Social, to Knowledge Management's Rescue?

Two articles recently published on the CMS Wire website have caught my attention because they
mention both Social and Knowledge Management, two of my favourite subjects :-)

In the first article called "Social to Knowledge Management's Rescue" the author looks at how Knowledge Management has been brought back to life by Enterprise Social Networking (ESN's) tools and other social tools. For anyone involved with Knowledge Management you might be thinking that Knowledge Management is alive and kicking and doesn't need bringing back to life. However the author argues that KM initiatives fizzled out in the late 90's and early 2000's because the technologies available at the time could not facilitate the activities individuals within organisations wanted to undertake.

I think this is a fair point and I remember using some of the very early "Web 2.0" and social media tools and thinking that their used could be extended to assist with KM initiatives. The author then looks at how ESN's in particular have assisted KM initiatives since their launch in 2006/2007 and one particular problem which is around how ESN's are often seperate from other Knowledge Management Systems. As the author says in order for ESN's to be used more effectively to capture and share knowledge "social collaboration functionality needs to be embedded into business processes and the major business applications that support them"

The author then asks whether enterprise social collaboration platforms can help push KM? Fortunately he has an answer, however it depends on your definition of KM, From the article

I believe “social” has a very important part to play in information capture and information sharing. Social collaboration platforms democratize content creation and information sharing, in smaller “bite size” chunks
So there you have it, social tools have the potential to resurrect Knowledge Management...that is of course if you think it has died!

The next article is by the same author and is called "Social collaboration meditated Knowledge Management" In this article the author backs-up the argument in his previous article by mapping it to a popular KM model called "SECI" This is a model, which helps explain how Knowledge is created, capture and managed effectively by organisations. In the article the author looks at how social collaboration tools can be used to facilitate the capture of tacit and explicit knowledge.

I've not come across the SECI model before so some aspects of the article were a bit heavy going, but the author very clearly argues the case for social and collaborative tools having a big role in the creation, capture and management of both tacit and explicit knowledge. If you are interested in any of these topics then this article is well worth reading.

Intranet Resources - October 2015

I can't believe how quickly this year is passing us all by, I'll soon be putting up Christmas decorations
and then taking them down again, but before we all start thinking (even more) about Christmas, it's time for a round-up of some of the intranet resources I have seen recently.

The first is a review of the Intranet Now conference by Sam Marshall. Sadly I wasn't able to attend this conference as I was attending the Making Social Collaboration work conference in the same week. However from what I have read and heard the conference was a great success and this review certainly seems to support this. Although I do feel the same in relation to the quick talks, in that sometimes it can be hard to take in what someone is saying very quickly, which is why I prefer longer talks in order to understand and appreciate more of what the presenter is saying.

The next item is from the Thoughtfarmer blog and looks at how you could increase intranet adoption by using a scavenger hunt. The blog looks at a case study of an organisation in New York who encouraged their employees to explore their new intranet through a scavenger hunt. This seems like a very practical way of letting users explore a new intranet, especially if there is a prize or reward on offer for completing the scavenger hunt.

The 3rd blog post from October is a post called "Intranets in a digital workplace and cloud era" in it the author looks at how nowadays it is impossible to ignore the wider concepts of the Digital Workplace and solutions provided within the cloud. There are a number of reasons why cloud solutions in particular are so popular and the author outlines some of these reasons;

  • regular flow of new features and improvements
  • improved user experience developed through constant user testing
  • reduced costs for the maintenance of servers
  • connected environment that can be accessed anytime, anywhere and with any devices
  • After taking a close look at some of the benefits and of course issues with cloud solutions, the author takes a look at how intranets will fit into the broad concept of the Digital Workplace and asks the following question;
    should we, Intranet managers, size this opportunity to lead the development of our Digital Workplace? But do we have the right skills for doing this? 
    Last but by no means least we have a very interesting article from the Intranet Connections Blog which asks "Does the way you present content affect intranet usability?" The answer is of course it does and the author provides some tips and tricks on how to present intranet content effectively. This article is well worth a quick read.

