We had a great webinar last week, Using the Web to Empower Employees, and had lots of great questions. So many questions, in fact, that we weren’t able to address all of them during the session. So I’d like to cover some of those here. Because many of them covered similar topics, I’ve combined a few that had the same answer.
Q: How do we encourage adoption and usage of our intranet?
A: Obviously this is a complex goal to accomplish. “Build it and they will come” is a sure recipe for failure. I see three major pillars to growing usage and adoption of your intranet.
The first pillar is credibility. Building strong credibility requires a holistic approach to quality in everything that is delivered. Content needs to be accurate and well written. Executives need to communicate with candor, substance and transparency. Functionality needs to work and be easy to use, and design needs to be engaging. Yes, design – there is a growing set of research demonstrating the very significant impact of design on the perceived credibility of both public websites and intranets, but intranet design is often neglected.
The next pillar is anchor content and capabilities. Think of your local mall. Many of the stores would never be able to survive as stand-along shops, so they depend on anchor stores to draw the crowds What are the anchors of your intranet? Cafeteria menus, classified ads, HR self-service for benefits selection and executive blogs =may not be significant value drivers in their own right, but they serve as excellent anchors to get users in the habit of using the intranet on a regular basis.
The final pillar is access. Users need to be capable of using the tools. For some employees, it’s a matter of providing available computers or kiosks when they may not use them on a regular basis along with the training so they are able to use them. For other users, it’s a matter of making the intranet, which is designed to be available within in the walls of the hospital, available remotely.
Q: How do internal social networking tools fit in with the intranet?
A: Enterprise 2.0, the movement to implement Web 2.0 tools within organizations for knowledge sharing and collaboration, is one of the most exciting emerging areas in the intranet space today. Setting up collaborative workspaces to facilitate the group work and knowledge management that is such a big part of healthcare today has great potential to make our organizations better at what they do.
The intranet should serve as the jumping off point for the range of Web-based tools available in the organization including your Enterprise 2.0 solutions.
Q: What are effective platforms for an intranet?
A: Make sure your platform supports what you want to accomplish. Platforms like SharePoint are, in many ways, development tools and come with little in the way of the specific functionality that you’ll need, so make sure that you have the I.T. resources committed for the long-term be able to execute your vision. Tools like Wikis, in contrast, are very easy to use but are functionally limited and aren’t likely to be solutions for the range of needs that you’ll have on your intranet.
Look also at the costs of licensing very carefully. If your organization will need to purchase licenses for each end-user, costs may grow out of control.
I’m a big fan of using platforms that are designed for healthcare providers and have already worked through many of the unique challenges of organizations like yours. You see very few organizations buying generic tools and building their own electronic medical records these days. I’m not sure why so many organizations are trying to solve other problems in that way.