If you haven’t yet heard of the J.Boye conferences then having attended my first one last week in Aarhus, I would definitely recommend it to any Web and Intranet professionals. The key theme this year, for both Philadelphia and Aarhus, was ‘Sharing is Caring’, which Janus Boye, founder of J.Boye, spoke about at our conference Interaction in October – highlighting the need to unlock the knowledge within your organisation and get people sharing!

Since Interact were a key sponsor for this year’s conference Scott Hitchins, Nigel Danson and I all attended and  thought we would share some of our key highlights from the two days we were there….

Wednesday – Conference Day #2 

The first full conference day for us started with an opening keynote from Pernille Tranberg with ‘Fake Your Online Identity’. Pernille talked about personal data becoming ‘the oil’ of the digital world and asked whether we should safeguard our details by creating multiple identities, helping us to maintain control.

Part of the talk that echoed our own thoughts was how nuggets of gold are in the small conversations, ideas and answers to small problems within the big data. This is why we believe so much in content finding people and intelligent intranets so it was good to hear it being discussed in a wider context.

It was interesting to hear that we all have a ‘DNA data profile’ from sharing information about ourselves online, which companies want to capture to help target us with individually tailored messages to cut through the mass of information we all receive every day (Nigel Danson talked about this recently in the CMS Wire article ‘Bringing content to people’).

Read more: Use a fake name on Facebook

Following this opening keynote the conference then divided into 5 distinct streams; Going Mobile, Digital Strategy and Governance, Higher Education, Web Content Management and Intranet.

For the Interact team it was all about Intranets!

In this stream some of the highlights included:

Devise a winning intranet strategy by Martin Risgaard Rasmussen who discussed the purpose of their intranet  being to help employees communicate, connect and collaborate to get daily work done so their guiding manifesto is ‘Insite is FOR YOU – not for US’.

He also highlighted not making the intranet a one-off project, it continually needs working on. Aligning your intranet strategy to overall business goals and continually measuring and listening to actual users. And finally ensuring users have the best tools possible to do their job – if new features are required you need to implement and give training to ensure adoption.

At the end Martin recommended reading the intranet manifesto by Jesper Bylund – http://bit.ly/IntraManifest

Sharon O’Dea & Jonas Bladt Hansen both presented a track on Intranets – Transforming work

Jonas presented a great insight into using gamification at Danish National Railways to engage their employees. And his colleague spoke about brain-hacking and what he referred to as ‘reptile behaviours’.

Sharon then went on to present the challenges of working for Standard Chartered Bank and managing an intranet for a global workforce of – 87,000 employees. Saying that mobility is not about making your services mobile but designing them for people who are mobile. Journey: broadcast – online services – collaboration – flexibility – mobility.

Charlotte Borthwick of G4S Group (an Interact customer) then took to the stage to talk about the journey G4S went through to get their intranet live. Key points covered included how they had no IT support so they had to have an intranet that was easy to use and could adapt and grow with the needs of this global organisation.

Charlotte shared their intranet homepage and highlighted how every part of it was dynamic content so it required little involvement from her to keep the intranet homepage engaging and relevant to their huge workforce – critical for improving user adoption.

The final talk of the day was Linda Tinnert talking about knowledge sharing in IKEA. She delivered a great talk and discussed how through the digital workplace they wanted to grow IKEA by empowering co-workers who would connect effectively to increase speed, share knowledge, and collaborate. In every thing they do they have the guiding principles – must be easy to use, right tool for right purpose, high quality, create positive user experience, and be secure!

To round off the day 7 vendors then competed in ‘Can you fix it’, doing a 7 minute pitch about how their technology solved a key customer problem. Scott and I participated, focusing on how the intelligent features within Interact Intranet helped G4S connect relevant content on their intranet to each employee.

Day two finally ended with a fantastic meal in the Aarhus Museum of Art – some very strange sights indeed (oh and yes that is me looking very tiny in the middle photo!)…

Thursday – Conference Day #3

A key highlight of the conference was the very engaging keynote from Alan Pelz Sharpe, 451 Research talking about ‘How real is the social workplace revolution?’ Alan spoke about the need for business processes and the need to get work done being the driver for intranets and setting the structure.

“Efficiency sells and when we have a digital workplace we want people to collaborate and cooperate to ensure what someone did last week isn’t repeated by someone else the following week.”

This is being talked about much more now and is something we are passionate about at Interact. The social element of an intranet is just a bunch of features that provide a collaboration layer on business tools such as activities, processes and forms.

Angela Ashenden, from MWD Advisors backed this up in her talk on ‘Collaboration trends for 2013’ with a good graphic showing how social networking and interaction is almost a wrapper for communication, content and applications.

Angela’s talk also included some good best practice tips for collaboration, including;

  1. Be clear why it is important for your business – don’t just follow the crowd and without purpose you can’t prove your success
  2. Avoid big bag roll outs of new technology – little and often and don’t forget to repeat messages
  3. Integrate collaboration tools with your key business apps – don’t create another silo, make it easy for people to collaborate to improve adoption
  4. Plan your change management strategy – don’t rely on viral adoption. Demonstrate, educate, evangelise. Lead by example.

People want tools to make their lives easier so ensure you are building an intranet around this.

The afternoon we were then back into streams, which included;

How to use web analytics – to track, report, analyse and optimise activity and linking everything back to key business drivers. Particularly relevant since it was the talk prior to the launch of our own Interact Analytics package.

Future of responsive design – with Claude Stadel Petersen saying we should design for mobile first, followed by Dan Lewis showing some great real world examples of responsive design and telling us what agencies won’t!

So a very action packed two days with excellent speakers and some great content delivered.

Final thoughts leaving Aarhus…

Social and collaborative tools must support getting work done and improve efficiency. For Interact this really aligns with our belief in how intranets will support the future workforce.

Intranets will play a key role in the digital workplace of the future, providing a scalable social layer blended with business process tools and employee communications.

Organisations are all individuals and one size does not fit all. Platforms must be able to adapt to the personality of each organisation and then evolve as required.

Read others experiences of the J.Boye conference on twitter – #jboye12

Did you find this useful? Tell us below or tweet us at @intranetexperts – after all “Sharing is Caring”!