Search in the Digital Workplace

Last week we (Caroline Abrahamsson and Kristian Norling) had the opportunity to act as moderators for a conference on the Digital Workplace in Stockholm. Amongst the many good presentations, the keynote by Jane McConell was a gem. The Digital Workplace Trends report by Jane gives many insights into the intranet world, or as Jane and many others prefer to call it, the Digital Workplace (Participants in the survey receives a free copy of the report, highly recommended!). One of  the most interesting parts for us was the four different future scenarios that Jane described during her session and that the survey participants had voted on (on a scale with low, medium or high business value):

  • “My apps” – The intranet is a set of highly customized apps. People select what they need to do their jobs and build their own “intranet” like on an iPad.
  • “Smartsystems”-The userexperience is efficient and relevant because information is delivered in meaningful ways based on past behavior and context.
  • “People-centric” – Social networking, social tagging, location awareness, presence indicators and other technologies are integrated into processes and how people work daily.
  • “Super search” – Various search technologies come together to offer people greater relevance and control over vast amounts of information from inside and outside the enterprise.

p. 19 Digital Workplace Trends 2012

When Jane asked the audience at the conference if they thought Super Search had “high potential value”, a whopping 100% answered yes! In the Digital Workplace Trends report 70% of the participants considered Super Search to have a “high potential value”, and 20% of the leadership group has started implementing it.

The Digital Workplace: Redefining Productivity in the Information Age by Infocentric Research is another excellent (and free) source on the current state of the Digital Workplace. Also in this report good search is mentioned as very important for getting work done in the digital workplace:

“Imagine that each and every employee in your organization would spend 1 to 2 full working hours per day surfing the web and social media sites (such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter) purely for private pleasure. Would that be acceptable for you? And even more important: would it leave your bottom line results unaffected?

The answer to both questions of course is clear “No”. But the bad news is that your employees spend just that amount of time for something even worse. And they do so with full allowance by management and in accordance to accepted work practices in your organization. What they do, what you do as well, is looking for information they need to do their job and ineffectively working with that information.”

p. 4 The Digital Workplace: Redefining Productivity in the Information Age

When reading these excellent reports it is quite obvious to us that the need for a “Super Search”, i.e. an Enterprise Search solution that can reach all types of information, is very much in demand. Many organizations have worked extensively with search for many years understand that this is actually a never-ending task. But search is still a very cost-effective and hands-on solution for many information and knowledge intensive tasks.

“Information based work is driven and determined by having the right information to perform the task at hand. For this, the information has to be there when needed. Looking for the right information to do something therefore constitutes one of the most relevant of all tasks. In fact, “searching” in all its forms is the most ubiquitous activity that information workers perform in their jobs”.

p. 15 The Digital Workplace: Redefining Productivity in the Information Age

To conclude, the new digital workplace in transforming the way we work, interact and communicate. The discussions during the conference showed that almost all organizations were in a transformation phase where the traditional intranet (with static pages updated by editors) is being complemented (and in some cases replaced altoghether) with collaboration areas and flexible worktools.  We look forward to this years development and hope to share some good cases with you, especially with regard to search, collaboration and mobility..

More reading on the Digital Workplace

Intranet Pioneer Mark Morell

Connaxions / Martin Risgaard 

The Intranet Benchmarking Forum

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  1. Pingback: Tech Writer This Week for February 16,2012 | TechWhirl

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