Evidence-based user research company, the Nielsen Norman Group have released their latest report on the existence of social features in intranets. Their studies are the findings that have taken place in a four-year period since their initial research into social networking on intranets.

In the extensive report, Nielsen Norman interviews 22 companies from across the globe to discuss how the social features on their intranet have had an impact on the way that they work. Interact Intranet user and winner of the 2012 Intranet Excellence Award of ‘Best Social Intranet’ – Business Environment were one of the companies to be featured in this report.

Through their analysis the group discovered that there’s no doubt that social features are even more useful inside the enterprise for supporting employee collaboration and knowledge management.

Notable findings in the report:

  • Users are taking to social tools easily when they’re given them for the right reasons and in the right work context, with minimum training.
  • Despite companies’ concerns about employees using social tools with impropriety, infractions remain rare.
  • Community management is vital in social environments.
  • An integrated Search functionality that searches the entire social layer on the intranet in addition to other content is essential in the enterprise.

Further summaries from the report can be found here, but their most significant finding was as follows:

“The most important conclusion from both research rounds is that social intranet projects must be driven by business needs — that is, the problem or pain point you’re trying to solve.”

This is the fundamental principal we uphold at Interact when we’re developing our product – that in order to create an intranet that becomes essential to an organisation it must have the correct blend of all of the following tools, to:

  1. Improve communications such as status updates, news and policies
  2. Provide collaboration through features such as group collaboration tool Interact Teams and crowd-sourcing tool, Interact Answers
  3. Carry out business processes and get work done. Traditional tools such as Workflow and Forms and Mandatory Reads are crucial in order to ensure user engagement

Combining these three core elements with a layer of intelligence, to filter out the content noise and automatically push content to users that is relevant to them and their job, will create the definitive intranet. Read more about the importance of intelligent intranets >>

If you want to read the full Nielsen Norman report, ‘Social Features on Intranets: Case Studies of Enterprise 2.0’ you can download it here >>