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From “relevance” to the KPIs that measure communication quality & impact

Summary: In the long run the concept of “relevance” will undoubtedly replace the attempt to provide intranets that users can customise or personalise. Relevance targeting is driven by purposeful communications and clear objectives on the sender’s side. Evaluating the actual effect of distinct communication will allow communicators to continuously improve their skills and organisation to improve their channel mix and effectiveness.

Attending one of my client’s internal communications conference I felt inspired to document a workshop session with a little drawing:

Sending and Receiving in DWP

It summarises important aspects of the sender/recipient relationship. It furthermore hints to where the long sought for KPIs for internal communications and the Digital Workplace can be found.

The beginning: a purpose.

I truly believe communications without purpose should simply be banned from internal digital channels. Actually, thinking about it again, it should be banned from all channels, no matter if analogue, digital, internal or outside facing. The purpose of communications is usually driven by an over spanning objective. Purpose and objective create the foundation for “relevance”, the “reason-why” for the creation of a message and delivery to a particular audience. The tonality has to resonate on both and make sure that the core of the message is clear and easy to understand.

Practical example

Objective: reduce the risk of legal liability caused by wrongful handling of presents from suppliers.

Purpose: create awareness of a changed compliance guideline to the purchasing employees in Eastern Europe, Middle East & Asia.

Tonality: clear, straight forward, call to action (= go to the policy, read it, implement it) as the core element; background & change tracking should be stored in the context of the policy, not the communication, so it can be found even if people simply search for the policy itself and not the connected communication around it.

KPI for success measuring (Examples)

Deliver on communication purpose
  1. Unique visitors = effective reach of the message
  2. Distinct & scaled rating of the message = feedback for the senders on quality, clarity & relevance
  3. Click through rate = “conversion” from communication recipient to policy recipient
  4. Time on (destination/reference) site = recipient involvement with the reference material
  5. Receipt confirmation (if possible) = communication read & understood
Deliver on communication objective
  1. Quantitative evaluation of the implementation through line managers (read, understood, implemented)
  2. Cases of non-compliance in purchasing after the communications

Measuring success beyond media KPI

For a few years I have been chasing best practice and lighthouse solutions for success measurement in the context of intranet/DWP. So far the subject hasn’t really gotten the right attention and the majority of KPI we see in the field are “volume” KPI such as

  • members of a community or group
  • number of conversations
  • number of likes & shares
  • number of comments

To continuously improve the quality of Enterprise Information Management we have to deliver more insight to authors and publishers. The ones in charge for the mechanics and design of internal digital channels have to enable the ones in charge of the content to deliver on the requirements of all stakeholders. To date way too much guess work is involved.

How to get there?

Let’s simply stop asking for “analytics”. Let’s ask for Communications Insight & Intelligence. If I were in charge I would refuse to implement any KPI without a concept on

  • why measure? (reason-why)
  • how to report on the insight? (reporting format/frequency)
  • who will be reported to? (audience)
  • who is in charge of executing on insight? (accountability)
  • how shall KPI be interpreted? (figures > insight)

The last is probably the most important because at the end pure numbers mean nothing. The interpretation (and therefore the commentary for the report) is key for the actual execution on the insight. For that we have to pre-determine what particular figures mean and what has to happen with the learning, for example:

  • Low click-through
    > recipients only now that the policy is there but they don’t know the detail
    > implementation might fail
    > actively research through line management
  • Low time-on-site at the reference material
    > recipients only go to the site but don’t get involved
    > implementation might fail
    > actively research through line management

Why to pay more attention Communications Insight & Intelligence?

I believe that by implementing a more serious quality and impact measurement for internal digital channels we will achieve three things:

  1. Provide support to the governing organisation and enable them to iteratively improve the channel effectiveness
  2. Increase awareness for the fact that people have to pay attention to the alternative to e-mail communications
  3. Establish intranet/DWP as a work critical and essential part of the people’s work: the Good Morning for every day that you don’t want to live without

Who to talk to in the field?

