Wednesday 15 October 2008

Extending intranets to hard-to-reach staff: Controlled documents kiosk example

This Intranet Benchmarking Forum (IBF) post about meeting the needs of hard-to-reach staff reminded me of a kiosk system that was developed on top of an electronic document and records management system at Illawarra Coal (part of BHPB Billiton) – I was part of the team that helped to implement the system and came up with the conceptual design of the intranet publishing architecture from this system.

Quoting from an Illawarra Coal community newsletter (PDF) from last year, this is an overview:

Dendrobium first to trial new computer technology

Illawarra Coal has maximised its commitment to keeping its employees safe and informed with the launch of new computer technology which potentially offers all of its employees – even those who do not work at or have access to a regular computer terminal – 24 hour a day access to controlled documents.

Dendrobium mine is the first to trial the iPICK(Information Point, Illawarra Coal Kiosk) technology, with management, contractors and employees enjoying improved access to information and reduced complexity. Developed by Illawarra Coal in partnership with local software company iQmultimedia –iPICK provides the workforce uninhibited access to controlled documents such as emergency procedures, management plans, work instructions and so on.  The specially developed touch-screen kiosk in operation at Dendrobium means that while the information can now be accessed via the intranet of Illawarra Coal, employees don’t need to have access to a PC to get the information they need.

I understand that the system – which uses a standard Web browser is gradually being extended to provide access to other useful Web-based systems.

The IBF list the following examples of hard-to-reach staff:

  • factory workers
  • retail staff
  • field engineers
  • building inspectors
  • consultants
  • sales teams
  • flight and rail workers
  • catering staff
  • building inspectors
  • call centre representatives
  • insurance assessors.

Clearly in many industries, extending the intranet beyond the office environment can add tremendous value. And in some cases it can even protect people from injury and other physical risks – which is the kind of value you can’t put a price on.

BTW I would also add to this list external partner and suppliers – extending to the intranet as an extranet can also add value too.

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