Intranet Now was on 5th October and it was the second year that I’d attended. This year I donned a purple sash to help Lisa Riemers and Wedge Black run their wonderful event. I’m saying that not because I was a volunteer, or because I spoke, but because it really is a highlight of my year.
In fact, I volunteered and decided to speak because it’s one of my favourite conferences. The day was packed full of conversations and below are some of the things I think you’d find most interesting.
I’ve already mentioned that I SPOKE! It went by in a flash, but I thoroughly enjoyed it (and I think the people listening liked it to). I spoke about what I’ve learned in the first year of a new job. I chose that topic because it would have been very useful to have known a year ago what I know now. But anyway, onto the day itself…
The world of intranets is filled with passionate and talented people, from across all countries. Each intranet has its own personality, carefully curated by the people who sit behind the screens. This makes them a fantastic bunch and fascinating to talk to, or be talked at in the case of the presentations.
The Microsoft shaped elephant in the room
Is Microsoft eating the world? It was a question that was pondered a few times during the day, and one that Tanya Burak from Savills posed in her presentation. Her experience, like many of our own, has been mixed – but she shared some of her plans to move Savills’ digital workplace forward, a drive that will be heavily influenced by the end users which is something I certainly should keep in mind when elbow deep in tech.
Digital employee experience
Digital employee experience, or DEX as James Robertson called it, is at the core of what we do. However it can get caught up in the practicalities of the daily fight for governance, fresh content, engagement, and all those other words we’re familiar with. But we must remember that these aren’t distinct things and James’ presentation on recent award winning intranets (from his Step Two Awards) was hugely inspirational.
Researching employees to give them a good experience
Remembering the importance of DEX is the first step, but working out what that actually means is the second. Although we know that every employee needs to have a positive digital experience, that will mean different things in every business. So getting a grounding of what your employees think and feel is a good way to get things moving. Janet White from Fairtrade Foundation gave a really useful presentation on how to do that sort of research on a shoestring, which is quite often what we intranet or internal comms people have to work with!
I’ve already mentioned Microsoft, but all sorts of different platforms (and support services) were represented at Intranet Now. Each has fantastic products and services to offer, and all had an opportunity to stand up and talk to the crowd. Jeremy Stewart from Sorce, Kelly Freeman from Interact and Sukh Ryatt from Oak stand out in particular, giving almost vendor-neutral presentations and acting as yet another point of inspiration for everyone. It’s always useful to keep an eye on the tech that’s out there, and the digital landscape is looking strong.
So what did I take away?
I have to mention Donna Noble here. She ran a short session on taking a moment to breathe and centre yourself. So soon after Mental Health Awareness Week this feels even more relevant, and an entire minute of quiet in a conference was entirely needed and something I’ll take away with me.
A last thought and action
I said in my presentation that I am, and we are all experts. This event reinforced that in me even more. I also learned that I love the world of intranets. It has fired me up and inspired me, so much so that I’ve started a blog. That’s a bit unusual from a conference, isn’t it?