Probably Philip’s Dennis Agusi is one of the guys in the field that has one of the best ongoing cases in DWP analytics. You can find him on Twitter: @DennisAgusi

Check out the tweets about is presentation at the Intranet Reloaded 2015 at #intrelEU (add his twitter handle to your search query to filter out the distinct tweets). But be aware: they hired a data scientist to pull off their attempt…

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We did it again! IntraNET.Reloaded 2015. 2 days full of inspiration, exchange & insight #intrelEU #digitalworkplace #intranet

Like every year the international community around intranets and the Digital Workplace gathered in Berlin to share experience and seek inspiration for the next step. This year was dominated by down to earth steps towards the future of information work. Migration & consolidation are in third gear. Relevance, personalisation & decluttering are key drivers of today’s initiatives. Social is still there…but we have learned a lot. In particular that we have to listen, understand and resonate on what’s going on in this new sphere of communication & collaboration. Plus: we have seen the first set of KPI that go beyond media metrics (aka traffic & volume). Thank you @DennisAgusi…

Let me start with my final comment as the chairman of day 2

I am proud and humble to be part of a community that never searches the lime light. We meet at in Berlin to exchange, to share, to inspire each other and to learn. Over 200 people have one guiding principle: make the life of our colleagues, the consumers of intranets and the Digital Workplace easier. Provide relief to their daily challenges and deliver everything they need to do their job with less effort and more fun.

We don’t go on stage to brag. We go on stage to share success, failure, progress and challenges.

It’s an amazing attitude.

Taking a massive leap the pragmatic way

This year’s IntraNET.Reloaded was kicked of by from Swiss travel company Kuoni. In a bold move they have banned the classic concept of navigation and real estate from their internal channel. Built on Colygon’s MatchPoint/Snow collaboration platform Kuoni has taken branding to a new level: color brush up and a logo. The rest of the service provided to its users comes pretty much out of the box. In addition to the fact that the team was able to get the project through the door in an almost inhumane time frame the users seem to love it! With that move Kuoni has even succeeded in merging collaboration and communication in one environment – something that is part of the releases yet to come in many companies.

Big. Bang.

Christophe RALITE (@CRALITE) from Nexans proudly reported on a big bang in which the organisation consolidated 85 intranets and various collaboration spaces into one SharePoint 2013 based first release on their journey to a full blown Digital Workplace.

Well, in all fairness: the big bang was more an experience for the users since they left the office shutting down the “old world” and were greeted by the “new world” the next day. Content and intranet owners had roughly 12 months to clean-up, de-rubbish and classify/tag their data before the migration.

Law unleashed.

Angela Rositter (@brightrossi) from Linklaters LLP provided an amazing insight into what it means to consolidate all internal channels and the (business critical) knowledge management into one central solution. I mean, is there another type of business that is more driven by secrecy, confidentiality and “closed shop” thinking than a law firm? However, the awareness that a key to future success and a growth in billable hours lies in the effective use of knowledge, experience and expertise was motivation enough to give it a change.

Intranet and digital veteran Angela passionately reported on her journey towards the new single source of truth for Linklater LLP’s lawyers around the world. On step being the consolidation of 145 top navigation items (crucial and must-have of course) into 5 pillars of content and substance.

Little Boxes & Content Marketing

Probably one of the most spot-on statements at this year’s IntraNET.Reloaded. Kathryn Everest (@everestk) from Jive complemented it with another very interesting angle: display advertising start losing ground to social and content marketing. Since our field has continuously been inspired by applications & performance in the internet we might want to pay attention to this development too. It might stand for the fact that contextual relevance and the monetisation of interaction and involvement are stronger than static content that keeps hammering onto the same target groups over and over again.

Governance. Governance. Governance.

The majority of the “challenge your peers” sessions seemed to hover around on of my favourite subjects. For the most attendants it has become crystal clear that continuity and consistency in user experience, content/document management and information architecture is an essential foundation for what we all ask for: de-clutter the internal channels!! Relevance and profile based information delivery is only possible if the ground work has been done and kept alive.

