Changing the skill set to meet the digital game changers

Excellent article – be interested to know if anyone feels the ‘intranet’ skill sets need to change to adapt to the ‘game changers’?

 This is an exciting development for intranet teams, with changes to the scope and role of the intranet meaning an opportunity to redefine what they do and how they work. Intranet teams have traditionally been rigidly built around the organizational structure and technology, with the intranet team often emerging as an afterthought. The dawn of the social and digital workplace represents the possibility for some radical re-shaping of intranet teams in order to prepare for these shifts as well as open up new career opportunities in the area of social and collaboration.

Where content has been a central focus, this evolution will mean putting relationships at the centre of what intranets can achieve.  As this starts to happen, the intranet team’s role in the organization moves beyond design and communication towards that of a facilitating collaboration and knowledge sharing.

In addition, as organizations emerge from the recession, a new paradigm is becoming apparent as technology provision is no longer limited to the traditional IT department and argument over whether the colour looks right, or what graphic goes where. The availability of tools, many open source or “freemium”, outside the firewall and employees’ desire to use them in place of outmoded enterprise systems is compounding this trend.

While IT and intranet teams control, the new generation of workers are looking to innovate, share, collaborate, learn and engage not inside the physical boundaries of an office nor the virtual boundaries of a network but a social or digital workplace that spans the globe.

The behaviours, attitudes and expectations of employees are undergoing a seismic shift.  A new generation are entering the workplace, at ease with technology and redesigning our perceptions of private and public in the digital environment . This new generation, with a reputation for limited digital patience, attention seeking and being at ease with showcasing and communicating via digital platforms, will put pressure on traditional intranets to evolve in my dynamic and interactive ways.

These changes in the workplace do not mean that the fundamental skills we have looked at for intranet management are no longer needed, but they do mean that intranet teams need to respond by developing new key characteristics:

·         Becoming more agile and fluid – able to adapt quickly to new technologies and ways of working. This may mean learning new skills quickly, or bringing in these skills from other parts of the organization, or outside.

·         Becoming more user-centric – focused on fostering communities, and facilitating interaction and knowledge sharing. Nurturing the capabilities to make best use of the digital platforms available.

·         A broader scope – the intranet team may no longer be called the “intranet” team – an opportunity to re-write the definition of what the team does. For example, “Digital Communications Team” or “Web and Workplace Centre of Excellence”.

·         Leading by example – as the intranet team increasingly takes on the role of facilitator/ enabler, it is key that they demonstrate new ways of working in the social or digital workplace in their own behaviours. This is further emphasized by the fact that as the workforce becomes more technologically savvy (anyone can set up a blog, start microblogging, or find what they need on the web) everyone is becoming an “expert”.

  • Being the innovators  – as traditional boundaries and ways of working are challenged the intranet team need to become ever more creative in understanding the opportunities for the organizations online channels to develop and merge in new ways. To do so it is essential that the intranet team understand emerging technologies on the web and the user behaviours associated with them. 

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