Ron Popeil.

Most of you probably don't know his name, but I can guarantee that many of you know a few of his most famous quotes. One in particular comes to mind every time I talk about this topic.

You see, a few decades ago, Ron invented the famous Showtime Rotisserie and Barbeque. And who could forget his famous line that helped sell millions of these on infomercials in the late 90s - you know the one - just "Set it and forget it!"

I love the line, and while that may have worked well for cooking a 6-pound turkey, it does not work for your intranet or most other technology that directly impacts people.

Rate your intranet and measure success

The Check-Up

You see, even beyond business, nearly everything in life needs maintenance, right? We take our cars in for routine maintenance like oil changes and tire rotations, we get our teeth cleaned, and we get annual physicals at our doctor. But when it comes to business and technology, for some reason most organizations forget this. In fact, I want you to stop now, and think about the last time you did a "check-up" on the latest project that was completed? How is it doing now? Is it still achieving the goals you set for it? Should any changes be made to be more effective? What do the users think about it? Are they still using it correctly - or at all? Simple questions, but from our experience, questions that are rarely asked.

Organizations Don't Change - Individuals Do

I may not know your company exactly, but I can almost guarantee that nothing in your business is staying the same. Your people are most certainly changing, the economy is undoubtedly changing, and your customers probably want new or better experiences. Business changes, but are you?

Now some of you may be thinking at this point, "Sure, we could probably do better, but we're doing ok." Are you? And even if you are, is “just doing ok” where you want to be? When was the last time you checked metrics to see how things are going? Do you even have metrics for how to measure the success of your intranet? Or have you just "set it and forget it" in hopes that once you had the requirements completed and built it, that it would serve its purpose indefinitely?

Be honest and don't worry, you're not alone. In fact, according to both AIIM and Gartner, 60-80% of intranet and social collaboration projects struggle, stall or fail to meet expectations. If increased productivity, greater efficiency, more innovation, improved communication, and engaged employees is what you're after, you have to know if you are achieving these things - they are not automatic. And as a side bar - engaged employees is what you're after. In fact, a Gallup study showed that companies who successfully engaged their employees (and measured it) were 21% more productive, 22% more profitable, had 25% less employee turnover, 41% fewer quality defects, and 48% fewer safety incidents. Now that's real change. But remember: real, meaningful change doesn't happen overnight and it doesn't start by trying to change the entire organization at once.

How Are You Doing?

You see, no matter how great we are at executing a project and deploying new technology, one of the most important steps you can take for sustained success is to KNOW how you are doing. And quite frankly, most organizations stop short of this and have no process for routinely checking-in on whether or not a specific technology is still serving the purpose for which it was intended. And when it comes to an intranet, we often see no changes whatsoever, even though an intranet touches nearly every single person in your organization. And as great as your intranet is, it needs routine maintenance and a check-up. So I have to ask you…

When was the last time you asked your users what they liked or did not like about your Intranet?

An easy way to do this is to send a quick survey to your employees that simply asks 2 questions:

  1. What 3 things should our intranet STOP doing?
  2. What 3 things should our intranet START doing?

It doesn't have to be a complex task or undertaking - just do something!

“But Wait, There’s More!”

So, where do you start? Maybe you have never checked-in on your intranet, is there any hope and can you start now? YES!

First, it’s always helpful if you know from where you started – your baseline. How is adoption today? How is internal communication today? Obviously, the best time to do this is when you are planning and starting the project. However, if your project is well underway and your intranet built, then look at the metrics you’ve defined (you have defined metrics, right?), and see if you can go back and identify what these were at the beginning of the project. You can always be subjective and think you know how you are doing, but clear numbers are always better to see if you are truly making strides.

Second, measuring is one thing, but KNOWING is another. Once you measure and have the data for how you are doing, spend some time actually understanding what this means.What could you have done better? What can you change now? How can we apply what we’ve learned to future projects?

Third, although today we live in a culture of instant gratification, most things worth having or doing, do not happen overnight. Today, I challenge you to just come up with one new idea of what you can do to see if your intranet is working well. You won't be able to do everything today, so don't try. Just start with small steps, because small steps add up to big wins.

So, What Now?

There are tons of resources available for you to equip yourself for success.  In fact, we've got a ton of great resources on our website as well as free webinars that will certainly point you in the right direction.

Rate your intranet benchmarking surveyOne in particular is our brand new, Rate Your Intranet benchmarking survey, This is simple, downloadable benchmarking tool to help you rank and keep up with the dynamic needs of your intranet users.

For those of you who want more, I’m extremely excited about a new workshop we have just launched, which will be in October. We’ve worked very hard on this event, and have taken every ounce of knowledge and experience from over 20 years of implementing hundreds of intranets and put it into this a live, interactive 2-day workshop. If you want to see how we build great intranets for the modern digital workplace, you don't want to miss this event. It's jam-packed with 2 days of training, interactive exercises, valuable content, and real-world case studies from other companies who have built great intranets.

If you want to see the full Building a Better Intranet 2-day Workshop agenda, you can check it out here.

Understanding whether or not your intranet is successful is one of the most important things you can do. Don’t just “check the box” to say that your Intranet is complete. KNOW that it was complete and adding value as you had hoped.

What do you think? How are you measuring the success of your intranet? Let us know!

We’d love to hear from you. This is what we do, and we want nothing more than to see you be successful with your intranet. Need tips, tricks or want a fresh set of eyes to look at what you've done, don't hesitate to shoot us a message!

A successful intranet is possible, and just because you built it, doesn't mean it will be successful. You need to KNOW if it's successful, and there's no better time to start than today!