Digital Workplace Trends 2013 – and Participation Opportunity for 2014

In the busyness of my research, travels, and consulting in recent years, I have struggled to find enough time to read and review the great work my colleagues are doing around the world in areas adjacent to my own. I have quite a backlog of articles, reports, and books to read / review / comment on, and one such item is the Digital Workplace Trends survey and report by Jane McConnell. Simply put, if you have anything to do with the strategy, design, or intent of intranets / collaboration tools / social business approaches / governance at your organization, you should be involved in Jane’s work. Jane has done an outstanding job over the past seven years to document the development of intranets, prod people towards good practice, and stimulate effective approaches in these spaces.

I have a copy of the 2013 report – in PDF format. It’s thought-provoking. It’s big (169 pages). It’s well laid out. It’s created with the intent of stimulating conversation and discussion about what you are doing in particular areas. The report has eight major sections: transformation, mobile, social collaboration, process, experience, investment, change, and finding your direction. Each section is between 15 and 20 pages in length, and Jane calls out the major ideas / changes / trends in each of these areas. Jane also puts a lot of emphasis on calling out the differences between early adopters of particular ideas, and those who are less quick to embrace each area. This is a helpful checkpoint for assessing what your organization is doing, and to force contemplation as to whether you should be doing more. A feature I liked in the 2013 report was the inclusion of one page case studies from practitioners; for example on page 24, Thomas Maeder, the Head of Communication and Collaboration Experience at Swisscom AG, writes about their digital workplace journey. These case studies ground the big ideas from the report in a specific organizational context.

The Social Collaboration section, one of the most interesting sections for me given my work, starts on page 42. In the pages that follow, Jane highlights the following key points:
– There are a wide range of social collaboration capabilities deployed, with the difference between the majority and early adopters highlighted in a ladder diagram.
– There is relatively low overall satisfaction with adoption.
– That adoption is lagging especially for “disruptive” social capabilities. The spider diagram highlights the largest gaps between deployment and adoption rates (see slide 5 in the deck below for the diagram).
– There is a boom in enterprise social networks, but they are not yet thriving.

The report then does a deep dive on content creation and interaction, working in real time, and networking (e.g., finding expertise). Five case studies – Elsevier, Carl Ziess AG, Colacem, Sodexo, and Wells Fargo – are then profiled. The Colacem case study talks about how the company has learned to work together better through the use of wikis, and highlights the key change / adoption facilitators. (In the language of User Adoption Strategies, I’d talk about adoption “strategies”).

Jane is getting ready to kick off the 2014 survey, but since I’ve been late in getting this written, it may be too late for your organization to participate now, if you haven’t already registered with Jane. You could always try registering and see if you can get in. If it is too late, create a forward reminder for yourself to check back with Jane’s site in September 2014, and sign up for the 2015 one. And in the meantime, buy a copy of the report for 2014 to get you into the right frame of reference.

Jane sent me some of the details you will need to know:
– The survey is now in its 8th year.
– Jane will include a customized scorecard for each organization participating in the survey. They will also receive a copy of the final report.
– The survey takes about an hour to complete.
– Themes covered this year include the impact on the physical workplace, social collaboration, leadership involvement, and preparing for the future workplace.
– Jane has published a downloadable Quick Reference Guide for the 2014 survey.

So … go for it. Get involved. Learn and improve. Do great work. (And many thanks Jane for taking on the challenge of coordinating and analyzing this segment year-by-year.)