Intranet resources - September 2015

Well this year is whizzing along very rapidly, I actually saw Christmas Cards in a shop last night (it's September shops seriously!) anyway back to the point of this post, which is to highlight some intranet articles I have read in the last month.
I have been a bit sporadic publishing these updates, but if you wanted to have a look back at some the resources I have recommended then my January and July posts are available. This month there are a couple of resources I would recommend all intranet managers and anyone who has an interested in intranets takes a look at.

The first of these is "Applying your corporate brand guidelines to your intranet design" in the article Steve Bynghall looks at some of the challenges associate with applying brand guidelines that might have been designed for websites and other online products to intranets. From the blog post:

There are three principal problems trying to apply website design guidelines to intranets. These are:
  • The audience for websites and intranets tend to be different with different needs
  • The guidelines have usually been made in complete isolation to the technical capabilities and constraints of the intranet platform
  • The guidelines have also been made in total isolation to the wider set of applications which are accessed or experienced through the intranet or make up the wider ‘digital workplace’
At worst you may have design guidelines which:
  • Cannot be applied or cannot be consistently applied because of technical limitations
  • Are out of sync with how you want to communicate with your users
  • Create a fragmented user experience jumping from a branded part of the site to a non-branded application
So what's an intranet manager supposed to do? Well fortunately Steve does offer some advice on what intranet teams can do to manage this process, suggesting that any decisions about branding should reflect an organisations strategy and to take a pragmatic view based on both the technical limitations of the intranet and the minimum/maximum branding that is acceptable. As always this is an excellent post by Steve Bynghall and is one of many excellent articles that have been published to the Two Hives blog.

The next and as it happens final article for this month is an article by Sam Marshall called "IT vs Communications: Who drives your intranet" This article has garnered a lot of interest on Twitter because it takes a hard look at who sets the agenda for your intranet. This article piqued my interest because I don't work in IT or Communications (although I did used to work in Communications) but work in a Central Knowledge Management team. I believe Knowledge Management teams are ideally placed to drive intranets and digital workplaces forward because they are used to talking to IT and also normally work very closely with a significant number of stakeholders include Internal Communications teams. That's my opinion, I'd love to know what yours is?

Interaction intranet conference 2015

On the 17th of September I was fortunate to be able to book a place at the Interaction intranet conference, which is organised by Interact intranet.  I've attended this conference for the last few years and have written about how excellent it is a number of times. You can read my reviews of the 2012 and 2013 conferences if you want to read more about the topics the conference covers.

Back to this years conference and a big difference between this years and last years conference was that last year I was an interact customer. I am of course now working in a different organisation that doesn't use interact, but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of value from me attending, Day 2 in particular tends to be vendor neutral with individuals from across different sectors talking about intranets.

The conference started with a talk from Richard Millington of Feverbee Richard spoke with authority about how individuals and organisations could encourage individuals to join and use social communities. There were a lot of takeaways from this talk, but my highlights were as follows:

  1. You need to make people feel like insiders
  2. You need to "amplify" individuals influence and to highlight individuals great contributions
  3. Need to show an interest in new members and ask about their expertise and experience
  4. People need to understand the history of a community and there needs to be a share history amongst community members

Those were just some of the takeways from Richard's talk. If you are interested in reading more about Richard's work then there are some useful resources on the Feverbee website. The next presentation was from Sam Marshall of Clearbox Consulting, who was talking about the Digital Workplace roadmap.

I've heard Sam talk a number of times about the Digital Workplace and his talks are excellent. In this particular talk Sam walked the conference attendees through the Digital Workplace Roadmap. This was an excellent presentation and I think all attendees enjoyed the videos of Disclosure and Jurassic Park.

These sessions were followed by sessions from Breast Cancer Now and CIPD, which whilst they were interesting I didn't take many notes of. These two presentations and the other presentations from the conference are available on the Interact slideshare homepage.

After lunch the conference split into three streams and I chose to listen to Elizabeth Marsh from the Digital Workplace group talking about "30+ lessons from 12 leading intranet homepages". This was a whistle-stop tour of 12 leading homepages as shown at the recent Digital Workplace 24 event. This presentation is well worth reviewing if you are looking at re-designing your intranet homepage and are looking for inspiration!

