What's in a name?

It seems like it has been a while since I posted anything about intranets, so I thought I'd write a post that
covered not one but two (almost) related topics. That topic is "names" and the reason I'm posting about names is because of two (unrelated) blog posts which I've read on this subject.

The first is a post on one of my favourite blogs the Intranetizen blog and is called "What does your intranet job title mean?" In it the authors ask the blog readers to complete a survey on what their job title is and their role and responsibilities. I would encourage you to complete this survey, but naturally only if you work with intranets or other internal communication tools! It will definitely be interesting to see what the range and scope of the job titles are when the Intranetizen team publish the survey results.

The other blog post is from the Intranet Connections blog and is called "Top 6 names for intranet software" in it the author looks at some of the other names organisations have given their intranets/intranet software. These range from; internal employee website to enterprise social network. I actually think some of the names listed in the blog posts aren't actually intranets, but I totally see the point the blog post is trying to make. That is that whilst intranets might have many different names they all do very similar things and irrespective of what you call it the aim of an intranet, enterprise social network or internal communication software will broadly be the same.

Dinosaur Deal 10k 2014

Yesterday I ran the Dinosaur Deal 10k, which you wont be surprised to learn took place in a very hot and windy Deal. This was the second time I had run this race, the first time was in 2010 when I was recovering from tearing the ligaments in my right foot, having fallen over on the final bend at the Darent Valley 10k.

There are also some other notable differences between this race and the last time that I ran it, they are in no particular order:

  • I'm 4 years older
  • I've completed two marathons since 2010
  • I've joined Gravesend Road Runners AC and was delighted to be wearing my club strip
  • I knew what the course was like, undulating but with a fast final 4K
  • Perhaps most importantly I wasn't injured
  • This was my first race wearing my Garmin Forerunner 110

So a bit about the course, before I tell you how I got on. This is described as an undulating course, starting near the Scout Hut on the sea front you head along the coast towards Dover before swinging inland after about 1.5K. The route then takes you through some quite pleasant residential areas before you hit the "difficult" part of the course from 3-6K. This is series of climbs of varying degrees of difficulty culminating in a short climb that sees you come back on yourself and down a hill to run the final 4K. The final 4K is a lovely stretch of running beside the seashore, although yesterday the wind was blowing directly into our faces for this part of the race, which wouldn't have helped our times. 

So how did I get on, well first of all I started far too fast and then suffered slightly during the tricky part of the course. I did however manage to make up some time and places in the final 4K and was delighted (although a bit disappointed at the same time) to clock 48:06. This was an improvement of 4 minutes on the last time I ran this race, which I'm very pleased with. This time saw me finish 162nd out of 442 runners. Overall a very well organised race and very pleasant route, although less inclines would be nice :)

I'll have to see if I can improve on this time at my next race the Faversham 10k, which I last ran in 2009 and clocked 46:10*

*Not sure I'll be beating this in September!

Creating a successful SharePoint intranet

Have you just decided that SharePoint is going to be your next intranet, but you're unsure where to start on the implementation process? Fear not as help is on hand in the shape of this excellent presentation from James Robertson.

In the presentation James looks at the approach organisations should take, not just when implementing a SharePoint, but any intranet. So this is an excellent resource for anyone just starting out on an intranet project.

One of the key points James makes and which resonates a lot with me is the following point:

  • The work isn’t over once the coding has been finished — launch and governance activities are equally important.

I think it's essential that this is well understood within organisations, so an intranet project is not just about developing a tool and then launching it. An intranet is an organic and developing resource and as such requires good governance to ensure it remains relevant to the org


 


Are you a digital bridge builder?

I enjoy reading posts by Gerry McGovern and his latest post called "From Intranet to Net-Work: the rise of the digital bridge builder" is an interesting look at the changing role of in intranet managers and those involved in the management of intranets.

In the blog post Gerry looks at the challenges organisations face in making information in silos available to users. Unsurprisingly having information contained in silos and separate repositories will seriously hinder how well individuals can collaborate within organisations. As Gerry says in his post:
The culture of silos will hurt all data and information. It will lead to duplication, confusion, inaccuracy, slowness, incomplete information. It will become a significant drain on resources as employees waste their time navigating through many systems with different interfaces.
Gerry than looks at how in the World Cup many teams had outstanding individuals, including Argentina who made it to the final, but only one country had a team and that country was Germany. This is similar to how organisations work in that many organisations will have teams that work well in isolation (silos) but ultimately need to work in a joined up manner to help the organisation work more effectively.

This means that intranet managers and those working in the digital sphere need to work hard at linking the silos of information together. Only when the different information silos are joined up will organisations be able to work effectively as a team. For intranet managers this also means building bridges between people and content (becoming a digital bridge builder).

This is most definitely a challenge for intranet managers and those working in the digital workplace, but one I'm sure we're all open to.

What is a social intranet and how can it help your business?

Looking for a good introduction to what a social intranet is and how it can help your employees/business? Then the short video below, which was published to the IT Portal website is a good starting point.

The video "stars" Lori Williams from Appiro whose company provides a social intranet solution for many organisations.

Is there a difference between a social intranet and an enterprise social network?

Jenni Wheeler over at the "Confessions of an internal communicatior" blog has written a thought provoking post called "Social Intranet or Enterprise Social Network? Is there a difference?"

In it Jenni ask whether we should separate all the different tools we use, intranets, enterprise social networks, wikis, forums etc, as they are all effectively just part of a single online channel. I definitely agree with this, especially in the context of the digital workplace where intranets are often regarded as the glue by which other tools are joined together.

What I especially like about Jenni's post is her description of the different levels of social interaction that users can undertake on the tools that are now available.

For me, a social intranet is different to an enterprise social network (ESN). For me, an enterprise social network is an online tool that is designed for collaboration. That is about communities and file sharing and creating a space for anyone to add news and information. Content can be liked and commented on and people are able to add their own status updates and more personal details to a profile.
For me this is a great way to describe the differences between these tools, but what do you think?

Are we seeing the death of news on intranet homepages?

News on the intranet homepage is something that most organisations and many individuals expect to see as a matter of course, but a recent post on the Intranet blog questions whether news will always be on the corporate intranet homepage.

In the blog post called "The destruction of home page news" the author looks at whether activity streams will replace intranet news content. The article quotes several organisations that have replaced news on their intranet homepages with content from Yammer. According to the article "social media activity streams via Yammer are driving users to the news"

The reasons behind this move seem on the face of it very logical, given that email and other ways of delivering news were designed just to deliver content, not as organisations are increasingly doing encouraging engagement and adoption. Yammer like many social tools encourages users to contribute and create their own content, in this respect it can significantly increase employee engagement.

Another logical reason why having activity streams on the homepage rather than more traditional news content is that conversations between individuals and within the organisation are key to good communication. Social media tools, including enterprise social networks like Yammer, present a great opportunity for organisations to put conversations at the forefront of their intranet/communication strategy.

Of course the article doesn't say that intranets will be be devoid of intranet news stories anytime soon. My feeling is that Yammer and other social media sources will be used to supplement rather than replace intranet news stories.