The Intranet Is Dying Results

The Intranet Is Dying: Debate Summary and Results

Director of Marketing

The first episode of The Great EX Debate has come and gone. Wondering what points were made or who the winner was? You’re in the right place!

If you haven’t had the chance to watch the LIVE event, don’t worry! Watch the full debate below or continue to read a quick overview and see the winner.

For and Against the Intranet Is Dying

We didn’t hold back on talent for the debate! For the motion, we had 7X Microsoft MVP and our CTO, Richard Harbridge. Against the motion, we had Neilson Norman Intranet award-winner and our Digital Workplace Strategist, Brandon Pittman.

The argument for

While Richard has worked on over 100 intranets and digital workplaces, he argued that the tides are moving away from the Intranet as the place to go or as the center hub of the digital workplace. Instead, he argues, the purpose should be to bring the experiences the Intranet provides to where the employees work in the context of their work.

Richard makes the following key arguments:

  • The core design of the Intranet as the place to go is flawed and not the optimal or desired experience. A model that brings the value, services, and content of the Intranet to users where they already work are what employees want.
  • It is unsustainable to centralize in the way we have with exponential growth in business content (currently doubling every 2 years).
  • It’s already happening on mobile, in email, Office applications, and Microsoft teams. Citing news consumption experiences, search experiences such as Microsoft Search embedded throughout the digital workplace, and navigation shifts for more dynamic, personalized, and intelligent navigation best represented by employee experiences like Viva Topics as a more just-in-time, in-context, connected, and AI-powered experience.
  • The Intranet is not as significant an area of employee experience investment as it has been in the past. Most core capabilities are now easily accessible and easy to implement, and most new experiences are distributed in the apps/places people work.
  • This is a transformative moment in time – similar to when enterprise social shifted the Intranet to focus on engagement, interactivity, and more. That it isn’t a simple iteration on the prior model of Intranets.

The argument against

While Richard argued that people are leaving the intranet behind to focus on maximizing the employee experience no matter where the employee prefers to work, Brandon argued that the Intranet would continue to play a pivotal role in the digital workplace, one that nothing else can match today. He spoke to the intranet, not dying but evolving and thriving.

Brandon makes the following key arguments:

  • Continued integration and investment from Microsoft and others into the Intranet experience clearly communicates that the Intranet remains essential and highly relevant.
  • Adoption takes time, norms matter, and so do expectations, and the Intranet is familiar, known, and already highly leveraged. “Tried tested, and true.” This is especially important during crises and unique business challenges these last few years as communication and connection take priority.
  • The costs involved are better for investment since it’s one place. It’s easier to envision, design, build and roll out.
  • It serves as a new employee center and gravity well and is the core of most onboarding experiences today.
  • There is no better hub for employees today. While there are new employee experiences that can help produce similar results but these experiences are at best immature, siloed, or fragmented and are not ready to dethrone the Intranet.

The Results

At face value, it might not seem like much changed before and after the debate. While the percentages looked pretty similar, it is clear that the needle did move as more undecided individuals found their place in the debate. However, if we look even further, we see some interesting insights.

How did the votes sway?

For the motion, we saw a small percentage (2%) actually move away from Intranet Thriving, and Richard was also able to bring 1% of undecided individuals over. While there was some movement around swayed votes, most people for the motion stuck to their initial stance that the intranet is indeed dying.

Against the motion, we saw a lot of movement! While only 53% of voters stayed against the motion, versus the initial 58%, Brandon was able to resurrect faith in 2% of people who had previously seen the intranet as a dying solution. More impressive was his ability to turn 5% of undecided voters into believers!

Over on the undecided side, there was a lot of movement to either side. However, while Richard couldn’t bring individuals entirely over to his side, he managed to convince 3% of people that maybe there was more to his points than they initially thought but not enough to fully embrace the motion.

The Winner

Our debate was decided on the number of votes that were swayed. So, the winner of our debate was…

Brandon Pittman!

The Intranet is dying debate results

From an initial vote against the motion of 56%, Brandon increased to 58% of individuals for a total increase of 2%. Richard started from an initial vote for the motion of 38%, increased to 39% in the second vote, for a total increase of 1%.

The importance of debate and the future of the series

It’s clear from the still considerable split on this motion that we need more places to debate different opinions and ideas to allow the opportunity for opinion and nuance.

We look forward to another debate next quarter, and we hope you do too! Let us know your thoughts on social and other motions you’d love to see us debate with the hashtag #TheGreatEXDebate!

Until then, if you’re looking to improve your intranet and digital workplace, download our free 160+ page whitepaper!

Microsoft Intranet Whitepaper

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