October 5, 2011
Intranet, Local Government
business, extranet, intranet, purpose, technology, website
This post is not about stating anything new…but merely sharing some thoughts…
In my new role I am also responsible for the councils Intranet, which is currently not fit for purpose as the core technology for content, much like our public website is using an outdated technology, it doesn’t support dynamic content and is generally poorly managed.
No one is to blame for that, we are where we are…but it is clear that we need to change the way we operate around the intranet in order to provide more efficient internal communications and better access to internal services and business processes.
One area which is often hard for people to get to grips with is that the Intranet is not a single system…you may have a content management system which presents your content and manages the intranet homepage, but this is only part of your intranet’s ecosystem…So when people refer to the intranet being rubbish or poor, they are generally referring to the top level content and the look and feel of templates…which fortunately is something we can do something about…But the whole ecosystem needs to fit together in order for an intranet to be useful and usable.
I’ve written before on Intranet’s here, here and here and this is an opportunity to get a broader view on the way forward and have a conversation about the core business purpose and not about the underlying technology, which is where my focus in the past has been.
A few weeks back I put together a single side of A4 on the core purpose and some strategic assumptions in order to frame and inform the future direction and creation of an Intranet Strategy, It was kind of quick and dirty but did the job as we now have a collective acceptance to the current picture…which certainly helps when agreeing a future direction.
This is what I wrote:
The Intranet should aim to be the number one business support tool for all staff across the council.
The ultimate purpose for our intranet (the source) is to contribute to the Council’s strategic objectives by establishing an internal communications network which is able to provide an efficient, internal service-delivery mechanism accessible from anywhere and at any time.
Typical intranet objectives would be:
- enabling high levels of employee involvement (2 way dialogue) and productivity.
- support collaboration, information sharing and connecting with colleagues (staff directory).
- facilitating business efficiency (employee self service tools).
- to become a key repository (the source) for information to assist people in their roles.
- The current Intranet platform is no longer fit for purpose.
- The Intranet is part of the councils wider web presence which also includes the public website and extranet capabilities and should be seen in this context when considering and planning technology solutions.
- The intranet is not a single system, it is an ecosystem of platforms, tools and applications which contribute to the core purpose above. Note: we will need to understand the relationship between the new desktop, extranet and a new redefined intranet.
- The intranet should be available to all staff regardless of location.
- The intranet should make it possible for all staff to contribute to the knowledge repository through formal and informal routes.
- The information structure should focus on the user perspective and not on the organisation structure. As an example, Figure 1 shows a context diagram for intranet services from an end-users perspective.
May 11, 2010
Architecture, Innovation, Local Government
business, Business / IT Alignment, business transformation, CIO, enterprise architecture, Enterprise Business Architecture, ict, Transformation
For those who don’t know me – I work as an Enterprise Architect in Corporate ICT for Devon County Council – The challenge for an Enterprise Architect is to focus on the whole Business and not just the IT function or service – we are employed to facilitate Transformational Change across the whole Business. Not an easy job as such but a very interesting and challenging one.
So for me what I do is ALL about the Business of the County Council.
I have recently posted (a collaborative effort with Martin Howitt) on our team blog about the wider implications of the changing landscape of corporate ICT and how that effected our ability to realise cost savings to the scale we hear about and need to deliver.
But we must first address some key issues and get organisational acceptance to some basic building blocks of Effective and Efficient organisations.
IT offers no value on its own. It really is ALL about the Business. The people outside of IT (Business People) are the people in control of the organisation and they specify the priorities and direction through strategy. So why don’t they control IT more effectively? Why isn’t there one Governance stream in an organisation – Business Governance?
IT governance is really business governance. In many organizations, IT has led the way in implementing governance over critical decisions related to strategy, business architecture, investments, change, programs, risk and sourcing. Over time, organizations have realized that decisions in these areas need to be coordinated across the enterprise and have elevated and consolidated these activities outside and above IT.
Via – HBR – What does the future hold for IT?
In the team post we talk about how core IT competencies need to be mainstreamed into the Business. What we really mean by this is that Business Leaders should have the skills and competencies to procure IT solutions, manage IT contracts and drive value from the investments they make – not just in IT.
Another issue which is critical is how will the current Heads of IT or CIO’s deal with the current financial situation.
I see two options in local government:
- Drive cost savings, innovation and transformation in the organisation through radical approaches to ICT delivery and infrastructure.
- Play safe and wait for someone in the Business to make the decision for them
If I were a CIO or head of IT, i know which one i would rather opt for as Option 2 pretty much spells “outsourcing” to me.
The following presentation covers the CIO dilemma well and is worth checking out.
January 11, 2010
business, enterprise 2.0, Facebookisation, IT
Following on from my post last year about intranets and what drivers do local government need for them.
This post by Confused of Calcutta starts to not only articulate what people need internally in “facebook terms” but also pulls out the fundamental changes that IT departments need to go through.
It will be important for IT departments to get the basics right and to offer real value to staff. This also means that IT will need to truly understand the business it sits within.
Can we say that IT departments in the public sector really understand the nature of the business they are a part of. Probably not, but then again can anyone really understand the true breadth of public services.
If the IT department was made to behave like Facebook, what would an enterprise look like?
via More on the Facebookisation of the enterprise – confused of calcutta.
I like the question, it starts to make you think about what your IT offering should be and how you can align that with the business. This also requires IT to change from just being a “Provider” of services to an “Advisor”, helping and understanding the business achieve its business goals and strategies. I have recently commented on a post by Todd Biske which also highlights the shift IT has to go through.