Tag Archives: Organisational Design

Is the next Steve Jobs in your company?

As the world hears with sadness of the passing of one of the greatest innovators on earth, Steve Jobs, Sir Alan Sugar reminds us that Apple’s success is due to a number of inventors and designers within the company.

In an interview on Sky news, Sir Alan talked about the number of people within Apple who were responsible for the impressive range of products which have changed the way we communicate and engage with the world.

Apple’s success is not purely attributable to Steve Jobs’ vision, but also in part to the innovative culture which he created. He recognised that Innovation is key to Apple’s competitive advantage and the entire organisation is designed to support and foster innovation.

Many organisations recognise that Innovation is an integral part of their future survival, but are so risk averse that they are not prepared to experiment, nor are they designed to foster Innovation. Rather they are so involved with the day to day operational running that Innovation is an add on.

Employees are a great source of ideas. Very often they are in a better position to spot opportunities from their vantage point, serving customers or as users of your products and services. These ideas may not be radical, the equivalent to an iDevice, but could be incremental improvements which change the way we compete. We need to find better ways to listen to them.

Steve Jobs was a visionary and creative genius, but he surrounded himself with great people who also had great ideas, his genius was also in communicating with and listening to them.

RIP Steve Jobs, you changed the world.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the innovation and technology. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges has recognised the changes to the business environment, brought about by enterprise technologies like SharePoint 2010, social media and gamification and is focussed on this.

We partner with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

We have also partnered with Innocentrix to bring Spigit Innovation software into this country. We offer Innovation services to grow organisations and equip them for change. This includes Innovation strategies, culture interventions, measurement tools and campaign development to release the power of Innovation.

Digital Bridges relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, innovation, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit http://www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

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Filed under Business, Enterprise 2.0, Innovation

Hard-coding the organisation’s strategy into your Intranet

In the past, Intranets have been, at best, archives of potentially useful information like leave forms and what is on the lunch menu at the cafeteria, covered in a strategic veneer of the organisational vision, mission and values on the landing page. In many organisations, Intranets are mausoleums of unfindable and outdated documents.

With the advent of the interactive web (web 2.0) we have the ability to hard code the organisational strategy into an organic ecosystem which forms the backbone of the enterprise, surfacing knowledge and behaviour in ways impossible before. The secret lies in data modelling.

Because web 2.0 enables employees to engage with the Intranet, they are generating metadata about how they are using the information and connecting with each other. There are a number of data sets that we can combine in the same way that DNA is structured to make the intranet dynamic and far more useful.

These datasets include information from people’s profiles, who they are, what interests them, what they are working on, their key performance areas etc. Other datasets come from the metadata in documents, what they are about, who is creating, reading, updating and commenting on them, the taxonomy how the information is categorised and stored.

When infusing these datasets with meaning, we use data architectures to inculcate the organisational strategies. These architectures are generated by translating the organisational strategy into a matrix configured according to KPI’s and organisational design.

So how do we do this?

We start with the organisational strategy, what is the vision is for where the organisation is going and how it will get there? What products and services it sells, which geographies, where its competitive advantages are, what are its strengths weaknesses opportunities and threats?

Then we examine how the organisation has been configured to do this, what is the organisational design, what are the employees key performance areas, what processes are in place and which technologies are being used?

At a deeper level of granularity, we translate the employee data into profiles from which we get the information about how they deliver on the strategy. Typical data includes variables about where they fit into the organisational structure, what information they need, what tasks they need to perform, the knowledge and skills and experience they have.

The categories of information that employees need to do their work is translated into a taxonomy and site structure which is intuitive and web 2.0 tools, such as wikis and blogs are added to enable them to engage with each other and create read and update information and knowledge.

Making it easy to find what they need is ensured by using semantic and predictive search. This is important because unless employees find the Intranet useful and easy to use, they will not use it.

Next we map the organisational processes for delivery on the strategy and relate them back to the employees using data. We also examine the other tools that we have to hand for data input, such as the technologies which could be integrated including ERP systems etc. Workflow is built into the processes on the Intranet.

Metadata is created for documents, online conversations and behaviours. This can be automated in applications like MS SharePoint 2010, and will feed into the search.

We can also identify additional external datasets which could enhance the employees ability to deliver, such as RSS feeds from the Dow Jones or the latest updates from industry research bodies.

A word of caution

Projects like these should not be undertaken lightly, the development of Intranet strategies can take a couple of months and requires executive commitment.

