Statistics help you understand how people use your intranet. Whether you manage a massive SharePoint system or a smaller content management system, you want to measure the right things so you can improve your intranet.
Stats will help you understand how employees use the intranet, but only if you interpret the numbers right. Unimpressive numbers may help you see what needs improving, but big numbers don’t prove success. Tracking stats and performance indicators will help you prove the worth of your intranet.
Before you assume that the obvious stats and the metrics SharePoint and your tracking tool provide are good enough, remember the Intranetizen ‘so what?’ test:
Your statistics say, “Look! Employees love my content. Look at my page views per visit!”
Translation: Clearly, employees can’t find what they want.
Here are six important measurements to track and 10 more ideas:
What to measure on your intranet
Tasks and workflows completed
Your intranet should help people get things done. Monitoring task initiation and task completion could help you find a process that needs streamlining. Monitoring your workflows will show what people actually do. SharePoint offers powerful workflows, but all intranet platforms should support business processes. If you’re savvy, you’ll tie tasks to business outcomes, and then report the figures and the business effect. Self-service saves time and money.
Do you know how many employee profiles are at least 75 percent completed? (Think LinkedIn.) Have you counted how many profiles display decent pictures? These two stats can be rough indicators of intranet engagement. People who avoid making their profile their own may be disengaged. Or they may not realize what the intranet is capable of (e.g., the benefits of networking and of finding employee subject matter experts).
A website with a million visitors still fails if those visitors don’t do what the stakeholders need and expect. Eyeballs on your page do not auto-transform into custom, as we learnt in the 1990s. Your intranet must support the aims of your organization, workflows and processes, knowledge management, collaboration, communication, and community. Set goals for the things you want employees to do, and monitor the stats so you can optimize navigation, workflows, instructions and experience.
A goal could be “spent 90 seconds on our How to Book Travel page.” This is a real goal because it’s not a visit when a person doesn’t read the page, and because learning how to book travel should reduce the number of calls to the HR helpdesk or Office Manager. A higher-value goal might be ” the creation of, or an online request for, a new team site or project site.”
Track the number of different persons who contributed to your intranet this month. If your governance is centralized and strict you might have only a dozen approved contributors. If so, you use your intranet as an old-fashioned broadcast tool. If you have modern governance or a social intranet, tracking the individuals who contribute will tell whether people think the intranet is easy to use, or whether they prefer email and network drives instead of team sites. Those who contribute always value the intranet higher than those who consume.
Track the number of contributions and updates to the intranet. Beware of ‘document dumping’ by a project manager who decides to move hundreds of files from the network drive to the intranet. Beware HR updating a hundred policies with a new brand. Try to look at intranet pages—the backbone of any web ( Nobody wishes Wikipedia was made up of PDFs).
Counting total page views tells you nothing about the quality of your intranet. A page-view report on one page (today’s news, the H&S landing page, the CEO’s blog) doesn’t prove the page’s relevance, usefulness, or value. But low hits might be a cause for concern, so it’s not likely anyone will disregard page views.
Fewer page views (over a section or the whole intranet) might be a sign of success in finding information, but then, Andrew Wright uses page views and time spent on the intranet to confirm success. It’s a debate worth having in your team.
Try to segment intranet usage into page views by department, by office, by location, and by hierarchy. Is there a reason why IT doesn’t use the intranet? (Answer: Yes. They use their own private SharePoint installation.)
Find team sites or offices that are very active on the intranet and find out what’s behind their success. Share their story and best practices. Find team sites and departments that haven’t adopted the intranet and see what support they need (probably training).
More intranet stats
- References to, citations of, and back-links to, important content. Content fulfills a need if people use it.
- Shares. Do people help colleagues find good stuff through integrated social features or through an ESN (Enterprise Social Network) layer?
- Comments, feedback, and ratings. Comments and feedback can be valuable. There are problems with star-rating systems.
- Unique log-ins per day. Segment by department, location, etc.
- Peak times for use. If people log on at 9 a.m. but your message was published at 9:30 a.m., you missed the boat.
- Speed of intranet. Work with IT to monitor loading times and performance.
- Mobile log-ins. Do you allow access on supplied devices or personal mobile devices? What do mobile users want in comparison to desktop users?
- Search terms. Do people search? Do they find?
- Discussion forums. Are they used, or are they poorly-set up graveyards?
- Reduction of email and smaller shared drive storage. Ask IT to get involved with reducing email duplication and lowering storage costs.
Don’t monitor to death-over-honed intranets exclude fuzzy humans. There’s room for fun, community, and social chatter. If your intranet doesn’t measure the KPIs you need, research monitoring tools. Check with your legal team before installing Google Analytics on your intranet.