    That's it for this month, when I write my next Intranet Resources we will all be thinking about Turkey and sprouts!

    Intranet screenshots & Insights from the leading edge of intranets

    Earlier this month I listened to a Step Two webinar called Intranet Screenshots & Insights from the leading edge of intranets.

    For anyone not familiar with Step Two they are an Australian company that help plan and design online solutions for organisations and their employees. Their focus is on delivering intranets, but they have a lot of experience with UX, different technologies, collaboration and the digital workplace. In addition to this Step Two organise and present the Intranet Innovation Awards. This was the focus of this webinar to some extent as we were treated to a deep-dive into Gold Award winner Robin Partington & Partners intranet.

    Before this deep-dive James Robertson outlined what the webinar would cover and there were 3 broad themes:

    1. How to deliver the digital workplace
    2. Intranets blurring inside and outside
    3. Design leading to success

    Sadly I didn't take a huge amount of notes during this webinar, but I did make some notes in relation to how to deliver the Digital Workplace. So an important point that James made was that any organisation thinking about implementing a Digital Workplace, really needs to think about the concept first and what is it that they're trying to do. Also whilst the Digital Workplace might be easy to define, the journey to a fully fledged Digital Workplace is actually very difficult. This is because there are 3 streams involved in any Digital Workplace journey:

    1. Technology stream
    2. Business stream
    3. Design stream

    Understanding the importance of each of this and how they all work together is crucial in ensuring organisations deliver an effective Digital Workplace. 

    Sadly that's all the notes I took from this webinar as there followed a deep-dive into the Robin Partington & Partners intranet as well as loads of screenshots from some of the other winners. I'm hoping that Step Two will make the recording or presentation available from the webinar, but until they do this is all I have :-(

    However James recently spoke at the Intranet Now conference in London and his presentation from this conference looks very similar to the one he delivered during this webinar, so I have embedded this below, for you all to enjoy!

    Making social collaboration work - MWD Advisors conference

    On Thursday the 15th of October I attended the Making Social Collaboration Work masterclass, MWD Advisors. Through the power of Twitter I was lucky enough to win a free place, so was looking forward to hearing from other practitioners on how they were implementing social technologies. This was the first event MWD Advisors had ever hosted and I have to say I was very impressed right from the start.

    Venue and Facilities

    The venue for the Making Social Collaboration Work masterclass was the Wallspace event space in Clerkenwell. Not only was it a convenient location, but the conference started with a free breakfast! What is there not to like about a conference that starts with a free breakfast, apart from my ever expanding waistline. After breakfast masterclass attendees moved down into what was called "The Den" but was essentially the basement, despite this it was a well lit and very welcoming space, with more free tea and coffee, sweets, biscuits, chocolate bars, cans of coke and even Irn Bru in the fridge! I think I was definitely distracted by the sweets!


    Back to the important stuff and the agenda. This was a mix of case studies and some interactive sessions, which are always good to keep attendees awake and engaged. First up was Angela Ashenden from MWD Advisors who provided an overview of the key drivers and some of the challenges facing organisations that are thinking about implementing social technologies. Below are some of my notes from this first session.

    Better collaboration = a better business

    • Better sharing of knowledge
    • Driving innovation
    • Connecting distributed teams
    • Building better relationships

    What does it mean to be collaborative?

    • Networked and non-hierarchical
    • Open, honest and trusting culture
    • An engaged and valued workforce

    How to get there!

    • Organisational support and leadership
    • Strategy and purpose
    • Technology alignment
    • Governance and community management
    • Adoption management

    Top 3 challenges

    • Getting senior level buy-in
    • Expanding adoption beyond the early adopters
    • Convincing the middle management layer to engage

    A key takeaway from this first session and something that Angela stressed was that social collaboration is about more than just a technology in other words building or implementing something and then expecting people to use it just isn't going to happen!