If the organisation is dysfunctional, or the processes are not optimised, you can wind up coding inefficiencies into the DNA of the organisation.

It is important to ensure that whoever facilitates the development of the strategy is a business minded person who understands how organisations function and be optimised.

Technologist often understand the software and could fit the organisation into the software, where because web 2.0 is all about people, the business must define the technology requirements.

Benefits of this approach

The benefits of this approach are numerous:

  • A data driven approach enables agility within large organisations because as they change, it is possible to code new directions, processes and innovations into the strategic backbone of the enterprise;
  • Communication, information and knowledge can be pushed to employees in a bespoke manner based on their specific requirements.
  • It is possible to create an individually customised view of the Intranet to ensure that employees only see what they need to see which increases the relevance to each employee, and reduces information overload;
  • Knowledge can be created once and used multiple times;
  • Organisational networks can be surfaced for succession planning, and to understand who is networking with whom; and
  • Performance can be managed through an understanding of what individuals are doing.

By using a data driven approach we can now code the strategy and the way we do things into an organic, expanding Intranet and truly drive competitive advantage.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication and manage brand conversations with consumers.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za

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Filed under Blogging, Business, Digital Communities, Enterprise 2.0, HR Intranet, Interactive Intranets, Semantics

Financial Ratios for Social Media

Much has been written about the benefits of Digital Media to business, not the least of which is that it is highly measurable. We can see how many hits we have on a website, how many clicks through on an advertisement, how many members in a community, how many employees are blogging, but are these actually numbers which indicate Return on investment of time, resources and money? Not necessarily. They are merely potential precursors of transactions. In other words they are indicators that there may be additional transaction and revenue. So if we can see the numbers, how do we determine what value these measurement’s have and how to use them to forecast future success, or analyse past opportunities?

If we are to truly unlock the business value of the web, we need to develop a series of indicators of digital success, similar to the financial ratios developed by DuPont for investors and management accountants.

Naturally these indicators are determined by the business objectives and different ratios are more appropriate for different scenarios. It is also critically important to understand that we need to define the ratios correctly by defining a causal link between what we measure and what is actually an indicator of success. Using the wrong ratios to manage the digital side of the business could have dire unintended consequences and be incredibly detrimental.

Here are some proposed digital ratios for a social media business;

  • Social Leverage Ratios

Social leverage ratios are similar to the financial concept of beta, because they relate to the amount of commercial leverage in a social network. The “network effect”, when it come s to social media relates to the fact that a network (of people, telephones, social media sites etc.) becomes more valuable to each member, the more users that are part of the network. One Social Leverage Ratio is the Viral Coefficient.

In his book, The Viral Effect (2009), Adam Penenberg talks about the viral coefficient which needs to have a value greater than one for the network to grow in value. The viral coefficient basically means that each individual member must invite more than one person i.e. replace himself in the membership of the network and add at least one more member. If each individual only invites one person and that individual invites one person, then the growth of the network will be linear. But say for example, each individual invites two people, and each of those individual’s invite two people, then the membership and hence the value to the members grows exponentially.

This has huge implications for the design of social media businesses and marketing campaigns. Although the focus is to get people to register and start using the services, an equal effort must be expended getting them to share and invite other people to join the network. This is called viral loop marketing, and is measured by calculating and comparing the viral coefficient of each social network activity.

Facebook’s new function, which suggests friends for you based on the number of friends you have in common, is an example of a social network activity which is aimed at increasing the number of people you link to and increasing the value of your personal network, to keep you on Facebook. The more active members who are Facebooking, the more Facebook can monetise their platform through advertising, and the more value to the Facebookers the more they will encourage non-Facebookers to join.

  • Collaboration Coefficients

There are similar ratios that can be used to calibrate Intranets, such as the collaboration coefficient which explores the depth and usefulness of employees as nodes in a network. High collaboration coefficients suggest that the business is deriving value from the way that employees are working together.

  • RODSI

Web sales ratios include the conversion ratio or the RODSI which is a measure of the Return On Direct Sales Investment, and is calculated by subtracting the sales and marketing costs directly related to a campaign from the revenue that the campaign attracts, and calculating it as a percentage. Businesses can then experiment with different techniques and tools to increase their RODSI, such as Leads Management, SEO, different advertising media etc.

Each of these ratios can be used as a measure of success and the future success of digital strategies, it is incumbent on us to work out what the best measures are, and if necessary to develop ratios that are particular to the project.

