25 September 2007

Intranets 07

Last week I was fortunate to attend Intranets 07 in Sydney, run by Key Forums.

Being new to intranet management (not new to using and updating a departmental intranet), I found this event very informative. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to find out how other types of industries manage their intranets.

Lucy Hoffman from Te Papa Tongarewa, our chairperson, said that a few years back the focus of such a conference would have been very technical, looking at intranet solutions. This event was much more focused on managing the life cycle of intranets, the people factors and marketing.

Presenters from National Australia Bank, Medicare, Customs, Heinz, Telstra and Thiess shared their experiences on building and managing intranets.

A few jottings:

  • When an intranet is based on organisational structure - Silos of information not used outside of those offices/depts - content creators focused on the information they want to "sell" rather than on what other staff may need/want to "consume". And what happens when offices/depts are closed down or merged? Content is orphaned or smooshed together.

  • What is the organisation's Enterprise Content Management strategy - does the intranet objectives support the overall ECM?

  • Shopping Mall used as a good analogy for Intranet - Central Management is responsible for overall guidelines as to what is appropriate to be sold in the Mall, but individual shopkeepers responsible for the specific goods they sell. Central Management = Intranet Governance, Shopkeepers = Offices and Depts.

  • Ongoing forum for intranet governance focusing on the user experience

  • Use the intranet itself to support the intranet 'publishers'

  • Think about professional editing of content as part of an intranet migration - don't just drag across existing content

  • You MUST know who the intranet is for?

  • Google search engine learned the jargon/lingo quicker than a human

  • Corporate culture - do staff expect training rather than go find out stuff for themselves?

  • Use risk as a lens - in a decentralised model of publishing there is a balance between risk of changes to content not happening in time and the risk of content not being accurate - identify high/low risk content and manage appropriately

  • For lower risk organisations, a more wiki-like publishing model can work well

  • When looking for a solution - think about what content publishers are likely to expect - they are familiar with easy to use tools such as blogs and wikis - they won't like apps requiring technical expertise

  • Marketing, marketing, marketing - built into every stage of a continuous cycle - product lifecycle like a bottle of tomato sauce - focus groups on every aspect and usage statistics to identify stuff that the market no longer wants

  • Jansson-Cilag - apparently has their entire intranet built using Confluence, an enterprise wiki

  • Intranet is a business tool (used to be a document library), an intangible asset - resource it, plan for whole-of-life, use it to grow business

  • Project may start business questioning its existing processes

  • Thiess - looking to use same solutions for intra and inter net sites, firewall and security issues to be researched and resolved

Follow ups

Social Media Inside the Firewall - links at "What's next?" said the cow a blog on KM related topics

The FASTforward Blog - a hosted discussion on Enterprise 2.0

The next day I went to a workshop - more on that later.