Wedge and Brian, podium 2017

Intranet Now a practical friendly conference once again

Intranet Now should be the place where intranet and comms people start to solve breakdowns between technology and the things people actually need to do at work.

That’s what I wrote before the first Intranet Now conference back in 2014, and this year it really felt like we were delivering on this pragmatic vision.

Previous conference themes have sporadically caught the mood of the room but this year’s theme ‘What works now’ was really reflected in the presentations and conversations during the day. People were hungry for tried and tested ideas and they got plenty of them! Rita Zonius walked us through a textbook implementation of enterprise social media; Natalie Smithson’s talk on content showed how best practice in content management could be applied to an intranet, and Amanda Broomhall gave us an antipodean take on task focused user research.

We did have talks about leading (but not quite bleeding) edge practice but these were grounded with actual examples. Chris McGrath had a live demo of how chatbots might help us with internal communications, featuring our own conference chatbot. Not mainstream yet but certainly working now.  

Emma Peagam and Anwen Gardner’s story about Barnardo’s intranet featured both Workplace (Facebook for work) and an intranet platform, and a stated ambition for intranet content to be public by default.


Intranet practitioners, the backbone of our conference, came up with the goods with really useful, honest and wise presentations but it is always good to have someone from outside our community on the programme, and Scott McArthur was the perfect choice adding a different angle for us after lunch.

We had very high quality help from our volunteers, many returning for the third or fourth time, so they know what to do and they did it very well. Registration was super smooth and everybody got a warm welcome, the ushering of speakers to the stage was very efficient.

The venue was a definite upgrade to deluxe as we gave everyone a better screen, better sound, and better lighting. They locked us into a party on the mezzanine but we struggled through it with the help of stupid quantities of champagne (again thrust upon us by the hotels pricing structure).

I failed to check the spelling of Dana Leeson’s name (previous Diamond Award winner) and Jenni Field’s name (panel member) on a slide so I’m sorry about that and I am also responsible for Prawngate and Aussiegate.

Mostly it did not even feel like work but a friendly meet-up with intranet friends, which is exactly how we wanted it to be from the start so that’s a result!

Volunteers and wedge