It was well worth spending a day in a 747 to attend the Step Two Designs Intranets2012 conference in Sydney on 16-17 May. This is the second time that James Robertson and his team have run the event, which like the Intrateam event in Denmark is based around the Step Two community of intranet managers, though of course open to all. One of the benefits was that the speakers were remarkably honest about the problems they were facing with their intranets as well as presenting some very significant successes. The two most pressing problems were gaining understanding and support from senior managers and coping with a SharePoint 2010 implementation.

Many of the papers were outstanding, including

  • William Amurgis (American Electric Power) on his company’s social intranet
  • Michael Sampson on collaboration issues
  • Maish Nichani (Pebble Road) on service design for intranets
  • Deane Barker (Blend Interactive) on C-suite concerns about social intranets
  • Steve Baty (Meld Studios) on persona development
  • Karina Smith and Helen Geraty (New South Wales Department of Education and Communities) on rolling out a LifeRay portal to 120,000 teachers
  • James Robertson with an extended and very inspiring on how to design intranets that inspire and delight.

My own keynote was on the subject of search, and the need to consider search, browsing and alerts on a conjoined basis to deliver an effective discovery experience. Michael Sampson has summarised many of the papers.

The organisation was faultless, as was the timekeeping, making it easy to move between the two tracks. The audio-visual, catering and wi-fi worked perfectly throughout the event, something that is unfortunately quite rare in conferences nowadays. Above all there was this strong sense of community, of being not a delegate but a member of the Step Two family. I enjoyed the conference immensely, and am leaving with many new insights and ideas. Congratulations to James Robertson and all the members of the Step Two Team.

Martin White