Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Do we need to be in the game? Another feature of SharePoint 2013

Apart from the things we already know about SharePoint 2013, like the fancy new Team Site templates, the micro blogging type social functions and the widely talked about App Store. They have also incorporated some Gamification features.
They have introduced a new site template, the Community Site template. This new type of site provides a forum like experience in the SharePoint environment.
As well as the normal type of forum activities like starting and participating in discussions, the community members receive Reputation Points for posting, replying, and receiving likes and best answers.

You can receive two types of badges:

Achieved - Gained by your community participation activities
Gifted - Awarded by other community members

Each members reputation status is displayed in their personal profile.

Example of a Community site graphically showing members reputations

Another view showing Community Members reputation scores.
It remains to be seen how well this feature is embraced by those who roll out SharePoint 2013.

If you would like to know more about Gamification in the Intranet environment and also read some interesting comments from some expert Intranet professionals, check out this excellent post on Intranetizen, What do you want, a medal? Gamification on the Intranet.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Participate in the Digital Workplace Trends 2013 survey and get a free copy of the report.

The fabulous Jane McConnell's Digital Workplace Trends survey for 2013 on once again. Jane's survey is now in its seventh year and is consistently the largest and most extensive study of Intranets and the Digital Workplace undertaken annually.

The annual report that result from the survey is an invaluable reference tool for all Intranet Managers. Its provides analysis of digital workplace trends, strategy and governance from over 160 organisations world wide. I have always found immense value in participating in the survey each year as it provides a change to reflect on your organisations direction and strategy and as a bonus, your participation results in a free copy of the report.
If you are an Intranet Manager in any sized organisation and would like to participate in the Digital Workplace Trends 2013 survey sign up to participate right now.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Team Sites Looking Purdy in SharePoint 2013

OK, I know I have been very tardy with the blogging. No posts since September last year. I have been very busy in the last 12 months with my focus only on work but I have recently been asked when I am going to get back to the blog and here I am. Peer pressure is a very powerful influencer :)

My first post after hiatus is about SharePoint 2013. Currently SharePoint 2013 is only available for developers and I believe the plan is to release it with the next version of Office however I received some impressive screenshots of personalised Team Sites from a colleague and thought many of you may be interested in having a look. If you are use to the look of Team Sites in MOSS or SharePoint 2010 you will appreciate the difference. I know many of my users who manage their individual Team Sites will.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy Birthday from your Intranet

I personally do not make it public knowledge when its my birthday. I get embarrassed by any fuss and am conscious of the fact that I am no spring chicken anymore. Though when I saw the following Tweet in my feed last night I thought it was a wonderful idea.

@vj2w Feel special. My Intranet is customised to wish me HB. Nice touch.

I retweeted this post and commented that I thought is was a great idea. Wouldn't be too hard to implement and it would be appreciated.

Another of my Intranet tweeps, @DigitalJonathan commented that he agreed it was a nice idea but raised a couple of relevant points.

  1. The message should not quote the users age as that could contravene European Union laws on sharing age of employees due to possible discrimination

  2. Would the Birthday greeting go all users as is the case on facebook, or only be sent to the individual?

In my opinion, the first point is a no brainer. No need to quote the age, even if it is a milestone like 21 or 40. Most people just say Happy Birthday when face to face and besides, according to stereotyping, no woman likes to be reminded of their age. Not many middle aged men either for that matter.

The second point is more interesting though. Some people love others knowing when their Birthday is while others are not comfortable with any fuss or attention.

If I was to implement such a feature I think I would go with the following scenario.

When a user is set up, their birth Day and Month ONLY is entered. Each user can edit their profile page and for the Birthday section they would have following options:

Having the option to publish a reminder to the Upcoming Events section would work similar to the same Facebook function. This would suit those who are comfortable to have everyone knowing their Birthday is coming up. It might even help employees born on the same day to connect and build better social relationships.

I gave a lot of thought as to what the default setting should be and decided on Send personal Birthday Message to me only.

I am confident that providing each user with the option to opt out of this function completely would satisfy any critics in my current organisation.

