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Intranets & Digital Workplace at IntraTeam 2016 (Day 1)

Intranets & Digital Workplace at IntraTeam 2016 (Day 1)

#IEC16 “the HomePage of an intranet is the most important page. It is the first page users see – and the last for some” @IntraTeam

Live blogging from the IntraTeam conference in Copenhagen. See also Day 2

Our move to a tag/topic based intranet

Dennis Agusi – Philips

File 02-03-2016, 09 29 41

The case for a new Philips intranet

Dennis described an extensive intranet replacement programme. In the past Philips had over 900 standalone intranets. The system was so flexible that people were doing their own development, sometimes developing the same thing independently in multiple countries.

The business case for replacing this then was built around improving efficiency. For example they found 63% of managers were making decisions without the right information because it was too hard to find. Even better search has ROI for Philips. For example, if employees solve an IT problem without calling the service desk, that can be a saving [though I have to wonder how long it takes the employee to self serve and what that costs].

To plan the new intranet, Philips started with 7 personas – detailed down to even how many children they have! They also did a top task analysis for each persona.

The new intranet will be “the cornerstone of the current Digital Workplace”, in response to the finding that many employees did know where to start, often defaulting to an inappropriate start page. As it grows, personalisation driven by tagging will be central to the design, rather than heavily navigation-based. Using tags, people are automatically subscribed to content that matters to them.

The model works, but it is very hard to explain to people. For example, the old “IT Bangalore” site goes away, but there are topic tags for both IT and Bangalore. S content owners no longer own a space, only a topic. It took a full time person 3 months to help content owners make this transition. Tags are centrally controlled by Comms.

Governance is run entirely by Comms (they argue that because they are business partners to other business areas, they can represent them). Intriguingly, in Philips there is no internal/external communications split, people just work according to specialisms.

The new solution if SharePoint-based. Philips concluded it would be the cheapest for them, as they are already a Microsoft house. Search works very nicely, with predictive search on both names and topics. Just a few characters suggests a topic area. The applications launcher can also be nicely customised using drag and drop.

Innovation is key to Philips. Their vision is to improve the lives of three billion people by 2025.  Their intranet follows this philosophy by iterative launches, feedback and adjustments.

So far:

  • 400 sites have been deleted.
  • Some sites have shrunk from 1000 pages to 30 (because most content should have been on SharePoint)
  • Finally people can find things!

Work still to do: things like the HR portal are not integrated. So you can’t yet search for ‘maternity leave’. Nor does it yet work out location-relevant policies. Collaboration is also  not within scope.

The internal digital workplace as an incubator for external

Steve Bynghall – Two Hives

Steve argued that internal and external audiences have more in common than we acknowledge. You should treat employees with the same values that you expect them to treat customers.

British Gas wanted to bring the customer voice back into the organisation, so they put an unfiltered twitter feed on the intranet homepage, customer pain and all.

Steve’s moment of inspiration was that they matured a system internally at BDO and then discovered it was ideal to help clients too. The value is that all the roles and governance get sorted out first, and the internal belief in the product is established.

Barclays too started doing mobile apps in a sandbox with staff first. It meant that when they launched to customers branch staff could be knowledgeable advocates.

Improving intranet reach with mobile and social

Ralf Larsson – Electrolux

Electrolux’s legacy is a news and editorial driven corporate intranet, but with social and responsive design since 2010.

Initially internal comms resisted commenting on news. Five years on they love it.

Weekly reach is now over 90% (compared to 60% in 2014), measured by unique visits to the site. 50% comment on news but only 8% post on forums.  Notably, status updates are falling – down 19% from 2014. Ralf sees this as work to do: how to make people feel safe to do this by creating the right context? Blogging is down 34%.

Electrolux did an internal Dragons Den as an iJam with video, leading to 1500 ideas submitted.

File 02-03-2016, 11 18 46

The case for a new Philips intranet

Electrolux launched their own app, eGate. It gets a 4.7 rating on Google Play. Their goal was to make it easy to access the ‘most wanted’ intranet features such as news, videos and the people directory. Putting it on a public rather than enterprise app store keeps it simple for employees with BYOD.

