An intranet's principal function is to improve internal communications and supply staff with the resources required to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently.
However, it takes more than just setting up an internal network. Its worth must be tracked throughout time to determine its success or failure. Identifying the features and sections of the site that users dislike or rarely access is essential for developing effective solutions.
The success of an organization's intranet may be gauged by how well it engages its users and how much money it brings in, thanks to the changes and updates made to it regularly.
Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of an intranet can be a complex task, as the benefits of an intranet can be both tangible and intangible. Some of the tangible benefits of an intranet include increased productivity, improved communication, and cost savings. Intangible benefits can include improved employee engagement, collaboration, and job satisfaction.
Let's look at some of the most important metrics you may use to gauge the success of your intranet.
The cost of upgrading or creating a new intranet portal is difficult to estimate. The cost of an intranet, especially one built on Microsoft SharePoint, may add up quickly. There will come a moment when it will be necessary to demonstrate the project's ROI to a company executive to secure extra funding for enhancements.
Several actions can be taken with an intranet project to prepare for the ROI inquiry.
Quantifiable goals, improved analytics, and tracking user uptake are just a few measures that can be taken.
One of the first things a team working on a new intranet might do is write a project charter detailing their aims and priorities. These targets are more abstract than concrete in our experience. Setting a goal to "increase intranet usage" is common and sound. An objective like "Increase utilization of the intranet" could become or contain the more quantitative "Increase home page traffic by 10%" to assess the actual impact when looking at ROI. This will assist in concentrating work on certain aspects of the project as it progresses and save effort when evaluating its overall performance.
After settling on a metric, the following step is determining the best way to measure it. SharePoint 2013's default analytics greatly assess how frequently a search is performed and how popular a certain item is. Still, the detailed statistics available in earlier versions of SharePoint have been taken out. Many businesses are using Google Analytics to collect and analyze user information. The basic version of Google Analytics is free and gives useful information on your audience's demographics, performance, devices/operating systems, usual site behaviour, etc. The marketing data and reporting capabilities of the enterprise edition are greatly expanded. For most SharePoint intranet sites, the default installation is sufficient.
As a bonus, setting up Google Analytics is a breeze. When you sign up for a Gmail account, Google will send you a small script to embed in your SharePoint master page, making the capability available even on private intranets.
Many businesses we work with prefer the free and extremely detailed information provided by the Google tools over the more expensive and limited information provided by competitors like CardioLog Analytics, which deals directly with SharePoint and may be useful to a large firm.
When a new intranet is introduced, the question "are they truly using it?" is frequently raised. Usage analytics can confirm that employees are viewing specific pages and downloading specific files, but this is to be expected as we are providing them with the information they need to complete their jobs. The unknown is how they feel about it. They will likely complain to a budget-approving executive if they are unhappy with the instrument.
When this happens, pushback will be against reorienting future work around the tool. The goal here is to head that off at the pass. This can be achieved by properly promoting the intranet's introduction, involving users in the requirements process, and providing suitable training. Getting user feedback on the intranet before and after launch will be crucial for demonstrating ROI. Adoption is sometimes disregarded when designing a new intranet or collaboration platform but should be a top priority.
Employees who log the most hours on the intranet are considered heavy users. Both employees who use the intranet regularly out of need and who have been appointed as intranet ambassadors (the company's "super users" or influencers) are included.
Tracking which employees spend the most time on the intranet is useful. This group of employees will be able to give detailed feedback on the platform's positives and negatives, including which aspects they find easiest and most difficult to use. Since they are the team members who are most familiar with the platform, asking them what they would like to see altered or enhanced might yield useful information.
These savvy individuals can also assist with new hire intranet training. New hires might feel more comfortable talking to coworkers about problems than they would with IT or HR.
Find the most active users by seeing who contributes the most to internal debates. They often account for the bulk of the platform's active users. Discover which employees are most interested in viewing which pages by running a user report. Some employees spend a disproportionate amount of time perusing the company intranet.
Why should we care about user-generated content while planning an intranet rollout? How employees feel about the intranet and their level of engagement at work are closely related.
Is it the work of a small group of people, or do many people contribute to the information being produced?
Is the material they're putting out there of high enough quality to interest readers? Which topics are most popular on the intranet platform and social media? Tracking all employee-generated content on the intranet platform and identifying the areas in which employees contribute more will help you begin to quantify the internal impact of user-generated content.