The other reason is, to be honest, even a casual curmudgeon like me enjoys being wished Happy Birthday once a year, but don't tell anyone and please don't make a fuss.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The future has already begun. Is your Intranet ready?

After reading the recent piece by @gvanleemput, Mobile Intranet - Nice to have or must have? I was inspired to put down some personal thoughts and observations.

Over the past 6 months in my organisation I have noticed a huge increase in the number of employees being provided with iPhones and iPad's for work purposes.

Our company now offers customers most of its services via mobile applications and has a growing presence on Twitter and Facebook. Around 25% of employees now use iPad's for business purposes. I am sad to report though that our Intranet has not yet been optimised for delivery on any mobile devices and we are early on in discussions on how this will be achieved.

Data obtained from Jane McConnell's Global Intranet Trends for 2011 of last year indicated that only about 7% of participating organisations were already providing Intranet information and services via smart phones and other mobile devices and 40% of Intranet Leaders were well on the way to delivering mobile services. I can't wait to see the results of this years Digital Workplace Trends 2012 and have a suspicion that the figures for mobile optimisation will have risen significantly.

One of the benefits I enjoy from presenting at Intranet conferences is the opportunity to get to know other Intranet Managers and discuss the many common problems we experience. When discussing Mobile Intranet delivery a couple of common obstacles have been:

Concerns about security of information delivered to mobile devices
Company leaders have in the past raised the issue of the security of company information delivered to mobile devices and also the security of the devices themselves. Many a Blackberry has been left in a taxi from time to time.

Delays in deciding the mobile devices to be rolled out and supported
Blackberry's ruled business as the preferred portable device for many years. It has only been in recent times that the functionality and usability of modern alternatives has become mainstream for business users.

The future for Intranets and information delivery is very exciting. Technology is continuing to evolve rapidly. Many of the past obstacles have been removed and perceived risks addressed. Mobile computing devices once seen as science fiction are now mainstream products. I believe that Mobile Intranet information delivery is definitely a must have in today's business world.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dilbert on Intranets

I came across this cartoon while waiting for an early morning flight to Melbourne and embarrassed myself by laughing rather loudly in the flight lounge.

When I went to the wonderful Scott Adams Dilbert site I was delighted to find many strips on the subject of Intranets. I am not sure how Adams is able to pinpoint the many issues we as Intranet Managers face with next generation Intranets and the emerging social and collaborative aspects they are introducing but he definitely seems to have his finger well and truly on the pulse.

Check out lots of Dilbert's Intranet related strips here.

All credit to Scott Adams - Dilbert

Friday, September 9, 2011

Tips to help you gain executive support for your Intranet

There are many reasons that Intranets often lack the support of company leadership. One of the main ones I see is that the decision makers are unaware of the potential Intranets have to provide enormous value to the organisation. Another problem is that many of these benefits, like enhancing employee engagement and loyalty for example, are not always tangible or measurable.

I have had varying degrees of success in gaining support for the Intranet and it requires a great amount of passion and enthusiasm. It is not just a case of presenting a business case to the executive committee and hoping to gain approval.

There are a few things that I tend to work hard on before I drop a proposal on an executive’s desk.

Become a goto person for key people.
I like to build up a strong relationship with executive assistants. They are people who can help you get a foot in the door. Spend time getting to know them but more importantly how you and the Intranet can help them. I have had great success in the past by providing something as simple as an online local services directory. Having all the details of the dry cleaners, florists, caterers and any other services they use regularly can help make their job easier. If you can identify how the Intranet can help them work they will be more inclined to help you when you need it.

Become known to the company leadership.
I am sure you have all had to attend things like financial results presentations, product launches and even end of year celebrations. These are all excellent opportunities to get to know the company leaders and more importantly let them get to know you. You do need to be prepared for these things though. You need to do a bit of research on each executive (thank you Google & Linkedin). Learn a bit about them, where they worked previously etc. It’s
great if you can find out what they enjoy when not working (executive assistants are excellent help with that one). That way when you introduce yourself at the next informal company gathering you will always have something to discuss that you can be reasonably sure they will be interested in. At the formal presentations come prepared. Read the company annual results, have intelligent and relevant questions prepared. Sit up the front (this is a simple thing but something many people try to avoid).

