Over the years I have seen many market research reports crammed full of colourful pie charts which on the surface are very impressive. However it does not take long to realise that the research team asked the wrong questions and did not have the expertise to go below the surface of the numbers and draw out the important conclusions.  The Digital Workplace Trends 2013 report is an exemplary example of the benefits of asking the right questions and digging deep to set out the implications. Throughout the development of the Global Intranet Trends report and now its successor Jane McConnell has always managed to reinvent her report methodology to meet emerging user requirements and this year the changes are very visible.

The report has been totally and imaginatively redesigned to be an e-report, optimised for screen reading. The summary chart for each survey question is presented on a single page along with any relevant definitions and a box with Jane’s analysis of the implications. A very welcome new feature is the inclusion of short profiles from a wide range of survey respondents about some specific aspects of their experience and vision for digital workplaces. Last year Jane set up an Advisory Committee of twenty experienced intranet and digital workplace managers who were able to provide advice on the scope, methodology and analysis.  Their participation adds even further credibility for the outcomes of the survey which was completed by 362 organisations around the world

The main sections of the report cover Transformation, Mobile, Social Collaboration, Process, Experience, Investment and Change. It is impossible to do justice to the vast amount of information and analysis in the report but some of the headlines in the Executive Summary include

  • 2013 is the year when mobile takes off
  • Enterprise social networking is on the runway but has not lifted off
  • Information security is a key concern
  • Middle managers resist as change begins to happen

This is the benchmark report on the development of digital workplaces. Even if you have no current plans to move in this direction this report may change your mind. The price of the 170 page report is £340. Overall this is an excellent and indeed essential investment for any intranet manager seeking to ensure that there is a strategic purpose and benefit to their intranet. Full details of the report can be found on the associated web site. The report has also been reviewed by the Digital Workplace Forum.

Martin White