Usability, content, search and analytics on the corporate intranet

End of purdah and election 2010

16 May, 2010 – Luke Oatham

It feels like I’ve had my online mouth clamped for the past month or so due to “purdah”, the rule that prevents civil servants from expressing opinions which might influence election results.  So, to continue…

April and May have been eventful in the intranet team.  Since the announcement of the election date, we have tried to plan for every eventuality, including a name change and a hung parliament.  Now that the new government is in place, we’ve updated details of new ministers and archived news stories from the previous administration. We’ve got new Twitter, Flickr and YouTube accounts.  And a brand new website (but still with no ability to share news stories.)

We have completed our annual intranet usability benchmarking exercise with IBF and also an intranet satisfaction survey using Gerry McGovern’s “Customer Centric Index”.  Should get results in next week.  Can’t wait.  The research will serve as a good benchmark against industry best practice (where I hope we’ve done well) and will give us valuable insight from our users and key stakeholders (where I fear we have a lot more work to do).  I’d like to use this research as a basis to draw up a plan for the next six months using Step Two’s 6×2 methodology.

Meanwhile, back at Headquarters, our IT security department has shut down access to Google Analytics.  An action that will impact on our ability to evaluate and gain insight from staff intranet activity and communications campaigns.  They claim that it’s possible for people outside the firewall to rewrite the intranet.  This is from a department that still installs Internet Explorer version 6 as the corporate browser and who employ third party companies who leave sensitive data on buses.

There are rumours that another government department has shut down access to Yammer, the internal micro-blogging tool.

Despite having a vision of how the intranet could slowly start to engage staff more, allowing them to interact with each other and influence the direction of intranet development, my hopes of ever introducing a collaborative/digital workplace are dwindling in this environment where you just can’t make any progress with IT behind the firewall.  The whole of the civil service is being asked to do “more for less” yet we are forbidden from using modern digital tools that help to increase productivity and staff morale.  Why is it that government is promoting social media and digital innovation but won’t let their own staff use it in the workplace?

Ok, rant over. On a positive note, June should kick off with a great start on the 2nd and 3rd with IBF 24 where I’m looking forward to seeing some great examples of progressive companies who are introducing social media into the workplace and turning over power to the people.

One response to “End of purdah and election 2010”

  1. RaxRaxRax says:

    Luke

    Oh dear. I see that IT security still haven’t got their heads around what’s what. What’s the point in creating a well guarded fortress when it impedes the very function of that fortress? Hope they get some clarity soon. Good luck at the next round of IBF. Am sure you guy’s’ll come out top!

    Rax

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