural change the foundation for changes in the digital workplace is like swallowing the elephant in one go. Slicing it up in reasonable steps, prioritising based on value contribution and managing expectations towards the scope of the single steps is the way to go.
4. Key asset of the new workplace: relevant content
Ensuring relevance for the actual user is key in the majority of initiatives. The way to tackle relevance today ranges from very basic pro-active selection of “what I want to see” to the automated delivery of the right piece of information to the user’s door step at the right time.
One key take away of the conference is definitely the issue of managing/creating information assets in a multi-channel world. Skanska (Sweden) for example manages its content for all digital services through one backend. Treating external and internal presence as just a different channel is definitely a smart way to make sure that content is used most effectively.
Pfizer (USA) decided to “harness the ego factor” (@NoraGhitescu) and give people that produce content for their digital channels. They turned their communicators into correspondents and gave them the chance to stand out with by-line and picture. As a result Pfizer was able to create content that attracted so many people that media agencies would be probably more than happy to sell advertising on that inventory.
Making sure that the new endeavour will deliver value to individuals as well as the organisation is key. Evaluating requirements and managing expectations in that context is definitely key. At this point I’d like to refer to one of my older posts on motivation. Requirements don’t have to be things people want (or wish). It can as well be something that should be resolved, removed or improved. That angle – it terms of motivation & measurability – is much stronger than just striving towards a vision.
What I definitely have to share is Sonae’s (Portugal) slide on requirements engineering. It actually doesn’t need much explanation…
World Café on “Managing expectations along the workplace evolution”
I had the opportunity to host a world café session on “managing expectations”. As a framing for all participants (5 rounds in total) I used the following approach:
Seek to understand before seeking to be understood
(Stephen R. Covey)
Use this paradigm as the motivation to understand where you are today in order to understand how to phase out the roadmap to the vision of the future workspace (the reloaded intranet).
Find your current position on either or or both following models for distinguishing the status/evolutionary phase of a workspace:
#1 Workspace Maturity Model
(c) Infocentric Research AG | Presented by Stephan Schillerwein (@IntranetMatters) as part of the Digital Workplace Framework
#2 People Relationship Model (w/t the thought leadership stage)
(c) Philipp Rosenthal 2013 (@for_desire_it)
After the framing followed the discussion based on how the participants of the world café table positioned themselves in the model and shared their insights on how expectations were managed on the way to the current status and with regards to the future steps.
Key take away of the discussion around “how to manage expectations along the evolution of a digital workplace”
It’s about people. Evangelist or Ambassador programs are essential but both have to be connected to the real steps that are taken. Just preaching the vision won’t be enough to make people really adapt. Sometimes some “nudging” towards the new opportunities might be required.
Management has to be committed to the change and support it by being a prime example.
To get commitment it’s necessary to have role based value proportion for “what’s in for me” for e.g. roles like CEO, CIO, HR, program managers, production managers, etc…
Top Management might require a value proposition that resonates with their abstraction of the business in Excel and ERP. Middle Management needs a value proposition that avoids #FOLC. The employee base has to be ensured that #FOMO is unnecessary and that access to the relevant content will actually improve.
Taking into account blue collar work is essential for companies that produce more than just paper. However, it should not stop initiatives because (broadly) involving blue collar roles will be a challenge for almost all companies.
Do NOT ask people what the want. Ask them “What’s preventing you from being excellent?”.
Argue the endeavour and its scope based on challenges that will be solved and QuickWins that derive from new opportunities. Do NOT argue along bells & whistles of digital services.
Easy things first: create tangible results quickly!
INTRANET.Reloaded: Inspired not just by the content
At this stage I want to share a way the organisers of the conference decided to create “minutes” of the conference. It was a live sketching done by an incredible illustration artist. I can strongly recommend this to anyone who’s intending to produce a documentation alongside a larger event…
Disclaimer: The rights to all content shown in pictures of slides of the conferences lie with the original/presenting author(s) and the represented company.
Summary: There is literally no major site in the commercial web that contains a lot web pages in a static version. What you see is based on current events, information retrieved from cookies, your location, your account details etc.. In the future the same principle will apply to the digital workplace and thereby the future of what we today know as intranet. To achieve that a lot of homework has to be done. Only with a proper information architecture in place one will be able to profit from the potential that personalised and situation aware digital services contain.
“There is no information overload, just a filtre failure.”
With every single day complexity within and around organisation increases. Every single document, email and comment creates a new data object that needs a home, stakeholders and (ideally) someone who needs it and someone who owns it. Today we perceive this growing volume of data and information as information overload. Because of that many employees are hesitant to really dive into “another channel” and add the intranet to their frequently visited destinations – or even turn it into the single most important destination for the personal work day. This is of cours enforced by the fact that the treasure that lies hidden within the corporate information assets is neither transparent nor hard to find. Not to mention that it should reveil itself to a user at exactly the right point it time: when it’s actually needed.
I believe that the future of the digital workplace and thereby the successor of today’s intranets will provide its major value but being directly connected with the person that is right now looking at it. Information from all repositories and the social sphere will look at the user and immediately match itself in relevance and priority to the specifics of that person. As a result not one single user will see the same “page” on the digital workplace. It will always be the combination of
relevance to person, role and situation
importance of the data object to the user
how time critical interaction is
how dependent others are on the user’s interaction with that particular data object
The underlying principle is a powerful search engine that matches data objects and users in real time. It’s the power of search that most users don’t know about because it’s not (directly) connected to the personal action of typing a query into a search box and (hopefully) retrieve the stuff one was looking for.
However, it’s essential that the foundation for this convenient future of digital workplace is laid. “We have to establish an enterprise search function that gives us access to what we have” still is a mission for a lot of IT departments and (in a lot of cases) not more than wishful thinking.
Rubbish in, rubbish out.
Search engines are heavily dependent on their ability to identify the right data objects in order to be able to deliver them to the right person at the right time. That applies to active searches as much as it applies to the creation of fully situation aware and user centric pages. That’s where the homework lies… To build a powerful and more and more automated workspace for information workers companies have to do some house keeping and put effort in getting their information architecture and corporate taxonomy right. Without clear guidance for search engines what to match to what there will be no proper automation – and thereby no real value add for users and motivation to move away from the established ways of bouncing work related information back and forth through the know channels.
In this context I’d like to refer to one of my previous posts as well. I believe that “social” is just another extension to data objects and an improvement to the ability to specify the relevance of an object to the current user. Here’s the articles illustration as a teaser 🙂