These Social Media Ratios start off by being experimental, but over time they should stabilise as we ratify the causal link between what we are measuring and the business objectives which are predicated on them. Once we have validated the ratios, they can be used to benchmark and compare the success of one social media activity over another.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication and manage brand conversations with consumers.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za

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Filed under Business, Digital Communities, eMarketing, Enterprise 2.0, HR Intranet, Interactive Intranets, Web 2.0

The Role of the Intranet in the Modern Organisation

The Modern Intranet is changing the way that organisations conduct business, providing them with operational support, employee profiling, transparency and collaboration abilities that we have not seen before. As an integral part of how an organisation operates day to day, the Intranet should essentially serve five purposes:

  • Decision Support
  • Risk Mitigation
  • Innovation
  • Learning
  • Employee Engagement

Decision Support

Organisational flux, rising competitive pressures and the expanding global reach of many organisations place a premium on information that helps executives to make the decisions required to manage a company. New demands for transparency from stakeholders and regulators magnify the need for better and more timely information.

The Intranet needs to provide two kinds of decision support;

  • pull support when executives actually go out and look for the information they need in order to make decisions; and
  • push support where the information is pushed to the executive by way of creating awareness, or educating or as an early warning status which requires action.

Pull Support

When people need to make decisions, they need to have access to the latest information, be able to find the most up to date version of the document, relevant reports etc.

Document management used to be the domain of the individual on his own C-drive (and prior to that in his filing cabinet), later documents were posted to share drives in whatever categorisation made most sense to the individual. Gradually project managers started imposing some structure on the share drive and people began using the shared information to inform their decision making.

Today’s business environment has become infinitely more complex and it has become necessary for people, not only to look for what they need based on how they expect the information to be categorised, but to be able to actively search using key words on the Intranet.

It is possible, using the modern Intranet, to enable employees to surface the information they require to make decisions based on a search functionality as well as individual profiling. This means that if one employee is profiled as a “marketer” and another as a “technologist”, when they search for documents and type in the words “networking event February” the marketer will get the latest plan for a breakfast she organised for senior staff members to network with clients, and the techie will get a list of disruptions on the company network during the month of February.

Push Support

Push support is generally in the forms of RSS feeds which are set up in order to ensure that the latest relevant information from outside the organisation is reaching the right executive. This may be economic data, technology development, trends analysis etc.

Push support also includes aggregated information about the company in the form of regularly updated news portals or progress reports etc.

Knowledge Management is also an important part of decision making. All to often companies deploy knowledge management tools without thinking about the kinds of decisions it may support.

Risk Mitigation

In order to be fully equipped to make any decision it is clear that the executives and employees need to have the correct information at the correct time. Care must be taken with version control and other document management activities to ensure that this is the case.

Company Policies are also incredibly important when it comes to risk mitigation and of course the documentation pertaining to governance must be easily findable and accessible on the Intranet.

It is also important to build corporate governance into the operational processes on the Intranet. For example if certain people may not speak on behalf of the organisation, they should not be able to post on the corporate blog, some employees might need to be moderated and some actively encouraged to create thought leadership blogs etc.

Risk can also be mitigated by building flags into the Intranet, for example when a senior engineer resigns, anyone who is working on a project with her is immediately notified and can proactively co-opt a new resource onto the project. Another example could be when a supplier has let the company down, that the system alerts the accounts manager that there may be a delay on delivery to the client.

Innovation

We all know that the pace of change is rapidly increasing and the Intranet is a fabulous collaboration tool for different employees from different parts of the organisation to become aware of Innovation projects and participating in innovating into the future.

Well designed Intranets let the employees attach all the related documentation to the Innovation project as well as the profiles of the individual participants, so that in future this data can be interrogated to understand the innovation process or to identify people will great innovation skills. This is a great knowledge management tool.

Learning

The Intranet can incorporate workflow which enables the employees to identify gaps in their knowledge and to book themselves on courses. It can provide on-line material and the succession plan can also be built into the individuals profile as they learn and progress through the organisation.

Employee Engagement

The Intranet is a fantastic tool for connecting and communicating with employees, whether it is providing them with interesting content, rewarding them for contributions or enabling them to see how they are performing or just letting them network and up-skill each other within professional communities of interest.

The ability to profile employees leads to all kinds of opportunities from improving their search experience, enabling people to find certain skills within the organisation.

