The Most Important Characteristic of Intranet Users

The Nielson Norman Group recently posted a fantastic article on the value of suggested search for employee intranets. While the article is filled with compelling stats and suggestions, perhaps the most important finding was implicit: intranet users are humans. That’s right. Read it again: intranet users are humans. They use Web sites like Google and Amazon. They stream videos from Netflix. They surf and text on their mobile phones.

For years, organizations have considered intranet users some other type of animal that has no connection to the world at large. This has been a mistake. Lost hours of work, missed opportunities, HR and compliance risks¬–they all add up to a negative experience for employees and barriers to productivity for businesses.

How bad is it? According to IDC’s 2010 Search Market Overview,

The cost of ineffective search is $5, 251 per worker, per year. For 1,000 workers, that’s $5.25 million.

That’s a lot of money–and significantly less than it costs to improve your intranet. So when you’re ready to make a change, don’t forget the most important thing about your intranet users: they’re people.