How do you measure success in an intranet project for our company?

We are launching our Linchpin Intranet within the next weeks and would like if you can suggest KPIs that we should measure to show success to our management. What do you suggest?

Difficult to measure complex things in numbers

This is a good question. If you invest money in something you want a positive return back, right. So it is totally fine to try to put that in numbers.

One of the central problems is, that complexity cannot be easily put into numbers. And the ability of your employees to deal with complexity isn’t a number ranging from 1 to 10 either.

Central goals of an intranet in your company

The goals of an intranet are (besides other, the amout of reasons for intranets is another factor that make standardized measuring difficult):

Increased transparency

It should be easy for employees to get all information that they need for their daily work. And this is not meant as a “need to know” mentality but also as a “all new things and thoughts are open by default” attitude. Try to measure this change in a number? Through a survey? Maybe. But it’s a “construct”. A gut feeling after 6 months may be easier to get and cheaper.

Central information: One single point of truth.

Simple. Every one should be able to check the validity of rumors and get a distinct answer to how guidelines are laid out. Every decision, every process, every guideline needs a home. And this is your intranet. Period.

Equality: Everyone has the same information.

It should be very difficult to impossible for managers to hide away information. Every employee should have the same access and information basis. Sure, you want rights management in a Atlassian Confluence-based Intranet. But apart from such sensitive information, there is no need to give people an edge that breeds politics and inefficiency internally. Again: Best measured with a gut feeling.

Faster communication

Email does not cut it. You could try to count them. But that’s misleading. A good measure would be:

“How much time do my employees spend working in Emails?” But how do you want to measure this? Not easy.

Better quality of information exchange

Impossible to measure. Very important for teams who need to cope with complexity.

Bottom up visibility

You want it to be easy for every single employee to be visible with his contributions to their management and the people “from above”. The increased transparency is making this possible. If you want to measure a driving lead measure for this: Count the percentage of your management using the intranet regularly.

Top down communication: Reaching all employees

An intranet also wants to allow management and the CEO to finally reach all employees no matter if they have a computer or not. While it is creepy and not recommended (in my opinion) to measure the view counts of individual news, there is a useful measure for adoption

Best KPI: percentage of all employees logging in

KPI: How many of my total employees have logged into our intranet last week?

This is probably the only measure, that I really think helps you as an intranet team. It is easy to assess. It’s a simply percentage. It’s rolling over time and not easy to manipulate. It’s indirectly asking for “killer apps on the intranet” that increase the need to log in. And it’s pretty close to “Do employees pay attention to our intranet content?”.

The good thing about measuring logins by employee as a total percentage is also, that it also tells you, where you are missing out. Do not try to force logins onto people. Rather use the KPI to guide you into the countries that do not adopt the intranet yet? Talk to the groups that are not active and try to find their “killer applications”.

This is just a result of 5 minutes of brainstorming and not an exaustive list of reasons for a corporate intranet. Linchpin Intranets add personalization, reaching everybody through a native mobile app for Confluence behind the firewall, intranet touch displays on the company premises and many more.

If have also answered a similar question on Quora recently:

How you can gauge the success of an enterprise software application?

Where is the ROI?

Direct link to the spot of the video.

You could argue after Gary Vaynerchuk that it’s the wrong question. We have actually tried to give a calculation to customers once for a wiki: Calculating the ROI of a Wiki - It’s a big pile of business bullshit.