The days when an Intranet was a nice to have are gone. The modern Intranet is a critical strategic and operational tool which no medium to corporate business or public sector organisation should be without.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication and manage brand conversations with consumers.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za

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Filed under Business, Digital Communities, Enterprise 2.0, HR Intranet, Semantics, Web 2.0

Collaboration for Business Success

The 21st century with its advances in communication and technology requires us to be more agile than ever before in responding to business challenges and business leaders realise that helping employees access greater levels of collaborative intelligence at work is key to the future success of the business. It turns out that this is a way of motivating and retaining skilled people.

In a recent article released by GIBS entitled “The Age of Participation is about getting clever – together” (Gibs Review March 2008) they mention that research has shown a direct link between the level of collaboration within organisations and employee motivation, which depends on an individual’s attitude and the quality of their relationships within the team/entity.

Stephen James Joyce says in his book Teaching an Anthill to Fetch: Developing the Collaborative Intelligence of Teams, while that customer motivation impacts the quantity of business you do, employee motivation impacts the quality of business.

High levels of collaboration within an organisation improve employee retention, because people feel more connected and are much less inclined to leave.

Collaborative Intelligence is denoted with the symbol CQ, and is defined as is the ability to create, contribute to, and harness the power within networks of people. It enables participants to coordinate their actions closely with everyone else’s.

The GIBS Review quotes James Joyce as saying high CQ organisations:

  • Attract and retain high quality team members
  • Create a sense of meaningful participation
  • Collaborate in highly effective ways
  • Connect to a strong sense of purpose
  • Balance leadership and followship

Moreover, high CQ holds many transformative advantages for organisations:

  • People pull their weight and support each other to an extraordinary degree
  • There is a vigorous pursuit for learning, at an individual and a the team level
  • There is a sense of community within collaboratively intelligent teams/ departments, which others sense as something special.
  • Teams or entities with high CQ expect challenges and meet them with one eye on the results and the other on what they can learn from each encounter.

Collaborative and collective intelligence are two distinct things

The GIBS Review warns that collaborative intelligence should not be confused with collective intelligence. They are two distinct things:

  • Collective intelligence is the emergent intelligence of a collective entity, like a group or community.
  • Collaborative intelligence is a way of exercising collective intelligence.

Co-intelligence can be used at any level of social organisation.

  • A company can use better teamwork (collaborative intelligence) to build a more collectively intelligent company so that it can become dominant in its market (non-collaborative intelligence).
  • A collectively intelligent group could use its collective intelligence in collaborative or controlling ways or use collaborative intelligence to help it compete.

Co-intelligence affects how organisations are managed. It is fundamental to our survival in the 21st century. This means we create serious problems, when we don’t use co-intelligence at the higher levels of social organisation.

Management guru, Professor Gary Hamel says few executives would argue with the traditional and outdated definition of a manager’s role: the art of getting others to do what you want them to do. In fact the Industrial Age was built on four basic principles:

  • Managers have a clear vision
  • Managers exert hierarchical power
  • Managers get things done through bureaucratic procedures
  • Managers motivate their people through extrinsic rewards.

Hamel has formulated four alternative, ‘inversed’ principles:

  • Vision is often less effective than a guiding purpose and a desire for discovery
  • Industrial Age hierarchic decisions are often less accurate than those based the wisdom of the crowd
  • Bureaucratic procedure is often slower and less effective than a market-based system for allocating resources
  • Human motivation is, in reality, built on intrinsic rewards not on money.

High CQ requires the right tools and the right attitude

Web 2.0 tools are most conducive to developing high collaboration quotients in organisations. Tools, like virtual meetings and Web-based applications and wikis –  make it possible to do things at scale without necessarily having large groups of people physically aggregated, with hierarchic structures, says Hamel.

Collaborative tools also enable business professionals to explore the true potential of the group or team to which they belong. But, as useful as they are, collaborative tools are only part of the solution. As with most IT, it is not the technology itself that enables the competitive advantage, but the people. Witness CRM, the panacea of all customer relationships in 2000. It wasn’t until we figured out that having the software and the process wasn’t enough that organisations started to incorporate people skills into the solution and we see more successful CRM applications

In the same way CQ is quantified by what employees can and will do together, rather than what a piece of software will allow them to do.

James Joyce suggests 10 ways to develop people’s collaborative intelligence at work:

1. Establish a ‘higher calling’ for the team

  • This is a common purpose that represents a higher calling and brings context to the significance of the team’s existence.
  • Providing a service to society is the simplest way that an organisation can isolate a higher calling for its existence.
  • This process must be entered with full sincerity. A ‘true’ higher calling is reflective of the culture and intentions of the organisation as a whole. It is core to what the organisation stands ‘‘for’ and how it plans to achieve that.

