Build on what you have already delivered, increment new content and features, and respond to user feedback, metrics and changes in your organization.
Most intranet teams and experts agree that continually improving the intranet in small, manageable steps is often the best way to drive adoption and deliver your vision. Such an approach impresses stakeholders and employees, who can see a platform getting better and better; it also gives the team a sense of progress.
In this post we cover the approaches you will need to pursue continuous improvement.
1.Create a schedule of regular improvements
Creating a regular schedule of improvements such as extra features, bug fixes and new content areas helps to keep the intranet on track and moving forward. It also provides some structure and deadlines for your IT department and content owners to work around.
Some organizations have found that having regular quarterly or even monthly releases works well for them. These can be detailed to show senior stakeholders that the intranet keeps on getting better.
If you do have a schedule of regular improvements, make sure that you build enough flexibility into it so that you can slot in unexpected changes and seize opportunities to increase the value of your intranet.
2. Allow for experimentation and learn from it
Because your intranet has so many potential uses, there is always room for experimentation. Actively encourage different groups and individuals to try out new things. View your intranet as a laboratory and carry out experiments yourself!
Whether you are trying to work out which type of content is the most engaging, testing out a new intranet feature, using a little gamification or creating a non-business group for the first time, you’ll never know what works and what doesn’t until you try it.
Some of these experiments might succeed, and others might not. Whatever the outcome, you can learn from it. By following proven avenues and avoiding known pitfalls, you will ensure your employee intranet software continually improves.
3. Gather data and feedback
One of the secrets of continuous improvement is knowing exactly what to improve! Inevitably there will be a range of opinions of what to implement and prioritize.
While gut reactions undoubtedly have value, taking a data-driven and evidence-based approach to continuous improvement allows you to more accurately pinpoint what is going to have impact. Moreover, it’s important to actively gather data and spend time analyzing it to see what’s working and what isn’t. Use metrics relating to visits to the intranet, searches carried out and use of social tools.
Seek out the opinions of users by running regular intranet satisfaction surveys and workshops. Gather ad-hoc comments that you might receive about the intranet through a feedback mechanism, via the IT help desk, or in your daily interactions with stake- holders and employees.
You could regularly carry out usability testing to see the time it takes to successfully complete major tasks. There may also be other relevant data such as levels of email usage.
4. Use KPIs to track progress
Linked to taking a data-driven view of the intranet is using KPIs to measure your progress and report to senior stakeholders. Reporting against KPIs demonstrates value and shows you are moving forward (or not)!
Your KPIs need to not only reflect your intranet strategy but also the key priorities of your business. There may be some standard KPIs and reporting already within your organization.
Don’t simply base your KPIs on the things that are easiest to measure. For example, although one of your KPIs will likely reflect adoption levels, that is not the always the most important statistic.
User satisfaction, greater productivity (reflected in the time spent to complete certain tasks), and other results such as reducing the volume of email or contributing to faster project timelines may also be viable KPIs.
The greater the relevance of your KPIs, the greater potential you have to illustrate the relevance and success of your social intranet.
5. Get inspiration from other organizations
It used to be difficult to find information about intranets in other organizations because it was considered “behind the firewall” and too sensitive to share.
Thankfully, there is now a wealth of information about the approaches other organizations have taken, and what they have implemented on their intranets.
Seeing other examples of other intranets can be highly informative and guide you on the right path. It can be inspiring, spark new ideas and show just how much is possible.
There are many routes for finding out what other organizations are up to. Networking groups, online communities, case studies, competitions, publications, conferences and collections of screenshots are all readily available. You can even arrange a visit to other companies. Most other intranet managers are very happy to help as long as you respect confidentiality.
To Continuously Improve Your Social Intranet
- Create a schedule of regular improvements
- Allow for experimentation (and learn from it)
- Gather data and feedback
- Use KPIs to track progress
- Get inspiration from other organizations