Awards for user focus, togetherness and relevance.

This year’s IntraNET.Reloaded awards (1st place) were given to KPN, Allianz Turkey and Roche.The fact that the user played a key role in all three solutions definitely was a driver for the votes.

What happens if you let a DATA SCIENTIST play the magic harp…

Dennis Agusi (@DennisAgusi) from Philips gave a 35 minute pitch for the beauty of data analytics for their intranet and social channel. I was and still am in awe. For the first time the crowd had the chance to look at KPI that went beyond classic traffic, volume and social interaction measures. In too many instances pride is taken in the thousands of participants and happiness is driven by thumbs up and sharing. Dennis gave an impressive example for what it means when you show publishers/authors deep insight on x-functional interaction or clear indicators on content quality and involvement.

What might have slipped one or the other attendant’s attention: Philips has unleashed this powerful steering tool based on a custom built application and has hired a data scientist (a SCIENTIST!!) to pull the right strings and make sense of big data.

The Young Generation and an HR Executive share the stage.

Ruggero Crameri (@RCrameri) from Swisscom told me in the briefing for the introduction that they had been asking themselves the same question for years: “We keep talking about the new generation and executive stakeholders, but why are they never on stage?” As a consequence and – real representatives of the future of our corporate talent – and Dr. Hans Werner, Yasmin Ogi and Melanie Willhelm entered the stage.

Yasmin made it clear to the audience that “closed shop thinking” and “secrecy” do not fit with the attitude of the new generation at the workplace. “We are a generation of openness and sharing. It’s not about individual knowledge, it’s about collective power.” set the stage what came next.

Swisscom is literally re-inventing itself. A self governing environment and a crowd driven optimisation of content, knowledge and results is the framework of the new digital way of working at Switzerland’s leading telco. Dr. Hans Werner openly shared his initial challenge with the subject that it hasn’t been always easy to follow the radical path the internal project team decided to walk. But in the end it has paid off and his passion for the subject was obvious in the way he talked about the results that the new way of working delivers to the company.

In order to make a point even applied for a new job at Swisscom: “This year I will end my apprenticeship – wouldn’t it make sense if you had a seat for the Young Generation in the board?”.

Power. Scope. Politics.

I am not sure if it’s better to run a World Café session with 5 groups or to be part of the attendants and experience more than one subject. Well, this year I had no choice and moderated my session around “Managing the Digital Workplace in a distributed organisation”. In order to spark conversation I provided three angles and their “hidden reality” to the subject to the participants: How to balance local, regional and global needs & how to deal with power that derives from a strong economical position of e.g. a division or geography and their access to budget or decision makers? How to balance common value vs. closeness to the business logic & how to avoid a scope and/or complexity that turns smart projects into multi year ordeals? How to get commitment, resource and budget from business stakeholders & how to we make sure that the commitment doesn’t disappear with the next round of rough times ahead? The final result of 5 rounds of conversation and sharing looked like this…

 

IMG_0424

My personal favourites of sharing and input were…

Balancing Needs

  • If you want to balance needs you need to listen. A lot. Again. Again & again.
  • Asking for budget from a weak position in order to actually improve the position can be tricky…kind of a catch 22.
  • Allow yourself to build islands, if you have a solid concept on how to connect them later
  • Ask why five times. Then you really know what the requirement is about.

Common Value vs. Business Logic

  • It’s not that easy to evaluate potential of something that wasn’t used before…or hasn’t even existed before.
  • Build the case on the fact that “WE believe” (the strong coalition) not a single opinion or believe.
  • If you start to think like entrepreneurs you have a good chance to come up with solid arguments.

Commitment

  • It’s now always easy to pass the “front desk” or the “blockers” if you want to get access to the actual decision makers (aka the executive floor)
  • PowerPoint won’t get you cash. You need a proof for what you pitch.
  • Trust is key.
  • You might want to turn “blockers” into active or even leading parts of your initiative in order to suppress and neutralise their negative influence.
  • Find the right moment and tone to “pop the question”.

