Intranet use cases: Understanding your users and what motivates them

Intranet use cases: Understanding your users and what motivates them

A use case involves stepping into the user’s shoes, allowing the user to be an active part of the process, instead of simply viewing your presentation as a pitch. Learn how use cases can help push forward a business case for intranet software.

Have you ever uncovered a technology solution you were passionate about implementing, but your colleagues didn’t share the same enthusiasm? 

They either didn’t understand it, didn’t care, or failed to see the same value you saw? 

This is likely because they weren’t presented a distinct scenario of how this solution could specifically benefit them. 

In other words, they weren’t presented with a use case

A use case is the simplest possible requirement specification to capture how an end user will interact with a solution to achieve their desired end goal. It’s a document that outlines a tool’s functionality in the context of user actions. 

It’s basically saying, “If a user needs this, the software helps them do that.”

Use cases focus on the users of the system, rather than the system itself, and can go a long way in helping you push forward a business case for intranet software

Benefits of use cases 

When most of us search for a product or service, we leverage things like a list of features, benefits, or integrations. And while these lists have their distinct advantages, they don’t tell you anything about the end user experience. 

If you don’t have a case and experience for your end users, then the most robust solution in the world isn’t going to work. 

By including and considering potential end-users of a solution into early planning, you bring in people who best understand existing challenges, which ultimately encourages buy-in. It also helps avoid any surprises when a solution is deployed. 

A use case involves stepping into the user’s shoes, allowing the user to be an active part of the process, instead of simply viewing your presentation as a pitch. It allows the prospect to more thoroughly understand how they will interact with a new platform, and more importantly how it will help them reach their goals or solve their challenges. 

Establishing use cases also helps you weed down your vendor list because it will help you identify early on which competing vendors can help solve your user needs and requirements. 

Perhaps the best reason for a use case is that it helps convey the benefits of complex technology. Not that intranet technology is necessarily difficult to comprehend, but not everyone is going to grasp the benefits right away. By framing it within a use case to a particular user, you can easily explain how an intranet can benefit them.   

When to use use cases

While intranet use cases are typically used as part of a vendor selection process, they have several other purposes as well:

  • As part of your launch strategy. Intranet platforms can carry extensive feature sets, making intranet launch days a little daunting. By making a prioritized list of intranet use cases and launching your intranet in waves, your employees will see regular updates with context on how the intranet fits into their day to day tasks.
  • As part of your intranet cleanup process. If not managed correctly, your intranet can become a dumping ground for content. Content clutter, otherwise known as content sprawl, can happen when content is added organically, not strategically. By identifying use cases, you can prioritize which sections require clean-up or maintenance first.  
  • As part of a broader optimization process. William Gibson famously said, “The future is hereit’s just not evenly distributed.” Similarly, the future of your intranet may be live inside your organization in smaller offices, departments, or teams. Use your analytics to identify which groups are the heaviest users and understand their use cases. From there you can successfully replicate success in other areas of your organization.

Now that you understand use cases, it’s time to see if your intended use cases can be achieved in your new intranet.

Learn more + view sample use cases 

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November 14, 2019

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