    The next session was delivered by Kim England of Pearson who talked about how they were using Jive to mobilise colleagues and drive change across Pearson. This was a really interesting look at their 5-year journey, which highlighted how important it is to engage with senior leaders to help drive adoption. My takeaways from this sessions were as follows:

    • Transformation within organisations can take time
    • You (or senior leaders) need to lead by example
    • Two way engagement is critical

    The next session was delivered by Sheila Parry who looked at how to build a business case for social collaboration. One of the first things that Sheila discussed was what the outcome was when people started working together in a more connected way, the following should all be positive results:

    • Reduced duplication of effort
    • Reduced time wasting
    • Improving difficult processes
    • Making isolated workers feel less isolated
    • Reducing silo thinking

    After a very pleasant lunch (curry) we hear from two more speakers about their collaborative efforts. The first of these was Virginia Henry who I have heard speak before. Virginia talked about how her organisation (UnLtd) was using Igloo to provide a collaborative workspace for her users. UnLtd were using Wikis a lot to facilitate collaboration including allowing users to post news content on to the homepage of the intranet! This looked like a truly social intranet, which had a significant role in the on-boarding of new joiners. The final speaker was Katherine Jones from Springer Nature, Katherine spoke about how Macmillan who have recently become part of Springer Nature were using Jive to create a collaboration hub to unify a merged company. This was a really interesting case study and according to Katherine they are having to do it all over again since Macmillan education became part of Springer Nature in May 2015. 

    Overall this was a very interesting day, full of some very practical advice from individuals who had already rolled out collaboration tools as well as some interesting discussion among the other attendees. For even more analysis of the event I would recommend Angela Ashenden's blog post on the MWD website. This post include sketch notes from the event, which I think are fantastic!

    The Digital Workplac​e: Can your Intranet do M​ore to Drive Engagement?​

    Are you?!
    Earlier this week I attended a Brightstarr event called The Digital Workplac​e: Can your Intranet do M​ore to Drive Engagement For anyone who hasn't heard of Brightstarr they are an award winning "digital design company" that works with Microsoft products to build intranets; usually using SharePoint on-premise and SharePoint online/Office 365, although they have recently started using their own product Unily to provide an intranet as a service to organisations.

    Taking place in the Barbican Centre the event started with an introductory session from Martyn Perks called "What the hell is the digital workplace". At the start of the session Martyn asked attendees to indicate using "Ready steady cook" style cards whether they knew what the Digital Workplace was. Surprisingly a significant number of individuals in the room were already aware of the Digital Workplace, but of course that didn't stop Martyn from finishing his presentation. At several times during his presentation Martyn referenced external sources, including significantly a reference to the Capita Employee Insight Report 2015 which provides insights into how employees think and as a result how organisations should develop their digital workplaces. Martyn's session concluded with a definition of the Digital Workplace, which I may have noted down incorrectly, but was something like "The Digital Workplace is about unifying how your business communicates and collaborates using a core set of tools". An intranet should of course play a major role in any organisations Digital Workplace, which is reassuring for intranet managers around the world.

    The next session was delivered by Anna Maslanka who showed how the different technologies Microsoft has made available to organisations, could be used to develop a digital workplace. It was very interesting to see the sheer number of tools that Microsoft has made available and the extent to which they are being used by organisations. However my favourite take-away from this session was the acknowledgement that the gap between what users are used to using outside of work and what they have to use whilst in work is huge and that teams working within organisations need to try and close this gap. This makes perfect sense to me as users within organisations expect to be able to use the same tools in work, that they use outside of work.

    The next session was a case study from Merlin Entertainments, which looked at their deployment of a new intranet. This was an interesting session for two reasons. First was that Merlin Entertainments focus seemed to be on making the intranet fun (which is a reflection of their vision and values) to the extent that they have a fun-meter on every page to indicate how much fun the content is. I'm not quite sure how this would work with something very dull! The intranet they had built did look really great and I'm sure it would be a pleasure to use, but I have to wonder about where all the boring but essential stuff would be published. The other interesting aspect of this presentation was that they had only designed the intranet for desktops. Now given that a large percentage of Merlin's staff are likely to be outside you would assume a mobile site would be essential, but apparently not. According to the Merlin representative this is a technical limitation of the technology they are using, which was a bit odd given that they were working with Brightstarr so it was presumably SharePoint or Unily, the latter is more likely in my mind.

