It’s been a busy week for the Intranetizens. Alongside our day jobs managing and advising on intranets and digital communications, we found the time to record our very first podcast while two of us – Jon and Sharon – attended IntraTeam Event in Copenhagen. This week’s blogpost is about both of those things.
First up, the conference review. We try to review as many of the events we attend as possible – partly to share the learning with those who weren’t able to make it, and also so you can make a decision on where to spend your training budget next year.
IntraTeam Event is aimed squarely at intranet and digital workplace teams – clue’s in the name – and for that reason it’s a favourite of ours, with all four of us having attended over the years. It attracts a mixed crowd from Scandinavia, northern Europe and a few from further afield, who in the main tend to be relatively advanced intranet practitioners, with experience delivering mature and complex intranets.
That maturity meant that, for both of us, this year’s event was focused on the future possibilities of the digital workplace – and it’s that which makes this conference so valuable.
Sharon’s introduction to chatbots for the digital workplace was just one of many talks on this emerging topic. Chris McGrath of Tangowork also talked about the potential for chatbots to streamline and deliver employee content and services – and went on to demonstrate how to build a basic bot using Microsoft Q and A maker.
Mando’s Jonathan Seal went into more detail on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace, including intelligent bots. All told, chatbots were this year’s hot new thing, but there was a recognition that these are very much in the experimental phase, with many practitioners experimenting with the format, but few chatbots being used as a live service within organisations.
But unlike many other intranet fads, we think this one has real potential, particularly inside the enterprise. Once Workplace by Facebook opens its platform to bots this could go mainstream quickly. One of the most valuable things about this conference was the quality of the conversations taking place in corridors after each of the sessions. It was clear that people could see valuable use cases for chatbots as a component of the digital workplace, and many were already experimenting with their own.
Official vs shadow IT
The big guns were on show once again with a number of presentations featuring Office 365, Jive and others. The presentation from Jasper Oosterveld was particularly insightful and gave a great rundown of the O365 box-of-tricks. In this session — and in numerous backchannel conversations — we were struck how official IT (the suppliers of O365) is being challenged by shadow IT ie. the tools that sneak into companies unofficially. Slack v. Yammer; Planner v. Trello — we’re seeing Official v. Shadow IT smash downs everywhere.
We’ve written a few posts on Facebook’s Workplace already and it was the topic of a few excellent presentations at Intrateam. Of particular note were the presentations from Agnieszka Haladus from trans.eu and David Kennedy from Save the Children. What we saw were practical, active implementations that were already delivering significant value back to the business and users. While everyone acknowledged that the onboarding was simple and the barrier to entry incredibly low given everyone’s consumer experience with Facebook, it was interesting to see that there was still a need for light-touch training.
Mobile remains a frontier breached by only a few. In the excellent intranet expo at the conference, companies were showcasing their desktop intranet experiences but yet as we heard from a few key speakers, mobile remains a sharp opportunity if you can get it right. Jonathan Phillips session focused on filtering to optimise the mobile experience. Much like our Search and Destroy post, he centred on the principle that fewer, better, mobile-centric apps will be the route to success.
Did we mention the podcast?
Today we’re proud to launch Intranatter — the Digital Workplace podcast from the Intranetizen team. Each episode, we’ll talk about what we’ve seen and heard in the intranet world, talk to guest speakers and follow up on some of the backchannel conversations around our posts. First episode is here (to subscribe) or listen directly below.