Does your intranet deliver? In order to know, the intranet team must conduct workplace observation, one-to-one interviews, measure actual usage and the end-users’ opinions.
We’re building a new intranet at Region Skåne and therefore it’s important to show how the current intranet fares. Both for the intranet team (so we know what things we should change or improve) and for stakeholders (so they understand why we have to build a new intranet with a different user experience).
Measuring stuff before and after a project also ensures the intranet team can prove project success with “hard” data—something top management in organizations often require and like.
Below are some examples of surveys we have done and what we have seen. Together they build the case for a new intranet.
Measuring end-user’s opinions
This survey (chart 1), a Swedish communications survey conducted in 2016, shows that employees at Region Skåne think the existing intranet is an important channel for getting information (red line). But satisfaction with the intranet at present is not good (blue line). This survey also has a benchmark since it is done in several organizations (orange line), and Region Skåne’s intranet is below satisfaction average.
Conclusion: This shows we need to 1) change the intranet and build something that better meets end user’s expectations.
The same survey also asks three questions about the present intranet (red line) (chart 2). We asked the same questions 2011 (blue line) and the satisfaction is down from that time and below average (orange line).
Conclusion: This shows we need to 2) make it more easy to use the intranet, 3) curate the information in a better way in order to ensure it’s up to date, and 4) tune up the ultra-local geographical and organizational content.
Another big survey, the Top tasks/Customer carewords survey, conducted in 2017, concludes that 58 percent of the participants in the survey (1200 participants) can “find and do what you want on the intranet today” (chart 3). This puts us in the bottom quartile of all the surveyed organizations.
Conclusion: This shows we need to 5) make it possible to find more/better answers and 6) solve tasks/actually do things on the intranet (not just read about them).
The Top tasks survey also gives us detailed answers about what pain-points end-users think we have on the existing intranet (chart 5).
Conclusion: This shows we need to 7) rebuild the search section completely, 8) have a totally different information structure, 9) rethink how we present information on pages and make sure users get answers faster, 10) remake the design into something more modern, lean and useful, and 11) create a good staff directory.
Workplace observation and interviews has disclosed the same things you see in these surveys and also give the intranet team both necessary and good insights for future action. (Disclamer: In my opinion workplace observation and interviews are even more important than surveys if you want to know your users, but are often harder to present to stakeholders. Therefore a combination of research techniques is a good thing.)
Measuring actual usage
The Task Performance Indicator (TPI) test is another kind of survey we have done. It measures actual usage; how ordinary end users succeed with ordinary tasks.
It’s kind of a field test (you observe a user trying to solve the task at hand, you see what s/he does, you hear what s/he thinks) with quantifiable results (standardized approach makes it possible to put numbers on the users’ success or failure and aggregate).
If you have a “good” intranet, you get a total TPI score around 70-80. An “excellent” intranet gets a score above 80. As you can see (chart 6) the total TPI score is 48 for the present intranet, which indicates we have “major issues” to deal with.
Conclusion: This again shows we need to 7) rebuild the search section completely, 8) have a totally different information structure, 9) rethink how we present information on pages and make sure users get answers faster, 10) remake the design into something more modern, lean and useful.
The TPI test will be part of our future annual/biannualy health check on the new intranet.
The last example of how we build our case for change; the Intrateam Self Assessment. This shows us (chart 9) we (orange) are behind the intranets that are best in class (dark green) and also below average (light green) in many of the measurement points. This is more of an overall call to change, but at the same time the evaluation shows stakeholders that governance is many things when dealing with a product like the intranet.
Conclusion: This again shows we 1) need to change the intranet and build something that better meets end user’s expectations, and 12) adjust the governance model for the intranet. Additionally it builds awareness in the organization about what a complex machinery an intranet is.
In my experience, when building a case for a new intranet, “hard” figures on charts tend to be effective at top management level and when dealing with important stakeholders. Workplace observations and in-depth one-to-one interviews with different target groups give the intranet team a deeper understanding of the challenges at hand. Intranet usage statistics through Google analytics or another tool also add to the picture.
Together these tests, surveys, interviews and evaluations paint a convincing picture. Region Skåne needs a better intranet and the intranet team must:
- change the intranet and build something that better meets end user’s expectations
- make it more easy to use the intranet
- curate the information in a better way in order to ensure it is up to date
- tune up the ultra-local geographical and organizational content
- make it possible to find more answers
- solve tasks/actually do things on the intranet
- rebuild the search section completely
- have a totally different information structure, following these ten commandments
- rethink how we present information on pages and make sure users get answers faster
- remake the design into something more modern, lean and useful
- create a good staff directory
- adjust the governance model for the intranet
And this is exactly what we do right now!