Interaction Intranet Conference 2013

At the end of last month I was lucky enough to attend two fantastic conferences in the same week. The first of this was the Social Media in Large Enterprises (SMILE) Conference, which I'll write another blog post on. The second conference was Interaction Intranet Conference, which took place at 200 Aldersgate Street.

This is the 3rd year I've attended this conference, having previously attended in 2012, and 2011. The quality of this conference always impresses me and it seems to be getting bigger and bigger, with more than 250 intranet professionals attending this year, which made a change of venue again this year.

The conference is a veritable smorgasbord of the biggest and brightest talent in the intranet marketplace, including, Michael Sampson, James Robertson, Rebecca Richmond, Martin White, The team from Intranetizen, Sam Marshall and many many more!

The first session of the day was an excellent presentation from Michael Sampson on Collaboration on the intranet. During the session Michael looked at some of the issues organisations face when thinking about how they're going to encourage collaboration and some of the ways in which intranets and other tools are facilitating collaboration. It was definitely interesting to hear about the many tools that are available to organisations, which can be an issue in itself, and the approaches that some organisations have taken.

Michael also talked passionately about what adoption requires and what success ultimately means. So successful adoption of a collaborative tool will need at least some of the following:

  • Executive sponsorship
  • Embedded champions
  • Real life scenarios (rather then personas)
  • User groups
  • One to one coaching
  • Training

In terms of success, ultimately it will mean the following:
  • Cultural alignment
  • Information on what is happening
  • What some of the scenarios for engagement are
  • Making it "real" for people

The next presentation was from Genevieve Potter of Bauer Media. Genevieve explained how she had managed the rollout of a new intranet in her session called "The intranet survival guide" there were some useful tips in this presentation from Genevieve including a slightly contentious incentive to give content editors extra days holiday if they created a certain amount of content. This was widely discussed both during and after her presentation. Right at the end of her presentation Genevieve list her 5 top tips, which were:

  • Find the magic bullets
  • Planning v execution - it's important to spend longer on the finer detail
  • Find out what makes your team tick - so that they undertake what you've asked them to do
  • Great design will always pay back
  • Make your intranet impossible to ignore - make it open when an individual logs on

The conference then split into 3 streams at which point I chose stream two, which included the following presentations; Rebecca Richmond talking about the shift from engagement to empowerment. James Robertson, who I'm a big fan of then talked about what makes a successful intranet team. James gave his five top tips for intranet managers on how to deliver a great intranet, they were:

  1.  Always have a to-do-list. Intranets have to continually evolve and develop, so you should always have a list of things you're going to be doing, now, in the next 6 months and beyond this. This means you can say to management > this is what we have planned.
  2. Spend more time with the people that count. This was an interesting point made by James and one that I'll definitely be taking forward. In essence James was making the point that you cant deliver effective solutions for staff you haven't met. You have to get out there, meet people and understand the reality of things on the ground.
  3. Give yourself time to succeed. This was another interesting point with James saying that an intranet managers time should be split as follows: 40% of the time developing new stuff, 40% of the time running the intranet and 30% of the time developing relationships.
  4. Do work that makes you a hero! Again another interesting point with James saying that we should forget about all the stuff that happens in the background. Intranet managers need to be front and centre at all time and do nothing that doesn't give you more credibility!
  5. The final point was to celebrate success. The intranet is a marathon not a sprint, so if you get the opportunity to should about something successful then you should do so.

After lunch the sessions continued apace, with two huge names from the intranet, collaborative world. The first of these speakers was Andrew Wright from the Worldwide Intranet Challenge. Andrew took us through the results of his latest survey of intranets. There were some very interesting results in this survey and it's worth reviewing these on the interact intranet blog.

The second speaker after lunch was Luis Suarez, Luis spoke passionately about the work he has been doing at IBM on their intranet and collaborative solutions, as well as the workplace of the future. Luis's presentation is available on the interact intranet blog and I would encourage you to view it as it's excellent. Sadly I then had to leave what was yet again another excellent day of learning about existing and future intranets.

If you want to read a more detailed summary of the second day of this conference then there is more detailed blog post available on the Interact Intranet blog, including presentations from some of the speakers.