    Following a short break the final session of the day was a panel session, which included Marc Wright from Simply Communicate, the Internal Communications Manager from the Marine Stewardship Council, the Communications Manager from Envigo and an Account executive from Microsoft. This was a lively session with some very interesting questions taken from the floor about how to get over the barriers to adoption, what tools the panelists saw as being key to the delivery of the digital workplace and lots more!

    If you are interested in learning more about the Digital Workplace and the technologies that support it then the slides from the seminar are available.

    Leprechauns and Donkeys - The Royal Parks 1/2 Marathon 2015

    On Sunday the 11th of October myself and two of my club-mates from Gravesend Road Runners ran the Royal Parks 1/2 Marathon. The last time I ran this half marathon was in 2010 when I stumbled round the course in a time of 1:57:58. I really enjoyed it despite a slow time for me and pledged to run it again in future.
    Finished and very happy!
    Fast forward 5 years and this time around I was confident I was going to beat my time from 2010 for 3 reasons. Firstly and mostly significantly was because I believe I am a much better runner than I was 5 years ago. Secondly I had had the benefit of undertaking some speed sessions so I knew I was running relatively quickly and finally because the route had changed because of the cycle superhighway works. The latter reason might seem small, but the route no longer took runners over the bridge at Westminster and as anybody knows, bridges go up and then down and then up again when you have to turn around and that counts as a hill in my mind!
    Before I get to the race report I think it's worth mentioning the hellishly early start for this event. I was up at 5.30am and in a taxi at 5.55 to get a train from Dartford to London Victoria at 6.38 with a number of other runners including one runner who thought they were running a marathon. I had a slight moment of panic at the though of having to run 26.2 miles not 13.1. I was also joined on the train by a significant number of Irish Rugby fans who were travelling to the Ireland vs France game in Cardiff. These fans included two who were dressed as Leprechauns, their banter certainly woke me from my slumber as the train inched its way towards London Victoria.
    At Victoria station I met up with one of my club-mates and we slowly made our way to Hyde Park where the race started. It was at this point we parted company as I went off to meet some of the team from the Brooke Animal Hospital who I was running for. After a quick photo opportunity (photos from the day are on the Brooke Facebook page) and good wishes I dropped my bag off and made my way to the Green start funnel.
    For anyone who hasn't run the Royal Parks 1/2 marathon before this is one of the biggest 1/2 marathons that takes place in London with approximately 16k runners taking part. As a result they have to have a phased start with the elite runners starting approximately 2 and 1/2 minutes before the rest of the field. As I was in the green funnel I crossed the start/finish line at about 9.05, which wasn't bad considering the number of runners both in front and behind me!
    The course itself is unsurprisingly chocked full of London landmarks from the 3 Royal Parks you run through to the Mall, Trafalgar Square, Aldwych and many many others. Unfortunately I was too busy trying to keep to my target pace to notice them all, but they were definitely there! After 5k I was just about on target for a 1.40 finish (which is what I was initially aiming for) but I needed a boost, which is why after 6 miles, having run around Aldwych and the Mall you re-enter the parks and the crowds really swell! After 10k I was still on target for a 1.40 finish and was looking forward to see Team Brooke at Mile 7 and Mile 10.
    It's hard to describe the feeling when you hear people cheering your name and encouraging you to run, but it's definitely an emotional experience and made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

