Chapter 2 of the IBF 24 Chronicles: New York

May 17, 2011 by

Next we moved to the New York Center of Gravity, which was hosted by co-anchors Ruth Neighbors, Usability Analyst; Information Architect; Web Content Strategist at the The McGraw-Hill Companies; and Jessica Lawrence, Managing Director at New York Tech Meetup. They were joined by Mike D’Angelo, lead benchmarker for IBF, Blair Klein, Executive Director, Emerging Communications at AT&T, as well as Dan Latendre, CEO of IGLOO Software.

To kick it off, Jerome Colombe, Judy Worsick, and Yann Vialet from Alcatel-Lucent showed us their exciting social networking platform “Engage.” Built on Jive, Engage is now being used by over two thirds of the company. They have an internal YouTube channel where any employee can upload videos, and very informative social employee profiles. Listeners expressed some concern about the large amount of content on the homepage, as well as the 4-column layout. Some voiced skepticism about the extent of social media adoption: “I’m in Comms and not pushing social media over business tools. Seems some companies have drunk the social-media kool-aid.” Listeners responded positively to how much focus Alcatel-Lucent has put into orienteering staff onto the new intranet site. They also appreciated hearing that the Alcatel-Lucent CEO not only supported the project, but also actively used the tool: “Love how the Alcatel-Lucent CEO really got involved in the social sphere.”

Next up was Martin White, founder of Intranet Focus Ltd. Martin tells us about his research into the latest trends in mobile intranets, commissioned exclusively by IBF. Martin stated that Business Intelligence teams are driving mobile intranets due to their need for critical business metrics — a statement that set of a lot of buzz in the Twittersphere. A number of listeners agreed on the urgency of mobile intranets: “You can’t afford to wait a year to deliver to mobiles, management wants it now.” Another reader picked up on Martin’s point on mobile search requiring great precision; and reflected that this means we need good content strategy. The audience poll at the end of the segment revealed that 64% of listeners think that the biggest trend of 2011 is enterprise mobile.

Google was up next with a tour of their MOMA intranet, with Rob Gray, Lead Product Marketing Manager of Enterprise Search and Maps; and Rjat Mukherjee, Enterprise Search Product Manager. Rob started off with slides about how they innovate and collaborate day in and day out. Almost immediately, a rebellious group of Tweeters demand that Google cut from the slides and show the MOMA intranet. Despite the grumblings, listeners tweeted and re-tweeted Rob’s stats slide: Every minute 250,000 words written on Blogger, 4,800 photos uploaded on Picasa, 35 hrs of video on YouTube #ibf24. Rob then showed the chat function used internally at Google, and listeners loved the built-in translator. Paul Miller asked about the difference between Google & Microsoft’s corporate cultures. Rob’s response: “Google collaborates faster.” Several listeners observed that findability could be an issue: “u HAVE to be somewhat knowledgeable of what ur looking 4 or else ur stuck.” Listeners also responded positively that every Google employee’s Objectives Key Results (OKRs) are available to everyone, and everyone agreed that the MOMA is definitely an example of the intranet matching the companies culture.

Google MOMA screenshot

Next up was Walton Smith, Principal at Booz Allen Hamilton, for a live tour of their award-winning intranet “Hello.” This was one of the more popular intranet tours, with tweets such as: ” Really impressed with Booz Allen Hamilton presentation. Two thumbs up.” Walter showed people profiles and people search, the ability to communicate to groups found through search, communities of interest… all driven through the firm’s Knowledge Management initiatives. Walton also got a big hoorah when he talked about his adoption strategy: “Intranet just has to work… if I have to hand out candy bars, I failed.” Walton stated that communications and change management was half of his budget, and that driving adoption was his number one goal. “Tech is easy,” he said. “People can be hard.” One listener contrasted Google’s search-based intranet vs Booz Allen, and observed that it’s critical to make it easy on users.

CNBC joined us next with Scott Drake, VP CNBC Digital Products & Technology, and Stacy Eisner, Director, Brand Marketing. CNBC announced they are looking for launch partners for a new opportunity to bring their real-time data from the NYSE and Nasdaq and breaking business news headlines to the digital workplace. Launch partners will evaluate the widget and partner with CNBC on customizing and optimizing the product. Several participants indicated interest in participating, including EY, AT&T, Cisco and GSUSA. Don’t miss out. If you would like to learn more about the CNBC pilot of the streaming news and stock widget for intranets, reply to @dwg or contact Stacy Eisner directly at:

Jeff Schumann, Marketing Communications and Collaboration at Nationwide Insurance, joined us via a pre-recorded interview. The Nationwide Yammer network has 14,000 employees on the Yammer network; 40% of employees are active contributors. The usability theme came up over and over again on twitter: ” Keys to Yammer adoption @Nationwide were leadership buy in and “making it easy” for peeps to use. Love these themes, again + again! Jeff also touched on some of the risks of enterprise social networking, and mentioned that Nationwide has a dozen people monitoring Yammer for risky posts/posters. He wrapped up by telling a story about how Yammer helped people report issues with their elevators, eliminating the long morning lines. This segment finished up with another audience poll asking how many people use their intranets as first port of call in a crisis. Answer: only 17%.

Leading up to the final hour of the New York segment we saw a live tour from Duke Energy, with Martha Brown, Portal Program Manager, and James Bowen, Manager, New Media User Experience. The Duke Energy intranet was named one of Jakob Nielsen’s top ten intranets of 2011. One listener was so impressed that he tweeted: “Sometimes I see an intranet that is so well thought out I would like to work for the company. Duke Energy is a good example.” There was lots of buzz around the mega-menus as well as the “My Perspective” section, where key figures in the company take turns blogging. Near the end of the segment, William Amurgis from American Electric Power and Christy Season from SCANA joined the call. William mentioned that he, Christy and Martha met at a conference in 2007, and that the three of them have become friends, and often exchange tips. Since that conference, both the SCANA and Duke intranets have been honored by the Nielsen Norman Group — and those three utility companies are the only U.S. gas/electric utilities ever so honored.

Following on from last year’s panel discussion about Intranet Career Paths Mark Tilbury, Christy Season and Mark Morrell discussed the future career options for directions for professionals in the Digital Workplace space. Listeners generally agreed that future intranets will be more about the digital workplace and less about corporate news. Some commented that it will be more than info database… it will be the central nervous system of a business, and that the intranet of the future is a melting pot of tools and info all aimed at helping employees get work done. There was general agreement around skills needed going forward: Building stakeholder relationships; connecting people; navigating politics; deploying new apps; engagement and collaboration. Intranet managers need to move from being creators to connectors. Several listeners commented on the role of intranet manager as translator between business and technology: I translate geek into English for our tech-blind stakeholders.”

Verizon was the final intranet tour of the New York segment, with Donna Itzoe Long, Director, Corporate Communications. The Verizon intranet was another one of Nielsen Norman’s top 10 intranets of 2011; and listeners were equally enthusiastic. “Verizon MyNetwork looks like a clear & competent collab area – also less chaotic than others we’ve seen today” was a popular tweet. Donna shared some impressive MyNetwork stats: 163,790 users, 4006 groups created, 1816 questions asked, 1347 articles, 404 ideas shared. Listeners also responded positively to the embedded email and calendar on the homepage… “One stop shop for intranet success?” Finally, Donna underlined the importance of building effective relationships with IT — one of the key skilled noted during the Intranet Career Paths discussion.

Categorised in: DWG24

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