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ThoughtFarmer Best Intranet Awards 2014: Winners in the Best Looking Category

In May, we ran our annual ThoughtFarmer Best Intranet competition. Our clients entered their intranets in 3 categories: Best Looking, Most Innovative, and Best Collaboration. Today we’ll profile the winners in the Best Looking category.

Badge: Best-looking intranetWINNER, Best Looking Intranet: Splio

  • Industry: Marketing & Business Consulting
  • Region: France
  • Employees: 110
  • Intranet name: Life

Splio employed extensive CSS for a textured, custom look. “Life” features a different banner image for each major section. The end result is an intranet design that wowed everyone here at ThoughtFarmer!

Splio ThoughtFarmer Intranet home page

Splio’s home page sports a red banner, custom icons and texture

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Intranet Tip: Create a Killer Intranet Launch Video

In brief: A humorous video starring your colleagues can make an intranet launch exciting, relatable and engaging.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is a video worth? The LPK intranet team found out the answer: A lot. They worked with the company PR team to produce an action-packed video that poked fun at the old intranet and built suspense about the new intranet. The humor in the video eased people’s tension about the change and the video itself built excitement about the new site.

Meet Watson—LPK’s Upgraded Social Intranet from LPK on Vimeo.

ThoughtFarmer’s Intranet Tips are a biweekly series of brief, actionable tips that show you how real companies are using real intranets to solve real business problems. Have a Tip to share? Send a screenshot and brief description to engage@thoughtfarmer.com.

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New Intranet Case Study: Sharing Stories and Knowledge at Cummins Western Canada

When Cummins Western Canada (CWC) wanted to increase employee engagement, share knowledge and encourage adoption of their new intranet, they chose a surprisingly simple but effective method – tell stories!


Cummins intranet homepage

The Challenge

CWC has more than 800 employees and locations across several provinces. They needed a way to connect employees and share knowledge that would be accessible to users at all levels of the business, from head office to shop floors. When it came time to purchase a new intranet, Cummins had prepared a thoughtful strategy, but had a limited budget and tight timeline. Their Communications team turned to ThoughtFarmer, which out-of-the-box was far more affordable than the custom-built SharePoint implementation they had been considering.

The Results

Cummins’ ThoughtFarmer intranet was a hit “right off the bat,” according to Romana Osborne who manages the intranet and worked with our consultants during the implementation. Cummins had a full engagement with our Professional Services team, who helped guide them through the steps from purchase to launch. “I thought the ThoughtFarmer team was great!” she said.

Cummins’ intranet has become a go-to resource for the business. 70% of employees log in daily to ThoughtFarmer, compared with 29% for the old system it replaced. Employees regularly submit content for blogs and news posts and stories receive dozens of comments. “People are using ThoughtFarmer to do their job,” Osborne says.

>>Read the full case study

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How to craft a communications plan for your intranet project

Early intranet adoption hinges on your ability to communicate the launch of your intranet. This article explains the key considerations and sequenced steps involved in creating a comprehensive communications plan for your intranet project.

“Project management isn’t about charts, graphs, and statistics — it’s about communication”. When I first read this definition for “project management” (in the book Getting Real by 37Signals), it resonated with me. So many problems in large projects come down to issues of communication — a lack of it, not doing it with the right people, not doing it clearly.

There is added communications complexity when doing an intranet project because a large number of people are impacted by the project — often your entire company. These people have a diverse array of jobs, perspectives and competing priorities. So how do you get a broad array of people with too much other stuff on their minds to remember the details of your intranet project, feel involved in the process, and complete their relevant tasks? Good communication. And lots of it.

The following framework for creating an intranet project communications plan can help create a smoother path and ultimately higher adoption and engagement.

Step #1: Define communications objectives

Your communications objectives should support your intranet objectives (see Step 1 to a New Intranet: Determining Business Objectives). Communication objectives usually seek to create awareness, establish needs, change attitudes or drive actions. Review your intranet objectives and determine what knowledge, attitudes, and actions will help get you there. Contemplate what might prevent you from achieving your intranet objectives and how communications can help you overcome these barriers.

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Webinar Recording: Best Intranets 2014 Competition

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Need so10845-thoughtfarmer-badge-2-0me inspiration for your intranet project? Want to see what clients in different industries are doing to make their ThoughtFarmer intranets beautiful, vibrant and innovative?

We recently hosted the annual ThoughtFarmer Best Intranet competition and wanted to share the results with you!

This webinar is now complete. Enjoy the recorded version and please contact us with further questions.


Or view the slideshare:

Join our Co-Founder and VP of Sales & Marketing, Chris McGrath who will share the latest and greatest from ThoughtFarmer intranets around the world.

Webinar Details: 

Date: July 9, 2014  -  8:30AM Pacific / 11:30AM Eastern / 16:30 UK / 17:30 CET

Audience: Anyone who has an intranet, is looking to buy an intranet, or just loves learning more about intranets!


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Intranet Tip: Use fun social activities as a teaching tool

In brief: Fun, non-work-related social areas let employees learn to use the the intranet in a friendly, low-pressure environment.

Spendvision used their Movember moustache contest as a fun way to teach employees how to collaborate on the intranet. The intranet team created an area to post photos of employees who were growing their mustaches to raise money for charity. This lighthearted campaign drew people to the intranet where they learned about the site’s functionality. This made learning fun and helped employees not just get comfortable with their social intranet, but actually enjoy using it.


