Why it is all about collaboration!

There have been numerous and I mean really quite a lot of articles published recently on the CMS wire website about Collaboration. This is of course a very important topic, especially if you're involved in the management of an intranet or digital workplace and is a subject I have written about a number of times on this blog.

So if you missed any of the CMS wire articles, I've provided a summary and link to the most interesting of these below.

A good place to start if you are looking at Collaboration for the first time are two articles which provide some advice on how to find the right collaboration tool for your organisation. These articles are "How to navigate the collaboration sea" and "Finding your right collaboration fit"

Once you have deployed your collaboration tool then the next step might be to think about you manage your collaboration efforts. It might sound odd to say this, but collaboration does need to be managed to some extent. This is the topic that us discussed in "Tame your Collaborative Chaos" hopefully this article will help organisations avoid "Collaboration chaos"

Whilst I think we all agree that collaboration is good and can produce some very positive outcomes, it does has some implications for other business applications, most notably intranets. The impact of collaboration on these tools is discussed in "Collaboration in the new age of intranets" On the flip-side of these some technologies are changing how we collaborate. This is the topic discussed in "Mobile is changing your social collaboration apps"

A blog post about collaboration wouldn't be complete without mentioning SharePoint, fortunately there are many articles published on a regular basis about SharePoint and how it encourages collaboration. Of these the article "The evolution of SharePoint online collaboration" is a good introduction to the current state of collaboration within SharePoint.

So lots of articles here for anyone who is looking for a good introduction to this topic. I'm sure there will be many more articles on this topic written in the future.

The internet of things an introduction

The Internet of Things (IoT) isn't a subject I've written about on this blog before, mostly because I don't believe it is a subject that can be easily explained in a short blog post and I like to keep my blog posts relatively short.

If you are looking for an introduction to this very interesting concept then you may wish to take a look at this article on the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers website called "The Internet of Things: an introduction" In it the author provides a brief introduction to the concept of IoT and some of the technologies that we're seeing being introduced into everyday life. The article also looks at some of the legal issues surrounding the IoT which will be of interest to anyone who is thinking about how they can take advantage of the technologies and data associated with the IoT.

Whilst I haven't written any posts on this blog about the IoT I have written two articles for FreePint on this subject, which may be of interest. I have linked these articles below, you will however need a FreePint subscription to read these articles.

The organisation in the digtal age

Jane McConnell (NetJMC) has just released The Organisation in the Digital Age, the 2015 edition of her global survey of the way in which digital workplaces are being implemented within organisations. If you haven't heard of this publication before now it's a extremely well regarded publication which has been published for a number of years.

If you're not able to purchase the survey yourself, Jane has very kindly provided a summary of the 10 key findings in her blog post "The organization in the digital age - 10 key findings" which is well worth reading alone for some insights into how organisations are developing their digital workplaces.

For another short review of "The organisation in the digital age" look no further than Martin White's post on the Intranet Focus blog.

Is history repeating itself in your organisation?

An article on the CMS wire blog that I think many intranet managers will be interested in is an article by Nigel Williams called "Is history repeating itself in your organisation"

In the article Nigel Williams discusses that whilst Enterprise Social Networking tools have become ubiquitous short sightedness is preventing organisations from making the most of these tools. Largely as Nigel says because of a lack of tactical planning by the organisation.

So the question is what can we as Intranet Managers and managers of digital tools do to encourage and develop the use of enterprise social networking tools within our organisations? Nigel has a number of very sensible suggestions to avoid repeating some of the problems older intranets and portals had. These suggestions include the following;

  • Understand your organisations needs, not just now but in the future as well
  • Don't introduce a large number of tools at once, understand your organisations objectives and the tool that is most likely to help achieve them
  • Stop talking about enterprise social networks or social intranets and just think about implementing a modern intranet

Some very sound advice here from Nigel!

Can you really be social at work?

I seem to have neglected my blog again so to stop that right in the tracks I thought I'd highlight an article I read recently, which is well worth having a look at. The article called "Can we really be social at work?" is a report on a South by Southwest (SXSW) session which looked at the use of collaborative tools within an organisation.

The article starts by asking the simple question "Can we really be social at work?" the short answer is of course yes, but what's more interesting are some of the ways in which the author encouraged her organisation to use collaborative tools. The author describes two approaches they used to encourage use of their collaborative tools.

