Intranet KPIs: How can you measure the success of a social intranet project?

Key Performance Indicators (or KPIs): How much are we actually saving with Software X? What is the return on investment from Project Y? Or, the question we get from intranet project teams regularly:

We’ll be rolling out our Linchpin intranet shortly. What KPIs can we use to show management how successful the intranet is?

Time and again, customers and stakeholders want figures.  And that’s fair enough:  they’re investing money into an intranet project, and they want to know how viable it is. So it stands to reason that you’d want to have the numbers.

But complexity isn’t so easy to express as a number. You just can't quantify an employee's ability to deal with complexity on a plain scale of 1 to 10.

That’s why we should approach the issues via some of the central requirements businesses have of modern intranets.

Although it’s worth noting here that the reasons individual businesses have for introducing an intranet are many and varied. This also makes a standardized approach more difficult.

Increased transparency

It should be easy for employees to obtain all the information they need for their day-to-day work. I'm not suggesting a mere need-to-know mentality. What I mean is an approach that essentially makes all new content and ideas open to everyone. But how do you convert that into a number? With a survey? Maybe, but you'll just be guessing at what you need to ask. It may seem trivial at first:  But you will get a better handle on how the system is improves transparency if you wait for a gut feeling to kick in after six months.

The hub of truth

Every employee should have the opportunity to verify rumors, to get immediate answers on how to interpret guidelines and so forth. Every decision, every process, and every guideline needs a central place – and that’s your intranet. It’ll also shorten search times, but again: that's simple in theory to do and measure, difficult in practice.

Everyone can access the same information

It should be practically impossible for managers to conceal information. Every employee should have the same level of access to the same information. Of course, businesses can take advantage of the user-rights management system in a Confluence-based intranet. But except for really sensitive data, there’s no need to use the intranet just to promote internal politics and inefficiency. Here too, a gut feeling is the best gauge.

Faster communication

Pinning down the number on this point, is also hard, even when talking about emails. Simply counting them can be misleading. A good gauge would be this question: “How much time do your employees spend processing emails?” But how are you going to measure that reliably? It’s not easy.

Higher-quality information exchange

This aspect is impossible to measure directly, yet all the more important for teams dealing with complexity. The qualitative effects only become apparent indirectly.

Visibility “from above”

Businesses want to create the environment where every single employee's contributions are visible – also to management and to the people “at the top”. Increased transparency makes this possible. If you want to quantify this aspect, the following approach might be useful: Measure the proportion of management staff who use the intranet regularly.

Top-down communication to all employees

An intranet should enable management and executives to ultimately get their information to all employees, regardless of whether an employee has their own computer workspace. In my opinion, however, there is no sense in recording the number of views an individual news item gets.

A meaningful number to indicate user engagement, is the following …

KPI: What percentage of our employees have logged into the intranet within the last week?

This is probably the only indicator that really helps an intranet team. It’s easy to interpret – just a simple percentage. It shows development and progress over time, and is not easily manipulated. It’s a direct indicator of ‘killer apps’ in the intranet, which increase the need to log on. This indicator will bring you fairly close to answering the question, “Do our employees pay attention to our intranet content?”

This figure also tells you where the intranet team has work to do.  Don’t try to force people to log into the intranet.  A social intranet only reveals its benefit when the employees use it voluntarily, meaning that the system is helping them and is relevant to them.  Use this KPI as a compass that points you to areas or groups of users where intranet adoption is low so the intranet team can work toward the system being relevant and indispensable to these user groups too.

Finding the killer applications

This article is just the result of a brief brainstorm.  With a Linchpin intranet you can personalize your intranet extensively, have mobile intranet access behind the firewall, and roll out your intranet onto large touch screens in all (physical) areas of the business – and more.

The weight given to the individual requirements varies from business to business.  Measuring the percentage of users who log in is usually a good first step for putting a specific figure on the benefit of the intranet to the employees.  From here, the intranet team ought to keep searching to identify the “killer applications” which make the intranet attractive to more user groups.

Test Linchpin now

Are you interested in using Confluence as a basis for your intranet?  Want to extend your existing platform with helpful enterprise features?  Linchpin is the social intranet solution that unifies classic management requirements and modern team collaboration into one system, extending Confluence to be a fully functional intranet suite.  You can test a demonstration version of Linchpin with all its features for yourself today, no obligations.  Or find out more about Linchpin's features and advantages and contact us if you have any questions.

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Further information

Linchpin: Social intranet based on Confluence
Intranet Compass: Comparing intranet solutions
Differentiating between Confluence and Linchpin: Why you need Linchpin for your intranet
MS SharePoint vs. Atlassian Confluence: Do you really enjoy being caught out by high license fees?


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