Why do employee portals atrophy and frustrate employees?
For so much promise, often the best day of an Intranet or employee portal is the day it launches. IT, Developers and users have spent months creating compelling content and excitement over the new portal is high. We built it, now they will come and be more productive and engage with the mission of the organization. We declare victory and wait for the accolades.
Soon the reality sets in, often the best day of an Intranet is the day it launches:
Usually, over time the portal seems to degrade or atrophy. Why?
We don’t focus on the individuals and their relationship the content.
- Is anyone reading the latest article posted on the home page? Why not?
- What and why are some sections old and out of date? What needs to change?
- How can the new HR Benefit administrator post the next year’s information?
- What tool should teams use to share information?
- Email vs Chat based portals?
- Mobile enabled applications?
- Shared folders of files?
- All of the above?
Each of these are about the people creating and consuming the content, yet we begin so many portal projects with the IT department setting up servers and a developer customizing webpages. This is what has to change and the answer isn’t another technology such as the new team based chat solutions.
We tend to start with technology solutions, servers or apps because the main issue of individuals and their relationship content seems impossible. To change the relationship between content and users is often to change the very culture of an organization itself… a much more daunting task than even the most complex of apps and websites. The answer is not months of design, training and users meeting with developers, it is about a journey that focuses on individuals not technology from day one.
We must begin our journey to a more engaged and productive workforce with a focus on the people who create and consume content.
The root of how portals are built has its roots in how software development has evolved over the last 15 years. With all the advances in how we approach software development, portal “development” has not changed. Many have written about how the old WaterFall methodology of portal development isn’t relevant anymore, but how do we move to more Agile approach?
We still spend so much time configuring software, confused by the possibilities rather than creating a self-sustaining process to create engaging content and monitor the success of that content. Content can be a webpage, a document, a discussion or any manner of communication in this new age of digital workplaces.
Portal development has been hard, much like authoring a book so many steps, so much work and technology seemed to get in the way. Learning a content system, customizing a website and getting servers, software and people all moving the right direction.
Two things have changed this in recent years, but they alone are not enough:
- Cloud Based Portals or Apps– this solves the issues of installing and maintaining software, you just turn it on but changing the tool, won’t change the culture.
- Intranet Templates – these provide a starting point and often accelerate the deployment of a working portal, but a grab bag of the latest widgets and pages won’t change how people work.
Is your intranet in a box gathering dust?
Did your new chat based portal just offer an alternative to email? Why are there no measurable productivity gains?
What is missing?
A successful and engaging employee portal is not a project with an endpoint such as launch day, it’s a change in the culture and how individuals view their content. The only way we have seen this be successful is creating a dedicated role whose responsibility is to assisting in this culture change. This is what has been missing the the “secret” of success in changing a culture. Anyone can set this up for themselves with cloud based portals, intranet templates and the new change agent role, this is not necessarily new insight. Many companies have a team of people dedicated to this role and are using this at their organization. Do you have this at your company? We at Catapult offer a way to have this in place soon as a month from now, without having to figure it all out for yourself.
At Catapult we are:
- The 2016 Microsoft Partner of the Year, we have the Microsoft Cloud on lock!
- Solution provider of Fuse, a portal that is ready to go, just follow our process to add your content!
- A change agent, Fuse includes the culture change role which we call the Customer Success Manager. The best day of the portal is alway ahead, guaranteed!
Here is how it works
- Our Fuse process puts individuals first, from day one… guided by a Success Manager who becomes a partner with them around their content.
- Office 365 provides a cloud base set of portals that can be turned on for instance access to the latest content and productivity solutions. The Microsoft Cloud fulfills all the security, technology and wide ranging set of user expectations.
If you haven’t looked at the Microsoft Cloud solution in the last few months you will find something that is competitive with any product in the market, yet only Microsoft can provide the hyper-scale and integration with the Office suite such as Excel, Word, PowerPoint that no other vendor can offer.
- The SharePoint Portal (Part of the Microsoft Cloud) is already an intranet template, an intranet in a Box. Other solutions, some cloud based, also offer templates to deploy employee portals. This is not enough. The Fuse solution builds on over a decade of experience to offer an intranet based on 1000s of real world solutions.
Fuse offers a set of pre-integrated solutions such as content analytics and user interface enhancements over and above portals in a box. But a grab bag of widgets and pages isn’t enough; Fuse is backed by an easy to implement process that has a fully customized intranet done in days or weeks not months.
- From day one we assign a Customer Success Manager who, along with Catapult will share the risk in the portal success. This is what has been missing, this role isn’t a developer and it’s not the content gatekeeper, they are an agent who ensures the individuals relationship with their content changes. Customer Success Management often is defined about being a culture change agent, even if it’s one person at a time.
- Proactively looking at metrics and providing guidance on what is working and who is struggling.
- A coach and support for users who don’t know or remember where to start or how to achieve their goals.
- A manager who can bring together the right business and technical resources to solve the problem.
Catapult Systems offers Fuse as a way to achieve this goal, based on the 4 steps above it can ensure that a portal’s best days are always ahead. Catapult has changed our model of Waterfall based, multi-month portal projects to one where we leverage our pre-built portal Fuse along with a subscription where we earn our money based on the value we provide each month. The key to this model is the Customer Success Manager which comes with every subscription. We have seen customer after customer use this as a change agent to shift the focus of individuals and their relationship with their content from complex software to content success.