Interaction 2015: DWG - 30+ lessons from 12 leading intranet homepages from Interact

The final presentation I listened to was Jon Olson from Hogan Lovells talking about how they "Need a new intranet" and their intranet roadmap. This was a very interesting presentation, which I'm sure a lot of intranet managers will be able to relate to, especially around how an existing intranet often has to be maintained whilst a new intranet is being developed. Jon also have five takeways related to intranet roadmaps, which are well worth repeating here, they are:

  1. Don't (never) stop planning
  2. Don't be afraid to break up a project or intranet
  3. Communicate regularly with your business
  4. Clearly identify the decision makers
  5. Limit the number of responses to any RFP

I have embedded Jon's presentation below for you all to enjoy:

Interaction 2015: Hogan Lovells - We need a new intranet! from Interact

This was another excellent conference from interact and based on this years presentations and themes I will definitely be attending next year.

The agony and the ecstasy - Mount Ephraim 10k

Race bling!
Well time certainly flies when you are having fun and given how long it has been since I last posted Mount Ephraim 10k, which took place on the 23rd of August.

that would definitely seem to be the case. So to break the cycle of not publishing anything to this blog a short report here on the

First a bit about Mount Ephraim first, this is a beautiful location near Faversham, which we have previously visited and enjoyed, not just for the beautiful gardens and Arboretum, but also for the house where If I recall (it was a long time ago) we enjoyed some delicious cakes. If you are looking for something to do in Kent for a few hours then Mount Ephraim House and Gardens is definitely worth a visit. The gardens are best enjoyed in Spring and Summer, so you have some time to wait until you can visit unfortunately.

Anyway back to the race! Having visited Mount Ephraim previously I knew that the course wasn't going to be flat. I think the Mount in the name gives it away. However I was very unprepared for the "undulating" nature of the course that awaited me! Having found a nice spot for the girls to sit and watch the race I proceeded to the start line. This was a slightly odd start as we did a loop around a cricket pitch before heading out of Mount Ephraim downhill (the first downhill for a while) before turning right and up the first of many long hills! Fortunately there were some flat parts and I was running what I thought was a decent pace until I got to the base of the hill at 3.5 miles, which just went on and on and on and on and on and just when you thought it was going to end it went on a bit more until we reached 5 miles!

This hill was so steep that there were signs warning drivers to look out for rockfalls, we literally were running on the side of a mountain! There was also one slightly dangerous part of the course where the road had completely given way, perhaps because of rain, or perhaps because it was a a precipice with a sheer drop down into a valley.

Before after photos!
Fortunately I negotiated this hazard and from this point the course dropped down back towards Mount Ephraim so I was able to pick up some speed and in fact it was at this point that I ran my quickest mile of 6:53. Unfortunately I couldn't quite catch someone I had been following for a while, but I did pass someone in the last 200 yards which is always a good feeling, although I'm sure they wouldn't have been too happy about it!

Crossing the line with my family cheering me on is always a great sight and I finished (exhausted) in a time of 48:21. I was quite pleased with that given the nature of the course. My splits are below, as you can see that hill between mile 3.5 and 5 really killed my pace. Having said that I would definitely run this race again!

1 mi 7:55 -56
2 mi 7:45 0
3 mi 7:38 -41
4 mi 8:40 165
5 mi 8:26 83
6 mi 6:53 -170
7 mi 7:21 12

Round and round we go...Gravesend Cyclopark 10k

It has been a while since I have posted a blog, so for those of you interested in my running a report here on the Gravesend Cyclopark 10k which I ran on the 7th of August. This event is organised by Nice Work on behalf of Gravesend Road Runners, which is the running club I run with.

I've run the 10k Cyclopark course a couple of times and whilst it is not flat you know what to expect when you are running around a course 4 times. The last time I had run 10k here was as part of Gravesend Floodlit 10k series and I had posted a time of just over 45:08. Unfortunately there was a big difference between this run and that run - THE HEAT!

It had been a particularly hot today, which meant that is was a very muggy evening and by the end of 10k I was absolutely shattered. I am also made the schoolboy error of starting off way too fast and suffering for it later. These were my splits for this race:

  • Mile 1 - 7:03 (way too fast)
  • Mile 2 - 7:12
  • Mile 3 - 7:45
  • Mile 4 - 7:23
  • Mile 5 - 7:29
  • Mile 6 - 7:47
  • Mile 7 - 6:29

I was definitely suffering during the last mile, so was delighted to cross the line in a time of 45:38, only 30 seconds slower than my time in April and as first male Gravesend Road Runner. Gravesend Road Runners also won a team prize, which was a nice surprise. If you have the opportunity to run any of the races at the Cyclopark then I would recommend it, especially the Floodlit series of races, which run from October to April as these are great if you are working on your speed.

