A Peak at the Very Best Intranets

Some of the Intranet Case Studies at the 2019 Digital Workplace & Intranet Global Forum

It’s not easy to build a great intranet. In fact, the best intranets are years in the making – sometimes requiring dozens of individuals and millions of dollars. There are some good intranets created and launched with only scant few thousands of dollars.


However, money is not always a requisite requirement for a great intranet.

Great intranets have mastered the twin pillars: people and process. Technology… it’s just an enabler.

The best intranets always have a few common ingredients:

  • Strong executive sponsorship
  • Detailed governance and accountabilities
  • Simple, effective user experience
  • Engaged stakeholders and employees – before and after launch
  • Strong content (and content management)

Here’s a peak at just a few of the leading intranets and digital workplaces from some of the top leaders on the planet presenting at this year’s Digital Workplace & Intranet Global Forum conference in New York City:

  • Duke Energy
  • ConocoPhillips

  • Cox Communications
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Messer Construction

Duke Energy

Technology: SharePoint Online and Office 365.

Employees: 47,000

Headquarters: Charlotte, North Carolina

Conference presentation:

Enhancing the Employee Experience through an Intranet Redesign

Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the US, suppling and delivering electricity to almost 8 million customers in the East and Midwest.

Duke is a two-time winner of the Intranet Design Annual Best Intranet of the Year award. It’s new intranet portal features a simple but elegant home page, and dozens of reusable webparts that are reused across the enterprise digital workplace.

News can be published to the intranet home page, other intranet webparts, or to one or all of more than 400 physical digital signs located in elevator lobbies and cafes in offices and facilities across the Eastern and Midwest United States.

The redesign of the award-winning intranet was executed in Agile (in two-week sprints), instead of the traditional Waterfall approach, and took approximately one-year.

Cox Communications

Technology: SharePoint 2016

Employees: 20,000

Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia

Conference presentation:

User Experience Design for the New Digital Workplace

Every new intranet needs a solid business case – and executive support.

Cox is the 3rd largest cable television provider in the US, serving more than 6.2 million customers, including 2.9 million digital cable subscribers, 3.5 million Internet subscribers, and almost 3.2 million digital telephone subscribers, making it the seventh-largest telephone carrier in the country.

Before Cox began their intranet redesign, Chris Harrer, Director, Digital Communications, undertook 6 months of research with countless dozens of executives, managers and frontline users. Anyone that wanted a say or had an opinion about the old, dated intranet.

“For another 6 months, I went and presented to anyone that would listen to me at the VP level,” says Harrer. “I would (put on my sales hat) ask for 30 minutes and sit in their office and walk through the key points and tell them that I just wanted them to be aware that I am looking to create a new intranet. Then came the test…”

Chris created a detailed sales presentation on ‘why’ Cox needed a new intranet. It featured research, user comments, best practices and leading intranet case studies. For the busy and easily distracted c-suite executives, he created a one-page business case. One page that ‘sold’ the need and benefits of a new intranet.

“From this point I went and presented to each of our SVPs and EVPs with my intention to rebuild our intranet,” says Harrer. “Creating the one-pager (business case) from my 45-page presentation was not easy, but I got all relevant information into one document for executives to look at.”

And it wasn’t merely limited to print documents and presentations. Chris also mastered the art of the elevator pitch, and used it whenever he bumped into an executive.

“Your elevator speech (30 seconds, or one-minute). Get that down-pat. Executives have no time, so master the short speech.”

Chris credits his executives, and their support, as the key to the entire redesign process. ““If I didn’t do that, this project would never have gotten off the ground.”


Technology: SharePoint 2013 Migrating Online (Office 365)

Employees: 25,000

Headquarters: Houston, TX

Conference presentation:

Integrating Podcasting & Multimedia to Create Compelling Communications

ConocoPhillips is an American multinational energy corporation with its headquarters located in the Energy Corridor district of Houston, Texas in the United States. It is the world's largest independent pure-play exploration and production company and the company ranked No. 95 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.

ConocoPhillips, the world’s largest independent energy and power company, uses podcasting for internal communications to their employees, scattered across 17 different countries. ConocoPhillips produces four to six podcasts each month, and the initial cost is minimal.

“To set up our studio and equipment at headquarters cost under $5000, and additional mobile units cost $850 each; and that small investment allows us to connect our speakers with a broader audience,” says Ray Scippa, Director of Publications. “Intranet podcasting offers a low-cost, high-return investment.”

Intranet podcasting for employees at ConocoPhillips

ConocoPhillips intranet podcasts are far more popular with employees than news, and the results are impressive:

  • Average podcast has 2,500 to 3,500 “listens” (20-30% of all employees)
  • Written stories typically average 1,500 to 2,000 “reads” (15-20% of all employees)
  • One podcast featuring an employee survivor of cancer received more than 4000 listens (26 minutes in length)

Examining the underlying employee engagement, one can safely conclude that engagement with podcasts are perhaps 10x or greater than engagement than news stories. Twice as many employees, on average, hit a podcast versus the average news story (and the average employee spends 15-20 seconds on a news story, versus 20 minutes on a podcast).


Liberty Mutual

Technology: SharePoint 2013

Employees: 50,000+

Headquarters: Boston, MA

Conference presentation:

Employee Experience and Digital Assistants in the Workplace

Historically there hasn’t really been a single solution that could address all the communications and silo challenges in large enterprises; each group has had to forage for themselves and find dedicated technology to help them reach their goals.

Digital assistants (also known as enterprise virtual assistants and chatbots) are transforming that siloed approach.

When done right, digital assistants can function as a centralized workplace chatbot, answering questions across any line of business from HR, IT, Finance, Facilities, etc. They can even deliver personalized answers to each employee based on attributes such as their job function, office, department, etc.

Liberty Mutual is an American diversified global insurer & the 4th-largest property & casualty insurer in the United States. It ranks 76th on the Fortune 100. It has more than 50,000 employees spread across 900 locations spread across the planet.

In addition to being a pragmatic solution that facilitates quick wins, a digital assistant also aligns the goals of each team, creating a shared success that animates efforts towards corporate-wide digital transformation. That was exactly the result when Liberty Mutual Insurance implemented a digital assistant as part of their employee experience platform. The organization saw a 40% increase in internal comms click-throughs, 70% fewer clicks to obtain key information and a 93% reduction in costs for each help desk inquiry – a clear success across the board for all groups involved.

The intranet digital assistant at Liberty Mutual, by Workgrid

Messer Construction

Technology: SharePoint Online and Office 365

Employees: 1200

Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio

Conference presentation:

The Not So Odd Couple: The Marriage of Marketing & IT for the Digital Workplace

Messer Construction Co is an employee-owned company that specializes in managing, developing and performing complex commercial construction with 10 regional offices in the US, and 800 users (of 1200 employees).


A 2019 Intranet Design Annual Best Intranet of the Year winner, Messer Construction is a case study in employee engagement.

Messer fosters a culture of celebrating its employees and recognizing them. One-fifth of their intranet home page is dedicated to profiling and showcasing employees: executive promotions, new employees, and work anniversaries – all with photos (see 12 below).

The employee culture is also a very social one, and the most used social platform is Twitter. So, Messer added a Twitter webpart for employees, right on the home page. The Twitter feed showcases customer and employee stories and events.

To see detailed case studies for each, and the remaining presenters you’ll just have to attend in person…

Register for the 2019 Digital Workplace & Intranet Global Forum