Migrating from a traditional intranet to a Social Intranet
In the body of this article, I discuss the benefits and challenges when migrating from a traditional intranet to a social intranet.
Since 2008, I have been heavily involved in supporting a wide range of digital activities and innovations for organisations across the UK and internationally.
The organisations I have supported range in size and industry sector from SME’s to global telecommunication companies, most noteworthy being HTC.
Digital activities have included the creation and implementation of search and social media strategies, conceptualising, building and marketing mobile applications, creating content and video strategies, creative writing including blogging, crowdsourcing and outreaching and creating and rolling out companywide internal communication strategies.
A notable example of an Internal Communication Strategy that I created, implemented and supported was through 2013 – 2015, were I was commissioned to help a global retailer improve their internal communications across several South East Asian locations.
Like many multinational companies, this particular company had a problem with employee engagement and unity across the different locations. Therefore companywide objectives, value and culture were being lost and their outdated intranet was a major factor in this lack of communication and engagement between the locations and through the hierarchy.
My strategy included a migration from traditional intranet to a social intranet.
So, what are the key benefits of migrating from a traditional intranet to a social intranet?
- Collaborative environments (end of frustrating email trees)
- Live discussion boards and collaboration spaces
- Live knowledge exchanges
- User contributed knowledge banks
- Shared calendars
- Individual or TEAM to do lists
- Anytime Anywhere functionality
- Easy integration with devices such as phones and tablets
- Easy integration with third party applications
- IMPROVED PRODUCTIVITY
- Cross function and cross system visibility
- Project management
- Customer relationship management
- Business intelligence capabilities
- Staff insight
- Live feedback from employees
- Live improvement discussion boards
- Improved transparency through the teams and hierarchy
- Modern and user friendly, interactive user interfaces
- Document management
- Day to day work tool
- Improved creativity and innovation
- Employees have freedom to share thoughts
- Employees have areas to suggest ideas and improvements
- INCREASED MOTIVATION
- Various levels of “user rights” which allow management and administration to function better
- End of cross organisational and cross geographical boundaries
- The social feel (connected to the organisation)
- Staff profiling
- Live updates
- Live questions and answers
- Thoughts, files, links and image sharing with colleagues
- IMPROVED RETENTION
5 pillars to a successful Social Intranet
How can a Social Intranet help improve engagement and form part of your company’s internal communication strategy?
There are 5 pillars to a successful Social Intranet: Information, Content, Communication, Collaboration, Business Processes
Ensuring that business processes and data tie into employees social behaviour is the key to a successful social intranet; this essentially breaks the social intranet into “people” and “processes” and the “people interaction” around processes.
Achieving social integration is not an “add water and stir” practice and it is important to include partners, stakeholders, sub contractors, suppliers into the user contribution, access and social hierarchy which will ensure that, over time, a complete organisational Eco System with maximum Engagement can be achieved.
Maximising collaboration across the Eco System ensures improved productivity and improved productivity is the ultimate goal for the migration to a Social Intranet.
If we consider the fundamental elements of a successful internal communication strategy and align these with the key benefits of migrating to a Social Intranet as part of that Internal Communication Strategy, we can clearly see benefits and important cross overs.
What are the key elements of an Internal Communications Strategy:
- Senior Management and Stakeholder involvement?
- Two Way Feedback?
- Avoiding a top down communication approach?
All of these fundamental factors (and many more) can be achieved through the successful implementation and ongoing management of a Social Intranet into a company’s Internal Communication Strategy.
From an Internal Communications perspective, processes are enhanced, communication and procedures are streamlined, and we can tap into a live eco system for live measurement.
Internal Communication teams will be able to very quickly determine what is, and what is not working and from that create/modify best practices using live data and analytics to ensure they meet the outlined internal communication drivers (process, productivity, working environment etc).
So, when planning to migrate from an intranet to a social intranet, I recommend considering the following 10 challenges and sub challenges. As a result of addressing these considerations, you will be well on the well to implementing a successful social intranet:
- Adoption and Integration
- Prominence of intranet on home page
- Support and participation from senior management
- All employees feel they have a voice
- Time to bed in
- Non business content
- Leadership and Content
- Leadership involvement
- Strategic framework
- Personal benefits
- Content preparation
- Impact on internal communications
- Zoning user generated VS official content
- Allowing non business content
- Risk and Transparency
- Reducing risk
- No anonymity
- “REPORT THIS” Buttons
- No need to sanitize content
- User generated content VS corporate content
- Usage policy
- Transparency and Engagement
- Authentic conversations
- Findability and Processes
- Indexing the interaction
- User tagging
- Cross referencing
- Developing processes and tools
- Collaborative processes
- Communication processes
- Specific applications
- Demonstrating value
- Support and Evolution
- Light launch
- Intuitive not training
- Evolving social intranets
- Encouraging experimentation
- Changes from behaviour observation
- Small steps
- Taking sufficient time