Three ways to ensure team cohesion in Internet strategy management
I'm talking to people in communications, marketing or the Web who manage the Internet strategy of their company. One fine morning, the human resources manager calls you and tells you that he has some budget left for this year, and that he wants to create a microsite for recruiting new talent. They want to get out of the box, but the current site and its technological constraints do not allow it. In fact, the CMS is too complicated to use, the templates are very restrictive and the server is configured in a different language than what their agency proposed. Powerless, you try to find common ground, but everything seems to have already been approved by management, and the call for tenders process is well underway; the director has already given his approval. A situation that we see too often in businesses here.
THE LACK OF COHESION HAS A DIRECT IMPACT ON THE WEB STRATEGY
In fact, we can never condemn gestures motivated by goodwill: everyone has objectives to achieve and all means are good to achieve them. Nevertheless, the situation that I have just described is a direct consequence of the lack of organizational cohesion in the management of Web operations , and as I often say: a bad Web strategy comes above all from poor internal communication and an exercise in inefficient planning.
This type of action has several organizational and strategic impacts. First of all, the number of presences to be managed in the Web park is multiplied, which, consequently, increases the time of management of the updates, the maintenance as well as the number of contributors involved in their maintenance. Then, we weaken your role as responsible for the management of the Web park. You are the expert, the person able to translate business and user needs into Web strategies. Human resources managers, despite their considerable contribution to the Internet strategy, have other imperatives than managing the implementation of the GTM on the site and making the link with Google Analytics. They do not understand the impact of their decision on the maintenance and marketing budget.
THE LACK OF COHESION IS EXACERBATED BY AN INADEQUATE STRUCTURE
It is rare that colleagues do not want to work together consciously. It is often the system in place that sabotages good intentions and isolates groups. The situation that I have illustrated to you is caused by structural problems that are found upstream of operations.
First, there is the disconnect between evolving internal needs and the obsolescence of the processes and technologies offered. We no longer manage the Web like 15 years ago and the level of reaction must be faster, less formalized. We want more flexibility, more connectivity between systems. However, internal systems do not allow this; they weren't designed for that 20 years ago. Processes and job descriptions have also remained the same for a brochure site where the sole responsibility is the webmaster.
Second, there is the lack of leadership in web management. Few large companies consider it to be an integral part of their value chain. For their part, executives still see the Web as a source of expense, a promotional tool. Its management is still a complementary service to marketing and communications. It is up to the people in office to make their point unofficially, because officially, they are relegated to the second benches.
Third, technology should not be used to correct an internal problem, but rather to support the solution. For example, the public relations team should not set up an external blog in order to react quickly to a situation because the creation of pages on the CMS is complex and requires going through an agency and two levels of approval. The blog should be used as a tool in efforts to bring the brand closer to its customers.
3 WAYS TO IMPROVE COHESION IN WEB STRATEGY MANAGEMENT
I share with you our working method for reviewing the process during strategic planning . These are fairly simple steps that improve communication by easily illustrating the departmental interrelationships that should exist.
1. BRING REPRESENTATIVES FROM MULTIPLE DEPARTMENTS TOGETHER TO FACILITATE COLLABORATION
First of all, you will have to create a working group comprising all the departments of the company involved directly or indirectly in the management of the site. Next, consult with each member to identify web-related needs, from content production to system linking. Record everything, taking care to group similar needs together. You will be able to find the department representative for web management. Following these exchanges, you will be able to quickly understand interdepartmental dependencies or complementarities. In other words, this gesture can facilitate the knowledge of the realities of each one. Consideration of the needs of more operational employees will facilitate change management when leaving the future site.
2. STAGING TYPICAL CASES TO FIND THE PROBLEMS
During meetings, collect complaints about the systems and processes in place. To fully understand the deficient processes, you must make the service plan (service blueprint ) of your company. This type of document is a good visual support that facilitates understanding and is easy to share in the company, in addition to being appreciated by management. To do this, you must take concrete cases, for example, the modification of the price of a product. Illustrate each step to be taken internally, the stakeholders involved and the roles of each. I advise you to use the good old post- its so that everyone sees the sequence. You don't need to do all the processes, as many are similar, but be sure to outline the ones you consider to be the most important. When people have broken down the process into steps, they will see where the pain points are . Your company will then be able to work on solutions instead of focusing on problems.
3. IDENTIFY PROBLEM SOURCES AND MAKE CHANGES
When the service plan is built and the contentious points are identified, you can then determine their cause, namely the organization of work or the technology in place. Try to find ways to improve with your work group. Thanks to your role as an expert, you will be able to produce an improvement plan with budget and schedule that you can present to the group. Remember to prioritize the implementation of small improvements to break in your way of doing things and win the support of managers. When everything is well established, tackle the major changes!
This method is simple, but it requires patience, openness and political talent to succeed. You will have a well-structured picture of everyone's role and responsibilities, you will avoid gray areas, minimize frustrations and facilitate everyone's collaboration.