At the end of 2011 I published Collaboration Roadmap, and then faced a decision about what to do regarding User Adoption Strategies. That first printing had sold well, and with only 50 copies left to sell, I could just order another print run or alternatively write a second edition. The second edition option won out for a couple of reasons, with adding a new chapter on measuring and evaluating user adoption (Chapter 11) high on the list of reasons. At the time I was concerned that collaboration service owners, collaboration strategists, intranet managers, and other people focused on delivering great tools and content were too focus on the easy numbers that came out of their analytics tools, and weren’t getting to the heart of what measuring adoption was all about.
In light of my research above and the advice I give in the User Adoption Strategies workshop around measurement and analytics, I was pleased to see the new Intranet Analytics report from ClearBox Consulting in the UK. In describing the purpose of the report, Sam Marshall (Director) says:
We want to move the focus away from reporting about platforms and onto reporting about how an intranet is being used from a business perspective: Who is engaged? What content is working well? Are people creating and collaborating or only consuming?
That intent very much aligns with the type of interest I have in the subject too, and I spent some hours yesterday reading the report and then talking with the report’s author (Dorje McKinnon, Vajra).
A couple of things to note about the report:
– it provides an indepth evaluation of seven major players in the market – HarePoint, CardioLog, NGAGE, Piwik, Webtrends, Adobe Analytics, and Google. The first four vendors provided interviews; the last three did not.
– in order to move away from reiterating a list of features or capability areas, the report runs the products through eleven scenarios, including intranet / enterprise social network / email, site-based activity, content and contributions, and collaboration. Using a scenario-based approach for exploring a topic is one I’m very supportive of.
– Dorje and Sam have provided multiple easy-to-scan tables, summaries, and visual dashboards for comparing and contrasting the tools.
For internal collaboration and intranet teams being asked for analytics information, the report presents the state of play – and will give useful insight into which tools would make most sense given the purposes (scenarios) sought. This is required reading for anyone reporting on or commenting on how their collaboration / social business / intranet / digital workspace is performing.
For the included vendors of analytics tools, the report shines a light on the weaknesses of current analytics products, and will be very useful in planning future capability areas in order to address the real-world scenarios examined in the report. For products not included in the report – such as Kudos Analytics, the brand new Panagenda ConnectionsExpert, and Nintex Hawkeye Workflow Analytics, among many others, the report will give an expert and informed view on what’s needed. This is required reading for every product manager of an analytics tool.
After reading the report yesterday I spoke with Dorje (who is also mentioned in my recent book) about the key message that he wanted people to take from the report. He said:
Thinking about what you need from analytics is the critical place to start. Until you know why you need analytics information – the purposes, the decisions to influence – you won’t get maximum value from analytics information, regardless of the tools you use.
Interestingly, Sam writes the same thing on page 3: The real art to digital workplace analytics is knowing which questions to ask – which requires a clear strategy and a set of goals.
So here’s what I think after reading the report:
- If you have anything to do with analytics on how your collaboration spaces, social network, intranet or digital workplace is performing, you need to get a copy. It’s available for no charge, although registration is required.
- As a consequence of this report, Sam and Dorje have established themselves as leading experts on the topic. Once reading the report, you should get their advice in a consulting engagement so as to optimise your internal efforts. Sam is in the UK (giving good coverage of the top half of the world), and Dorje in New Zealand (great access for customers in New Zealand, Australia, and Asia). Internal teams would get a lot of value from securing that consulting support – whether as an outside expert to guide and advise for a few hours a month, or securing Sam or Dorje to facilitate an internal workshop on planning an intranet analytics strategy that makes business sense.