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Mid-Year Evaluation of Your Social Intranet, technically it’s past the mid-year point, but in the HR technology world… this is the time that mid year reviews are completed. And it got me to thinking about the social technology goals that I had outlined for this year and where I currently stand with them. And I invite you to do the same.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not as far as I’d like: shrinking budgets, reorganized resources and modified priorities have slowed down my progress of creating a social experience for employees. I imagine that I’m not the only one in this situation. So, to break the ice, I thought I would provide a little insight into the projects I’ve been working on, what I accomplished and where I hope to go in the second half of the year (and beyond).

What I did accomplish was a lot of movement and growing appreciation from my matrixed organization on the importance of creating an overall experience rather than siloed ones, and an overall understanding that sometimes the quickest and easiest route isn’t the most scalable by IT teams or adopted by the employee base. We have implemented what is considered to be “low hanging fruit” at the same time as taking our time and performing due diligence on more complex solutions.

Exceeds Expectations

The initial first half of this year has been heavily focused on the integration of our backend, transactional systems. As a social media consultant or community manager, you might wonder why I see this as a positive step towards moving towards a more social workplace. But in order to have an integrated social experience on the front end, your back-end infrastructure must be built to support it: the back end is just as important as the front end. Additionally, appropriate governance and training must be created to manage content creation and administration. To that end, the first half of this year saw the successful implementation of the following:

  • One global site – Historically, we had disparate intranet experiences. This year saw the integration of our separate intranets into one global portal — creating a common look and feel. This was a tremendous effort considering that the intranet serves 130,000 employees (11,000 of whom are international). Because we permission content based on pay band, country, and role, content had to be thoroughly scrutinized to successfully transition to a new site.
  • One platform – The pre-existing intranet sites were on different versions of the same platform. But the differences between the two versions prevented us from easily blending one site into the other. So, the decision was made to move to a completely different platform all together.
  • Enterprise CMS and Workflow – Moving to a new platform meant that we also moved from one content management system to another. Content authors and subject matter experts (SMEs) had to be identified as stakeholders and when you consider that “the future of digital workplace makes work flow” then content workflow is essential to automate timely content updates.
  • Governance and training – a major step towards establishing a new infrastructure is to make sure that your stakeholders know who they are, what they are responsible for, and what they need to know in order to care for it. Establish governance so that stakeholders / content authors know how to manage their content and what steps are necessary for content updates.

Meets Requirements

Small steps to becoming a more social intranet were implemented in the first half of this year. These components  allow for more interactivity as well as mobility and accessibility.

  • Unified Help and Live Chat – to be honest, this is only half completed. Phase I was the implementation of an enterprise-wide help function for all employees. To be clear, Help was a function that existed previously but was different depending on the business unit. Now employees go through the same access point. Phase II is the implementation of real-time Live Chat.
  • Enterprise Search – we significantly scrubbed our existing search application for invalid search references and tags. We know have a more robust search that delivers results based on this corrected content and also displays suggested results on the search results page (think in terms of Google paid search results). We also implemented an auto-suggest feature for our search input box that displays content based on the keywords entered into the input box.
  • Extranet – An important aspect of our intranet is to not only make it social but to also make it accessible. With this in mind, we made certain intranet content available outside of our corporate firewall, calling this our “extranet.” Additionally, we implemented a corporate version of the mobile browser to allow employees to access intranet content on company-issued mobile devices.
  • Static Footer Bar – We implemented our own version of the Facebook or Wibiya footer bar so that employees can easily receive important notifications and alerts. More importantly, these notifications / alerts are tied to the back office transactional systems so that once the employee has completed a certain task, the notification is automatically removed.

Needs Improvement

My social intranet “to do list” is still quite lengthy. In some respects this is due to the re-prioritization of business goals as well as technical dependencies, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. And my ultimate goal is to get to a social intranet that not only transforms the business but also where employees can learn, plan and do their work and personal lives. Here are just a few items that I am still working towards:

  • Search Tagging – employee-generated keyword tagging of intranet content
  • Social Learning – collaborative learning and development in virtual spaces
  • Universal Employee Profiles / You Connect – universal profiles that leverage current employee information and data from LDAP as well as PeopleSoft fields, but also allows employees to customize and personal not only what information is shared but where it is shared.
  • Alerts – desktop and mobile notifications
  • Gamification – Check-in Based Reward and Recognition

Where Do You Stand?

So that leaves me with you.

Where do you stand and how would you rate your progress? Have you accomplished what you hoped to accomplish within the first half of this year? If no, why not? What are some of the roadblocks and / or successes you’ve had? I’d like to put together a mid-year report on where we all stand and what we’re still working towards. If you’d like to contribute to this report feel free to share here as a comment or send an e-mail to

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