IntraTeam 2012 round-up

Last week your intrepid bloggers, Luke and Sharon, jetted off to Copenhagen for a conference put on by Scandinavian intranet specialists IntraTeam. The IntraTeam Event, now in its fifth year, brought together intranet specialists from across Europe and further afield for three days of talks and workshops – not to mention a lot of meat and beer.

Day one

Labelled as pre-conference, promised workshops on emerging intranet trends. Jane McConnell had to drop out due to illness, but the indefatigable Martin White delivered two workshops in her stead (one on virtual teams, and another on enterprise mobile). This meant it was something of the Martin White show, although in our honest opinions that’s not a bad thing – Martin talks a lot of sense.

I also attended a workshop with Mark Morell on the digital workplace. This was the first of many sessions on the theme and I came away with two observations: 1) that the digital workplace is gaining traction beyond intranet experts; but 2) no one really knows what the digital workplace actually means.

Our only criticism of day one is that the workshops weren’t very workshoppy; they were slightly shorter talks. A more interactive format might have differentiated these sessions from those on the later days.

Day Two

I was eventually joined at conference by Luke, who had somehow convinced UK officials to give him a valid passport. The first day of the conference proper was in many ways the less interesting of the two; numerous schedule changes, together with the fact half the sessions were in Danish meant there wasn’t much choice about what to attend (at least, not if you don’t speak Danish).

One highlight from Day 2 was Jim Ylisela‘s ‘Making the Business Case for Lively Intranet Communications’, which took the murky world of Chicago politics as an analogy for our own organisations. His key messages – to identify and work with key stakeholders, and to keep plugging away in order to keep the intranet fresh in people’s minds – aren’t breaking any new ground, but the manner of delivery was such that it was well worth attending.

In the afternoon participants split into roundtable discussions. Luke and I did one on social intranets, which – while interesting – would have been more so if there were more participants. Perhaps fewer sessions with more people would have produced a more lively discussion, but others in different groups might have had different experiences.

Next up, Jeff Willinger from Righpoint promised to “make Sharepoint sexy”. We’re not sure he managed that, but he did get the room dancing to Katy Perry. The day wrapped up with the IntraTeam prize for best Danish intranet (with a local government intranet narrowly beating TV station TV2 to take home the prize), and a quick tour through the Danish Foreign Ministry‘s Sharepoint implementation.

Day Three

The last day was a different kettle of fish altogether; trying to choose any one session was difficult as the other sounded really tempting too – so much so that I wish I could have cloned myself and attend both.

With two exceptions: my talk on mobile intranets, in the first session of the day, was clearly THE place to be, as was Luke’s later in the day.

Following on from my session was Oscar Berg, with a controversial talk on why intranets fail today’s knowledge workers. His argument is the opposite of the lean intranet; as the cost of serving content falls, it becomes ever easier to serve minority interests. I’m not sure I agree – more often than not, bloated intranets make it harder for users to find the content they’re actually looking for – but it was worth hearing the arguments.

Luke had the dubious honour of taking the sleepy slot after lunch. Lucky for those of us watching, his history in screenshots approach had the audience hooked. Luke covered a range of themes from developing a single intranet for companies which develop through mergers, to branding, to developing social functionality. This session, like several others during the conference, talked about the growing importance of community management in improving organisational communciations. As users increasingly value what their peers say, the need for effective community management is gaining management attention.

As Luke headed to the airport, I stuck around for the final session of the day, on Lundbeck‘s LinkedIn-powered expertise directory. An interesting approach, but one I’m not sure will have much application elsewhere. But that’s the great thing about intranets – what works for one isn’t going to work for another, but it all provides some good food for thought to take back to our own organisations.

A terrific event

All in, despite the logistical challenges, Kurt and the IntraTeam crew put on a smashing event. The sessions were perfectly pitched at the audience of mid- and senior-level specialists and covered a wide range of subjects relevant to those managing large, complex intranets. The venue was excellent; even with occasional wobbles, the wifi availability was better than most other events I’ve attended. This helped the lively Twitter backchannel to thrive, adding to the quality of discussions in the room.

This conference is definitely recommended.

Were you at the IntraTeam event? What did you think of it? Let us know via the comments below.



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