Sunday, February 17, 2013

Introspection: A look at web analytics for your corporate Intranet

When we think of web analytics, most of us think of the standard B2C set up and how we can drive more customers to our web site, get more clicks, basically sell more goods. However, some of the most meaningful and complex websites that companies manage are strictly internal.

Corporate intranets are huge. They can be some of the most convoluted monsters on the web. For most major companies they house everything from human resource data, financial data, time card input, expense reports, benefits data, corporate policies, and many other company relevant data.

As a recent employee of one such company that used a corporate intranet to communicate all pressing company data, I was forced to use all the different pieces of this site, unwillingly I might add. This website was a mess. Nothing made sense. We had 3 different Oracle login pages, each one with a different username and password, all of which were on different reset schedules; two different Facebook-esque community pages, neither of which any one used, and multiple Sharepoint sites, to ya know, keep everything in "one place." What a monstrosity. This is was a travesty of unimaginable proportions. There was absolutely no flow, not to mention is was painstakingly slow. How can a company expect its employees to "happily" use something so poorly designed?

The point is, had this been a customer-facing website, or anything that a company expected customers to use, it would have been blown-up, shelved and completely redesigned years ago. More accurately, it probably would never have even gone live.

Why do companies build such poorly designed Intranets and then expect employees to willingly use them?

Our company had a steering committee, and small focus groups that "helped" to create this dastardly eyesore. But no one since had taken any time to do any analysis on whether or not anyone was using it or more importantly how they could make it better.

Using standard web analytic processes companies could make the Intranet into something that employees enjoy using. Here are a few rules that companies should think about.

1. Treat your intranet like the Internet.
If you wouldn't want your customers to use your intranet, then why force your employees to use it?

2. Use the sunk costs in the intranet to help push more adoption for web analytics
Your company probably spent big bucks on designing and implementing their intranet, so use that as leverage to get your company to invest in more web analytics in order to help them make it better.

3. Follow the same processes you use for your commercial web site.
Your employees are your new customers, so figure out you can drive more traffic to that site.

4. Be corporate hero on both sides of the wall
By helping to drive more employees to freely use the Intranet site, you will have helped the substantiate the costs required to make it. Also if you make the Intranet site more user friendly your co-workers will be much happier when they are forced to use it.

5. Lower traffic rates means more opportunity
Your corporate intranet is more than likely not crucial to your business from a revenue standpoint, unlike your commercial one. What better chance to practice your web analysis skills and efforts on something that isn't so mission critical.

Conclusion:
You can use the same principles you use everyday with web analysis to help your companies intranet. By doing so, you can really make a big impact by improving your methodologies, proving the worth of analytics, and hopefully getting some "atta-boys" from your fellow co-workers.

Reference:
http://adam.webanalyticsdemystified.com/2009/12/14/intranets-the-other-website/
http://piwik.org/intranet-analytics/