Socitm, the society for IT and digital leaders and professionals working in local public services, has begun to improve the benefits it offers to its members.
Working with Knowledge Hub, a provider of platforms for public service collaboration, the organisation will be developing its sites to enable members to better collaborate online.
Socitm is among the first organisations to make use of Knowledge Hub’s new ‘Network’ facility, which is allowing it to set up and manage a Socitm-focused community.
Around 1650 members will be able to use and interact within this community whilst retaining the ability to engage with the wider public services community across Knowledge Hub.
24N caught up with Ian Singleton, head of member services at Socitm, to learn more about the Knowledge Hub partnership, how it came into being and what benefits this will bring to members of the organisation.
“We are continually looking for ways to offer greater value to our members. The opportunity to facilitate peer-to-peer networking and securely share knowledge across sectors are key reasons for joining,” Singleton explained.
“We previously had a number of disparate portals and online collaboration tools that weren’t being effectively utilised.
“Many of our members are already familiar with Knowledge Hub as part of their day job, or through its ongoing Web Improvement and Usage Community.
“That was a big positive for us, alongside with it being an open standards technology. Through our partnership with Knowledge Hub, we are confident of enhancing our membership offering by providing the digital tools that our members really need,” he added.
Singleton told us that there are four key areas of member benefits that Socitm provides: professional development, peer support, sector representation and research and improvement.
While the project was in development, these four areas became the foundation for everything the organisation does and the new system was required to reflect these values in every aspect.
According to Singleton, the old website has too many messages, making it difficult for users to find what they need and truly realise the benefits of their membership.
By focusing on professional development, peer support, sector representation and research and improvement and ensuring every aspect of the member platform reflects these, it becomes much clearer for the members to reap rewards from their Socitm membership.
The ultimate end goal was a simpler, more digestible and more personal website.
In the beginning, Singleton and his team examined a number of different products but were drawn to Knowledge Hub for a number of reasons.
The most important deciding factor was the fact that many Socitm members were already familiar with the platform and so no drastic culture change would need to occur and members could use it from the get go.
Furthermore, Knowledge Hub offers a simple to use system and had more than enough of the functionality required by Socitm.
Via Knowledge Hub, Socitm members will be able to access a member networking group including Socitm Strategic Partners which will provide more opportunity to engage with members and national stakeholders.
There will also be Knowledge Hub Groups for each of Socitm’s regional meetings to encourage collaboration across public and private sector organisations on regional topics.
Meanwhile a dedicated Socitm Programme Group for suppliers will be made available for them to access materials and connect with Socitm staff.
The new platform will also offer more visibility into Socitm’s work via a new policy discussion area and access to the Insight research service will allow subscribers to connect with each other, participate in forums, receive group messages, post ideas and take part in quick polls.
The Socitm ‘Network’ will be formally launched at its Spring Conference in London on 23rd April 2015.
The roll out will be done in phases, culminating in the Network being fully integrated with Socitm’s new website when that goes live.