    At mile 7 I spotted Team Brooke and went in for high fives all round, which was fantastic. Then things went a little bit wrong, whilst the course went down hill at this point I noticed that  Mile 9 - 10 was up-hill and my brain flipped out a bit, to the extent that I ran a 9 minute mile between 9 and 10. Fortunately I crossed the 10 mile mark in 1.16 which meant I was still on target for a 1.40 finish. From there it's just a Parkrun to the finish so I gave it all I had (probably) and crossed the line in 1:39:44. I was absolutely delighted with this time, which is only 40 seconds slower than my HM PB so a new PB should soon be on the cards!
    This is a really well organised event that takes in some of London's most iconic landmarks. If you get the chance to run it then I would definitely recommend you do so!
    As you will have read I ran for a charity and really enjoyed both raising money for them and being able to spend some time with them on the day, including having a post run massage!

    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.

    Intranet and other useful resources - May 2015

    This is another installment of my irregular column highlighting useful intranet and for the first time

    Nuggets..but not this kind!
    Knowledge Management resources.

    We start with a post written by Steven Bynghall called "The Bumpy Ride to Dialogue on Your Social Intranet" in the post Steve looks at how the introduction of social tools and features can lead to a level of "nervousness" amongst Senior Managers and especially individuals working in risk. However as Steve explains most Enterprise Social Networks (ESN's) self regulate, which should mean any awkward posts or conversations are avoided. However is there a case for having these conversations? You'll just have to read the full post to find out!

    Next up is a really interesting post from Mark Gould who asks "Where to start with law firm Knowledge development" In the post Mark provides a brief history of Knowledge Management in Law Firms and then looks at what those firms that aren't currently using Knowledge Management tools or techniques, a very interesting short post on this important subject.

    Finally we have a thought provoking post from the team at Intranetizen (so good to see these guys back publishing content). In this post Sharon O'Dea asks "When's it time to quit your intranet job?" Whilst it can be hard to think about quitting a job you enjoy and leaving colleagues you might have worked closely with. Occasionally there are circumstances where you might have to do so. For example "if you’re stuck in a company where as soon as an intranet’s launched, your bigwigs consider it ‘done’ and want to move to simple maintenance?"

    What are your options then? Well as Sharon explains you basically have two; Fight or Flight. As a previous intranetizen post looked at the first option Sharon focuses on option 2, there are some different options here, which I think is good news!

    So that's it for this month a few golden nuggets that stood out for me!

    What's new for intranets in SharePoint 2016?

    In what could be considered a follow up* to the SharePoint 2016 webinar I wrote about recently Sam Marshall has written an interesting blog post called SharePoint 2016 - what's new for intranets"

    In the post Sam looks more closely at what SharePoint 2016 offers those individuals who manage intranets. This is definitely one of those good news/not so good news posts and I always like to start with good news!

    The good news

    • There will be a cleaner, clearer interface for content authoring
    • Search (Delve) working for both cloud and on-premises content
    • Enhancements to the video portal introduced on Office 365 recently, such as embedding
    • A new knowledge portal codenamed ‘Infopedia

    The not so good news

    The following functionality still doesn't appear to be part of the SharePoint roadmap:

    • No clear demonstration that sites will be fully mobile and touch friendly
    • No clear timeline on the full integration of Yammer within SharePoint
    • No mention of activity streams
    • Still no sign of a news centre
    • Analytics have got worse

    So a bit of a mixed bag overall! As to whether organisations should be rushing to move to SharePoint 2016, in his post Sam suggests there is plenty of life left in SharePoint 2013, so there is no pointing in rushing to use SharePoint 2016.

    *The SharePoint 2016 webinar actually followed this blog post.

    SharePoint 2016 webinar

    What is there to look forward to in the next version of SharePoint? That's the question looked at in an Sam Marshall of Clearbox Consulting and Michael Pisarek of Dynamic Owl and Bonzai intranet.
    excellent webinar that was run by

    If you're interested in watching/listening to the webinar you can do so by click on this link, alternatively you can read my summary of the webinar below.

    Where is Microsoft going in the intranet/digital workplace?

