Life after intranet launch

The first step always seems the biggest, but there’s still a long road ahead. Episode 6 of the Unily podcast sees our very own expert in life after launch, Customer Success Manager Sanika Gentles, join Paul Seda, Kaitlin Auriemma, and Matthew Boyd to talk about the key drivers of your employee experience platform’s success; now, and long into the future.

Where do we go from here?

You’ve built everything up to the big day: platform launch. But now that’s come and gone, and your employees still expect your intranet software to evolve and grow. Things are constantly changing, 2020 was proof enough of that, so what your employees need and want from your platform is inevitably going to change too.

How you define and measure success is just as important as achieving it in the first place, and so the Unily podcast has invited Sanika Gentles, an experienced customer success manager, to share her insights on sustaining long-term success and managing life after launching an employee experience platform.

What is intranet success?

Enterprises look to the digital workplace to solve a variety of problems, and so how you define success in terms of your employee experience platform is very personal to your organization. A global retail brand will have different ideas of what they need from their platform than an accounting firm, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that works.

"I always think of it like we’re your strategic partners. After launch, we’re looking at your intranet holistically and how we can help you drive those initiatives and objectives that you had for launch, but in addition we’re establishing new goals: What are your success metrics? What's your overall vision?"

Sanika Gentles

To kick off the episode, the team start by revealing the behind-the-scenes approaches and techniques Unily customer success managers (CSMs) use to define and achieve ongoing, long-term success for clients. Paul summarizes the role CSMs play for enterprises looking to enhance the employee experience: “Customer success managers here at Unily are really the people responsible for shepherding our customer through life after launch.”

#1. Stakeholder buy-in

"Regardless of the product, or the software, or the problem that you’re solving, one of the best things you can do to set yourself, the product team, and the people who are championing it up for success, is to get executive stakeholder buy-in and awareness."

Kaitlin Auriemma

We’ve seen in 2020 that executive stakeholder buy-in may have the greatest impact on the future success of your employee experience platform. Thankfully, as Sanika reports, things are getting easier for your intranet stakeholders. “In this last year, things have gotten a lot better. Prior to that, often you’d feedback ideas to stakeholders and the bureaucracy held things down, you were tied at the hands in a sense. But now, that change management timeline is a lot shorter, everyone realized that all this red tape is slowing things, and I've seen that a lot of these changes are now going straight to executive stakeholders that can give you a yes or a no right then and there.”

Paul also notes that these days, stakeholders and enterprises are given a little more leeway as evergreen, platform-as-a-service models offer a little more breathing room in the lead-up to launch. “Life after launch, in a lot of ways, is more critical now because you don’t need everything mapped out on day one, a lot of it can be done on the fly, with agility, because the technology has advanced so much”. Matthew agrees, adding that for stakeholders looking to manage life after launch, “the tools are so powerful now that features can be added in two to three clicks, so strategy can take the lead”.

#2. How success changes

"In order to have a successful intranet, I think there are three major drivers. You have your vision statement; you have your success goals, which have their own individual metrics; and then you have your roadmap, because your audience may not be ready for a new feature so we want to align it with what’s best for your organization and your users, and how the product supports that."

Sanika Gentles

As launch day fades further into the horizon, so will your original goals for your platform. With your original pain points solved or more pressing problems arising, the vision for your platform and the problems you want it to solve are going to shift too.

Paul raises another interesting facet of post-launch success in internal platform roadmaps. Separate from the product roadmap for the evolution of the Unily employee experience platform, your enterprise and your intranet stakeholders need to devise and maintain an agile roadmap that is flexible to the evolving needs and definitions of success for your platform. “We always advocate our customers having their own internal roadmap”, adds Paul.

#3. Getting technical

"From the technology standpoint, there are typically a lot of consistencies in terms of what you want to integrate with and the technology you want to leverage. But what’s really interesting is after launch, when it’s less about the core technology and you see somebody switching CRM, that’s when you’re partnering with your CSM to figure out how in the world we make this big shift a reality."

Kaitlin Auriemma

A big part of your platform’s success inevitably revolves around the technology you’re using and how you’re leveraging it, as Matthew points out, “it takes a lot of time and effort to maintain a high-quality intranet”. Speaking from the product team’s side, he adds that often, the job of the CSM in ensuring ongoing success is to tie in the capabilities of the product with these internal roadmaps mentioned earlier.

Not one to shy away from the technical side, Paul adds that enterprises should approach long-term success differently depending on the infrastructure of their digital workplace, be it on-premise or cloud-based: “It’s a very different experience because the platform is ready-made and it’s evergreen and being updated all the time. That’s very different from rolling out your own intranet and infrastructure”.

Wrapping up their deep-dive into the technical side of post-launch success, Matthew and Sanika summarize the shared goal of the customer success manager and of the Unily platform: “What we want to do is make your intranet your single source of truth. We want your users to come here instead of having three or four tabs open and different apps and tools – the big question is how can we unify that experience?”

Learn to futureproof success

If you’re looking to join in on the conversation and discover more of our team’s insights on employee experience, check out our podcast episode above. For guidance on maintaining the success of your own employee experience platform after launch, get in touch with our digital workplace experts today.

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