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Euh, social softwareWith the rise of enterprise collaboration software and the wave of new innovations for enterprise communication and collaboration, there’s just one conclusion: intranet & enterprise 2.0 is friggin cool. And it can make a hugely positive difference within your organisation.

1. Every employee needs an accessible digital profile
A profile page is the key element to any succesfull (social) intranet. There are just too much benefits of digital profiles to list them all. Many times I see pages with tables featuring contact details for the staff’s department. People come and go, phone numbers change and within no time the page is outdated. Or people searching for someone to answer their question. With profiles and a good profile search, this can save employees masses of time. Groups can be identified and targeted with the right content.

2. Enable instant messaging
Instant messaging is a key element to succesfull short chats between one or more employees on different locations. Use IM if you want to diminish the huge amounts of e-mail conversations and chat in realtime with each other. Try to incorporate IM in your intranet to make the intranet a “total communication platform” without the hassle of people using different IM software.

3. Bring the cloud to the desktop
Many people think about websites when they think about cloud computing. And websites are far away, far from my desk and from my computer. By enabling IM, document sharing and collaboration and update feeds on through a desktop tool, you will serve employees “the cloud experience” without having to visit the intranet all the time.

4. Mobile access will become even more important
Mobile working will become even bigger with the continuous rise of smartphones. How many times did you needed a document, but you couldn’t acces it, because you were not “inside the network”. Then you have to call a colleague to ask if he/she could send it to you. Or you needed a colleague’s phone number, but those details were inside the intranet and you couldn’t access it from the outside. Get your intranet ready for mobile access! Smartphones and tablets are used by alot of your employees, so go service them when they need the data.

5. Educate, train, support and stimulate your users
People get SAP-training, communication training, manamagement training, but usually the intranet has a couple of helppages and that’s it. Digital skills and knowledge for employees is incredibly important. Not only for the complany, but also for the employees themselves. You are not teaching them a tool, but teaching them digital skills they will need in the future. Try to get a training program up and running in your company for your editors or content managers. Have regular sessions about new developments, ask for intranet input, make polls and questionnaires. Stay in close contact with your users.

Looking forward to an innovative 2011.

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AarhusEarly november I visited the J Boye conference in Aarhus (Denmark) for the first time to talk about educating and stimulating users to use the intranet. The conference is one of the yearly gatherings organized by the J Boye group. A three day conference for webprofessionals that connected webprofessionals from all over the world to share their latest insights. Next to keynote speakers like Eric Karjaluoto (10 dollars to earn for him/her who can pronounce his last name flawlessly) and Bebo White.  The first day (Tuesday) was a day full of workshops, that I unfortunately couldn’t attend, because I was still in the plane. Next to the three conference days that thook place at Frud there were also great “social events” in the evening. These were excellent networking opportunities and were excellent to connect with fellow J Boye visitors.

Highlights
I saw alot of very interesting presentations during the days I attend. Some of the highlights were:

  • Neil Morgan from WWF explaining how they used Google Apps to connect all their different intranets around the globe. It was great to see how you can use free apps to take a step into online collaboration. All mail, calendars, document sharing/creating and wiki/project info is all based into Google Apps. Fascinating.
  • Jane McConnell kicked off the intranet track with her presentation about the latest Global Intranet Trends 2011 report. It was very interesting to see how organisations worldwide use their intranets and what trends are visible. In short there are 5 megatrends visible in the report: Read about them here.
  • Another highlight was the nice and down-to-earth presentation from Eric Branckaert from the World Food Programme (WFP). The people from WFP often work in very harsh surroundings without any internet connection at all or sometimes not even a computer. So how can they access the information? A great solution was provided with an intranet that was accessible through a USB stick and would update automatically when there was a connection possible. I loved this, because it wasn’t about the latest & greatest tool, innovation, social or all those trends. It was an actual solution to a problem and it was genius in all of it’s simplicity.
  • Just before I had to present, Jerzy Kuba Karpel, who is responsible  for the deployment of the Mars intranet (and it’s participation strategy) held a great talk about how they educated their employees. I loved the video that explained employees how to use e-mail (and how not to use it). Nice one!
  • Also the Web Idol contest was great fun and provided some CMS vendors to showcase their products. They had a couple of minutes to show how they could place a pressrelease on a website using their CMS, under the eyes of the audience and a strict jury. Gentics won with their nifty Aloha Editor, which you can try out online for a little bit.