Changing the intranets conversation

Changing of the guard
An article on the CMS Wire website that has garnered much attention from the intranet community on Twitter and other sites is an article called "Changing the Intranets Conversation"

In the article, the author begins by looking at why modern intranets have so much baggage. From the introduction to the article:

Here’s the crux: We’re overwhelmed, confused and disillusioned by this elusive “intranet” concept. Countless writers have written about intranets for far too long to go back now. So how can we change the conversation? 
Gartner’s term “Digital Workplace” is doing just that: changing the words we use to talk about intranets, even while the concept is as old as the “paperless office.” “Digital Workplace” is Gartner’s shorthand for the many pieces of technology your teams use to work together harmoniously
The author then looks at how organisations can take on the challenge of making their intranets and the tools that they provide their users both more collaborative and more like a digital workplace. The author provides several pieces of advice for organisations in this position.

The first is to establish an open dialogue with your users, this means providing them with the tools and applications that they can use to share their views and opinions. The next tip is to think carefully about whether you should build or buy a solution for providing an intranet to your users. There are definitely benefits to both approaches, but ultimately it will depend on the requirements of the organisation.

This is a thought provoking article, which if you are an intranet manager is definitely worth reading.

Running a virtual race...or two...

POW Virtual Runner 10k medal
For those of you who following my running on Runkeeper or Strava (probably not many) you may have noticed that I've been running a few "virtual" races recently.

These aren't races where you sit on your sofa with a virtual reality headset on and pretend to run, but are in fact races where you receive a medal but you don't attend an actual race. To prove you have run the required distance you can choose to send either a screenshot of the running app you use or of your running watch.

I love the idea of Virtual races opening up races to those individuals who might not be able to attend a race or might not want to. It's definitely a great way to obtain some race medals without having to travel to far from home and being able to do it on your own terms. Some of the Virtual races are also organised so that a percentage of the race entry goes to a charity.

There are two virtual race websites that I have tried out this year. The first of these was Virtual Runner which is the second result if you search for Virtual Running. This is one of the sites that gives a percentage of the entry fee to charities. Charities include Bowel Cancer UK, Ellie's Fund and ABF The Soldiers Charity. This is a great way for individuals to raise money for these charities, without having to try and reach a fundraising target.

SRC (Virtual Running) 5k medal
The other virtual race website I have used is POW Virtual Running this site doesn't donate a percentage of the race fee to charity at the moment. However their September race will be the first when they partner with a charity (MIND) to offer participants the chance to raise money for a very worthy charity.

The final website that I am looking at is the Virtual Running UK website. They offer some free races, with the option to take part in bonus races to get hold of some medals. I hope to take part in their August 5 mile race to earn a very nice looking medal.

Overall I think Virtual Races are a great way to get hold of some medals and if you really want to take it seriously you can do so and push yourself to achieve your best time over the chosen distance.

Intranet resources - June 2015

This is becoming something of a habit now, which is probably a good thing. This month I have found 5 articles on intranets which I found particularly intranet. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

If you're looking for a good introduction to Office 365 groups then you need look no further then an article con the CMS Wire website called "What are Office 365 groups" the reason for the blog post as explained in the introduction is because of the confusion Microsoft have caused with the introduction of these groups. The article looks at when Office 365 groups might be used and the functionality available within them.

Not one, but two blog posts this month on how to use video on your intranet. Both the articles have been published to the JBoye website and are well worth reviewing if you're thinking about using video on your intranet. The first article is called "Intranet video tips & tricks" and pulls together a list of useful resources in relation to videos. The second article is called "How to use video on your intranet" because of course there are plenty of ways to get video wrong!

To finish up this month we have two excellent articles from the team at Intranetizen. The first is an article called "Should you move your intranet into the cloud" although for some intranet managers, it seems to be case of being dragged into the cloud!

The second article from the intranetizen team this month is something that I think will be very useful for a huge number of intranet managers. This is an article called "Top tips for intranet demos" in which Sharon O'Dea looks at the essential elements of an intranet demonstration. There are definitely some important takeaways in this article, but for me the one that really stood out was to "think" before you do anything.