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James_RobJames Robertson of Step Two Designs shows how Barclays Bank empowered their internal communications using enterprise mobility.

Look around on the train in most cities in the world, and you’ll see commuters head down, reading their mobiles. They’re checking their emails, reading the local newspaper, or playing Angry Birds.

The same is true for those waiting for buses, lining up in a bank queue, or standing in a lift.

It’s self-evident that mobile devices have transformed how to consume information and news. While this has been bad news for printed newspapers, it’s been great for our ability to stay connected and informed, wherever and whenever we are.

Within organisations, a wave of transformation is (albeit much more slowly) coming to how we connect with staff.

In the enterprise, the corporate intranet is the default channel for internal communications, most notably, news on the homepage. This may be supported by video communications, blogging and offline channels (such as printed newsletters and corporate magazines).

Let’s face it, however: as much as internal comms likes to publish corporate news, most staff aren’t that interested in reading it. While part of the problem is the lack of relevant stories, one of the big issues is lack of time. In today’s busy working life, there simply isn’t much time to catch up on what’s happening between all the emails and meetings.

When staff come to the intranet, they do so at the point of need. They’re looking for a piece of information, or to complete a task. Anything that gets in the way of that (including news) is ignored.


Enterprise mobility offers a solution

With the near-universal availability of mobile devices, there are now opportunities to:

  • reach all staff
  • better match how staff read news
  • enhance engagement
  • deliver real business benefits.


An award-winning example


(Image courtesy of Barclays Bank)

Barclays Bank, headquartered in the UK, provides an instructive example. A platinum winner of the 2013 Intranet Innovation Awards, they have used mobile to transform how they connect with and support front-line staff.

In the past, Barclays’ 20,000 customer-facing employees have been typically bypassed by technological innovation and investment. Many staff didn’t even have corporate email addresses, and communications were typically delivered via printed documents or face-to-face updates from direct managers.

Within Barclays, the Frontline Help team is responsible for staff engagement, collaboration and knowledge management for all customer-facing and operational environments across the UK retail bank.

MyZone, a mobile solution delivered by this team, has transformed the frontline environment.

From the outset, the solution supported BYOD (bring your own device), recognising that the vast majority of staff in the UK had a personal smartphone. Security concerns were addressed through an elegant 5-digit pin system, taken from one of the customer-facing apps.

The app features:

  • ‘NewsZone’, which provides live feeds from internal news sites, and role-specific communication.
  • ‘KnowledgeZone’, offering product and process information.
  • ‘AppZone’, which gives access to a full suite of Barclays customer and employee apps.
  • ‘HRZone’, ‘MediaZone’ and much more besides.

The level of engagement from staff has been overwhelming and immediate. From the first release of the solution, staff have been the major drivers for upgrades and enhancements.

The business benefits have been extraordinary:

  • 22% increase in staff engagement
  • 50% drop in customer complaints relating to product knowledge
  • 2% increase in net promoter score
  • £1 million in avoided costs due to staff ideas.

The solution is now being expanded, in preparation for a rollout to all 140,000 staff across Barclays globally.


The benefits of mobile for comms

This inspirational case study shows how big the benefits can be from even a relatively simple technical solution.

As in Barclays, the big opportunity can be to provide a new channel that can truly reach all staff, including those in frontline and field environments.

At Step Two, we’re also starting to hear staff comment that they really like receiving corporate news on their mobiles, as it allows them to keep on top of what’s happening during the little pieces of downtime that occur during their day.

Whether it’s time on the bus, or when a meeting is running late, these “interstitial activities” fill up the gaps, and meet our craving for constant activity.

Taking a simple ‘responsive web design’ approach, it can be a quick task to deliver simple intranet news to a variety of mobile devices. Security issues are also straightforward to address in many organisations.

From there,  internal comms teams can then explore richer experiences for mobile staff, taking full advantage of device capabilities.

It’s a green fields environment, and mobile opportunities are dazzling!


More information

If you'd like more information on enterprise mobility, why not check out:

Step Two Designs' library of articles that help to help to inform and inspire you

To read more about Barclays and many other award winning projects, why not purchase a copy of Step Two Designs' 2013 Intranet Innovations Report.  

If you're an IABC member, you can also view an archived version of the IABC webinar given by James Robertson in March. Go here and look for 'Innovative Intranets for Communicators' (log-in required).

James Robertson is the author of the best-selling books “Essential intranets: inspiring sites that deliver business value”, “Designing intranets: creating sites that work” and “What every intranet team should know”. As founder of Step Two Designs, he has worked with teams around the globe, to help them deliver successful and valuable intranets.