Wizdom Conference 2017

wizdom intranet in a box conference

If you’re considering Wizdom for your turnkey intranet for SharePoint and you want to find out what existing Wizdom customers think about it you should just ask them! Come to the Wizdom Conference on 15th and 16th March 2017 which will be attended by 150-200 delegates many of whom will be Wizdom customers.

Leading intranet consultant and author of the SharePoint intranet-in-a-box buyers guide, Sam Marshall from Clearbox consulting will be presenting. Our own Dan Hawtrey will also be speaking about intranet adoption and John Scott will be running a workshop on creating winning user experiences. You’ll also get a chance to meet the makers of Wizdom. The conference is known for being relaxed and fun. There’s even a planned nature walk with a local naturalist.

Wizdom Conference 2017 will be held in the scenic town of Nyborg on the island of Funen. It’s off the beaten track but nonetheless very accessible for Brits. Flights to Copenhagen are quick and cheap less than £60 and then it’s a two hour train journey on Denmark’s slick train network. There’s a preferential hotel rate for conference delegates and the conference itself is just £300 for two days which includes food.

Visit www.wizdomkonference.dk to find out more.






Microsoft Stream vs Office 365 Video

With the release of Stream, organisations need to consider their use of Microsofts incumbent video platform, Office 365 Video. Take a look at my tour of Stream, and read my observations below. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more.

Im talking about the use of video, for engagement and comms, at the IntraTeam Event Copenhagen in March details at the bottom.

Microsoft introduced Office 365 Video in late 2014; its a much better solution than merely uploading video files to SharePoint libraries, because SharePoint isnt designed to stream video. Office 365 Video allows employees to upload a video and have it converted to the right format automatically. The video can be streamed without needing video player software. Different video channels can be used to host different content, and people can search for videos by using keywords found in the titles, or descriptions of the video, and so on. All very much like an internal YouTube.

This wasnt new technology, as many third party video services were already available that could do these things and more but, importantly, Office 365 Video was a native app and included with the Office 365 Enterprise plans.

Unfortunately, Microsoft were a little slow in rolling out some must have features such as the ability to embed O365 videos in SharePoint pages, or view video from mobile devices. But, those features are now included and its a useful app.

Introducing Microsoft Stream

So, with Office 365 video seemingly reaching a point where it was arguably a mature product, Microsoft then surprised everyone by announcing their new video baby Microsoft Stream.

Stream looks a lot like O365 video and Microsoft says that its based on the learnings from O365 video, but its a completely separate product and currently available to try as a preview version.

I notice there are a few things missing though:

No external sharing. Stream doesnt yet have the capability to share your internal videos with external partners. So only people in your organisation will be able to see the content. External sharing is apparently on the road map.

No speech transcription, yet. Now this is also something that the Stream product team are working on. Using speech recognition, Stream will allow you to search for key words that are mentioned in the audio of the video, even if those words arent in the video meta data like the title or description etc.

No editing tools. Trimming, cutting bits out, and adding chapter points is something you should do before upload.

No live streaming. Wouldnt it be great if you could live stream your town hall meeting to colleagues in other countries? Well you cant. At least not yet.

No advanced analytics. You can get some basic stats, like how many times a video has been viewed, but you cant get more detailed information like the percentage of users who watched all the way to the end, and which specific users watched a video.

No approval workflows. Ideally, it would be possible to subject videos to the same publishing processes as policies and SharePoint pages where a person or group of people get to review a draft version of a video before hitting the publish button. Unfortunately, thats not available yet and there is no word on when such a feature might be included.
IntraTeam Event Copenhagen

Into the future…

Microsoft is keen to re-assure existing Office 365 customers that Office 365 Video and Stream will eventually merge and become the same thing probably keeping the features that currently exist in each product. But, should organisations use one, or both platforms right now?

In this blog update from August, Microsoft provided some details on the thinking behind launching a new video platform, and what it means for the future of Office 365 Video. One thing that was mentioned is that Office 365 Video will still see new features arriving in the next few months e.g. being able to tag people in videos. And, importantly, they are committed to automating the migration of existing videos and meta data into the new Stream service.

The main motivation for launching a new product is a desire to offer video services to customers who are not using Office 365. So expect to see Stream as a standalone service as well as integrated in Office 365.

The point of video

Has video changed the enterprise or had any affect upon the intranet and digital comms?

Im talking about the use of video to inform, engage, and entertain on the 1st of March at the IntraTeam Event Copenhagen (surely one the largest digital workplace conferences in Europe).

Ill tackle the technical difficulties, and just what makes a good video.

Check the three-day programme; its well worth a flight.

Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter I like talking about SharePoint, intranets, and video.

Announcing Content Formula Wizdom intranet partnership

We are very excited to announce that we have agreed to be the sole UK partners for Wizdom intranet.

Wizdom is an off-the-shelf intranet for SharePoint from Denmark. We strongly believe that its the best product in a fast growing market. We approached and evaluated many different vendors (with the help of the independent intranet-in-a-box report* by Clearbox Consulting) and Wizdom was the obvious choice for us.

