Monday, October 31, 2016

INTRAnet of Things: This is not a typo

Jeremy Williams, Sr. Director, Modern Workplace

Last week, we hosted an event called the INTRAnet of Things, where we started to explore how to leverage the principles and patterns of the Internet of Things (IoT) to the internal systems of our respective organizations. If you weren’t able to join us, here’s the quick summary: We looked at the various challenges that people face at the workplace like lack of engagement, too much (or too little) information, and disconnected systems (to name a few). Based on these challenges, we considered how a well designed and implemented Intranet can serve as a point of engagement, connection, and relevance to become an integral part of each person’s day. Then we heard from Kevin Olp and Tom Mroczkowski of Northwestern Mutual as they shared their amazing journey from a legacy Intranet to a modern Intranet of Things, and some of the positive impacts their journey has had on all employees at Northwestern Mutual.

In Tom and Kevin’s account of their journey, there shared an end-to-end look at how they’ve modernized their Intranet experience for their fellow coworkers. After, we had time for some quick questions, and many of the questions revolved around the general question, “How can I be successful in rolling out a successful Intranet?” Here are some of the key answers in the form of themes to that question:

1. Establish and Share a Clear Vision: This will help guide your Intranet – from securing funding, to deciding on the next feature enhancement, and everything in between.

2. Answer the question, “What’s in it for Me?”: The Intranet shouldn’t only be a place for employees to find the latest news, it should be an integral part of their day. Find out what your people need on a daily basis and find a way to incorporate that into your Intranet. This will help establish both initial and long-term adoption of the solution

3. Treat your Intranet like a product, not a project: By thinking of your Intranet as a product, you can operationalize a ‘Think Big, Start Small’ mentality. After launching your Intranet, continually gather metrics on its performance – understand what is and isn’t working for your users and adjust accordingly. Not only will this mean your Intranet is continuously improving, but your users will know their voice is heard – allowing you to create product-advocates to further drive adoption and engagement.

Whether you’re just embarking on an Intranet modernization project, are in the middle, or have recently launched your new Intranet, I hope these themes help you on your respective journeys. Over the coming weeks, I’m going to explore more of the inner-workings of an Intranet of Things, so stay tuned!