As businesses continue to expand in stride with the global economy, the value and demand for more robust intranets is similarly increasing at a rapid pace. And it’s no surprise; given that a 2012 report cited nearly one in five American workers were “Actively Disengaged” with their company. In a previous post, Redesigning the Intranet, we discussed how when looking for newer and better ways to build online employee communities, some companies are designing next-generation intranets with real-time dynamic content and social media capabilities.
Because of the proven relationship between employees' workplace engagement and overall company performance, companies want to encourage employees to communicate and engage as much as possible—and intranets are a fast, efficient way to do that.
But how can you actually measure your intranet’s true business value?
Digital analytics and measurements empower an organization to understand the behaviors of its audience (visitors) and ensure relevant content and collaboration capabilities. To clearly understand the true value your intranet delivers, you’ll need to complete three key measurement activities or steps:
Step 1: Develop site goals.
In my years of studying and consulting with companies on their web analytics strategies, I've found that the biggest obstacle to website success is a lack of goals that measure “Success.” You need to define website/intranet goals to strive towards; then, you can benchmark yourself against those goals. The benchmark will provide something to compare against when trying to make improvements to your site, and will help your team evaluate and promote changes that drive the overall adoption rate of the site.
Tip: In the intranet world, the core measurement component for success is adoption rate. Adoption rates tell you whether or not your visitors are finding value in the intranet and adopting it as their primary internal tool to find and share information.
Step 2: Define success metrics.
It’s important to analyze the amount and type of employee engagement that occurs on your intranet to truly gauge user adoption and value. Intranet success metrics most commonly tracked and tied to site goals include:
- Unique visitors (benchmark vs. current) is used to calculate the adoption rate percentage and evaluate the new vs. returning visitor traffic on the intranet.
- Keyword search metrics allow you determine most popular keyword searches and adjust your content strategy for improved engagement.
- In-Page Analytics help visualize where visitors are clicking on each page to inform user experience trends and optimize usability on the site.
- Application-use metrics enhance visibility into the applications most frequently used to drive self-service activities.
- Visitor comments (measuring the number of comments) on each article helps drive further content around heavily-read articles.
- Directory metrics validate that visitors are finding contacts quickly.
- Geography metrics identify the different needs of visitors from various locations, which helps drive adoption across corporate locations.
- Visitor Flow graphics indicate where users are entering and leaving the site.
Step 3: Create a measurement strategy.
Developing and using a consistent, effective measurement strategy is the key differentiator when it comes to driving intranet success. Outlined is the measurement best practice used by our Web and Mobile solutions team:
- Identify (Who is your audience and how do they use the tool?)
To be an effective intranet, you need to identify your visitors and understand what goals they are trying to accomplish on the site.
- Measure (Key Success Metrics- What business value will the intranet deliver?)
Measuring the performance of your intranet is a key component of the overall success and adoption of your intranet platform. Without analytics, there is no way to access, or even improve the success of your intranet platform.
- Optimize (Analyze metrics and provide actionable insights)
At least on a monthly basis, analyze key metrics and goals set forth, understand visitor behavior, and develop any additional goals or metrics that will help further define insights into increasing the adoption rate.
At the end of the day, it’s not just about the metrics collected, it’s much more. It’s also about having a measurement strategy in place, measuring the right metrics, and having the organization’s commitment to analyzing and understanding the metrics provided by the Analytics tool (e.g. Google Analytics, Adobe SiteCatalyst, IBM Digital Analytics, Webtrends, IBM Tealeaf, and Clicktale) to deliver valuable insights that will help drive adoption of the intranet platform.
What key metrics are you using to drive business value from your intranet?