Two from Step Two!

Two excellent posts here from the team at Step Two Designs, from their blog "Column Two" The first "How is a digital workplace team different from an intranet team?" looks at how with the increased use of new technologies within organisations what was traditionally called an intranet team is now shifting towards being called a digital workplace team.

Whilst you might think the tools could be managed in the same way there are some differences in the technologies which mean organisations may need to rethink who manages their digital strategy.

The post begins by looking at the composition and roles of intranet and digital workplace teams. You wont be surprised to learn that the main role of an intranet team is to manage the intranet. This will usually consist of:

  • "A strong skill set relating to content publishing and management.
  • A responsibility for corporate news (particularly when the intranet team sits within internal comms).
  • Involvement in collaboration and social tools
  • Very limited focus on projects, business solutions, and technology in general"

Whilst there are some similarities between intranet and digital teams, they're also very different as they're trying to achieve different things.

To start with the digital workplace is the world of “intranet plus” so that might be“intranet plus collaboration” or “intranet plus mobile”, “intranet plus BI”. This is a much larger scope and vision, beyond just a traditional content-centric intranet.

As a result digital workplace teams will need a different set of skills:

  • "Very strong skills in projects and business solutions, including full-time BAs and project managers
  • Sufficient levels of tech savvy to help guide technology projects, with a very close working relationship with IT project teams and the CIO
  • A “centre of excellence” for UX
  • Owner of the intranet and collaboration platforms"

 So some quite significant differences for existing intranet managers and for organisations that are looking to develop their digital workplaces. The second post from the Step Two blog is called "SharePoint best practice 7/25: what roles in a SharePoint intranet dream team?" In the post James Robertson looks at a SharePoint dream team. When I first saw the list of potential team members I was struck by how many they are, that's certainly something to bear in mind if you're thinking about implementing SharePoint.

As James says in the post "For the most successful results from your implementation you will need to ensure that the various roles detailed in the diagram above are covered to some degree" James also talks about two vital but sometimes undervalued roles, they are; The Project Manager and Content Champions.

Whilst the Project Manager could be played in some part by an existing intranet manager, the content champion roles are harder to fill but perhaps even more important. "Involving content champions is an opportunity to engage with different parts of the business and receive invaluable feedback. Having an effective dialogue with these individuals will help to create a group who continue to support the intranet after the project has launched, and will champion it inside their own business division"

These are excellent posts from the Step Two blog, which if you haven't already read I would encourage you to do.