Highlights from IBF’s most recent member meeting at Verizon

June 16, 2011

When talking with intranet practitioners at various companies, I am often asked, “What actually happens at IBF Member Meetings?”

My short answer is that these meetings are all about communication, collaboration and intranet-nerd nirvana. Limited to practitioners only and bound by DWG’s membership terms of confidentiality, attendees engage in full disclosure live intranet tours and spirited, challenging discussions. This is a not a “rah-rah” group or a software sales showcase. It’s the people that actually do this stuff inside some of the world’s top companies sharing knowledge and challenging each other to make what they have better. Supported by the knowledge of DWG’s researchers, benchmarkers, and the data derived from benchmarking over 400 intranets in the last 9 years these meetings are structured, impactful and impressive. It’s the real deal.

Verizon Logo Last week DWG members attended a two-day quarterly member meeting at Verizon headquarters in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.

Members arrived early for an informal pre-meeting gathering that included conversation around a themed visual gallery focusing on benchmarking findings, member company intranet homepages and the latest IBF news and research. Coffee and breakfast in hand, members took their seats and went company by company around the room sharing their internal team’s accomplishments and challenges since the last meeting. Among them were…

  • A Global Financial Services Firm: getting ready to soft launch “one company” intranet. Also getting ready to include social content in search engine.
  • A Global Consumer Group Company: working to improve search and consolidate user profiles.
  • A Mid-sized Brokerage & Banking Company: rolling out SharePoint My Profile and Communities. Moving to SharePoint 2010.
  • A Mid-sized Electronics Company: launched a ‘one company’ intranet site bringing together 20 legacy intranets. Now working on using intranet to create unified mentality within a corporation that has grown through mergers.
  • A Mid-sized Financial Services Company: completed intranet redesign in 2010. Just launched employee social network on IBM connections. Integrated corporate directory into “profile application”. Focused on making intranet mobile. Social and mobile platforms are adding to search challenges.
  • A Integrated Pharmacy Services Provider: using intranet to create a common culture throughout company. Using SharePoint for collaboration.
  • A Global Publishing Company: recently launched employee social collaboration site based on Jive. Trying to make it the “starting point” of their intranet.
  • A Global Professional Services Company: team working to better inform partners and marketing group on potential clients and leads. Also rolling out external collaboration globally.

Next, representatives from Johnson & Johnson presented a live tour of their newly redesigned intranet. A refinement of their personalized news portlets and redesigned left navigation stirred conversation on best practices and why particular choices were made.  Additional highlights included the removal of tabs and a detailed walk through and discussion of their internal social communities.

Not surprisingly, a fair bit of time was spent talking about benchmarking. Kate Pugh, Lead Benchmarker at IBF, presented recent updates to DWG’s Benchmarking Model. The changes expand the scope of DWG’s industry-recognized benchmarking to include elements of their Digital Workplace Maturity Model. The presentation was followed by a live intranet tour from Citi based on their recent Communication and Collaboration benchmarking, and how they used the results to make improvements to their intranet.

Verizon provided one of the best corporate lunches I have ever eaten and then it was on to more live intranet tours. This time the tours were conducted in a reveal all, true confessions format IBF calls “Intranets Anonymous”. These two members, who shall remain anonymous, provided in-depth tours of their intranets highlighting not only what was working well, but areas they felt the could be improved upon. Several DWG members were quick to respond with “what they were doing at their company” and suggestions for potential changes. IBF representatives documented feedback and provided their own insights based on benchmarking over 400 intranets in the last 9 years.

Sample Takeaway Messages

  • Intranet Managers seeing high percentage of executives using iPads and wanting to be able to access their intranets from them.
  • Intranets Managers spend about half of their working hours educating internal constituencies.
  • Intranet usability research shows several employees consider their intranet “cluttered” and would prefer reducing the number of pages.
  • Employees are starting to view finding, connecting, and consulting with Subject Matter Experts as a core function of their intranet.
  • Critical to intranet personalization is creating relevant segmentation for proper targeting. The key to this is directory management.
  • A typical week in the life of a knowledge worker (according to IDC) includes: 13 hours in email, 9 hours searching for information, 8 hours analyzing information, 6.5 hours communicating and collaborating, 6 hours creating content and 2.5 hours publishing information.

The rest of the afternoon and much of the next day followed a similar format — spirited discussions and information sharing driven by live looks at what companies were doing behind their firewalls. I am continually surprised by the level of candor of the participants at these meetings. This time, I was also caught off guard by what quickly became the topic of the day, “Getting corporate compliance organizations to approve the use of enterprise social media.” In the words of one member, the proliferation of grass roots enterprise social “experiments” happening at the lower levels of organizations, combined with more frequent executive-level approvals for larger enterprise social implementations, has corporate compliance organizations frantically trying to identify and guard against all potential risks. Several times throughout the two days, the room buzzed with questions of how to present related business objectives and benefits to compliance organizations as well as best practices to get their approval. Inspired by these discussions, I will cover this topic in a subsequent post.

Until then, if you need to find me I will be synthesizing my notes and continuing to digest the many insights gained from bringing together benchmarking results, best practices, research and intranet practitioners for two days of confidential data driven enterprise collaboration discussion.

Categorised in: Collaboration, Digital workplace

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