Intranets2013 – Day 1

'Intranets Unite' sticker developed by StepTwo Designs for Intranets2013

It’s my favourite time of year: Intranet conference time! When a bunch of clever and talented people come together to talk about all things intranetty.

James Robertson from StepTwo Designs set the scene for us with a call to action: Intranets Unite! Backed up with some group fist pumping and a well designed sticker (need more stickers) James took the topic from intranets being a tool for uniting people through to the united nature of the intranet community (something I wholeheartedly feel).

The morning keynote Coca-Cola Enterprises’ intranet: communication + collaboration + transaction + mobility was delivered by Jonathan Phillips of Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) and Intranetizen fame who shared the amazing journey of their intranet iConnect, which began in 1996, working through several iterations to what they have today which is an award winning SharePoint 2010 intranet fulfilling their key drivers of productivity  customer service, employee engagement and learning and development. Their intranet is chock full of fantastic features which mean that this is the place where employees go for everything. The carefully designed home page has 3 zones (Comms, collaboration and transactions) and they supported their work with a communications plan to educate employees about the intranet. Check out their very snazzy intranet launch video to see how they pulled it together. What I really like is their focus on the transactional features (which is also their key driver for traffic) which means that all HR transactions happen on the intranet, as part of the intranet which has benefits such as moving all of their payslips from paper to electronic.

After the break I presented on Cleaning up your phone list.

I would have to say that Michal Pisarek‘s session was my favourite of the day. Michal presented on the Secrets of a successful SharePoint intranets which was highly relevant for me given we are doing a SharePoint implementation ourselves. I was online for Michal’s recent webinar with StepTwo Designs about SharePoint 2013 for intranets which was awesome, so was looking forward to his insights and was not disappointed. The key for SharePoint success:

  • Understand the problem
  • Have commitment to change
  • Understand resources

Michal had a great analogy for SharePoint, comparing it to Lego in that the power is realised which you build something of use. I love how Michal emphasises the need for a solid vision and good communication, and that he isn’t afraid to challenge Microsoft on the value of features (such as team sites). Some key points that I took away were in his quick wins, I particularly liked:

  • Web content management is not like word, train people on the how and why, and train early
  • Use best bets and make sure core business info is in there (like departments, locations and common actions)
  • Make user profiles part of onboarding, explain why and make sure leaders have profiles

Great practical tips that I will be employing for our SharePoint development.

Michal Pisarek talks intranet vision
Michal Pisarek talks intranet vision

Afternoon came and went and I settled in to check out fellow Water peep Joanne McBain of Wannon Water with Creating a digital workplace: start by getting the project approved. Joanne’s refreshing and touching presentation took us on her journey of personal development and intranet discovery. Sharing what she learned while getting her intranet business case approved. It was half personal development, have intranet business case and was interwoven with lovely pictures of her children as she compared and contrasted her intranet journey with that of motherhood. Writing a right brained business case was key to Joanne’s success and she cited this article on The Art of SharePoint success: Strategy as a key resource.

Next up Matthew Nette of NAB talked about their Yammer story and how they managed to demonstrate ROI by simply using the crowd-sourcing power of their existing Yammer network. A pretty amazing feat for such a large and risk averse organisation. Matthew had a heap of fantastic examples where the members of their network had received quick and accurate resolution to questions and problems using the power of their 14,000 strong network which received funding off the back of those use cases.

Following in the theme of social intranets StepTwo’s own Alex Manchester brought us into the afternoon break with Designing for success with social intranets. The advice from Alex was to make sure your objectives were clear (not wooly), make sure the culture (including leadership) are ready for a social intranet and beware of ‘lethal experimentation’, so if you’re going to pilot do it right.

Alex Manchester summarising his social intranet presentation
Alex Manchester summarising his social intranet presentation

After the afternoon break the day was wrapped up with a panel based keynote which was highly informative as well as entertaining, a bit of a trend with StepTwo conferences. Jonathan Phillips, Sam Marshall, Michal Pisarek and James Robertson came together to bust 4 intranet myths which had been voted by conference attendees in the week prior.

  • Myth 1 Social collaboration replaces traditional intranets
  • Myth 2 Everything must be less than 3 clicks away
  • Myth 3 Intranets don’t need navigation only search
  • Myth 4 Scrolling pages are evil

Rather than bore you with my commentary I am going to share with you a fabulous sketchnote of the session by Matthew Magain from UX Mastery (whose workshop I am attending on Friday) which cleverly and creatively summarises the session.

Sketchnote summarising the Intranets2013 Mythbusters session
Sketchnote by Matthew Magain summarising the Intranets2013 Mythbusters session

Aside from busting 4 common intranet myths, what I loved about this session was the live voting which allowed attendees to choose the winner by either tweeting or texting their choice. We watched live on screen as the votes came through and Michal Pisarek was named victorious.

The live polling for the intranet Mythbusters session
The votes are in

Phew! It is only now in typing my reflections that I realise what an absolutely huge day it was. Time for a good night of sleep in preparation for day 2.


Also check out my Day 2 round-up and UX Sketchnoting workshop notes from Day 3. I will add links to any other conference blogs and information as I come across them…

5 Responses

  1. I don’t know when you had time to write all this so soon, but I’m glad you did – it’s fantastic! Was great to see you and catch up with you on Tuesday night. I’m looking forward to seeing your intranet showcased at Intranets2014 :-)

    • Great to catch up with you too Kate! I like to crack out the blog post as quickly as I can while it’s still fresh. I hope to be able to share our intranet next year too… but you don’t have to wait that long, will keep you posted on progress for sure.

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