In times of digital transformation, anyone talking about intranets is talking about social intranets. The original intranet approach has long since evolved. Social collaboration, news feeds, chat and video functionality and of course mobile access to the contemporary feature set of a modern social intranet are part of it.
This development is not only based on technological progress and the ubiquitous smartphone. A change in society and in the culture of companies also pose new challenges for communication and cooperation within and outside of companies (keywords: flexible working time models, home office, new work).
Employees, especially the often quoted Generation Y, no longer want to work in a strictly hierarchical corporate culture. They want to have their say, to participate in decision-making and to be heard. And preferably in real time and without detours.
Anyone in a WhatsApp group who organises a joint birthday present for a friend or the next skiing holiday with their buddies via Doodle has little understanding of why work processes have to be more complicated. Classic top-down communication is no longer necessary. In the age of the labour market, only a few companies can afford outdated communication structures.
Within and outside every company there are many different communication channels. Some of these are official or controllable, others are not controllable, both within the company walls and externally. This actual state of communication must first be recorded holistically.
Intranet, newsletters, e-mails, print (brochures, posters, flyers, newspapers), staff appraisals, meetings, workshops, events
Social media profiles of the organisation, external press releases
Private social media accounts, office grapevine, WhatsApp, messenger and other chat services
Depending on the culture of the company, its technical requirements and the attitude of the employees, future communication must be defined. A basic distinction is made between three forms of communication. Top-down communication is the classic form of a hierarchical organisational structure in which communication takes place from the top management levels downwards. Its counterpart is bottom-up communication, in which suggestions for improvement, ideas, feedback etc. from employees (e.g. in production, customer service or sales) are played up.
The third concept is based on the peer-to-peer method, which does not originate randomly in computer networks (classic file sharing without a server). Translated into the level of communication, peer-to-peer means the exchange between equals, completely detached from their hierarchical level
The way to the Social Intranet is not a short sprint. With PPW and empulse at your side, you will still get there without detours.
How do we manage this? Collaboration and route planning with foresight!
The project team is made up of the project managers of your organisation and the expert team PPW and empulse.
The decisive factor here is the interaction between the competence fields of conception, technology and project or change management.
In every project phase, all competencies are required. In the analysis and conception phase, we focus on the two components user and existing applications. At the same time, a target image is already created, which is supported by initial communication measures within the company.
The implementation consists of communication measures, such as workshops and the establishment of multipliers (change agents) in the company. At the same time, the design is concretised on the conceptual side and quality assurance takes place. On the technological side, the system architecture is set up, interfaces are implemented and the design concept is implemented hand in hand with the UX designers.
The rollout leads to pilot and productive systems whose editorial structure is quality assured and which are tested directly by usability evaluation. In this phase, the employees are qualified by means of measures and are made familiar with the handling.
In the final stage of the route, the operation, the aim is to plan the roadmap for the next phases, to maintain and further develop the system, and to define additional requirements with the entire project team via fixed deadlines in order to be able to readjust flexibly.
In the first project phase, we will deal with you particularly intensively. This means that we evaluate all user groups in your company that are to be picked up by the Social Intranet.
What are their needs? Which work steps can be made more efficient thanks to social collaboration?
To do this, we conduct interviews with employees from different departments, conduct workplace visits and use co-creation workshops to specify the requirements.
The information architecture is created on the basis of the results from the user research phase. It maps business processes and information paths and defines user guidance through a menu structure and click paths.
Typical requirements as a functional and content foundation
- Quickly find information and the right expert on a topic
- Company news in blog-like format
- Collaboration / Channels, Workspaces
- Mobile access (App)
- Chat function (including chat telephony)
- User-friendliness (usability)
- Flat structures / fast navigation
Parallel to the professional conception, the existing systems, databases and their interfaces are analysed for the technical conception of your social intranet solution. In close coordination with IT, existing applications are inventoried, categorised and prioritised. Based on this analysis and the need for the integration of these applications via interfaces, a recommendation for action and a new system landscape is designed. This is decisive for the selection of a suitable social intranet system.
The third pillar of the concept consists of project and change management. If the Social Intranet is to be a success, a serious communication concept is the key. Adapted to the corporate culture, formats such as employee surveys, design thinking workshops or one-on-one interviews help to ensure the willingness and commitment of all stakeholders to take this innovative step.
It is important not only to steer communication from top to bottom (e.g. via mailings), but also to establish direct exchange at eye level through multipliers.
Once the decision for a social intranet solution has been made, its tight implementation is based on agile methods. The goal is the realisation of a so-called "Minimal Viable Product" (MVP) and its prompt rollout. In doing so, a strict focus is placed on the most important core features and processes, which guarantee both a fast implementation and high productivity and acceptance by the user. Internal marketing and targeted user training reinforce this positive effect. Regular measurements (KPI) and user feedback result in the important learning effects, on the basis of which the MVP is continuously, i.e. in further iteration loops, systematically and always target group-oriented further developed.
In this agile process, the intelligent integration of existing systems and applications, i.e. "the interface", is very important. The depth of the respective integration is measured by relevant criteria, such as clearly identifiable users, consideration of rights & roles and the "real-time capability" of interfaces. The result is a kind of middleware where old and new applications "talk to each other" in a meaningful way by means of well thought-out integration and smart plug-ins.
Felix Jackmann is the managing director and technical expert in the empulse management team. He is responsible for customers, projects and technologies and has been a strategic and technical consultant for enterprise portal technologies for 13 years. In close cooperation with PPW, Felix finds the intranet solution for each company that best suits the customer's requirements and ensures perfect implementation and integration with his team of developers.
Sönke Strahmann is managing director and communications expert in the empulse management team. He is responsible for sales, marketing and all commercial matters. Sönke has over 20 years of experience as manager, founder and managing director in the agency, media and service industry. He is in constant contact with PPW to ensure the sustainable success of joint customer projects.
Michael Pietz studied computer science and founded the agency pietzpluswild, today PPW for short, together with his partner Michael Wild von Hohenborn in 2003. Michael Pietz acts as a strategic consultant, leads in-house workshops and accompanies his clients on a long-term basis as a competent contact person for all digitalisation processes. Together with empulse, he advises clients on all aspects of tailor-made social intranet solutions.