With prior versions of intranet platforms, not all employees could participate in the network. Outside sales and service reps and remote workers spent less time on the intranet than their office-based counterparts. Accessibility among workers should increase as a result of mobile apps, a move to secure remote authentication, and the cloud.
Measure the percentage of people reached by an intranet by counting the number of registered users or, if that is not possible, the number of unique visitors to the intranet over a certain period. This sum must then be divided by the firm's total staff members.
The total percentage of reach should equal the sum. Next, it's crucial to always compare against a baseline of past figures to identify the increase in employee reach for the period.
Tracking the number of intranet users demonstrates that employees are getting into the system. The amount of clicks and comments made by employees once they reach the intranet platform is a more reliable indicator of the intranet's success.
An improved picture of workers' enthusiasm can be gained in this way.
The improvement in internal communication is one indicator of the intranet's effectiveness.
Incorporating a functional intranet can boost morale and productivity. A marketing team's efforts can be bolstered by the improved word-of-mouth and organic recognition that results when team members become brand ambassadors both outside and internally.
The technique is straightforward: permit employees to post and publish a customized set of content to social networking platforms. Boosting internal and external participation is one benefit of transforming workers into brand ambassadors.
Companies may then assess advocacy using an intranet KPI dashboard spanning KPIs like the number of external shares to social media from the intranet and any subsequent organic rise in traffic or brand recognition and message recall internally and outside.
Job satisfaction and retention go hand in hand with turnover. Some workers will always leave due to retirement, a move with family, or a desire to further one's education. The mission is to make the workplace a place where everyone may feel safe expressing their ideas and opinions while also being encouraged to work together effectively. Workers want to be heard by their employers and provided with the skills necessary to execute their jobs effectively. Workers are dissatisfied with their jobs when these factors are missing and may go elsewhere for employment.
Tracking employee turnover using HR data can give you a good idea of how often people leave your organization. Compare hiring and firing rates, employee turnover, and general engagement before and after implementing an intranet platform.
How can you determine if your staff like working there? Simply ask them for the information you need. The company intranet's primary function is to boost efficiency and customer satisfaction within the organization.
Consider conducting satisfaction surveys to understand how your staff members feel about their work. Even with the most reliable supervisor, employees may feel uncomfortable opening up about how they feel on the job. To get real feedback on the company's strengths and areas for growth, an anonymous online survey is a way to go.
Keeping tabs on what did not go over well with staff might be informative. Tracking the most popular things is useful, but this information is equally crucial. The content that isn't generating page views may have been irrelevant or outdated due to improvements or changes made to the site or the team.
Finding out why certain things are useless is just as crucial as recognizing when they are no longer useful. As well as cluttering search results, inactive content takes up valuable storage space on the network. They should be deleted (if possible) or archived if their usefulness has passed (in case someone needs to reference them later).
Determine which pages received the fewest views to uncover the least popular content during a given period. A longer time frame is preferable when looking for the least popular products (three or six months).
An internal communications manager may wonder if employees read the company news published on the intranet. This is a vital component of the business's overall communication plan.
There are many more applications for the intranet than just group chats in the office. It's an efficient method of disseminating information to staff members of various stripes. Users are more likely to rely on the intranet as a resource when they know they can count on finding high-quality and useful content, as well as easy access to critical company platforms there.
Visit a certain section of the intranet to see which pieces of content have had the most page views over a specified period. Examine the most read articles to see if they follow a pattern in subject matter, format, and authorial tone.
Companies have different priorities when it comes to this type of organizational goal. It's easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees when you're focused on the details of your intranet statistics.
Organization-specific key performance indicators (KPIs) can be summarised on an intranet KPI dashboard, with notes on key insights, actions taken, and KPI definitions.
When measuring the success of different internal strategies, one of the best practices for intranet analytics is collecting the appropriate internal data. With the advent of the intranet, it is also sensible to get information about marketing outcomes from outside the company.
Consider keeping tabs on how customers react to your staff's actions, such as the percentage of customers satisfied with their calls to customer support when an intranet is utilized as a resource.
Engagement based on that material (likes, comments, re-shares) and leads generated from a single piece of shared content are all useful KPIs for social advocacy. Implementing an intranet within a company will yield these benefits, ultimately boosting marketing efforts. Consider monitoring KPIs like the number of times employees share articles from the company intranet on social media and the number of times visitors to your site click on articles that employees have shared.
