Given the sheer volume and variety of methods which assist us in our ability to communicate with one another, it is unsurprising that the questions raised at the prospect of introducing yet another platform were: Why? Why do we need something else?  Why do we need another password? Why can we not use the existing facilities?  Why, oh God why…..!?

There is an element of legitimacy to such reservations.  As someone who has been involved in launching software platforms to unsuspecting and ever so slightly sceptical colleagues in the past, I am somewhat reluctant to listen to company representatives preach the wonders of their product.   But listen I did.

It is fair to say that imagining life today, in both its private and work capacities, devoid of electronic communication is very difficult.  Needless to say, this phenomenon has not bypassed the Civil Service.  I am, in fact, reliably informed by several of my more ‘experienced’ colleagues that, despite several teething problems, contemporary methods of communication and file sharing have succeeded in revolutionising service delivery.  It is incredibly encouraging to learn this, but still begs the perfectly reasonable question of: Why the need for another platform?

Before I answer this, let me give you some background on The Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Pool. It is a flexible resource consisting of around one hundred people with a wealth of project and programme management expertise.  These people are deployed to work on the Department’s priority areas of policy.  The structure and management of the Pool is such that its members are not only part of the Policy Group they are assigned to, but also part of their individual branch and wider Pool groups.  Quite often a Pool member is involved in up to twenty or so different Communities of Practice, Committees or Boards together with many other internal networking groups.  In conclusion, one individual needs to receive, send or maintain information from countless sources about a variety of topics, much of which is channelled through the Management Team, which I am part of.

Coordinating and managing such administration during a period when the Department, its workload and the Pool itself experienced rapid development, became a challenge.  A more centralised approach was required.

Pace, accuracy and value for money are the ever present drivers that influence decision making in government.  Huddle was being used elsewhere in the Department and, in fact, colleagues who had utilized it were enormously quick to point out the merits of the system.

We needed something that everyone could access and, if necessary, at the same time.  Something which contains up to date messages and provides the reader the opportunity to reply.  Something which actually links documents and diaries. It was felt that Huddle provided the best bits of these variables.  A platform to share and comment on information, undoubtedly.  Somewhere to store, view and edit documents, certainly.  Something that is easily accessible and agreeable to use, without question.

Yes, I appreciate I am preaching to the converted but I think that it answers the question ‘why’?

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