It was an interesting experience writing A week in the digital workplace. The real-world narrative structure forces you to look at how things are really going to work, from a user perspective. (No abstract theory allowed!)
Coming from an intranet starting point, I’ve found it useful to look back through the stories, and to observe where the intranet ends up fitting in the bigger digital workplace landscape.
Here are my observations:
- It’s still about the intranet. Far from dying, the intranet is an even more important starting point for staff, and it’s where they’re spending an increasing amount of their day.
- These are not today’s intranets. The intranets that form the hub of the true digital workplace are hugely different to today’s intranets. They are business tools that are directly integrated into work, and they finally deliver the vision of elegantly joining together behind-the-scenes tools and platforms.
- Does the intranet only live on the desktop? While “Morris” is still recognisable as an intranet, would Sarah call the functionality on her phone the intranet? I suspect not. What will these new always-available tools be called? I have no idea.
- The future is a lot more social. But rather than replacing the “traditional intranet”, they will drive the evolution of the intranet towards something much better aligned with the needs of staff (as people).
- Lines are blurred. Staff don’t understand systems, and don’t care about systems. What they want is a “single seamless environment that provides them with the tools and information they need to do their jobs”. The digital workplace is perhaps the way to understand what this looks like, and I think it paints an exciting future for intranets.
The intranet remains, for me, the best platform for helping the business and staff be productive. The vision of the digital workplace, rather than making intranets obsolete, should give teams new impetus for driving the intranet forward.
Do you agree with this? What are your intranet take-aways from A week in the digital workplace?