Interviews, Intranet 4.0, Knowledge Management, Sharepoint

Interview with Kemin Industries: How to develop a business case to move to the cloud?


Jennifer Hermsen
Worldwide Digital Marketing Manager, Kemin Industries


Jennifer Hermsen
Worldwide Digital Marketing Manager, Kemin Industries

Jennifer’s strength is centered on Information & Knowledge Management and driving innovation via strategically reviewing and suggesting management processes, resources and solutions for organizations. This includes managing the company’s SharePoint implementation team, global records management systems, internal digital communications, intranet sites, digital asset management systems and global social library solutions. In addition, she conducts all training around these systems and works to manage the budget and contract negotiations with multiple vendors.

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

Jennifer Hermsen: Governance – formal teams/policies must be established to ensure cohesiveness across platforms. A lot of places are “talking” governance…now is the time to act. Search must continue to be a focus. IT groups will need to partner with Records Managers within the organizations to ensure taxonomies are set up properly, content types/categories are consistent. Google has created something magical in terms of search and users want that same experience at work!

Mobile needs must continue to be part of the conversation, especially for remote workers (sales teams) and international employees. Another challenge is the introduction of more robust analytics tools. Our biggest focus this year is to run reports that matter and make a difference, analyze them and implement changes per the data and trends. We are looking for better tools and ways to do this faster.

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

Jennifer Hermsen: Our only KPI for our intranet is sessions. Our systems are not connected currently and so this is a big challenge in our company. Our goal is to launch a new intranet in 2018 and put together a formal process for user adoption and create a new KPI.

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

Jennifer Hermsen: For our website we have implemented a development/staging/production process for all new pages. This is what we hope to do for our new intranet. Within development/staging we can conduct user experience testing that has been influential in our launches. Also, we are beginning to introduce A/B testing to further ensure users are getting to the information they want – and in a positive way.

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

Jennifer Hermsen: Starting in January 2017 the intranet was handed over to Employee Relations – a functional group within HR. Before, WW Marketing owned. There is no formal governance at this time.

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

Jennifer Hermsen: Internal “social” activity is not a common at Kemin. We only recently introduced Skype for Business and are in the process of implementing SharePoint/Office365. Our intranet is one way only right now. For social externally, we are pushing to get more active in Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. But this has been slow as well. My definition of a Social Intranet is Facebook.

we.CONECT: Please briefly explain the key elements of your presentation at the Intra.NET Reloaded Boston.

Jennifer Hermsen: I will be holding an icebreaker session. This is not formal in nature but my discussion will center around moving data to the cloud – having led the Office365 business team for the last 2 years, we went through a lot to convince leadership before we were allowed. My conversation will guide people through this process from the business case to Microsoft licensing to pilot testing to “live”.

we.CONECT: Which crucial topics or challenges do you like to discuss within the Intra.NET Reloaded Boston community?

Jennifer Hermsen: Analytics are top of mind to me and I want to dig into what tools people are using. In addition, we will be conducting a Digital Transformation engagement with a consultant group in the coming months. I’d like feedback from others on what we discovered and discuss our roadmap with them. Do they have the same issues? What did they do to resolve?

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