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Monday, February 04, 2008

It's the end user!!

I saw this post by Gaping Void (Image © Hugh McLeod - 2007.) and thought of this when talking about new technology and introducing into an enterprise.

The software has to help the user and it has to match what they want to help them achieve their day to day work. It is why I like to use wikis because they are easy to use and easy to set up as are blogs. However all the technology in the world is like Ozymandias's legs - useless unless people want to share with their colleagues which is a social and cultural way of life.

It’s about recognising that we now live in a world where we use knowledge and information on a daily basis and that sharing it should be front of mind — that is:
  1. sharing ways of doing things
  2. sharing best-practice and better practice
  3. sharing information and where we found it
  4. being collaborative rather than secretive
The main problem I've found is that most intranet's that I've seen are too top down and also aren't very easy to utilise on a day to day basis and from experience, if people want to use the technology, they will find a way to do it to help them achieve the four objectives above and will by pass technology that does not assist them.

Intranets as they are currently formulated don't seem to be the way forward to foster collaborative work especially if it is of a multi office approach.

When I was trialling an extranet back in 1999, it was sold to sceptical partners because it took me 45 minutes to set one up from scratch and it could be deployed in an emergency - quicker than going through an overly formal approach. At the end of the day any system should deliver on the following points to help the earlier 4 points be realised:-
  • serve the end user and deliver benefits to the business
  • be simple to set up.
  • take no more than 15 minutes to train someone to use the system.
  • be simple to use.
  • the ability to preview.
  • a three step process - write, preview and post.
Does your intranet or any other system that you are using in your enterprise deliver this and if not should you be working with your IT team to deliver systems that achieve this aim. Just some thoughts based on some experience.

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