Measure project success

Nina Sonne Nikolaisen – COWI

Nina talked about the project management angle of intranets, especially about the benefits case.

A key benefit of upgrading SharePoint from 2007 to 2013 was to make management of documents less time-consuming. They are now building an app for inspection reports. This makes it easy to take photos and make annotations that go directly into a Word report (nice example of an app very targeted on a mobile use case).

Nina advocated getting stakeholders to agree what success looks like up front. Otherwise they may form a judgement based on a few anecdotes they hear.

Once you’ve delivered the project, don’t stop! You need to measure that you delivered the benefit you said you would. Remind people of how things used to be (e.g. “It used to take a minute to upload a document, and now it is 20 seconds”). Also measure how often it is actually done – are people doing it in the same way, or are they still using the C: drive? The problem with projects can be that once the feature is delivered, they close down, even though more communication may be needed to get adoption.

It’s easy to make a nice function that nobody knows about, meaning you don’t actually get the benefit it’s meant to deliver. -Nina Sonne Nikolaisen

Simplifying Intranet Governance

Neil Morgan – Richemont

Richemont intranet with card-style news

Richemont intranet with card-style news

Richemont is an umbrella company for more famous brands – Cartier, IWC, Mont Blanc, Dunhill and Ralph Lauren. This makes the relationship between a central platform and a brand complex, but they have put together a very well-planned yet agile approach.

Every user sees simple things like a “Quick Access” bar helps educate people that tools like Outlook Web Access exist. Like Philips, their intranet is also heavily personalised. Top menu items default to things that match your profile:

MyOffice | About Me | Tools | My Spaces |News and Events | About Us

Single-sign on is a must for Richemont. This is seen as the lowest level of integration. They did a nice job of overlaying factories and offices on a map:

File 02-03-2016, 14 23 22

When activating a site for a brand, the HQ team insist on a workshop approach to work through what the real requirements are and the RACI accountabilities. They do this even when the brand is saying “we know what we want, let’s get on with it”. Notably, each site is visually highly aligned with their specific brand.

News is shown as cards tagged with Group, Local etc. This keeps it flexible if news output varies.

Neil’s key points:

  • Identify improvements across all business lines
  • Build and communicate the roadmap for the digital workplace journey
  • Give the DW template a version number
  • Conceptualise and document new features
  • Test, test, test, including usability testing.

ClearBox colleague @wedge has also blogged on this and other tracks over on Kilobox.

How we can measure key collaboration behaviours

Christian Carlsson – Grundfos

Chris is part of a team called “Global Working Culture” and brought some in-depth thinking about collaboration measurement.

As an example of collaborative behaviour, he showed a Yammer post of someone sharing insight from a customer visit. The key elements of what makes this a success included:

  • He shared it in the right group
  • He included a photo
  • There are comments and likes
  • Others added relevant tags
  • Somebody @mentions colleagues to draw their attention to it
  • The original poster replies to comments.

You can see there’s a lot you could measure there to reflect collaboration going on! You can also think about how you could do self-assessment and manager assessment on the same behaviours too.

One way to measure is to allocate points – 1 for a post, 1 for praise etc.  Over 60 days, you can then define bands e.g. < 5=inactive, 21+ = Active. You can then weight the points to encourage behaviours you want, such as 5p for Praise. This doesn’t assess quality though, so in theory you could ‘spam to win’.

They’re now looking into the Office Graph API to ask, can we extend this outside Yammer. For example, 5pts for first use of OneNote in a team.

Refreshingly, Chris challenged the need to break down silos (I agree!), arguing they are natural for humans.

More on Grundfos’ Social Work over at AllthingsIC (HT @patrikbergman)

Sam Marshall

I'm the director of ClearBox Consulting, advising on intranet and digital workplace strategy, SharePoint and online collaboration. I've specialised in intranets and knowledge Management for over 19 years, working with organisations such as Unilever, Astra Zeneca, Akzo Nobel, Sony, Rio Tinto and Diageo. I was responsible for Unilever’s Global Portal Implementation, overseeing the roll-out of over 700 online communities to 90,000 people and consolidating several thousand intranets into a single system.


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