In their latest report, Intranet Social Features, Nielsen Norman Group (NN/group) found that companies who invested in social enterprise tools early on are now yielding major benefits.
The 22 companies interviewed explain how social enterprise features have made an impact in their organization. We’re proud to tell you that our very own ThoughtFarmer-powered intranet, “Sparky”, was one of the featured social intranets. The NN/group rounded up trends across all analyzed intranets and compared them to previous intranet studies, providing interesting insight into the past, present, and future of social enterprise software. Here’s a brief recap of some of their most interesting findings.
NN/group found that “social tool infractions remain rare.” We’ve heard concerns about employees inappropriately using social tools, and we’ve even hosted a webinar on Overcoming Executive Fear of Social Intranets. Despite the fear that employees will unleash secrets, dissent in public, or share unprofessional personal info, NN/group found that “as long as attribution is built in and required, communities police themselves.” Trust in social enterprise tools seems to be increasing, and NN/group also noted a “major increase in management support of social features.”
The NN/group confirmed that “community management is vital in social environments.” We’re happy to see growing awareness around the value that intranet managers provide. The fundamental truth about good intranets is that they result from good intranet managers. From engagement to governance to technical problems, this individual or team creates the foundation to social enterprise interaction. If you are an intranet manager, or are looking to hire one, we have a handy e-book on the subject.
The report wraps up with a conclusion that we can’t emphasize enough: “Social intranet projects must be driven by business needs.” When you’re evaluating intranet software, it’s easy to get caught up in features while forgetting the problem you’re attempting to solve. We always recommend starting with the “why?”, and then looking to the “what” of the intranet to meet those needs. And be sure to share that “why” with us — we’ve helped clients implement many, many intranets and we may have an alternate solution.
We have a number of previous blog posts to help people define their business problems and describe their solutions, including The Intranet Identity Crisis and Communicating Your Intranet Requirements.
Want to see the whole report? Read the summary or purchase the entire 271-page report from NN/group.