I tuned into the August broadcast of IBF Live and heard Steve Kaukonen and Steve Berzins describe their Accenture Intranet as a “culture of collaboration” and I thought what a great play on words! Hence this blog post title but I swapped out collaboration in favour of community. This month’s IBF Live theme seemed to emerge more as a lesson in how a consolidation of intranets, people and content can help internal communities thrive.
If this is your first time hearing about IBF Live, you might want to tune in for the next one in September. IBF Live runs the first Tuesday of every month. IBF is the Intranet Benchmarking Forum and they host a monthly 90 minute tour of intranet sites and discussions relating to the challenges intranet managers face. Check out the web site at www.ibflive.com.
Accenture is a large management consulting, tech services and outsourcing company with an intranet serving a whopping 2700 (!) communities. What I found interesting was that their Knowledge Exchange Portal reports and shares “scores” for authors of intranet content. Scores are tallied based on contributions, with a personalized widget titled “My Contributions” reporting your top content based on the number of views, comments and ratings. This helps site contributors understand the impact their knowledge sharing has on other employees.
Covidien’s “Pulse Connect”
Another large intranet tour was Covidien, a leading global provider of healthcare products with 43,000 employees. They have a collaboration site called Pulse Connect that seeks feedback from its community and delivers a vibrant discussions area, with Corporate Communications prompting for conversations with a “would you like to discuss this” link on all of their news announcements and releases. Pulse Connect also provides one hour training sessions for employees, to help cut back on using IT resources.
Cleveland Clinic Employee Intranet
Cleveland Clinic, a non-profit academic medical center, was my favorite intranet tour of the day, even though we didn’t get a chance to see the site live in action. An award winning intranet for the 2011 User Experience Awards, CC/Pulse was showcased through slides. The redesign that won the award was a result of a desire to consolidate 6 various intranet portals. The goal was to unite people and content with a single sign-on, a single source for search and good flow by utilizing standard design practices. This is a valuable design tip: the site looks the same wherever you navigate to, or how deep you go. We subscribe to this principle with our own Intranet Connections collaboration software.
An interesting point was brought up surrounding how much social is too much? Cleveland Clinic had a big decision to make as to what social tools to include. They did not want their intranet to act like the consumer web with social networking tools that would distract. They chose to integrate social where it made sense for the business and employee functions. Their intranet has comments and ratings, tagging, rich employee profiles, and a career center that focuses on employee development and opportunities for advancement. You can hover over any author of content and see their photo and information, with a quick way to connect including paging the employee from a link.
One final impression that I came away with this IBF Live: two of the intranets were fairly basic in terms of look and feel, whereas the Cleveland Clinic intranet stood out with their winning design, even though it was presented through slides and not a live tour. I am fairly visual so this might be a biased impression, but I did find my attention held with the appealing design of the Cleveland Intranet whereas it wandered with the sites that were more link-heavy and not as interesting in the design department.
A good visual design with strong navigation and consistency holds a lot of power, not just in your public facing web sites but with your intranet as well. Spending a few dollars for an intranet designer, and taking the time to get it right, is well worth the effort.