In my previous post, Why Digital Workspaces fail to launch, and how to ensure they don't (part 1), I discussed how to diagnose whether your Digital Workspace has become a ghost town. My intent for this article, Part 2, was to prescribe activities for post-Launch to maximize continued uptake and adoption. But I forgot last time to review quickly the activities you need to do just before launch to get that initial adoption. So I'll mention that briefly first.
Part of your initial plan/build/test/deploy undertaking must be the marketing plan—how you intend to socialize the new Workplace so users know it's there, and at least give it a try.
As with any marketing campaign and any target audience, you will want to socialize the new platform among users with email blasts, as well as "advertising" on whatever you're using for your current intranet.
One extremely popular approach is to have an org-wide naming contest for the new solution. This will stir up excitement, and let users feel like they are a part of the process. Many organizations also plan a town hall event/live webinar to introduce and kick off the new solution.
Helpful documentation is also a must—use the Digital Workspace tools themselves to provide how-to videos, tips and tricks, and so on. Omnia Intranet has a unique "Tutorial" feature out of the box for building helpful walkthroughs. An Editors' Corner page or site, specifically for content creators, is also something we always recommend.
Finally, there is another driver of adoption that is more complicated, but with the potential to provide excellent results: gamification or badging, where users receive recognition and prestige equal to their level of participation in the daily life of the Workspace. This can be as small-scaled as awarding users a "score" on how complete their Employee Profiles are (inspired by LinkedIn; once again, Omnia provides such a feature in its base product).
But enough of "just pre-Launch" activities; this article is supposed to be about what you do after Launch and into the future, to keep users engaged and extracting real value from the investment. Let's do that now.
Many events and "lifesigns" are available to assess the success of your Digital Workplace. Some of these will happen spontaneously, among the user base or the outside world, but most are events we can proactively drive ourselves. Here is a somewhat exhaustive list of these events. The following and final section of the article will discuss how to manage and respond to the events.
This is a proactive outcome that we need to drive, but it is the most important. A regular 'customer satisfaction survey' must be sent out to all users on a regular basis (but no more than quarterly). As a product owner, we must take the plunge and invite evaluation, good or bad. The satisfaction numbers from these surveys are the most significant indicators we can get.
Although SharePoint and other platforms provide some usage reporting, most modern Digital Workspaces provide hooks into Google Analytics, which we recommend. The detailed usage reports you get from GA will give you the complete picture of product usage.
Any intranet-type tool must have a general mailbox for feedback, suggestions and complaints. Users who take the time to submit will be quite passionate about their feedback—negative or positive. And that's good.
What are people searching for? This is a huge indicator of whether your layout, navigation and information architecture are a fit for your particular user set. Especially since many searches are initiated by users who tried to find something at a glance, and failed.
Your help-desk tickets are a valuable source of issues that may be driving users away. For example, your organization may have a network-security feature enabled that causes intermittent connectivity or performance problems.
End users frequently suggest new integrations into our other backend systems that never even occur to us techie types. An implementor like Slater Hill is always ready to develop secure "connectors" to other systems to surface financial or other data into widgets, to push data into other systems, or…the sky's the limit. These requests can come in through the feedback mailbox, but you should also solicit them in the satisfaction survey.
This is an event that is not driven within your organization, but it's something you or your implementation consultant must always have an eye on. Even if your platform is fully managed/evergreen, like Omnia, you still need to keep on top of the new stuff as it is rolled out, so you can decide whether and when to offer the new features, and provide training/documentation on them.
At a bare minimum, keeping on top of what's happening in the Digital Workspace involves continuing to run satisfaction surveys. On a regular basis you will also likely need to re-run the end-user training and/or administrator and author training, especially for new hires. As feedback comes in, you will also want to keep adding tips and tricks to an "onboarding" site or page (FAQs, step-by-step articles, videos, "did you know?"s).
But what is the most proactive thing you can do to ensure the ongoing success of your solution? Form the Digital Workspace Committee.
A Digital Workspace Committee is formed from a cross-section of stakeholders—business and technical—and is responsible for keeping on top of what's going on in the solution. The Committee meets on a regular basis (say, every sixty days or at least quarterly) to review, item by item:
A Digital Workspace Committee is our number-one-recommended way to ensure an ongoing return on your initial and continuing investment in the services and licenses for your Workspace.
As with any new product or marketed offering, it is true that if you build it, they MAY come. But even if they do, will they stay? Proactive management and measuring are the only way to maximize that possibility. This ongoing effort is worth every minute and penny, and it's something you can do in house, or hire a facilitator like Slater Hill to guide you.
Don't throw away your investment by building an elephant's graveyard!