With any internal communications platform, it is vital to embed an experience that supports your culture and is focused on meeting user needs.
In order to achieve a platform that meets all of your organisational needs, the process has to begin with a thorough analysis from all stakeholders and target audiences.
Ensure you have the means to discover and analyse the following:
What do your users want from the platform?
Who are the stakeholders, and what does success look like for them?
The process of transitioning business needs into technical requirements
How can you design the platform and the service model to allow you to continuously evolve your platform when your user needs change?
The success of internal communications depends on analysing your end users, then fully understanding their behaviours, needs and motivations for using your current internal communications platforms.
To gather this information, a range of processes are available and one or all may be appropriate to your users:
User interviews can offer more in depth understanding of what does and does not work, perhaps to take place after a questionnaire or survey has helped to identify the main challenges your users are having.
Interactive Workshops that analyse a number of tasks that users would usually be asked to complete. Observations of your user’s behaviours can help to identify any challenges faced when completing the tasks.
Platform analytics allow a better understanding of the types of journeys your users are taking. Identifying recurring trends will help to understand challenges your users are facing.
Once feedback is gathered, analysed and combined with any available data analytics, you will have a better understanding of the bigger picture of the challenges your users face with your internal communication platforms.
This thorough evaluation of your previous or existing platform(s), will determine what things worked well and what things didn’t, helping you to create a plan to ensure your new platform meets all of your users’ needs.
At this stage, you have established what you need to achieve and you are able to move on to the ‘how’.
It’s really important to understand the information your users are looking for on your platform, the types of data that provide this information, and where that data should be mastered.
Often, it’s a lot more beneficial to master your data in a ‘single source of truth’ and then integrate this into your platform(s). This prevents information becoming outdated and inaccurate across multiple platforms. For example, an Active Directory mastering all of your user data.
By analysing the data that will be included on your platform, you’ll have a better understanding of the stakeholders that you’ll need to engage as part of your project to avoid any surprises and gaps in resource.
Determining your success criteria demands an understanding of the requirements in all parts of your organisation. Different departments will have different goals so it’s important to implement a solution that meets as many needs as possible.
Defining the objectives involves identifying exactly what your stakeholders want. Do they need a tool to improve engagement and collaboration, or do they value a place to house all of your documentation such as policies and manuals more?
A successful solution requires you to connect the dots between all stakeholders, creating and structuring success criteria for your communications platforms, to deliver a meaningful outcome for each of your stakeholders and their users.
Creative stakeholder workshops can be useful, with the primary focus of understanding the collective thoughts of the wider team of what is and isn’t working with your content and communications strategy.
Stakeholder interviews, and using questionnaires and surveys, can also establish a clear understanding of their thoughts on current and prospective content and communication strategies.
Once you have established stakeholder requirements your information strategy reviews are made much more straightforward.
Everything achieved so far will be identified, and you will have a much clearer view of any challenges that may prevent you from delivering.
In identifying who your platform stakeholders are, you will also introduce accountability to the platform which will ensure the system is always valued and invested in.
With all this addressed, you are in a position to outline your initial vision, what you want to achieve and also establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor progress.
Once you’re aware of:
the challenges your users are facing
the stakeholders who are going to help you make the platform a success
the types of data and information that will be on, or plugged into, your platform
all that’s left to do is select your preferred solution. At least you thought.
All of the above provides you with half of the information you need, the second half is actually understanding whether there is a platform on the market for you to procure out-of-the-box, or if you need to build it yourself and therefore find the resources to do so.
On many occasions, an out of the box product will never meet 100% of your requirements from the outset, so it’s important not to expect it to.
Categorise your final requirements into:
and focus primarily on finding a solution that delivers 90% of the former and allows you to get the ball rolling.
Then, work with a trusted supplier to define a roadmap that helps you achieve the final 10% and targets the could/should haves in the following 3-6 months.
Alternatively, if you have the resources to do so, map your requirements into technical specifications, along with user journeys, and the challenges that will be overcome, before designing and developing a new platform.
You don’t have to do this alone, there are some great suppliers out here with decades of experience in your section and others who have lots of learnings to share.
Remember, whether you procure an out of the box product, or develop a solution yourself, be mindful of the following.
User research and data analytics to drive each of your requirements for the platform
Ensure your platform works just as efficiently independently as it does when connected to others
Your platform should allow you to iterate easily, and evolve when your business needs do so
If we can support you with Business Analysis or you’d simply like to learn more, please feel free to talk to us.