Monday, October 14, 2013

Contextual intranets by @roojwright #congressp

I recently posted my notes on the 1st masterclass of the SharePoint conference we organize. The 2nd masterclass of the SharePoint conference is by Andrew Wright. His talk is about ‘contextual intranet’. I'm sharing my summary of the masterclass below. I think I'll also post one or two more posts on the conference itself.
But first Andrew Wright's masterclass about 'contextual intranets'.

What is a contextual intranet?
Wright’s definition is:
An intranet that facilitates the development of content – both qualified (signal) and unqualified (noise) – that supports continuous improvement, efficient operations and employee engagement and delivers this content in a meaningful context to the employee.
Characteristics of the contextual intranet
The contextual intranet exists of the following elements:

  1. Content development
  2. Business imperatives (continuous improvement, operations (tasks), employee engagement)
  3. Content delivery (context provided by meta data, like LinkedIn Today does and Amazon)

Andrews shows with actual examples how business imperatives can be achieved using SharePoint. For instance: by using a SharePoint wiki and ‘related content’ (using look-up fields).

How do you implement a contextual intranet?
Andrew explained how we can achieve a 'contextual intranet. He detailed the following steps:

  1. Set a baseline. What do you want to achieve and what is the situation now?
  2. Technology (which elements of SharePoint do you need?)
  3. Set-up
  4. Prototype
  5. Roles and tasks
  6. Content plan
  7. Governance
  8. Collaboration

We discussed to which extent this list goes for all intranets, not just contextual intranets. We thought there would be more time spent on roles and tasks, and content (tagging) to make contextualization work.

Would you say you have a contextual intranet? If so, let us know how it works and what value it brings to employees and your organization?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What every SharePoint intranet should do? by @s2d_jamesr #congressp

Intranets have been around a long time, but not necessarily well loved. SharePoint brings huge opportunities for intranets. But new technology does not make problems go away.
So, how do we deliver SharePoint intranets that are really great? This is the question that James Robertson will answer in the 1st masterclass at the SharePoint conference 2013.

Great intranets in words
We start out with the question: what words describe great intranets? The audience says: connected, collaborative, accessible, social, information value, support daily work routines, usable, fast, mobile, task-based, updated, interactive, single-point of trust, attractive, innovative, easy to maintain and affordable.

James goes into five purposes of intranet: content, communication, collaboration, culture and activity. James shows many examples of intranets that fulfill these purposes.

We need to deliver usable and valuable information. We quite ‘good’ at this and we have way too much of this. There are intranets with 3,5 million pages.
Examples: a facilities page of the Department for Culture, Media & Sport intranet (DCMS), a page about My Employment from British American Tobacco (BAT). The BAT example also shows that good navigation is important for usable content.

The intranet is used a lot as the communication channel for global and local news. The SharePoint news features have always been horrible and are still quite horrible. James shows News Limited as an example. They use the news page to manage change. He also shows an example with targeted news, based on locations mentioned in ADS.

What collaboration is, is pretty clear? Document collaboration, discussion forums, etc. Shows several examples like Stockland has a SharePoint 2010 intranet with Newsgator. James mentions there are still many companies not open to putting collaboration on the homepage.

Create a beautiful intranet that engages staff. The intranet should also reflect the culture of the organization. Focus on how the intranet can communicate and cultivate the core values and business. Don’t use SharePoint out-of-the-box and pay attention to design, even if you do just a little bit of design. But useful first, beautiful second. Most people want both.

This is about integrating key tasks into the core of the intranet. E.g. SharePoint is great for building and sharing forms. And moving excel files online for sharing and collaboration.