Give executives some Intranet facility for them.
Again, engaging the EA can help you find out what is needed here. Some of the things I have provided are Market Analyst Reports portal, online archive of board papers, daily media monitoring service, online communication channel like a Blog or a Vlog. Its up to you to find out what they need and deliver. The reward though is that if they have a reason to go to the Intranet daily, they will start to appreciate its value.

Become a great sales person.
After spending some time doing all the previous groundwork you will be in a better position to present business cases for further enhancement and development. Working demonstrations tend to work better that just a written proposal and presentation. For example if you want money and approval to roll out a collaboration suite across the organisation, try and mock up an example site and scenario that helps the audience visually understand how collaboration can work and what benefits it can offer. Most importantly, keep your demonstrations or presentations short, simple and relevant to your organisation.

There are some organisations that are just not open to innovation or change and even the most passionate and driven Intranet Manager has trouble selling the Intranet and themselves however there is never a reason not to try.

On many occasions I have gone ahead and implemented changes and developments without gaining formal approval. Some have worked and some have not. I do like to follow the advice of Rear Admiral Grace Hopper "If it's a good idea, go ahead and do it. It is much easier to apologise than it is to get permission".

Friday, September 2, 2011

Dynamic and Intuitive Intranets

Am really looking forward to presenting at the Dynamic and Intuitive Intranets event in Brisbane Australia on 23rd November 2011.

When initially asked to participate I had planned to present on the importance of good and clear governance for Intranets however on receiving the proposed line up I saw that Simon Rawson from Microz Australia had claimed a session on "Responsible governance: who owns your intranet".

So I decided that having two governance sessions in one day definitely runs the risk of putting delegates to sleep. So instead I decided to develop a session on Social Media Integration. I will be exploring how to go about determining if there is a need for Social Media on your Intranet and if so how you might successfully implement integration and obtain user buy in and acceptance.

I will also be participating in and Interactive panel discussion on "Proving the value of your Intranet". I know this is something many of us Intranet Managers struggle with and hopefully we will be able to explore how others have approached this requirement.

I am always happy to visit sunny Queensland however the clincher for me was when I saw the event was being chaired by the lovely and very knowledgeable Rebecca Rodgers one of my good friends from Step Two Designs. Rebecca and I first met when we both presented at the same conference in 2007 so the Dynamic and Intuitive Intranets event will be like a bit of a reunion for us.

Dynamic and Intuitive Intranets
Good Governance / Search & Content / Identify & Change
23-24 November 2011
Mercure Hotel, Brisbane, Australia

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sharepoint explained by Common Craft

I have always been a huge fan of Common Craft and their ability to make videos to explain new technology trend in simple and easy to understand ways.

This one is all about how Sharepont can be used in a business to make communicating and collaborating easier and more efiicient.

No need for more of my waffle. Check out the video and you will see what I mean.

People often feel overwhlemed at work and tools like Sharepoint can help
manage and organize all the messages, document and calendars in one place. This video focuses on these key points:

  • How information overload keeps teams from being productive

  • How Sharepoint helps to solve this problem by creating home for a team's collaboration

  • How a team leader uses Sharepoint to identify team members, create a home for projects documents, calendars, etc.

  • How the team can use Sharepoint to find resources that prevent them from having to reinvent the wheel

For more excellent videos visit Common Craft. You can follow them on Twitter @CommonCraft.
View the original posting for this video including full transcript here.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Social Media @ Work - Must See Video from Red Sky Vision

I have watched this video through at least three times and passed it onto more people than I can remember. The video quality and production is fabulous in itself though more importantly the content is just so good. If you are an Intranet Manager and having a difficult time explaining the value of Social Media to your companies decision makers and holders of the purse strings I would urge you to show them this video. It explains in clear and simple terms how these technologies are being used right now and why it is important to seriously consider how you are going to exploit the use of Social Media in your organisation. Things move very fast these days and you do not want to be left behind.

There is disconnect between how immersed and digitally connected employees are outside of the workplace, and how their internal communications are being delivered. On the ground, employees are still posting printed communications on the water cooler when they can be engaged, led and informed via the latest digital channels.