Visiting most corporate intranets could be likened to a trip to Dunkin Donuts. You get what you came for – great coffee and maybe a donut or bagel – and you leave. It gets the job done, but there is no reason to stay. Contrast that to Starbucks. You still get a great cup of coffee and a nice scone. But they also provide free wi-fi, comfortable chairs and tables, and a pleasant atmosphere. You feel more inclined to grab a seat, stay a while, and do a little work. Cross a few things off your to-do list. All of a sudden, it starts to become part of your new routine. It becomes part of a new expectation….
So what does this have to do with Intranets? When we work with our clients to conduct an Intranet redesign, one of the first things we always do is conduct a survey. Question #1 is always the same: “What reasons do you visit your corporate intranet?”
The top answer? The corporate phone directory and org chart. There’s your coffee.
The second most popular answer? HR Forms. There’s your donut.
Then they leave.
There is also an even bigger problem with this scenario. Often, that information is out of date. So this is even worse than the Dunkin Donuts comparison. Your coffee is now served cold. Your donut is stale. Eventually, you go somewhere else.
So how do you go about fixing these fundamental issues? It goes without saying that information must be updated. That is a given. But how do you create something that makes them not only want to come back, but also stay and do more?
To be fair, when many intranets launched, their capabilities were limited by the lack of some key technologies. That has changed dramatically. As a result, delivering a new version of your intranet that builds on what’s already in place is usually the absolute wrong thing to do. Adding new features to an under-adopted solution isn’t going to get it done. It’s time for an overhaul.
Now those key technologies not only exist, but also are quite powerful. The mobile revolution has put smart phones and tablets in the hands of everyone in your workforce. This dramatically increases the ability to access information from anywhere at any time. Best practices for design have changed as a result. Swipe and tap is the new point and click and, yes, good design still needs to translate seamlessly to a PC. The advance of technologies like HTML5 and JS along with the proliferation of device-based apps has elevated user expectations for a much richer and more interactive digital experience. Finally, social technologies have radically changed how people engage with each other, collaborate, and keep up with information. Social is becoming embedded in our work.
Let’s get back to our survey. Further down that list of questions, we ask…”what do you want from your intranet?” We generally find the responses are not only quite broad, but also differ by demographic. We find that the younger the workforce, the greater the expectations. They expect it in their personal lives and they bring that same expectation to the workplace.
So what is this New Expectation? It is an expectation to develop a relationship that is much deeper than just information. How do I connect and build relationships with the people around me? How do I connect with the culture? How do I foster my career? Oh, and I want to have fun doing it…
From here, we begin to create user personas. As we develop these, we see a very interesting thing happen. Universally, there are three mindsets that we consistently find when conducting the personas.
- I want to be highly productive person on a day-to-day basis. I need tools at my fingertips.
- I have a career path that I am working on. I need information to foster that.
- I want to enjoy my experience at work. I want this to be more than just a job to me.
So how can we build an enterprise experience that satisfies these mindsets? How do we build the NowEnterprise?
Stay tuned as we further elaborate on the NowEnterprise in the coming weeks. It will be a journey you won’t want to miss.