Secrets of award-winning intranets

The Intranet Innovation Awards, organised by Step Two Designs based in Sydney, have been running for seven years. These global awards celebrate innovation in the intranet space and uniquely reward selected functions, design elements or approaches on an intranet, rather than the platform as a whole.

Steve Bynghall @bynghall, is a London-based consultant and writer specialising in intranets, collaboration and knowledge management. He is the founder of his own consultancy Two Hives Ltd, and works extensively for the Digital Workplace Group and Step Two Designs.

He coordinates the Intranet Innovation Awards and here he writes for my blog to share some insights from the recent ones and what trends he has spotted. Over to you Steve…

Takeaways for internal communicators from the 2013 Intranet Innovation Awards
I have the pleasure of reading all the entries that come in from all over the globe, and seeing which submissions most impress the judges. The result of this process shows where leading-edge intranets are now, and where other intranets are likely to follow in the next 18 months.

This year there were several key takeaways for internal communicators. Top of mind is mobile and social, with intranet design following closely behind.

mobile_2You should be thinking about mobility
Up to now, mobile intranets have been slow to take off, but this year’s winners showed how mobile can have a significant impact on internal communication by helping to drive employee engagement and even increasing visits to company news.

Platinum award winner Barclays has introduced a mobile intranet aimed at staff in retail branches called MyZone.  Previously these employees have not even had their own email accounts, but they now have a rich intranet environment accessible from their own smartphone or tablet.

MyZone has product information, HR details, a video channel, local branch information, an ideation tool, a preview of customer-facing apps, aggregated Twitter feeds and more.

It’s not an exaggeration to say MyZone has been a huge success and has revolutionised communications in the branches at Barclays. It’s widely acknowledged as contributing to a 22% rise in employee engagement over six months among branch staff.

Another winner, Coca-Cola Enterprises’ mobile iConnect intranet, delivers both company news (in multiple languages) and also key HR processes such as the ability to view payslips and book annual leave. What’s fascinating about CCE’s new “intranet in your pocket” is that since it launched, views of global news has risen by an impressive 50%.

These news items are viewed as important by the IC function for engagement and helping to drive a one-company culture. They are a tantalising glimpse that mobile may be the perfect medium to view company news items.

(If you were at the CIPR Inside IC conference a few weeks ago you would have heard CCE’s Senior Manager of Digital Communications Jonathan Phillips in my session talking about the good work they have been doing. You can see a video about iConnect via YouTube – Rachel).

Visits to global news on Coca-Cola Enterprises’ intranet have risen by 50 % since the mobile version was launched.  

(MyZone pic on this page and screenshot of  CCE’s iConnect appear courtesy of Barclays, Coca-Cola Enterprises and Step Two Designs.).

Everyone can be a publisher
As the use of social tools becomes normalised within the enterprise, internal communication has tended to assimilate more skills related to community management and curating content rather than creating it.

The 2013 Awards shows that ‘social’ continues to march, and that the use of tools are no longer considered innovative, and are becoming “business as usual”.

Last year we had many entries which presented the introduction of enterprise social networks or even commenting as an innovation. This year, social tools have become assumed, and the focus is on embedding them into key processes.

Publishing news on the AMP’s Hub is made easier by a custom form
shotOne winner where ‘social’ has been integrated into a key internal communications process is at Australian financial services, AMP.

In the company’s new iteration of its intranet The Hub (based on SharePoint 2010 and Newsgator) anybody in the company can publish a news item and target it to a particular group.  The only exception is all-staff announcements.

Content management is made easy through a custom forms which can target content to groups  based on location, service line, employee type and role.

While the “everyone is a publisher” model might not work at all companies, it will be interesting to see how AMP’s social spin on news pans out.

AMP image appears courtesy of AMP and Step Two Designs.

External is blurring with internal
More than ever before intranets are also relaying the goings on in the outside world. In particular intranets are integrating external communications into the homepage, for example Twitter feeds.

These not only give employees insights into external messages going out, but where there is interaction and conversations, it also highlights customer perceptions.

This is best reflected in commended entry Disney Consumer Products, who place an integrated news feed from its Facebook pages right on the intranet home page. This delivers key insights into reactions to new Disney products and channels.

More details
If you want more detail, 19 full case studies of leading intranets illustrated by many screenshots, are all available in the Intranet Innovation Awards report for 2013. At just over £50,  this represents extremely good value. (Disclosure:  I wrote the report!).

Post author: Steve Bynghall.

Further reading
Thank you for giving us a peek into some of the intranets that were up for awards this year Steve. What do you think of what you’ve read? Do you agree with the trends he spotted? You’re welcome to comment below or tweet me @AllthingsIC.

If you want to read more about intranets, I recommend checking out intranetizen. It’s the home of intranet related blog posts and is written by four fantastic intranet practitioners: my fellow @theICcrowd co-founder Dana Leeson, Luke Mepham, Sharon O’Dea and Jonathan Phillips.

What these four don’t know about intranets isn’t worth knowing. You can find them on Twitter too collectively as @intranetizen.

Thank you for stopping by.


P.s. Got an idea for a guest article? Do read my guidelines and get in touch with your idea and you could see your name here. See my guest article archive to see the types of posts I publish.

First published 2013.

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