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Sharing the intranet Stats

If you’re working in intranets, part of your routine is likely to analyse your intranet statistics and look for opportunities for development. They’re a vital indicator of intranet health, showing if your site is working correctly and providing the services employees need. But who sees the stats? Just the intranet team, the stakeholder team or maybe you share with every user of your intranet.  In this post, we’ll look at the case for broadening the audience for your intranet statistics.

The intranetizen team have written about intranet statistics in the past, advocating an approach to identify the outcomes of intranets rather than the outputs. But whatever the nature of your intranet dashboard, consider your audience: Who gets a copy, who reads it and who acts on it? Increasingly, companies are sharing their intranet statistics with every employee — three of the four intranetizen writers do this — but will this work in your organisation?  Below are the reasons why you should consider sharing your statistics.

Everyone owns the intranet, everyone needs the statistics

The rise of social intranets, for communication or collaboration, means that user-generated content (UGC) is important for the vitality of your site. If every intranet manager needs the analytics to run their site, the same surely follows for those employees creating their own content. The statistics help close the feedback loop and improve their content.

Social proof and herd behaviour

People often follow the crowd — do something simply because others are doing it. Indeed, there’s often a sense of safety derived from this behaviour, a feeling that one person might be wrong, but thousands couldn’t! Publish the statistics and show that using the intranet is actually rather normal.

Competition drives quality

If all content owners get access to the statistics, you can drive up quality through friendly encouragement of competition. League tables showing top content zones can be particularly powerful.

Transparency

Democratising the statistics helps break down the hierarchies created by traditional cascade sharing. We’re all in this intranet together, so why restrict access to the information that can really help? Flatter organisations work better together.

Build the conversation

Make the analytics social by sharing and building conversation around them. This way, you can get the qualitative comment around quantitative statistics; employees telling you why the numbers are as they are. You’re making the rest of the intranet social, why not the stats?

Why not indeed. Beware of this transparency – it may not all be good news.

No hiding place

Once you’ve published, you’ve got to keep on publishing as removing the stats from public gaze would surely raise suspicions. Whilst the stats may reflect positively on your leadership, maybe they show that investments in your intranet are wasted and that there are better ways to spend their dollars.

Too many cooks…

With a wider audience for the stats, you’ve a broader range of range of people completing small analyses and defining the roadmap for their part of the intranet. Are you ready for hundreds of intranet directors?

More questions than answers

As writing content is a skilled profession, analysing web statistics is also a specialist skill. Are all your employees capable of a detailed understanding of the numbers and recognising the pitfalls and nuances? It might be that publishing broadly leaves you with the unenviable task of fielding queries from all over the business and leaving folks with more questions than answers.

Social proof and herd behaviour

People often follow the crowd — do something simply because many others are doing it. (Editor — you’ve read that before, right?). So maybe the stats are poor (or just simply lower than expected) and maybe the thousands of people who don’t visit the intranet are right? Poor statistics might provide all the evidence someone needs to not use your intranet facilities.

Summary

The intranetizen writers have all seen the power of publishing statistics. Some businesses thrive on the sense of competition between teams and we’ve heard directors pushing their teams to get into the ‘Top 20’ teamsite stats. But does that simply drive traffic or does it also drive quality?

Do you publish your intranet statistics to a wider group of content owners or your employees? What’s your experience? Fill in the poll; add your comments!

How do you share your intranet statistics?

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There are 3 comments

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  1. David Whelan

    Great post. I’m in the share-it-all mindset but in an organization that restricts stats access to a handful of IT specialists, not even the Web team. The primary reason is that the analytics tool (owned by the IT team) has tended to be difficult to use, possibly because of how it was imlemented. We’ve been shifting towards Google Analytics, in part to prepare for the option of opening up stats access to anyone who wants it. Are there other tools that would work as well so that someone wouldn’t need an account in order to see intranet data? I’m not sure if we’re up for a local install of Piwik but I’d be interested in how other organizations are handling it.

    • Steve Kent

      David, if access to real-time data is not critical, perhaps a compromise is to post regular reports (monthly, quarterly, whatever is relevant and achievable). No need to worry about accounts then?

  2. Richard

    A quick comment here to encourqge folks to share what stats they have.

    I don’t have access to fancy reporting tools or real-time data, but with a bit of elbow grease and excel I produced an end of month report on a teamsite. I’d been checking with users about odd glitches in missing metadata, but a batch of 100 items stood out on one graph. 28 minutes after sharing the report this was resolved. The person concerned quickly got in touch to arrange a no names, no pack drill resolution! The conversations continued over the weekend as different shifts came on duty and saw the report, and we’re getting good buy-in for further development.


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