How many platforms in your digital workplace?

March 29, 2016

platforms gymnast 700

A knowledge practitioner in a global insurance company asked me the following:

“Now that we’ve seen some maturity of social business platforms, and increased appetite for these type of interactions within companies, how would you characterize the interest and operationalization of more traditional content, document and knowledge management?

… Specifically, I have yet to see a social platform that adequately “manages” content with more advanced content services, so I’m of the mind – at least right now – that an intranet needs to be comprised of a “tool set”.  Some tools will enable social business and collaboration activities, while others handle the more complex and disciplined content management needs. What are you seeing other companies doing, and what’s your opinion on the subject?”

My response?

The single magic solution is on the way out. Ecosystems are the longterm platform vision for digitally maturing companies.

Data show that most organizations are aiming for ecosystems of tools and platforms, and not trying to do everything with a single platform. (more…)

From Bees to Honey in the Digital Organization

March 23, 2016

My March Briefing Note went out yesterday. If you’re not subscribed, you can read it here, along with the January and February editions.

honey layout compiled March briefing.001

Points covered:

  • How do we get from bees to honey in the digital age? Or, in our case, from digital capabilities to meaningful change?
  • Demographics and digital maturity. Is there a correlation?
  • 7 Tips for working with a strategic consultant
  • Recommended reading: MOOCs, platforms, and thought-provoking quotes.
  • I finish with an article I wrote shortly after the terrorist attacks of November in Paris, and talk about my conversations a few days later with a couple taxi drivers.

You can click directly through to the full March Briefing Note here, and sign up here if you’d like to receive it each month.



People in the Digital Workplace

March 16, 2016

people and framework

  1. How easy is it for people to learn in the natural flow of work?
  2. How confident are you that knowledge and know-how of people will not walk out the door when people leave your organization?
  3. How easy is it for the customer-facing people to serve customers?

You can see the survey results on these questions from the 2015 report here, and you’ll see it’s not so positive.


Capabilities vs Impact: Closing the Gap

February 3, 2016

capa vs gap

How would you respond to the 4 questions below? They have been explored with several hundred organizations, first at the end of 2013 and then again at the end of 2014. The results were practically identical.  (more…)

Demographics and Digital Workplace Maturity

February 2, 2016

I’ve been asked at least a hundred times which countries are the strongest in digital workplace maturity. People always ask about their own country. Many assume that the US is more advanced than Europe, Northern Europe more than Southern Europe, and so on. I have always hesitated to give my opinion based on my firsthand experiences and decided it was time to look at some data and see if there are some answers or maybe just some points to think about. First I’ll start with some basics.

The larger the workforce, the more mature the digital workplace.

Organizations with a workforce of over 50,000 people have a much higher digital workplace score than those with fewer than 5,000 people.

The bigger you are, the more you need digital to reach and connect everyone. It is business critical.

I’ve seen this since the very first survey back in 2006.

The bigger the geographical footprint, the more mature the digital workplace.

The more countries the organization operates in, the more advanced the internal digital workplace is. This applies as well to smaller organizations with people located in many different countries. Again, how else can you connect?

Private beats public, sadly.

The private corporate sector has higher digital maturity than the non-private such as government and educational institutions. Unfortunately, education and government are least mature sectors in digital workplace matters. This may be because their focus is strongly towards external people ­— students, citizens, residents, etc. or there may be a deeper reason. Whatever the reason, it’s a sad state of affairs.

The very institutions that govern us and educate us (in theory) have fallen behind, digitally speaking.

National cultures?


Tips for working with a strategic facilitator

January 26, 2016

I have worked as a strategy facilitator in the field of “internal digital work environments” for 17 years.  In reality, I have never actually worked like a consultant.

My clients have often told me they work with me because “you’re not a consultant.”

Strategy consultants traditionally work in two steps: A. Interview, explore and investigate. B. Analyze and write a report with recommendations. That has never been my approach.

Here’s how I work

First I sell a one-day scoping workshop where we define the goals, approach, players, deliverables, etc. together. The client pays for this. The client is not committed to go any further. The outcome is a document, co-authored by them and myself. They are completely free to use it with another partner. They usually retain me at this point, but the freedom not to encourages them to take the first step quickly.

Then, assuming the scoping exercise has gone well, I do a proposal encouraging the client to play a leadership role in the activities — usually workshops and user needs research. My role is one of coaching the leader and facilitating the process. Positioning the client contact person as both project owner and project leader brings greater visibility and credibility to the outcome.

It’s no longer a consultant on a “hit and fly” mission — stepping in for the strategy development phase and leaving before it materializes (or not).


What are business critical issues for organizations in the digital age?

January 16, 2016

The 10th annual survey on digital inside organizations is gearing up. The Advisory Board has been created and started contributing ideas and feedback. The practitioner LinkedIn group created to provide input and influence the direction of the survey has been refreshed for 2016. (If you’re a practitioner, you’re welcome to join us here.)

There is so much to read today about digital – some heavy, some light, some useful, some not. What topics you think are truly critical to cover in this survey?  What research angles will provide actionable results for organizations? What can we investigate that can have impact on organizations and decision-makers?

Thank you all in advance for your contributions!

What would you add/remove/adjust on this high level working list? (more…)

Drivers in Paris on November 13th — Two Stories

December 19, 2015

taxiWhen I went up to Paris several days after the Paris attacks for a meeting, I took a taxi (or rather a private car) driven by a young man born in Paris of North African parents. I asked him if he had been working on Friday the 13th and he told me he was in the 3rd arrondissement when the news came out on the radio and he drove immediately to the area where the attacks were happening and started picking people up in the street and driving them home.


Executive Edition: The Organization in the Digital Age

November 27, 2015



I invite you to read or download the Executive Edition of the 9th annual digital workplace report. I am releasing this special edition so that people can share it with their top level executives who may not yet be, shall we say, “up to speed” on digital.

It includes:

  • Executive Summary
    • Three Stages of Maturity
    • Guidelines for Digital Leaders
    • Digital Organization Framework
  • 7 pages of selected Highlights from the survey including new forms of leadership and governing the digital workplace as a strategic asset.

The full report with data and detailed analysis is available for purchase, but reading the Executive Edition will already give you a good overview.

Please note that I have closed comments here because of excessive spam, and invite you to contact me here on netjmc or on Pulse here.

CDO – A Temporary Role?

October 23, 2015

Roles emerge within organizations that may exist over several years but will probably not be perennial. Roles concerning the digital transformation of organizations may be such roles.

New types of leadership may be fulfilling a momentary need or they may prove necessary over a long period of time.

Three examples looked at in The Organization in the Digital Age are: the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) whose role is to accelerate the digital transformation of organizations, the Community Manager who facilitates the work of communities and, last but not least, the internal Change Agent, the activist in the organization who champions new work practices. (page 89 in The Organization in the Digital Age.)

This post focuses on the CDO.


Data from the most recent survey (Q4 of 2014) showed that only 23 organizations out of nearly 300 reported having a Chief Digital Officer (CDO). Interestingly, when further questioned about the scope of the CDO role, it became clear that in a fair number of cases the CDO was not actually at a C-level, that’s to say reporting directly to the CEO or equivalent in the organization. Instead the individual with CDO-like responsibilities reports to the head of another function, usually Marketing or IT, but has been given the assignment of working on digital things.

The CDO scope must be internal as much as external. If not, transformation will be superficial.