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Stage 2

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T H E

F R A M E W O R K ™

Stage 2


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Self-Service Intranets

 

Self-service intranets focus on delivering HR-, Finance- and Facilities-related services to employees within a department or a company. Examples include: taxation information, benefits forms, expense reporting, and meeting room bookings. Often these intranets also include personal information management tools, such as calendars and task lists. Whether they are centralized depends directly on how centralized the HR function is.

 

More advanced intranets in this stage integrate legacy HR and Finance systems for the display of personalized employee information, such as pay stub information, reporting lines and purchasing authority.

 

Current State

 

Sponsorship:

At this stage, sponsorship and control shifts from the Corporate Communication department to corporate-level Human Resources departments, which manage the more sophisticated self-service intranets deploying enterprise-wide services for company employees. Secondary sponsors of these intranets include the Finance and Legal departments.

 

Governance:

Formal governance models are first introduced with Stage 2 intranets. The governance layer manages the nuances tied to moving more complex business processes online and delivering them through a self-service model. Active participation from different departments is required to support the delivery of self-service functionality.

 

User Needs:

Self-service intranets focus on providing users with information and services that enable them to better manage their work and their personal lives. Some examples include: Compensation information (stock, base salary, structure, other incentives); Benefits information (pension, health, life insurance); Pay stub information (latest stubs, format, delivery frequency); Expense reporting (filing, deposits, policies, approval authorities); Office services (stationery, cleaning, recycling, meeting rooms); Compliance and security polices (access, retention, distribution); and Training information (courses available, skill sets, tuition reimbursement).

 

Experience Design:

These intranets are typically well-designed and successfully support repeat usage around core tasks. In large companies, these intranets are designed to replace offline processes, or even call centers, and, therefore, task studies are conducted to optimize their usability. However, since these intranets are centrally designed and managed, they often do not effectively incorporate the policy nuances of each office or region. By virtue of their top-down nature, they do not foster collaboration.

 

Technologies:

Self-service intranets typically use content management systems to publish content. The more advanced ones use portal platforms that incorporate functionality from enterprise HR systems like People-Soft or mySAP ERP Human Capital Management. The most advanced intranets incorporate financial information from systems like the Oracle Financial Systems and import employee directory information from the company’s LDAP servers. The most challenging aspect of building these intranets has to do with single sign-on and existing system integration (e.g.. web services calls to SAP or Seibel). In some advanced cases, external benefits providers are placing 'portlets' on companies intranets.

 

Training:

User guides and contextual help screens are usually sufficient to educate users about the self-service tools on the intranet. Most users are familiar with the offline equivalent of these tools and do not require any prior knowledge or domain-specific expertise to use them though employees who need to administer the self-service tools on the intranet are often trained.

 

Adoption:

Because they provide easily understood benefits, users quickly adopt these intranets. When successfully designed, implemented and marketed, they save employees time by allowing them to fulfill basic HR, Finance and administrative requests on their own time. Automated expense report approval and pay stub delivery further accelerate the adoption of these intranets.

 

ROI Metrics:

Measuring the ROI is easiest with Stage 2 intranets. Companies can compare the cost of delivering a process offline or supporting employees in a call center to the cost involved in migrating the process or support to the intranet. In addition, task completion studies show that moving processes online saves not only money but employee time.

 

Key Takeaways

 

Historically, Stage 2 intranets have provided the greatest benefits to companies, and they continue to provide easily measurable benefits that reduce employee overhead, streamline business processes and result in a more paperless organization. But moving to a Stage 2 intranet is fraught with risks. Offline processes aren’t always easily transferable online. Extensive training is sometimes required. Employees may resent having to complete forms online versus directly talking to a person in HR. And, while making the company paperless, the intranet also makes it more anonymous. As a result, companies moving in this direction should tread carefully, methodically and in a piecemeal fashion.

 

Over time, these intranets grow to include more self-service functionality. Once employees become comfortable performing tasks online, they’re happy to take control and accomplish more self-service tasks. Here, consumer innovations have an impact on the enterprise environment. Just as ticket kiosks have replaced employee-staffed counters at airports, so, too, have intranets replaced in-person interaction. As the number of mobile workers in a company increases, self-service tools become even more important and mature from providing support services to including more business-oriented features.

 

Of companies surveyed, nearly one quarter plans on implementing a benefits portal in the next two years, according to a report on Benefit-News .com highlighting the research of Forrester ("Benefits Strategy and Technology Study," EBN/Forrester Research, Inc., 2005). This report also concluded that for every two-percent increase in employee satisfaction, there is a one-percent increase in employee retention. Do you measure employee satisfaction with your intranet?

 

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External Resources

 

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