Internal Communications, Interviews, Intranet 4.0, Sharepoint

ERM Interview: Making a former NN/g Award winning intranet relevant again

Andy Hall

Andy Hall
Global Intranet Manager, ERM: Environmental Resources Management

Andy Hall

Andy Hall
Global Intranet Manager, ERM: Environmental Resources Management

Prior to the Intra.NET Reloaded London Event, we had the chance to speak with Andy Hall, Global Intranet Manager at ERM: Environmental Resources Management. He spoke about digital workplace trends, intranet user adoption and his presentation in September.

Andy Hall is the Global Intranet Manager for Environmental Resources Management (ERM) and has worked in the intranet and community development space for the past 18 years. He spent three years teaching English in rural Japan and in his spare time is an EV enthusiast, karaoke demi-god and an amateur (very amateur) microbrewer.

we.CONECT: Which trends and challenges do you think will impact the digital workplace in the coming years?

Andy Hall: In general I think understanding and which of the myriad of apps to use (and access points to those apps) for employees to leverage the most out of the digital platforms to do their job as effectively as possible. The challenge for intranet and knowledge teams is providing the framework for on-boarding not just new employees but existing ones into this new way of working in a way that is compelling and low-impact to avoid it competing with employees day jobs. I think this is not a one-size fits all solution, and will require training to be provided to cater to age/role within the company.

we.CONECT: How does your organisation measure intranet user adoption and what would you suggest to your peers to increase engagement?

Andy Hall: We currently use the Office 365 Adoption pack via PowerBI, Tygraph for Yammer and Poppulo analytics for internal communications engagement across SharePoint, Poppulo Newsletters, Yammer and video consumption. We are awaiting Microsoft Stream adding analytics and also personally working on getting Google Analytics added to our intranet site collection in Office 365 to compensate for the watered down analytics insights you can get from SharePoint out of the box. For Yammer Groups we tend to use Measure of Active Engagement (MAE) score that is provided by Tygraph, this adds up all active interactions in Yammer (anything above reading a post) to gauge the level of adoption of the Yammer platform.

we.CONECT: How do you improve user experience on your platform?

Andy Hall: This year we have moved from SharePoint 2010 to Office 365. Our intranet portal was migrated and the look and feel of the homepage and sub-sites was updated to incorporate embedding of content from Yammer and Stream to provide a richer experience for users to engage with internal communications and to provide a single point of entry to content from several Office 365 applications. We are looking at the route to take our intranet from Classic SharePoint to Modern (not fully ready yet) but have started using Modern sites for all new project and team sites and several stand alone sub-sites within the intranet.

we.CONECT: Who owns the intranet? How do you and your team approach governance?

Andy Hall: The intranet design and architecture is owned by the Internal Communications team who report into the Global Director for Strategy at our company. The platform governance is handled between the intranet team and IT to make sure that it is both operationally and legally compliant.

we.CONECT: How would you define a ‘social intranet’? How has your company been dealing with social media?

Andy Hall: I feel a social intranet is one where communication can happen in all directions, not just in a top-down, hierarchical structure of business of old. Flattening the lines of communication and providing ideas to come from any level of the business will provide companies with the next level in harnessing the hive-mind especially in knowledge rich environments. At ERM, knowledge is the primary capital of the organisation and we have created technical communities around 29 key knowledge areas in our consulting business, these groups primarily share knowledge via Yammer, and I would envisage that Microsoft Teams for live events to replace traditional conference calls to leverage Stream, Yammer and Teams will be the next big thing for these groups for enhanced engagement. This technology will also provide us with the opportunity to broadcast key messaging from our CEO and Executive Team to all staff and hopefully make virtual town halls more engaging for staff.

we.CONECT: What expectations do you have regarding the Intra.NET Reloaded London?

Andy Hall: Having attended the event two years ago, I was so inspired by speakers and delegates I spoke with and many of the learnings I took away got applied to our migration from 2010 to 365. Hopefully I can return the favor by sharing some of my insights from this experience, but I hope to come away with more ideas to help with the continual development of our intranet. If nothing else being around fellow intranet professionals is great therapy that any intranet manager needs.

we.CONECT: Which burning topics or challenges would you like to discuss within the Intra.NET London community?

Andy Hall: I would love to learn how others are dealing with digital employee engagement especially with the evolving nature of the Office 365 offering, what tactics they have used as we are working on our strategy for this over the next year.

we.CONECT: Please explain in brief the key aspects of your session at the Intra.NET Reloaded London.

Andy Hall: I plan to take attendees on a journey from the intranet being nominated for the N/N Intranet of the Year award in 2009 through a long period of inertia to moving some 500 sites to Office 365 in the first quarter of this year and what we learned from that process (and are learning now we are using 365 for our intranet and team and project sites).

we.CONECT: Thank you for your time to participate in an interview.