2. Establish a reward system for innovation and creativity

  • Ensure that rewards are equally available for ideas and innovations that don’t work as for those that do.
  • Instead of focusing on the practical results of a particular idea, focus the level of innovation, even those that don’t result in ‘success’ in the conventional sense.
  • Many ‘mistakes’ have gone on to became innovations of great value
  • When we reward attempts at innovation, we demonstrate that it is the intention that is important.

3. Plan to use all of the experience within the team

  • Think of the years of life experience represented in a room of 15 people with an average age of 35. It represents over 500 years of life experience.
  • Great team leaders and managers know how to harness and tap into those years of experience and wisdom.

4. Raise awareness of the importance of shared assumptions

  • Assumptions cause us to run on ‘autopilot’.
  • Supported by assumptions that go unchecked and unchallenged, teams continue to run the same old routines for a long time without anyone noticing.

5. Encourage team members to find out about each other’s roles

  • The more they know about others perspectives, the more likely they will be able to empathise with each other when the going gets tough.
  • Empathy is an important business skill. The ability to put ourselves in another’s shoes helps us understand what others’ needs and motivations are.

6. Intention is very important

  • Intention is just as important as attention. Intention directs attention.
  • Having the whole team form a positive intention around an objective is one of the best ways of doing this.

7. Celebrate successes along the way

  • Making celebration an integral part of the organisational life helps individuals feel more deeply connected to the entity.

8. Invest resources in learning

  • Continuous improvement is only possible when individuals and the team as a whole learn new things.
  • By publicly demonstrating support for the learning process, leaders model the importance of building ‘learning organisations’. This serves everyone in the long run.
  • Establishing learning teams’ is one of the core strategies of running an organisation that is highly adaptable and responsive to change

9. Provide opportunities for sharing ideas during the project-planning phase

  • Getting ‘buy-in’ for a project is much easier when everyone plays an active part in the planning process.

10. Balance ‘top-down’ with ‘bottom-up’ processing

  • This means that directives and guidance from the top must be balanced with feedback and ‘street-level’ information.

When we look at each of these ideas, we see that 2.0 technologies lend themselves to supporting collaboration. With careful planning it is possible to create an Internet based platform that becomes a strategic tool for facilitating collaboration and organisational growth.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges is technology agnostic and partners with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

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Filed under Business, Digital Communities, eMarketing, Enterprise 2.0, HR Intranet, Interactive Intranets, Web 2.0

Using BI to analyse organisational networks provides valuable insights

Organisational network analysis is the use of Business Intelligence (BI) on the relationships, processes, workflow and exchanges between employees. It can be used by businesses to identify potential opportunities or disruptions.

Work is routinely conducted between employees, partners and customers without a clear understanding of the roles that people play in the organisational network or quantifying the exchanges that occur.

Interactive Intranets provide employees with their own profiles and access to web 2.0 apps such as wikis, blogs, instant messaging, document sharing and other collaborative tools. Companies that have interactive Intranets, can capture and analyse data as their employees work and use it to understand the hidden economic patterns within the organisation.

Organisational network analysis explores the constraints, connections, communication and information flows between individuals, or nodes, in a network. Businesses can use organisational network analysis to develop strategies by identifying, amplifying and exploiting business patterns and capitalising on opportunities that emerge.

There are three variations of organisational network analysis that organisations can use to develop strategies.

  • Employee Analysis

Determines which employees are critical to business performance, overcommitted or bottlenecks to getting work done, or untapped sources of insight. Companies can identify which employees are maximising their performance by collaborating effectively across the functional silos in the organisation.

They can also understand the real processes as they actually manifest themselves during the employees’ working day, rather than as they are designed to work. Very often employees adapt processes to work for them, this may suggest more practical ways to get the work done, but it might also indicate hidden risky practise.

  • Influence analysis

Here we identify influential people, associations or trends. This can help an organisation understand which employees are most influential or competent so that they have a higher presence in the organisation. It can surface recruitment and attrition patterns which could influence the culture of the organisation and the effectiveness of its design.

  • Economic Analysis

This examines the transactions and relationships that create economic value. It can help an organisation understand which stakeholders in their value networks (suppliers, partners, coalitions) are meeting their performance commitments. The relationship between value and time can be examined and greater efficiencies be built into the work environment.

This is analysis can be used to optimise the allocation of people, processes and information as new patterns emerge. It also supports a performance-driven culture, by focusing on lead indicators and using measurable results to drive behaviour.

