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Tags // Intranets

Using tag bundles in intranets

Our new article on tag bundles is up. Here’s the summary:

It’s common for enterprises to have a document library in their intranets that houses all types of administrative and operational content. Such a document library usually has a taxonomy to improve the discoverability and findability of content. However, there is one problem: documents need to get into the library first! Submitting a document to the library involves filing or tagging the document with the right taxonomic terms, a procedure that can make people see red if not done properly. Tag bundles can help simplify this procedure and also improve the use of such document libraries.

Changing IT Mindsets From Deployment To Adoption

Mike Gotta makes a nice point about the need to really unpack user adoption when it comes to collaborative apps.

When it comes to collaboration, knowledge management, and E2.0 efforts, “culture” is often cited as the reason results fail to meet expectations set when the project is approved. While some projects might acknowledge the need to support post-deployment activities early in the planning stages, strategists and project leaders have consistently told me that they were surprised (and not in a good way) at how they underestimated the effort necessary to gain “adoption” of their solution.

10 Best Intranets of 2011

Jakob Nielsen’s Intranet Annual 2011 is out. He notices big improvements in mobile deployments and in knowledge sharing using social media tools. I think this is just natural progression—catching up with what is available on the Internet. But it is nice to see successful executions.

Knowledge management progressed from cliché to reality, based on simpler and thus more-used features. Mobile intranets doubled.

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”

I was looking for this story for a while. Finally I found it, so would like to share it with you. It’s about understanding what people want to get done with products—the job-to-be-done. Often we get lost in the features and functions of the product that we forget about the job that the product is designed to get done. The same principle can be used for designing websites and intranets.

“With few exceptions, every job people need or want to do has a social, a functional, and an emotional dimension. If marketers understand each of these dimensions, then they can design a product that’s precisely targeted to the job. In other words, the job, not the customer, is the fundamental unit of analysis for a marketer who hopes to develop products that customers will buy.”

Content Migration: the iceberg of CMS projects

A nice introduction to the content migration effort required when doing intranet redesigns.

“For all the reasons to ignore the inevitable, the truth remains that failure to adequately strategize, plan, schedule, and budget for content migration can easily sink your CMS project. Failure to plan can lead to delays as the content migration drags past the launch date. Conflicts can occur as extra resources are called upon at the last minute to attempt to migrate mountains of web pages into the new system. After all of the hard work your team has put into designing and building the new system, content migration is the last hurdle — one that you don’t want to underestimate.”

Filenaming Conventions and Knowledge Sharing

Patrick has posted an article on file naming conventions. Good. Now I don’t have to hunt for them every time!

2010 Intranet Innovation Awards are open for entries

The 2010 Intranet Innovation Awards are open for entries. Entries close on Friday 23. 

I like this award. It highlights how teams are thinking of making their intranets useful and productive. It starts a discussion on ideas and themes. I met some of the winners at the KM World conference in San Jose last November and I could clearly see their enthusiasm and determination in making their intranets work. I walked away with more than a few ideas to try out.

Designing collections for the web

Designing collections for the web - my new article over at PebbleRoad. The idea of the article came up when the team was discussing how best to leverage and surface homogeneous information. We were doing a redesign of a hospital website and found out that patients wanted to be connected with getting care in many different ways - by clinic, by doctor, by diseases and conditions etc. This idea let us to investigate collections, first as used by libraries, and then modified and as used by social media. This article compiles our experimentation and learning on the subject.

“A collection is a list of homogeneous items. A collection on the web can be as simple as a blog (a list of posts) to as complex as a library collection (multiple lists of different library materials). Collections are an integral part of many websites, but not all collections are designed with ease-of-use and ease-of-retrieval in mind.  In this article, I’ll cover some theory and give practical advice on designing online collections for the websites and intranets.”

The culture of collaboration and what it means for your intranet

I’ve written a new article at PebbleRoad, The culture of collaboration and what it means for your intranet.

Here’s my punch line: the adoption or participation you’re going to get on your intranet is directly related to the culture of collaboration that exists in the organisation. Having the right collaboration technology does play a part, but only as a sidekick to the culture of collaboration.

Implementing Enterprise 2.0 at Booz Allen: Part One Overview of Business Drivers and Components

Bill Ives: This is the first in a six part series on Booz Allen’s award winning implementation of Enterprise 2.0.

“To meet these challenges, Booz Allen developed and implemented Hello, a suite of web-based enterprise tools designed to strengthen collaboration, connectivity, and communication across geographical and cultural barriers. It was created from vision to launch in under 6 months leveraging a blend of Open Source, COTS, and custom-developed products. Since August 2008, more than 80% of the firm has logged into Hello and more than 53% of the firm has contributed original content. There are more than 4,000 individual searches a day.”

Get ready for intranet 3.0! it’s coming, it’s real and it will change the way we work

I like how the intranet conversations are shaping up these days. It’s all about thinking ahead. James started it with this article on future scenarios. Now we have Sarah Bates on Intranet 3.0. I hope this is a start of something new and a push that will take intranets into the next level of business integration.

“If anything, intranets are driving services forward at such a great pace that, post-recession, the organization that emerges will be fitter, leaner and more adaptable. Prior to the downturn, the rate of development was already intense, but market conditions have caused a new wave of intranet acceleration to arrive.”

Intranet tips by Jane McConnell

I found Jane’s list of things to consider when sorting out global content (common content) and local content (specific content) to be a really useful recap on good intranet practices. It is always an uphill task to convince departments used to working in silos that they have some really useful content that they should be putting up in the common content area.

Here’s an example of Jane’s #2

Think of the global intranet as collection of spaces, with each space having a purpose from the user viewpoint.

