ValueIntranet Digital Workplace Conference – Brussels 24 May 2018
There are many intranet conferences taking place around the world but for me the best of them has always been IntraTeam, though Intranet Now in London is always a highly enjoyable high-speed intranet tour. This year I was delighted to see two new events come on to the calendar, Intranet Italia in Milan and ValueIntranet in Brussels. The ValueIntranet event, promoted by Guy Van Leemput took place on 24 May and I had the pleasure of participating in the inaugural event. I have to say that it was an outstanding event in every way.
There are some interesting parallels with IntraTeam. Both Kurt and Guy have a considerable depth of experience in intranets, both run intranet communities and both have a very keen sense of what it takes to deliver a great conference experience. Guy’s experience and community contacts resulted in a stellar list of presentations, most of them with a strong digital workplace theme. The presentations were delivered by experienced intranet managers who had the confidence to talk about what did not work as well as what did. That doubles the benefit of the case study. I’m not going to try to summarise the presentations but just highlight that they came from organisations that included Euroclear, Eurocontrol, the European Commission, BDO Denmark, Cargill and Swiss Telecom. In addition there were workshops, including Sam Marshall on digital workplace adoption and my own on finding people and expertise.
Of course, it takes more than good presentations to make a good conference. Guy had found a venue with a nicely sloping auditorium with microphones and power points at each seat just 10 minutes away from Brussels Nord and hence 30 minutes from Brussels Airport. Mads Richard (Intra2) was there with a wall of his home page analyses and screen grabs which started many conversations over a very good lunch. The breakout rooms were in boardroom style with natural light.
I was especially interested in issues around language, which in Belgium (two official languages and English widely spoken) were bound to be a factor in any intranet or digital workplace. Thomas Maeder topped that with the Swiss Telecom site being in four languages! The language issues have to be taken into account in the extent of the translation of corporate material, the options for social channels and the requirement to be able to search across all the languages. So cultural and IT considerations at the same time.
This inaugural event was up to the standards set by IntraTeam and that is quite an achievement. The 2019 event will again be in Brussels but the date has not been confirmed. When it is please consider attending, especially if you work in an organisation which speaks more than one language. Guy has to be congratulated on taking the significant commercial risk that a conference in Brussels entails. I hope that ValueIntranet achieved a return on the investment as I am certain the delegates did.