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