Examples of spaces: News, Workplace, Employee Services, About. These spaces will later become the components of the global navigation bar.

Develop several hypotheses, each one with a combination of spaces. You should be able to make a simple statement about each space for each hypothesis: “This space is designed for (user) to (action)”.

Wells Fargo editors’ newsroom model wins Ragan laurels

Interesting write up on how Wells Fargo goes about publishing their corporate newsletter. What amazes me in this story is the discipline that the team of 4 have to create a compelling newsletter over and over again. Now why can’t we follow the same model on our intranets?

Mike Bares, editor, explains how the newsroom atmosphere works: “Sources pitch stories, and we make decisions on which ones to cover,” he says. “We have story-planning sessions and spend a lot of time interviewing sources. It’s intense, as breaking news crosses our desks, but interspersed with periods of calm.”

Intranet Innovation Awards 2009

Here is my review of the Intranet Innovation Awards 2009 report by of Step Two Designs (thank you James for the review copy).

The report has 10 case studies from around the world, each showcasing an idea, an innovation that serves a specific business requirement.

The areas judged cover business solutions, frontline delivery, communication and collaboration and core functionality.

I recommend that you read Alex Manchester’s summary of the award winners to get a glimpse of the detail and richness the report provides.

Given below are the main reasons I find myself carrying the report along when meeting clients or when discussing intranet designs.

If you are an intranet sponsor, intranet manager or intranet consultant, this report will help you get discussions off to a good start. Getting a packaged report like this that includes screenshots and commentary around good solutions is hard to come by. This report fills the gap and is a valuable addition to the literature.

The report is available for online purchase at US$ 189.00 from the Step Two website.

Communities of Practice: Optimizing Internal Knowledge Sharing

Michael Hawley has written an article describing how ‘Communities of Practice’ or CoPs can save intranets from the findabilty problem.

“The key to intranet success is to provide value to employees and give them a reason to visit the site repeatedly. One of the primary ways to achieve this is to connect employees with the people and groups with whom they need to collaborate. Workgroups, or communities of practice, provide the basis for a living, growing, vibrant space in which people can access the information they need, share best practices, and contribute to a shared knowledge base.”

I don’t think CoPs can save intranets. The CoPs may solve the local findability problem but not the global findability problem. What if a staff from another department wants to find something that sits in a siloed CoP? We’ve seen this again and again. A new technology comes along and people get excited with it, start using it and then find out they are doing the same things with the new technology as before.

In my experience, intranets have seen progress when changes are made to the process—the way the work is done.

In his talk yesterday Michael Sampson mentioned that when e-mail and shared access came to the enterprise we learned to work with them and became comfortable with them because the technology worked and because there was nothing better for a long period of time. Now we’re seeing a fast pace of change in the technologies available in the enterprise. These are much better and more efficient but we resist giving up our way of working.

There is always going to be this gap and if we don’t do something to bridge it then CoPs and whatever comes next will just add to the chaos.

7 principles for decentralized publishing

Jane McConnell writes about 7 principles for decentralised publishing on the intranet.

“If you are a large, global organization, you will have many different types of content with varying degrees of ownership depending on the source: business unit, country, function, etc. Ask the different business units and functions to define their own guidelines for what type of content require approval by what level or role.”

Barriers to Intranet Use from Forrester

Bill Ives has summarized a Forrester report on “What’s Holding Back Your Intranet?”. The findings are not surprising.

“They found that 93% of employee respondents said they use an intranet or company portal (Forrester uses the terms interchangeably) at least weekly, and more than half reported daily use. However, they found that these intranets were mostly accessed for basic functions such as company directory, benefits information, and payroll. Access to collaborative tools, what some might called an enterprise 2.0 capability was ranked fourteenth.”

1-day Masterclass in SharePoint Collaboration with Michael Sampson

We’re organizing a 1-day Masterclass in SharePoint Collaboration with Michael Sampson. This is taking place on 5th Nov at Grand Hyatt in Singapore. We’re offering an early-bird price of S$420 if you register before Oct 20th (a real bargain folks). 

So why are we doing this? There are many SharePoint projects taking shape these days and that’s good in one way—it tells us that collaboration is getting the attention and budget it deserves. But many of these projects are done solely from a technical point of view, and this is a problem. Collaboration as we’ve come to understand demands more than just a technical perspective. It requires asking the right questions, planning to get the right answers and making the right decisions along the way that align with business objectives. This is the gap that we hope to bridge with Michael Sampson in the seminar.  So if you’re in Singapore or in the region, this is an opportunity to understand the many paths ahead with SharePoint (or any other collaboration tool) and how to choose the right ones (and how to avoid the wrong ones).

Intranet governance cycle

I’ve posted a new article at PebbleRoad on intranet governance.

This article offers a system view of intranet governance. It is based on a simple strategy that can be applied across different areas. The areas that I’ve covered are: information organization, publishing, collaboration and applications.

This article is based on a presentation that I put together for the KM Singapore conference.

Training intranet editors - the intranet cafe?

J. Boye describes a method that he observed when discussing how intranet editors are trained—the intranet cafe.

An interesting alternative to the usual options was presented by a retailer that had successfully introduced a regular “intranet café”. Every other week on Wednesday afternoons the intranet manager and his team made themselves available in a training room to anybody interested, who could then show up without the need for any prior registration. Some would show up with specific questions, while other occasional intranet editors would show up simply to get intranet work done while knowing that a helping hand was nearby. These intranet cafés had become tremendously popular and really made an impact on training staff on using the intranet. Quite a nice bottom-up approach!

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