In addition to the conversation around the three angles all groups elaborated on the fact that it’s not the executive floor or the work force that prove to be challenging in change situations. It’s the middle management that is lead and therefore manages via Excel files. What is preached and asked for from the top doesn’t find it’s way into the objectives of the ones that have to carry the responsibility and help people through this process. That managers then are hesitant is more than natural.

So far so good.

Oh, by the way: my 30 mins on stage in slides and as a little sketching video (thanks WE CONECT!!)

The slides…

 

Now it’s another 6 months until I will attend the Social Business Collaboration…and I cannot wait to see what the folks that deliver the substance of that conference will bring to the table.

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A little bit of #SelfPromotion… The Digital Workplace Gold Dust is available; #digitalworkplace #GoldDust #socbiz #e20 #enterprise20

I’ve been careful with promoting business related stuff on my personal blog. I will make an exception in this case because I have finally succeeded in collecting my past year’s experience in one place: the Digital Workplace Gold Dust. And I am proud of it (*BAM there, I said it)

It’s the follow up of Infocentric’s Digital Workplace Report and focuses on a fully practice based angle on the subject of Advanced Intranets and Digital Workplaces. It’s full of models, conceptual perspectives and references that I and we have used frequently and refined over the past years. I didn’t do this completely by myself of course. A lot of inspiration and input comes from my work for clients, the collaboration with valued colleagues and companions in the field.

Digital Workplace Gold Dust

Maybe you would enjoy the read 🙂 You can request a copy of the Digital Workplace Gold Dust on Infocentric’s website

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Have you ever thought about what #collaboration actually means to your organisation? #socbiz #enterprise20 #e20 #digitalworkplace

Over the past weeks I’ve hosted various workshops on the subject of the Digital Workplace and Advanced Intranet. There was one thing all the workshops had in common: the participants suddenly were unclear what “collaboration” actually meant to them. For everyone it was clear that today’s intranets (not even close to work critical, rather an editorial graveyard) had to evolve to become the first step in the evolution of a Digital Workplace. It has to grow together with efforts and initiatives around collaboration, which are managed separately in almost all companies.

What does collaboration stand for?

It really depends who you ask. For IT departments collaboration usually is driven by the bells and whistles of a (social) collaboration platform. Their perspective is to make everything available so people can pick and choose what might suit their requirements. For business functions collaboration in a lot of instances is the ability to have at least documents in one place and use live collaboration abilities (aka chat, desktop sharing etc.) to fight data redundancies and travel efforts (and cost). For the management collaboration often ends up in the field of innovation (one big family striving for world domination) or cross-functional and -border synergies.

Get 10 people in one room and you have 15 opinions on collaborations…and probably 17 definitions.

After spending time to gather the aspects that could define the field of collaboration and trying to determine where the “act of collaboration” would actually create value participants of all workshops ended up with one common denominator:

Collaboration is more than the fact that people work work together and share files in the same place. It’s about creating assets that can be re-used by others and utilise the expertise that was created in previous team efforts. It’s about making sure that what we do happens in accordance with the framework (#FluffyHandcuffs) that is required by the organisation. It’s about connecting to experience and expertise of others that might help us to be faster or better in quality.

collaboration aspects

I am pretty sure that all readers of this post will say: yeah, but that’s totally obvious. Believe me, it’s not.

The biggest luxury in a project I have experienced recently is a pre-study that has “define what collaboration means to us” as it’s only objective. As a side effect, and this is becoming obvious already, it will create a coalition around the subject because we were able to connect to a lot of business stakeholders in the process of defining the field.

A final recommendation for the process of specifying “collaboration”: make “what is it not?” and “why is it special to us?” part of the evaluation. It will help you to scope what you’re doing against other initiatives – or build bridges to them since running them separate would cause disconnection and redundancy.