Usability, content, search and analytics on the corporate intranet

Luke to join Helpful Technology

2 July, 2012 – Luke Oatham

After nearly five years at MoJ, it’s au revoir as I plan to move on from the Civil Service to join Steph Gray at Helpful Technology in the role of Client Service Director.

I’ll be involved across a range of services at Helpful Technology including development, training and consultancy. My initial focus is going to be working with clients using The Social Simulator, designing and running simulations to test how teams handle social media in a crisis.

I’ve only met Steph a handful of times at various Mail/Tea/GovCamp events but we’ve followed each other online over the years and my move to Helpful Technology is a tribute to social media and social networking, through which, I’ve been able to showcase and raise the  visibility  of my skills and work experience and also get a pretty good idea of the guy I’m going to be working with.

I strongly believe that to understand social media, you’ve got to use it. And it was with this in mind that I decided to write an online journal of my trials and tribulations working on a corporate intranet. On St Valentine’s Day in 2010, I posted my first intranet diary blog post on setting up Google Analytics for an intranet. It has remained one of my top 5 most popular posts. I’ve watched other intranet blogs sprout, learned, shared and engaged with a niche crowd of intranet, comms, social media, government and usability fanatics. And I’ve tried to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of social media and its uses.

I was never the intranet manager at MoJ as many people assumed; my role has always been usability and information architecture, content, search and analysis. But I do love intranets and I have enjoyed witnessing the courtship of social media and intranets as businesses move towards intranet 2.0 – or whatever buzzword we use these days. It would be interesting to watch how the world of intranets progresses within government. Especially the initial pilot and the great merging of all the Justice intranets.

I leave MoJ on agreeable terms having spent the first half of my time concentrating on the intranet and the various redesigns, ongoing improvements and day to day concerns that have been the source of my posts on intranet diary. I’ve spent the remainder of my time on the public website where I’ve managed the information architecture of a massive website convergence project and been responsible for user experience in the subsequent website releases including our first move to a fully mobile site using responsive design.

I will be sad to leave such a great team at MoJ who really have been a family to me since I arrived in 2007. But I’m excited about working in a private sector agency again, where I can make a serious difference for people using my technological bag of tricks. There will still be the occasional post on intranet diary, and of course I hope to be able to put my intranet experience to good use in my new role.

So here’s to all the members of the web team, past, present and reoffenders over the years, in no particular order: Jeremy, Jane, Derek, Graham, Cherry, Richard, Jen, Nettie, Fiona, Dianne, Sarah, Sally, Sundeep, Geoff, Chris, Harj, Steve, Rax, Marc, Sue, Adam, Nick, James, Matt, Ann, Vera, Trent, Dan, Aidan and Roger. Ok, and Bridget. And to all my chums in internal comms, the design team, the public enquiry line, the press office and those from the Directgov and information teams who I never really got to work closely with.

I start my new role in September, working from the new Helpful Technology offices at Trafalgar Square.

Come and say hello!

Justice website and intranet design history on Prezi

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