Why do we like it so much? First, its a mature product that is suitable for small organisations and large enterprises alike. There are well over 200 installations around the world in companies ranging from less than a hundred employees through to ones with over a 100,000! This sits well with our own varied customer base.

Second, Wizdom is a really flexible system. Being a Danish-made product the analogy with Lego building blocks is particularly apt. It comes loaded with plenty of tools and apps right out of the box. Theres no need to reinvent the wheel. But Wizdom is also a framework that sits on top of SharePoint and so gives us the option to build completely custom yet integrated components when the need arises. Some of the intranet-in-a-box options on the market are very rigid and dont provide anything like the same levels of extensibility.

Third, we really like the ease of use of the system. Not just for end-users but also for intranet managers and content managers who no longer have to struggle with complex SharePoint. Weve always believed that handing power to these stakeholders is vital so that they can build and deploy new pages and tools just by using point-and-click configuration and without recourse to developers. Companies want the power to rapidly build prototypes, test them and improve them. Wizdom opens up this agile way of working for companies.


Over the next few weeks and months we will be integrating Wizdom fully into our offering to customers alongside our bespoke intranet services. We believe that its a winning product that when coupled with our own award-winning methodology for intranet strategy, user experience design and SharePoint development expertise will give customers a top quality, state-of-the-art solution.

There are plenty of other reasons we love Wizdom. If you want to hear more about how Wizdom compares with the competition, then get in touch and we can talk you through it and show you a demo. In the meantime, check out our Wizdom UK page.


*Clearbox Consulting rated Wizdom as one of the best not only in its free 2015 report, but also in its expanded 2016 report.


The tension between your email newsletter and your intranet

We want the intranet to be the one stop shop, you say, not entirely comfortable with that phrase, we want a single source of truth.

But, not everyone likes to use the intranet, you say, we have to rely on mass emails for really important things.

Defining whats really important can be hard, especially during business change, and when there are a lot of business critical updates.

Frankly, by sending email newsletters of news that’s already appeared on the intranet were training people to expect communications to be spoon-fed to them, instead of enabling individuals to find the news that is actually relevant to them. Were demonstrating that if something is supposedly important, well email them. Were relying on push comms and relegating pull comms to, what? The canteen menu?

As the Intranetizens ironic article says:

Creating cast-iron reasons for someone to visit your intranet is a brilliant plan but please, undo your work by creating email digests of the same.

The email digest easier to swallow? 

I remember being told that Virgin Trains would send a dozen emails to staff every day, before they got their Yammer ESN sorted. Is it ever right to send 60 emails a week to everyone in your company? Only central governance, supported by appropriate tools, can quash such a deluge.

Enter the weekly / twice-monthly e-newsletter. The newsletter promises stakeholders that their news will reach people, and persuades them not to send an all employee email.

More and more companies are ditching the standard text-only mass email and plumping for a reader-friendly magazine style newsletter. But Outlook can only cope with so much, and so internal comms focused services like Newsweaver and Bananatag provide a better look and feel, and importantly, metrics on open rate and click rate.

In general, newsletters can drive traffic to the intranet, and so that has to be a good thing. No need to write hundreds of words in a newsletter when a summary and link to the intranet article will do.

However, there are intranets out there that dont offer easy ways to schedule and manage news, that don’t offer blogs or social interaction, and where staff find it impossible (for whatever reason) to remember their log-on details.

So some newsletters end up presenting all the info maybe even in secondary newsletter pages rather than linking to the intranet. So heres the tension. We train people to expect all information to be sent to them, as if they are passive recipients of company sanctioned information, and we train people to avoid seeking information on the intranet. Then we blame the intranet for being a poor platform.

Of course, your intranet in its current form might well be a poor platform, but thats another matter (we build good intranets, by the way).

Reaching the right audience (rather than always ‘everyone’)

This is all about multi-channel internal communication; the intranet isnt one single channel the home page is only one way to reach people. Theres also the many professional and interest-based communities that the intranet should support, the enterprise social network, and blogs (that provide more personal, contextual views of the official news).

No one channel or platform can reach 100% of staff 100% of the time the key is to go where your audiences already are. The communities within your enterprise social network and intranet provide rich contact points, and your senior people should be genuinely engaged.

The intranet can target news at specific audiences like people within HR, or people working in Manchester as opposed to London. Audience targeting vastly reduces the noise and the information overload that people suffer. The home page does not have to be the same experience for every member of staff when news, views, and updates are perfectly relevant, people learn to trust the intranet.

Your strategic objective to keep the right people involved with the right topics must remain your focus, rather than the importance of the channel, but you have to match the channel to the message to the audience.

Newsletters should be part of the mix, and should signpost people to more information. Its problematic when newsletters hoard information inside themselves, because details often change, and emails can be difficult to reference in the future. News articles on the intranet, and reference pages, can be updated and shared across other channels. Yesterday’s newsletter is, well, yesterday’s news.

Most comms people want an appropriate channel mix, covering different audiences with mobile intranet access, apps, emails, text messages, and social, but surely we all benefit from reduced email interruptions and a trustworthy intranet.

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