The first of these approaches was a "wide and shallow” approach, where they rolled out an enterprise social to support a major rebranding. The second approach was a "narrow and deep" approach where they embedded social tools and processes into everyday work. For me the latter of these two approaches would seem to be the most effective as using the social tool becomes part of an individuals workflow.

The author also describes some of the challenges they faced as part of the rollout of these social tools and the importance of ensuring senior managements and executives experience these tools. This is quite an interesting article, with some good tips on how you can encourage and develop the use of collaborative tools within your organisation.

Larkfield 10k 2015

Earlier today I ran the Larkfield 10k, which you won't be surprised to learn is a 10k or 6.21 mile race which takes place every year in Larkfield (Kent). The race actually starts from the East Malling Research Centre, just outside of Larkfield. I'm not sure what it is exactly that they research but there are a lot of Pear Orchards!

Anyway back to the race; this is a race I have enjoyed running a number of times in the past, most recently in 2013 shortly after the Brighton Marathon. In that year I ran 48:44, my other previous outings at Larkfield had seen me run 44:58 in 2012 and 45:38 in 2009, but the 2009 course is/was significantly different from the course I ran today. Significantly 2012 was the last time I ran sub 45 minutes in a 10k race.

Having trained hard in the last few months and having broken my 5k PB twice in the last 4 weeks I was determined to put in a decent run and was hoping to run sub 45 minutes. This was also the first time I had run this race with my Garmin and knew that I would have to run around 7:20 minutes miles to run a sub 45 minute 10k. As it turned out I ran a little bit faster than this and set a new PB for 10k, but not by much! Here are my splits:

1 mile - 7:04
2 mile - 7:21
3 mile - 7:26
4 mile - 7:04
5 mile - 7:21
6 mile - 7:27
7 mile - 6:22
These splits are quite interesting, because you might not believe it but these splits show consistent pacing (apart from mile 6 where I was hanging on) as it's a two lap course. So I ran the 1st and 4th miles, which are identical at the same pace and the 2nd and 5th at the same pace :-)
Overall (chip) time was 44:37 which beat my previous PB by 1 second, which I set in 2009!! but hey they all count and I'll definitely be back next year to improve on this!

8 ways to kill your intranet and other problems!

Fancy sorting this mess out?
I appear to have been a bit lax (again) about updating this blog so to stop that that in its tracks here are two articles I have read recently about intranets, which I think will be of interest more widely.

The first article is from CMS Wire and is called "8 ways to kill your intranet" in the article the author looks at some of the mistakes organisations can make when developing intranets.

The first mistake the author looks at is an intranet not being structured very well. All intranet managers should know how important it is to have a good information archictecture in place. However what the author suggests doing is to "focus on maintaining an organisational structure". This would seem to go against what most people believe is a better way to structure an intranet which is by task, but I'm not going to linger on this too much as there are 7 other mistakes!

Related to a lack of structure is an excessive amount of parent pages. Now this isn't something you would expect on intranets, wikis certainly, but intranets less so. However the author suggests it can be a big mistake and something that intranet administrators need to keep a close eye to ensure intranets don't get out of control.

Another related issue is hiding navigation tools, so this is about ensuring the ways by which users can navigate your intranet are consistent and obvious. So tools like related pages and breadcrumbs should help users find the content they're looking for and help them understand where they are in the intranet structure. A big issue which the author looks at is poor tagging, metadata and labelling, these are all essential to have in place especially to support search.

Of course it's all very well having a great structure and perfect search in place if the content that is being returned is old and really poor quality. This is a surefire way to ensure people stop using your intranet. For me these are the most important mistakes to avoid, although the article does list a few more mistakes which organisations can make.

Related to this article, is an article I read this morning by Rebecca Jackson. In this article Rebecca asks "How unique are your intranet problems?" and reports on an intranet engagement workshop she ran recently where the problems identified by intranet managers aren't unique and that there is probably somewhere out there who has the same problem, or who has a worse intranet! I think this is important to note when you are trying to address one of the problems listed by Rebecca, knowing that other intranet managers may be dealing with the same problem in my mind doesn't make it seem as big or difficult a problem.