Organisational network analysis provides intelligence about the networks on which businesses depend to achieve performance goals by providing tools with dashboards that summarise key parameters.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges is technology agnostic and partners with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

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Filed under Digital Communities, Enterprise 2.0, Interactive Intranets, Semantics, Web 2.0

Configuring the Intranet to deliver on the organisational objectives

The Interactive Intranet is an Enterprise-wide web application which provides the underlying web based support to employees across the organisation. It is the digital manifestation of the business and should form the strategic backbone of everything the organisation does.

In order to ensure that the Interactive Intranet delivers on the organisation’s key business goals and strategies, there are some considerations for the business scoping of the Intranet.

Organisational Design

The Interactive Intranet should be configured in the same way as the organisation in order to deliver on the same business objectives.

Interactive Intranets extend beyond the boundaries of the traditional Internet with its content around the organisation, policies and procedures, employee ordering, general communication forums.

Great Interactive Intranets are also structured in a portal format that supports the unique organisational design of the enterprise, whether it is functional teams, matrixed reporting, teams, divisional structures etc. The related information, documentation, tools and applications for each function, reporting team, division related information and workflow are incorporated within these portals. For example, booking IT training in the IT portal, leave management on the HR Portal, cross divisional product development tools in the product teams.

Organisational Communication

It used to be that internal communication was centralised and hierarchical and from the desk of the CEO.

Modern web based communication is highly customised in order to ensure that it is relevant to each audience and doesn’t result in communication fatigue. This is achieved through audience segmentation.

The employees can be segmented in a variety of different ways, by role, EXCO, Frontline, or by seniority, manager, supervisor, labourer or by function, marketing, HR IT, or by focus, product development, debt collection etc. The optimal segmentation is determined by the organisational requirements.

Each portal manager is responsible for his communication across the organisation. This can be managed using a series of wiki’s, blogs and instant messaging, for example when communicating software upgrades or changes in policies, or sharing the new corporate image guidelines.

Environmental Scanning as a function of creating competitive advantage

Employees need to be able to find sector specific news through RSS feeds, company news as well as industry trends and other useful information on the relevant Intranet portal. The employee needs to be able to “share” and comment on all relevant information with the right individuals on the Intranet. For example, if an industry trend is identified in employee wellness, the HR team should be able to “share” this and their views on it with the Line of Business managers and other HR teams across the organisation.

Collaboration and Knowledge Management

Interactive Intranets are more than “Facebook for Business”, they can be used to manage projects on wiki’s, collaborate on client service and capture the implicit knowledge of the employees through the conversations they have on-line.

Collaboration hinges on an environment that is motivating and inspiring and where people work together to help one another succeed. A key trait of high performing organisations is shared power and high involvement where participation, collaboration, and teamwork are the way of life. This is facilitated through open dialogue and project collaboration using wiki’s RSS feeds and blogs on the Intranet.

Employees must be encouraged to join collaboration forums where they share ideas, documents and knowledge around each project.

Employee Profiles

As far as the employees go, they each need an individual personalised profile, with both public and private sections.

On the public portion of the employee’s profile, the organisation should be able to see the employee’s contact details, skills, experience, projects, awards, education etc. This will help source internal skills more easily throughout the organisation, and enable employees to build their personal brand within the organisation.

On the private portion of the profile, personalised dashboards can be used to link the work that employees are doing to the macro-strategic position of the organisation in a very visual way. The vision of the organisation should be made explicit using tools such as the Balanced Scorecard, and the individual’s key performance areas linked to the organisational scorecard and visualised on the employees’ personal profiles.

Employees should also be able to manage their leave, pension and medical aid options through shared spaces with the HR or Finance division, depending how the organisation is configured.

A word of Caution

When building Enterprisewide Interactive Intranets, it is wise to question both the existing organisational design and the existing processes and workflow. If these are not conducive to delivering on the organisational strategy, then an Interactive Intranet will exacerbate the problem. At Digital Bridges we recommend that the Intranet form part of a larger strategic initiative which reviews the organisation’s direction, destination and how it is going to get there.

The opportunity

The Interactive Intranet is the perfect opportunity to connect with the job, the organisation and the employees, to gain commitment and grow the organisation. It needs to become a strategic asset to the organisation, because it is a key component to the modern organisation’s success.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges is technology agnostic and partners with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

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Filed under Enterprise 2.0, HR Intranet, Interactive Intranets, Web 2.0