“We’re getting Microsoft 365 – what is all this?!” A question we’re hearing more and more at Sequel Group as the likes of SharePoint, Yammer and Teams crop up in our organisation’s channel mixes.
It was also the question Sequel’s Charles Fenoughty, Digital Media Director, asked and answered at Intranet Now on Friday 4 October. Intranet Now is a conference for people who work in and around the digital workplace – or as organisers Lisa Reimer and Wedge put it: “a place for really cool people who love intranets!”
We’re proudly among those cool people. As well as chatting to peers and listening to experts in the field, we were able to share our insight too, with Charles delivering a talk and hosting a roundtable discussion. Here are some of his highlights…
Charles described our framework for a modern digital workplace: do, know and feel. At its core is simple but vital notion: collaboration.
“The digital workplace has blurred so many lines it’s hard to tell who owns what anymore,” says Charles. “And the old siloed nature of IT and communications is not fit for the modern digital workplace. We need to acknowledge that while IT will enable the digital workplace, it needs to be a partnership with other functions like Internal Communications and HR.
“After all, if you’re rolling out a collaboration tool, shouldn’t you do it collaboratively?”
Charles went onto explain that our framework relies on the traditional communication model of do, know and feel. It’s about your people – giving them a choice of tools that will serve their needs and a clear understanding of how they link together.
“Previously intranets tried to be all things to all people, and in doing so failed at a lot of those things. But our insight work with clients has shown that an overwhelming 85 per cent of employees just want a tool that helps them to do their job. On top of that, they told us that if you can’t get the basics right – particularly search – they weren’t interested in the ‘nice to haves’.”
Charles revealed the solution for a modern channel mix: an intranet with a core purpose (your head), supplemented by collaboration tools (your hands), special interest sites and great communication channels (your heart).
“To do this, you need to put your intranet on a diet,” explains Charles. “For example, one organisation of 4,000 employees set themselves the challenge of keeping their intranet at 500 pages.”
Continuing the food metaphor, Charles also added that while technology is important, our approach is a technology agnostic one. “Whatever solution you choose, it’s the content that matters. Just think about great food – it’s not the kitchen, it’s the chef and their ingredients.
“Instead plan your channels from the user’s point of view, making sure you’re putting the right content in the right tool. This upfront work is vital – you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Your digital workplace needs collaborative partners and owners, and the ability for people to customise their way of working from an approved set of tools.”