    What was clear from what Michael was saying is that the Cloud version of SharePoint or a Hybrid version of SharePoint is definitely the future. So if you're not already using the cloud you probably
    will be soon.

    However what Microsoft also seem to be doing is creating "experiences" so the future is less about SharePoint and more about "experiences" Now you might be wondering what an experience is, according to Michael an experience is Microsoft's way of presenting multiple tool sets to users but in a seamless way. So instead of a user thinking I'm using SharePoint or Yammer, they will just be using the tool. Office 365 and these experiences are according to Michael, Microsoft's version of the Digital Workplace.

    Office Graph & Delve

    One of the most exciting announcements by Microsoft recently has been the introduction of Office Graph and Delve into Office 365. For anyone not familiar with Delve the article "SharePoint Online: An introduction to Office Delve" is a good introduction.

    Michael then looked in some detail at what problem Office Graph/Delve is trying to solve, typically it will aim to answer the following questions:

    1. What information should I know?
    2. Why does search suck?
    3. What are other people doing?

    So now that it's clear what problem Office Graph and Delve are trying to fix, how does it do it? This is where it began to get really interesting as Michael explained how Office Graph & Delve work together. 

    In a non-technical nutshell Content & Signals from Office 365 populate the Office Graph/, which then uses machine learning to create intelligence experiences within Delve. To put this another way Delve looks at what you're doing on Office 365 and tries to show content that is relevant. This is very interesting, but I get the feeling it will be one of those pieces of functionality that individuals will either love or hate, especially as it uses cards, which seem to be very popular within Microsoft products at the moment.

    In addition to this functional organisations can also plug their own items into Delve, thereby extending the Office Graph & Delve experience.

    Other interesting stuff :-)

    In the final part of the webinar Michael looked at some of the other stuff that Microsoft had talked about at the Ignite Conference in May, these were:

    Video Portal

    This definitely looks interesting as it is being designed to be responsive and there will eventually be a native app for iOS and Android.


    Another interesting development by Microsoft is the addition of what are being called "microsites". These are simple websites, which are easy to create, but can display related documents using Office Graph & Delve. Michael explained that these could be a way to create Knowledge Bases. Michael also commented that Microsoft appear to be making it easier to create content as these sites don't use the SharePoint ribbon to create content.


    The next new experience Michael talked about was Infopedia, which are also referred to as the KM Portal. These Portals use the Office Graph to display content. If you're interested in learning more about Infopedia/the KM Portal then the following link will be of interest.

    The new people experience in Delve

    Michael briefly explained the new people experience in Office 365, which will enable users to find other people through content. In addition to this the new people experience also provides a new blogging engine, which is a very different editing experience compared to the rest of SharePoint.

    Office 365 Groups

    The final topic discussed was Office 365 groups and how these are a new version of SharePoint team sites. Office 365 groups will enable users to;

    • Save files (these are saved in OneDrive not within SharePoint)
    • Use One Note for team notes
    • Build a landing page that includes Outlook Calendars and other Outlook functionality

    So some very interesting and quite exciting features coming in the new version of SharePoint!

    Harvel 5 2015

    The medal which doubles as a bottle opener
    A late race report here on the fantastic Harvel 5 race, which took place on the 6th of June. I last ran this race way back in 2009, where I clocked a very respectable 36:56, but I was hoping for better this time around. There are
    several things about this race which make it a fantastic Saturday afternoon out.

    You might have noticed the first of these already, which is that the race takes place on a Saturday and in the afternoon, 2pm to be precise. It's actually quite hard to plan for a 2pm race as you're likely to have eaten breakfast a while ago and you don't want to eat too much for lunch, otherwise you might start suffering whilst on the course.

    As it was I had a couple of bananas and a slice of toast and deemed that sufficient to get me round the course. The day itself was beautiful, with dare I say it almost perfect running conditions aka a light breeze and sunny, but not too hot. Because this is a local race several members of my running club Gravesend Road Runners (GRR) were also running it, so there was some car sharing and lifts to get to the start. I always enjoy sharing a car to a race because it usually means that there is plenty of banter before the race starts, which I think helps to settle any nerves.