There were many more and nice inspiring sessions from guys like Frank Wolff (online collaboration T-Systems), Martin Risgaard Rasmussen (intranet Arla Foods) and Ernst Decsey (intranet UNHCR). Unfortunately I missed the presentation in the “projectmanagement” track by Gerrit Berkouwer about Rijksoverheid.nl, luckily you can see the slides online.

If you were a conference attendee and would like to see the slides of my presentation “How the FIFA worldcup can promote your intranet” about educating and activating users to go to an intranet, you can get them at the J Boye site.

Conclusion
The J. Boye conference is a very nice and intimate event where you can exchange ideas with some smart people. The social events are really nice and well-organized and might catapult you into Aarhus nightlife afterwards with a good bunch of people (ending in a pizza meeting in the middle of the night). I hoped the intranet track would have attracted a bigger audience (how can we get the subject “intranet” a little bit more attractive for audiences?), but the amount of ideas and inspiration I got during the sessions was definetely worth it and made the trip worthwhile for sure! A big thanks to J Boye and his team that delivered a flawless event. Dates for 2011 are currently pinned, so be sure to attend if you got the chance.

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Two weeks ago I had to fly to Aarhus, Denmark for the excellent J Boye conference. This being a business trip ,I had to fly a little bit low budget with Cimber Sterling. I announced through my @klmfan Twitter that I would be on Schiphol airport on Tuesday morning 2nd of November. Suddenly I got a reply from a new KLM account named @KLMsurprise to ask me if we could meet up somewhere on Schiphol that morning. Uuh, sure why not? I was pretty curious what would be happening. I never heard from this account, nor did I know the people behind the account.

Surprise!
When I arrived that morning at Schiphol airport to catch my flight to Copenhagen, i first had to check in at Cimber Sterling, who just started as a new airline on Schiphol. This turned out to be the most chaotic, uncontrolled, no-boarding-pass-printing check-in ever. My mood was below zero, but after all the check-in and passport checks I had around 45 minutes before my plane would depart. I tweeted @KLMsurprise that I was ready for a meetup, unaware of the intentions. We set a place and a time through Twitter and when I arrived there I saw two guys with a big piece of paper with my name on it. This was pretty cool. In some way, people standing with a paper with your name on it makes you feel very important (popstar-like). Or maybey that’s just me. These guys handed me a present: a great aviation watch (limited edition) of KLM’s 90th anniversary and hope that I would remember them next time I would fly. Suddenly I was in a very good mood again. They took a pic, said goodbye and there I was, with a brandnew watch and a smile on my face.

KLM Watch

Story
This is ofcourse a genius form of marketing. When I arrived at the conference I have told this story over twenty times to different people and also when I returned I talked about this alot. Not only I was surprised by KLM. Alot of other customers have been surprised by KLM, just check out their Facebook page with every story about surprised passengers. They have been actively scanning social media platforms to try and set up meetings with passengers. When a meeting was set, they tried to grab pieces of info from that person and surprise them during the meeting with a present that fits them.

Brilliant
The hype about this @KLMsurprise has been pretty big and there’s quite some buzz around the social media channel. It’s ofcourse a brilliant form of marketing and being a “victim” myself I loved it alot. The only thing the guys forgot to tell me was that they would post a picture of me receiving the present on Facebook. I found myself back on their Facebook page, but wasn’t aware the picture would be on there. I don’t find this a problem, but I can imagine some people might be “surprised” in the wrong way when are not informed right.

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