ThoughtFarmer’s Intranet Tips are a biweekly series of brief, actionable tips that show you how real companies are using real intranets to solve real business problems. Have a Tip to share? Send a screenshot and brief description to engage@thoughtfarmer.com.

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Future of Work Series Part 5: Leveraging Social Technology for Competitive Advantage

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Social technologies are rapidly changing the way we do business, from organizational structure down to individual skill sets. ThoughtFarmer was fortunate to host a panel at Vancouver’s Digital Strategy Conference on the Future of Work and the role of social technology. In this one-hour panel, we explore how new technologies are disrupting century-old workplace practices and the subsequent positive (and sometimes not-so-positive) impacts to organizations.

Since our talk was on the future and technology, we saw it fitting to host a digital panel using Google Hangouts.


Our virtual panel connected the Digital Strategy conference here in Vancouver to panelists in California, Missouri and New York.

Meet the Panel

We were joined by a group of social business thought leaders including:

  • Dave Gray (@davegray), Author of Gamestorming and the Connected Company
  • Stowe Boyd (@stoweboyd), Web Anthropologist and Lead Social Business Analyst at GigaOM Research
  • Megan Murray (@meganmurray), Host of Shift, the social business podcast; Enterprise 2.0 pioneer; and former Booze Allen Hamilton consultant.
  • David Ascher (@davidascher), VP of Product for the Mozilla Foundation

View the Hangout

Future of Work Highlights

Designing organizations for uncertain and volatile environments.

Technology and social tools are creating a highly volatile business environment. This is driving the biggest change that we’ve seen in organizations since the industrial revolution. If companies want to succeed in this new environment, they need to think like Google and Amazon, who have been able to scale massively without losing their ability to adapt and innovate. See the full one-on-one interview with Dave Gray: How Consumer Technology is Disrupting the Workplace.

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ThoughtFarmer 7.0: Intranet Instant Messaging with Microsoft Lync Integration

While there are many instant messaging tools, Microsoft Lync is quickly becoming the enterprise standard for chat and video calling. Microsoft has named Lync its fastest growing business segment. ThoughtFarmer 7.0 Matcha features new Lync integration capabilities, so you can see who’s online and launch conversations directly from your intranet.

Presence Indicator

With the new Lync integration option, your intranet directory will show you the real-time status of every person in your organization.


Perhaps your co-worker just made a comment on a project update you posted on the intranet. You want to follow up to discuss further. Is it a good time to chat? The presence indicator makes it easy to continue the conversation in real-time. It also lets you know if people are away from the office or in another meeting.

Launch Lync Applications from Anywhere

Simply hover over the employee’s name to launch Lync. You can choose between a chat conversation, a telephone call, a Lync meeting, or a video chat (depending on which Lync features your company has set up). Launch Lync from any page on the intranet, such as a comment, a status update, a news item, a forum post, a blog, etc.


Licensing & Software Requirements

Whether you’re an existing Lync user or newly considering instant messaging capabilities, ThoughtFarmer’s Lync integration will help you get the most out of both tools. The Lync integration is currently available as an add-on service. Please contact our enterprise sales team to learn more.

Meet ThoughtFarmer 7.0 Matcha

In addition to the Lync integration, ThoughtFarmer 7.0 Matcha is full of new tools that make your intranet a vibrant communications hub, including:

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Intranet Tip: Share Photos of Company Special Events

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In brief: Photo albums from company special events help employees connect beyond their own offices.

Employees throughout Common Ground’s 18 locations were passionate about fighting homelessness, but they felt disconnected from one another. The nonprofit’s social intranet has had a huge impact on bringing people together, especially the photo galleries from company events. Employees get to see their colleagues in action, connect online through comments on the photos, and feel part of something greater than just their own local offices.












ThoughtFarmer’s Intranet Tips are a biweekly series of brief, actionable tips that show you how real companies are using real intranets to solve real business problems. Have a Tip to share? Send a screenshot and brief description to engage@thoughtfarmer.com.

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ThoughtFarmer 7.0: Automated Email Newsletters Help Employees Catch Up On What They’ve Missed

A lot can happen at the office while you’re away at a conference, on-site with a client, stuck in meetings, or best of all — taking a vacation. Here at ThoughtFarmer, we’ve sometimes imagined a giant pause button that could freeze all work while you’re away. While we haven’t quite been able to code that yet, we’ve come up with the next best thing: automated email newsletters.

Our new email newsletters help employees catch up on items they may have missed with personalized daily and weekly news. Your internal communications teams will love them — they’re automated, they’re easy to set up and configure, and they help drive intranet engagement and adoption.

Daily Catch-up Emails

Busy day? Our automated Daily Catch-up newsletters keep everyone on the same page. Quickly scan the email at the end of the day, or the start of the next day, to keep track of changes that have happened on your intranet. Emails are personalized for each employee based on content they follow.


Week in Review Emails

Whether employees are in the office or away on vacation, the weekly email newsletters capture every important change on your intranet.


Employees receive a summary of changes to content they follow as well as a personalized list of the most popular pages on your intranet. ThoughtFarmer takes note of which pages each user visits, so users do not receive notifications about changes they’ve already seen. Plus our newsletters use your intranet security settings, so employees are only notified about content they have access to.

Admin Settings

Increase the open rates on your newsletters by adjusting the send time to suit your business.

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