How IT can support intranet adoption

support intranet adoption

Written by Wes Hackett

Wes has been a Microsoft MVP for 8 years and leads on customer and product strategy at AddIn365. He has been working with Office 365 since its 2007 release and has led the delivery of the world’s largest Office 365 implementations, for some of the most organisationally complex companies that include WPP, ARUP, TSB Bank and Atkins.

25th May 2021

According to research undertaken last year by Userlane, every year, businesses worldwide waste an average $1.4 trillion on unsuccessful digital transformation projects. In addition to the finances lost, and time wasted on a product that is not being used, low adoptability can prove to further damage productivity and cause a greater disconnect than before the failed solution was put in place. Stunted intranet adoption can destroy collaboration efforts and increase the feeling of isolation amongst workers, especially amid the Covid-19 outbreak; Microsoft report that recent research from their Work Trend Index shows nearly 60 percent of workers feel less connected to their team since working remotely. Through efforts to break the habits of worker silos, low adoption of new communication platforms can increase the sense of isolation an employee has.


What, or who, is the problem? 

The root cause of poor adoption is very often not the software itself, as careful consideration is given to the user experience and functional capabilities of an intranet solution ahead of purchase. All business and user requirements are considered and division heads from across the company are engaged and approve the sign-off. Pre-purchase research often takes months and the procurement process longer still.


According to last year’s ProSci survey of 327 companies across 53 countries, the root cause of low intranet adoption rates is the lack of change management, which on an intranet project should be considered from a content production perspective and a consumer perspective. This area is normally the responsibility of the business rather than IT:


  • Often intranet revamps are undertaken without consideration as to who will write content for the platform, how often and which audiences the content should support. Content that is not maintained does not keep up with business change and quickly becomes seen as unreliable by the business.


  • Consumers of intranet content are not always understood in terms of what information they need to do their jobs. Content producers can churn out descriptive information about departmental roles when know-how and process-based information can better support employees and help them to be more productive.


IT have a role to play when it comes to adoption

The best intranet project teams understand what the business needs and delivers against the highest priorities. Communications strategies tell employee communities how the new tool will solve a problem they have.


IT can support employee adoption of a new intranet in the following ways:


Define success:

The first step of any new intranet implementation is to work out what ‘good’ looks like for the end user and communicate the new technology in these terms; as a stress alleviator, a simplifier, and a time saver, rather than as a set of functionality.



Ensuring a new intranet is mobile ready from day 1 is essential in today’s flexible working environment. As companies support mixed working practices, with fewer employees tied to their desk, it is vital content is available anytime, anywhere. Delivering a communications platform that does not support mobile workers, or those out in the field, to engage with their team effectively cannot be adopted as a way of working.


Roll-out communications need to provide how-to content for downloading the relevant mobile apps and provide the relevant guidance for their correct use. Providing support to the business in accessing intranet content from their mobile devices from day 1 will allow for the widest range of interaction with the new experience.


Company information which is relayed via the intranet needs to be tailored to suit the needs of mobile users too. For example, longer articles may appear daunting to someone using a smartphone and so formatting into short sentences or bullet points makes the content more consumable. Microsoft recommend the use of ‘snackable content’ when communicating to their employees; use bite size, insightful guidance that is easy to absorb. This may be an area that the business need support with from IT.


Browser selection:

IT should ensure employees’ corporate laptops and tablets have the correct browser versions installed on them to access the intranet. Most SaaS intranets will have a matrix of supported browsers and OS that need to be adhered to for an employee to enjoy a functional intranet experience. If workers are using their own devices, IT should provide guidance to keep on top of regular browser updates and recommend browsers that are still supported.


Form a steering committee:

Creating a steering committee made up of senior stakeholders from IT, the business and leadership to monitor the progress of the company intranet against its business objectives will keep the intranet on track, with IT accountable for function, the business accountable for content and the leadership accountable for investment and business alignment.


Together, the group should review and revise the intranet strategy as business objectives, technology capability and resource availability change.


Adopt a regular functional review process of what is available:

Most intranet software packages are SaaS. Adopting an evergreen approach to the development of your digital workplace and mirroring your vendors behaviour so that your intranet always has the latest available capabilities to suit your organisation’s use cases is advisable.


When internal processes change, so might your uses for a particular software tool. Continue to evaluate your teams’ use of each application and assess whether it is still effective.


Finally, measure results at regular intervals and remember to celebrate successes!

Measuring use against business objectives helps to evidence the value of the intranet to all stakeholders. Whether native analytics or third-party analytics are invested in, measurement should inform decisions about change.



Discover how AddIn365 achieved 70% intranet uptake within 90 days for global mobile network Truphone – visit success story.

AddIn365 worked with Truphone to get their Office 365 intranet live with only nine days of support required. This was possible because AddIn Intranet has been engineered to minimise set-up time so that customers can enjoy a speedy return on their investment in Office 365. This compared to more traditional custom or intranet product routes to enhancing the Office 365 platform, which can take months to set-up.


AddIn365 strategy and implementation services focused on design, training, launch and engagement activities to ensure the new Office 365 intranet would reflect the Truphone brand and garner a high level of engagement from day 1.


To discover how AddIn365 products and consultancy from 3 in-house Microsoft MVPs can help solve your adoption challenges complete the contact form below to arrange a free demo or email .

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