Category Archives: Uncategorized

From collaboration tools confusion to a vision for a future digital workplace

“..I am just so confused about all the overlapping collaboration tools that I have to really think hard every time I want to access one of them…its crazy, there must be a simpler and easier way to do this and somehow knit them all together ?..“

I was conducting user requirements phone interviews with users from across our network and this one was no different from many of the others I had sat through in the past 2 weeks. What I was hearing was the reality of a user’s daily experience in an organisation that had adopted a patchwork of technologies over a period of time – some of which had stuck and some which had just not been adopted to the extent that had originally been intended.  In some cases the tools had themselves introduced further challenges, including causing confusion and overlapping with similar but different initiatives – as well as creating dead end silos where information ended up going to die. I hate to even think about the wasted $$ amounts in terms of the lost productivity. Don’t get me started on that…


Creating a bold vision for the future
I’m sure, like me, there are lots of folks facing this exact same scenario in other organisations right now. The more you talk to your users, the more obviously this problem stands out but how do we begin to address it?  Well for me it starts with defining a clear PoV / vision for what our future state workplace should look like through the eyes and day to day experience of the end user. This must be truly holistic rather than being another roadmap to trot out standard upgrades to existing tools.  Coupled with this we must emulate learnings from the rapid growth in consumer world technology which our users make use of in their everyday lives. Boundaries between the corporate systems and consumer tech are blurring and we need to capitalise on this in order to allow our people to be more engaged, more productive and more willing to use the future systems. An example is the simplicity of a well designed mobile app in a world where everyone has a smartphone v the sour taste of an unwieldy legacy system desktop experience.

For me this is about firstly acknowledging from top down (leadership) as well as bottom up (end users) that the status quo presents a huge problem and that we must commit to address it.  Users want to be able to seamlessly connect and collaborate with one another as a natural part of a business process – not as a separate step that requires them to remember how to get to tool x, to launch it, make a posts etc… and then have to return to their initial starting point once done.

Secondly it is about defining what a single user centric digital workspace with collaboration capabilities baked into it, and that is seamlessly integrated across the digital landscape, will look and feel like. It must be founded on priority end user needs, as well as be contextual to where and how users get work done. If we paint this vision, coupled with strong leadership buy in and in close partnership with sister functions such as Comms, ITS, HR, we can start to work on telling the story and engaging users around it. Then we can start to work in a common direction that we can all work towards rather than finding ourselves going through the next cycle of serving up more of the same and just upgrading what we have.


Here comes Workplace!

So we learnt that Facebook’s official product entry into the enterprise social software market will from today be called “Workplace” (formerly known as Facebook at Work) + it has unveiled a number of new features / enhancements today.

It will be fascinating to see which organisations now move ahead with it beyond the 1,000 who have been piloting it, how the analysts rate it and where it is a year from now in term of new customers, product development and roadmap…. this marks a very interesting time with a consumer world giant moving in the enterprise collaboration arena…watch this space!

Building an army of ESN champions

I was reminded this week that it was just over 2 years ago that we launched the Hub, our global enterprise social network here at KPMG. Thinking back those early days I remember both the excitement and trepidation that I felt as I tried to imagine what the organisation would look like with everyone using our new social platform.

One topic I kept coming back (and still do) to time and again was that we would need to recruit an army of Champions to help us sell the story of the Hub and to build momentum across our global network.  Yes we had a model for rolling out and driving adoption by country but the total headcount of those resources was tiny in comparison to the size of the organisation.  They could not do it alone. I should also explain that like many other professional service organisations, the one I work for is effectively a network of franchised countries who all use the same branding, name etc. but who are all autonomous in their own right. Each has its own unique culture too (that’s a whole other post..). We have to work through standard deployment steps with each one but importantly once beyond that we need arms and legs on the ground to help to foster, sell and ultimately to drive adoption.


As each country’s Hub journey begins, there is a country lead who takes care of all the deployment steps (Risk, Security etc. etc.) and who works identify the first local use cases who will form the early adopting communities. Local community managers are then identified at the individual Group level (or Subjects as we call them) – these folks get some basic training in their roles and responsible as Subject Managers of those groups and are encouraged to join our Subject Managers network to share experience and knowledge and collaborate around their role etc. And so it goes on in each country and for global /cross border groups where the same Subject Manager model applies too…

Despite all this however what we do lack is a solid network of key individuals who really champion the Hub beyond those Country leads and the global or local Subject Managers.  These are the people who are passionate about social, who get it and who question at every step why others are not using it.  We tend to find that they do exist and are the real social advocates but they are very few and far between. Finding more of them is hard. In short we need to recruit real Champions who can be the extended arms, ears and advocates of the Hub. Who can sell it to others and infect their enthusiasm on others.

At the other end of the scale we are building out Global Community Manager resource capabilities from a central global team perspective but these folks serve a different purpose…

To provide a sense of scale, today we have over 90+ countries live (out of 150), around 1,700 communities and 29,000 active users on the Hub but despite all the process and structure we still struggle to identify a decent number of true champions who we can rely in to sell the story of the Hub to others.  29,000 may sound like a decent number of active user but when you consider we are a massive global network (of which around 95,000 have access to the Hub today) and when you look at the total global headcount of nearly 158,000 you realise we have some way yet to go on our journey.  The Champion role is therefore a key piece therefore that we need to focus on and accelerate rapidly.

So for me one thing I want I want to get out of #ESNanon is come away with practical steps and examples from others around how they have gone about building their army of Champions beyond their central CM resources.

So looking forwards to connecting on this topic on the 21st March at ESNanon



#1 Now it’s my turn

Now it’s my turn to work out load. I know many others in my similar roles in other organisations who are already doing this and seeing the benefits. The fact that you are using your voice through blogging to share the simplest thing can help to bring about what may seem like the tiniest of change but importantly it all counts. I certainly get the benefits from reading their blogs so now I want to put add my voice to the bigger community too.

So what will I be blogging about? – well everything and anything along the way on my journey as the leader of enterprise social collaboration within a large enterprise. From using social at a large firm wide event, to leaderships jams to individual stories of why social worked for just one or two people to many tens of users.

This is about sharing the story of going social on the inside! #workingoutload