The concepts of production and time are not concrete, but they are nonetheless quantifiable. Low-usability intranet networks can cost companies with 10,000 users $15 million per year in lost productivity, according to research from the Nielsen Norman Group (compared to companies with top-rated intranets). We are losing valuable resources, both time and money, because of the poor functioning of our internal network.
The administration, content, design, usability of search, and employee use of intranets were all things that the Nielson Norman Group monitored.
Consider these elements as you design your internal research to gauge the intranet software's ROI. Consider keeping tabs on how long it takes to do individual activities and how long employees spend looking for files to measure productivity.
In today's mobile-first society, businesses must access data whenever and wherever it's needed. Organizations can learn how successfully the intranet engages users on mobile devices when they are away from their desks by surveying employees on their mobile experiences.
Simply keeping tabs on how much time employees spend on the intranet won't tell you how they feel about it. They may be going to the intranet and spending time there because the firm requires it.
Finding out how involved and content people are with the intranet is important for its success.
Effective intranets should phase off their predecessors, with users gradually shifting to the new platform for their day-to-day business needs. Many intranet administrators, for instance, take a drop in email traffic as their first sign of success. This indicates that users are moving away from email in favour of the intranet's social capabilities, project sites, etc.
Users can also serve themselves on intranets. Informational articles, video tutorials, frequently asked questions, and how-to instructions are made available to users. With the help of these resources, users can find solutions to common problems on their own. You may gauge the intranet's success by counting how many fewer support requests and service tickets the IT department receives over a month.
You may use the aggregated information from these KPIs to see how your platform affects the rest of your digital ecosystem as a whole.
Once the software has been implemented, increased employee involvement and communication may appear as apparent success elements of the intranet. It's not immediately apparent, but less overhead frequently coincides with increased output.
Reduced time spent searching for information and onboarding new staff is just two examples of how a digital workplace may save money. By not having to provide desks, cubicles, and other workspace accommodations for employees, a company can save money on rent and utility bills. Digital methods of teamwork can reduce the need for costly business trips. Human resources, expenses, and other paperwork can all be submitted electronically, saving time and paper.
The components that go into calculating intranet ROI and what that ROI looks like are, in turn, determined by the specific use cases for which organizations choose intranet platforms. This may be why so few businesses evaluate the value of their intranets.
Because of all its uses, calculating the intranet's return on investment might be tricky for certain businesses. Our first question to solution-evaluation participants typically concerns the intranet's intended function.
Strategies and the return on investment for your intranet should go hand in hand. We touched on how critical it is to define your intranet's purpose, but now it's important to lay out your expectations.
Outline the objectives you wish to achieve. Is it crucial to have fewer emails and more centralized data? Is it something you're attempting to prevent when you hire people? Do you want to improve morale and bring about a cultural shift? Plan out the steps you plan to take and the intranet's role in bringing about these changes.
It is possible to get help from the vendor to ensure you are making the most of your intranet from the client success support. To gauge whether or not progress is being made on various fronts, check-in surveys can be sent to staff members. Make sure your intranet is tailored to your goals. Your intranet's return on investment can be gauged with this metric.
In addition, the following elements can aid in increasing your intranet's efficiency:
Successful intranets don't happen overnight. To create a product that works for everyone, you need a well-thought-out content strategy. The best way to find out what features people across the company want is to form a team that spans multiple divisions.
Remember that you will most likely use a combination of evergreen material, such as employee handbooks, mission statements, and IT help desks, and dynamic content, such as news and job postings.
The finest intranet developers consider what their customers want and then design accordingly. Users will appreciate the time and effort you put into creating a site that reflects your company's aesthetic, has functional links to the information they need, and is easy to navigate.
Your intranet's potential for chaos increases if it serves an increasing number of users across various pages. To avoid this, site administrators, or "gardeners," should be designated to remove, modify, and moderate content.
Having "gardeners" with admin access makes this task much simpler; thus, it's ideal if your system lets you selectively grant editing privileges to specific team members.
Using the aforementioned intranet metrics, you can evaluate the effectiveness of your intranet and determine what steps need to be taken to boost its performance and increase employee engagement. It can also be used to assess ROI, which in turn drives continuous improvement, informs important decisions, and maps intranet goals with outcomes. When this is done consistently, you may never have to create a brand-new intranet again.
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