    Back to the race itself and the other elements of this race which make it great, in no particular order, these are:

    • The location - Harvel/Vigo/Trosley Park are very nice parts of the Kent Countryside
    • The course, which whilst it starts uphill is definitely PB potential
    • The country fair/festival feel of the event
    • The decorated porta-loos
    • The interesting urinals for the men
    • The great medal
    • The downhill finish (go hard or go home)
    • The free photos!
    • The Beer & Pimms tent at the finish

    So on to the race, after the mass warm-up, which I didn't take part in, we all gathered at the start line, which had been broken up into potential finish times. I slotted myself into the 35 - 40 minute slot and awaited the starters gun (a shotgun literally). The start is a little bit up and down for at least the first mile, which can be a bit of a shock to the system, but I was running well and happy to see I was running  at 7:20 minute mile pace.

    After the 1st mile/mile and a half the course heads into Trosley Park for a few miles, this is a nice part of the course as it's shady and there are some downhill parts, although some puddles and the rutted track meant it was important to keep your concentration. The only significant incline on the course is at the end of this section at about 4 miles. This is a 250 metre incline, where I struggled and was passed by a few people including one of my clubmates, but fair play to them, they owned that incline whilst I huffed and puffed up it. Then it's downhill all the way to the finish and I pushed as hard as I can to get to the finish line in 35:53 and a new 5 mile PB by more than a minute :-)

    Overall very happy and I'll definitely be signing up for this event as soon as is opens next year!

    Race Splits

    Mile 1 7:19
    Mile 2 7:22
    Mile 3 7:19
    Mile 4 7:27
    Mile 5 6:37

    Intranetters meeting - May 2015

    Intranetters...not intraknitters!
    Last month I was lucky enough to bag a ticket to attend the latest Intranetters meetings. Intranettters meeting are informal gatherings of intranet managers and other information professionals, during which the group are usually given a tour of a couple of intranets. Or in the case of this meeting a tour of an intranet and then a look at how an intranet was built from a design agency's perspective.

    I've written about Intranetters a number of times in the past, but my most recent blog post was in March 2015, when James Robertson talked about "How design thinking is transforming intranets" In this edition of the Intranetters we were treated to a tour of the new Sovereign Housing Association intranet.

    The first thing I will say that having briefly looked at their website, it looks very similar to their intranet. This is no doubt deliberate and they're probably build on the same application (SharePoint). Anyway back to the intranet tour and their journey.

    So their new intranet was built using SharePoint Online/Office 365. I don't believe it was a hybrid e.g. a combination of SharePoint on-premise and in the cloud, but I could be wrong. Significantly the intranet had been designed for "mobile first" and very much with mobile users in mind. This is because a lot of their workforce don't sit at desk, but still require access to the intranet, so have been given phablets. This is the first time I had heard this term being used, apparently they are a combination of phones and tablets, so it makes sense that they are being used by mobile workers.

    In addition to designing the intranet for a mobile audience first, they were also using agile development techniques to build the intranet. This meant that the intranet was built in small increments and that the project team could continue development whilst parts of the intranet were being built.

    So what functionality did the intranet contain? Well there were definitely some interesting features on the homepage and within the search. On the homepage they had a MyAlerts placeholder as well as a MyQuicklinks placeholder. I'm not a fan of Quicklinks, given that someone could just use internet favourites instead. The intranet homepage also incorporates feeds from Yammer, which are being used as noticeboards and places where individuals can have conversations about specific topics.

    Other interesting features they had built into the intranet, included the following:

    • The ability for individuals to edit their own Office 365 profiles
    • The addition of an extra vertical within search called FAQ's (again I'm not sure about this as most FAQ's tend not to be FAQ's but questions managers think people will ask!)
    • Our Library - a single place to find policies and procedures, which could be filtered by business area and document type
    • Manager portal - A site which includes everything that a manager might need access to

    Overall I was quite impressed with their intranet, especially as they had tried to as much as possible out of the box, with minimal customisation and it looks like with only a few relatively basic page templates.

