Test out your intranet knowledge with our Christmas crossword. Download the PDF, print it out, complete the crossword and email it to [email protected] for your chance to win a bottle of Champagne! We will pick a winner from a hat on the 23rd December and announce it in our January newsletter. If you win you’ll hear about it before Christmas. Good luck!
Bots. Yet another technology buzzword that seems to be on peoples lips in recent months. The volume is getting louder and louder. Its tempting to ignore it, at least until the hype has passed and more sensible, grounded thinking starts to emerge. Think about Big Data – the hype around that was phenomenal and yet in reality it has still to make any difference to most businesses. However, with bots and in particular, intranet bots, I can think of three big reasons why intranet managers should sit up and pay attention now:
1) Intranet bots make work life easier and more productive
The first reason is the productivity gains offered by bots. At work we all waste time on tiresome tasks which have nothing to do with our reasons for being there. Booking meetings, travel, booking holiday, submitting expenses, etc. are things that can be fairly easily automated for bots to carry out. APIs and connectors to HR systems like Workday will make the job even easier and will offer a rich array of tasks to automate. If you want to see a list of ideas of of how bots can save time and money in the workplace I recommend Intranetizens post on 8 intranet bots that should exist. Also check out James Robertsons recent post containing crowdsourced ideas when he asked an audience the blue-sky question, imagine you can only talk to your digital workplace, what would you want to ask it?
2) Intranet bots will deliver a better user experience
Intranet managers understand that if you want to change habits and drive adoption of your intranet, you need to make life easier for employees. But as we all know building bulletproof user interfaces is difficult because users are an unpredictable bunch. They tend not to think in the same ordered way as intranet managers. Ive sat in intranet usability workshops and seen users demonstrate thought patterns that are really quite random if not totally chaotic, reducing the finest information architecture to an alien language. Bots give us a great opportunity to simplify interface design because they typically use just a straightforward chat interface. Most people are familiar with Facebook messenger, Skype or Whatsapp. The trick in good bot design will be anticipating the right terms and vocabularies that users will no doubt throw at the poor bot. Get me that deck I sent to Bill the other day.
3) Bot technology is accessible and cheap
The third reason why I believe intranet bots are likely to make a big and fairly quick impact in the digital workplace is because bot technology is not that complex to use and is really quite accessible. You can build your own bot in minutes by playing with some of the frameworks developed by the big software vendors. Whats more, some of these are free. If you have just half a head for code try using the Microsoft Bot Framework. If coding is not your thing then you can still play around at building a virtual agent using IBM’s Watson Bluemix demo. With many intranet technologies companies typically have to dig deep into their pockets not only to buy expensive software and hardware but also to fund big implementation projects. New technology projects are intimidating because they can feel rather like a big bang. The great thing about bots is that they lend themselves to be built in an iterative way. You dont have to boil the ocean. Once you have a bot framework set up you can start bot-ifying’ individual processes and tasks in the workplace one-by-one. This iterative approach feels inherently less risky to intranet managers and produces lots of quick wins to spur them on.
So whats the next step to accelerate your journey into bots? Based on my last paragraph it makes sense to just dip your toe in the water. Start with one of your organisation’s simpler processes or common tasks and try to bot-ify it. Dont get too bogged down in technology choice at this stage. Think of it more as a proof of concept. Were itching to work on a proper bot project so you could give us a call too 😉
ClearBox Consulting, run by Sam Marshall, has included our Wizdom SharePoint intranet in their independent review of 26 products.
Webtops Wizdom product greatly extends the functionality of SharePoint as a publishing and collaboration tool. It is a relatively mature product with a good track record of medium and large-scale implementations”
“There is an extensive library of pre-existing apps, page designs, web parts and features which allow clients to effectively build their bespoke SharePoint intranet. Web tops description of ‘intranet lego’ is apt.”
“The design options available are extensive, based on a wide-range of templates ClearBox Consulting
â€” ClearBox Consulting (@ClearBoxTeam) January 11, 2017
This is the largest and most comprehensive review of the ready-to-go intranet market, and will help buyers understand the many ways SharePoint can be improved to provide a better intranet experience.
We know, from our years of developing custom SharePoint solutions and intranet designs, that SharePoint is powerful and massively configurable a fantastic platform for your digital workplace. But we also know that people can find SharePoint clunky to use. User research shows us time and time again that vanilla SharePoint does not deliver a modern intranet that meets peoples expectations expectations shaped by consumer-focused apps and the social web.
Wizdom fixes many of SharePoints UX problems. It quickly transforms SharePoint, giving people a pleasing look and feel and bringing a large set of communication and collaboration tools to them.
Wizdom is a Danish product and Webtop, its makers, are keen to point out that its clean, no-nonsense interface echoes the design style that Denmark is famous for.
Content Formula is the sole and exclusive reseller of Wizdom in the UK and have a close partnership with Weptop. While its a global market, we think digital teams in the UK will consider location a key criterion when thinking about culture, cost, and on-going support for their intranet. They will be pleased to see that Wizdom has a solid partner in the UK with a long-standing intranet heritage and SharePoint expertise.
You can also contact us directly to arrange a demo of Wizdom.