As Nic Price eloquently tweeted, “I predict predictions” and the intranet / digital workplace world has its fair share of bloggers gazing into their crystal ball. For example there have already been some thoughts published by Paul Miller from the Digital Workplace Group and by Mark Morrell which are both worth a look.
Predictions aren’t everybody’s cup of tea, but I enjoy reading them. They are usually a bit of fun and a good excuse to review where intranets or digital workplaces are in a state-of-the-nation type way.
However I thought I’d skip on giving my own predictions for 2014. This is partly because I already give some predictions every autumn via the key themes article I write about the Intranet Innovation Awards for Step Two Designs. It’s also because many developments in the “intranet world” which I mentioned in 2013 have moved quite slowly. Many predictions I gave last year are applicable to this year. (I even thought I should just publish the same post to see if anybody would notice.)
Obviously things do change. For example:
- In 2013 mobility was a major theme (more so than in 2012), and I expect it may be a bit more intense than in 2014.
- Perhaps SharePoint 2013 didn’t quite set the world alight as we may have thought at the beginning of the year and we’ll see more implementations this year.
- Perhaps resourcing for intranets once they are “business-as-usual” will be a bit more sensible now that the global economy seems to be on the mend.
- Fads and concepts will make their gradual way through the Gartner hype cycle.
But overall this is pretty much the same as 2013 with a little more emphasis here, and a little less emphasis there.
One amazing thing about intranets and digital workplaces is that while trends and sentiment work incredibly fast in the world of consumer technology (think mobile devices) the big areas of concern for intranet teams have remained relatively static over the years. These include establishing governance, engaging senior stakeholders who are often disinterested, driving adoption which is never as good as the stats envisaged n the business case, improving usability, implementing a half-decent search, and so on. Perhaps add to that implementing social and mobile from recent years, and the availability of cloud / hosted solutions.
Although intranets have changed from being content-heavy to being far more participatory for users, and are much better designed, some major struggles for intranet teams still exist which have little to do with technology and design. For example, how do you get your senior stakeholders to take an active interest?
There are many reasons that the intranet may seem to move at a snails pace within many organisations. These include the glacial pace of some workplace projects in large organisations, as well as technology and resourcing constraints. It’s also because change tends to happen within a project, rather than within a framework of continuous improvement. But at the same time while this all may feel slow, I’m still an intranet optimist who thinks intranets are absolutely moving in the right direction.
So there you have it. My intranet predictions for 2014 are more of what we saw in 2013. Perhaps a slightly boring post, but I expect the real-life experience for the huge majority of intranet teams. However whatever you experience this year I do hope you have a very happy and healthy 2014!