    However perhaps the most interesting quotes came at the end of the presentation, when the intranet manager said the following:

    "We were trying to deliver a good user experience despite SharePoint" and "It was more work trying to deliver using Office 365"

    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.

    Gravesend Floodlit Series 2015

    My favourite number...ermm

    Earlier tonight I took part in the final race in the Gravesend Floodlit Series. This is a series of 10k races, which take place at the Gravesend Cyclopark, this is a fantastic facility designed to facilitate both cycling and running around a 2.5km track, which used to be part of the old A2 road before it was widened.

    I had previously run the 5th race in this series and had finished the 10k race in a respectable time of 48:17. I had entered the 6th race in this series which was due to be held in March, but unfortunately I was unwell, so missed out on trying to beat this time.

    So on to the 7th and final race in this series and with the clocks going forward it meant that we were going to be running in daylight rather than darkness. As a result I had high hopes of beating my time of 48:17 by at least a minute, if not more than that. As it turns out I did much better than this and came close to running sub 45 minutes, which is a big benchmark for me! Here are my mile splits for the 10k race:

    • Mile 1 - 7:15
    • Mile 2 - 7:17
    • Mile 3 - 7:32
    • Mile 4 - 7:19
    • Mile 5 - 7:18
    • Mile 6 - 7:29
    I'm not quite sure what happened during Mile 3, but it probably cost me a sub 45 minute 10k. So my finishing time for the 10k was 45:03, which I was absolutely delighted with. I cant remember the last time I ran close to 45 minutes for 10k and I've only ever run 10k sub 45 minutes twice and they were both a long time ago, so there is definitely the potential for me to do so, which makes me very happy!

     Bring on the summer and even faster times!

    Intranet resources - March 2015

    I thought it was about time I did another round-up of articles I've seen about intranets and other tools that interest me. I last did a round-up of intranet resources in  January and it proved popular so I'm happy to do it again.

    So what did March bring us in the intranet sphere, well CMSWire seems to have run a special series on intranets v.s. enterprise social networks, publishing a series of articles which have looked at how these two tools can work together...or not.

    The first of these is James Dellow's article called "Where intranets and Enterprise Social Networks Fit in your Business" James asks if an ESN can replace an intranet as James says you might be surprised by his answer.

    The next article in this series is Oscar Berg's excellent article called "Are we asking the right questions about the digital workplace?" In this article Oscar suggest quite rightly that instead of asking people what tool they would like to use, or whether we should be replacing an intranet with an ESN and vice versa, we should be asking "what do people need to do to get work done". Oscar suggests we need to stop seeing IT systems as boxes into which we stuff as many features as possible. Instead we should view IT systems as mini-ecosystems which we can provide to users in a way that suits them. This is an excellent article, which I recommend anyone with any interest in the digital workplace, intranets and ESN's reads.

    An article which might on the face of it sound like it wont be a very inspiring read for intranet managers is "Endangered species: The Corporate intranet" in which the author looks at some of the ways in which intranets are used and their future in the face of the many other service organisations now have available to them.

    The last article produced by CMSWire as part of this series is Steve Bynghall's article called "Beware Red Herrings: Intranet vs ESN is a sham"In this article Steve looks at the crossover between intranets and enterprise social networks and asks what role these two tools have to play in today's organisations.

    Other articles in this CMSWire series include "Intranets or ESN? Why not both" and "Are ESN's just intranets in new clothing"

    Moving away from the CMSWire series the J Boye website published an articles at the beginning of March called "Want a social intranet have a plan" this excellent article looks at some of the steps organisations need to take if they're thinking about implementing a social intranet. This includes a community maturity model which outlines the processes and stages involved in developing a "networked organisation"

    Some really excellent resources this month, especially if you're currently managing an intranet and an ESN.