by Chris Izquierdo and Adam Zouak
In this article, we cover the basic questions you should ask yourself and ask your providers before deciding on a corporate communication platform that will streamline content to the right people in your organization. If you have any other favorite questions to ask, please leave a comment at the end of this post:
1. What is the fee or cost-structure? Do you have to sign a long-term contract? Do they price by the number of employees in your organization? Do they price by the number of messages sent on the platform? Build a simple model of what the service will cost you over the next 3 years. If you have a large organization but send communication infrequently, you might be better off paying per content piece, or if you have a small organization and send communication often, you might want to pay by the organization size.
2.Is it a SaaS (Software as a Service) model or is it an installed product? In this day and age, I recommend avoiding installed software as much as possible. Installed software requires regular involvement from IT and maintenance. Understanding what elements of the platform are SaaS and what elements aren’t is very important and will factor into the total cost of ownership.
3. How much effort does it take to manage the solution and still utilize all the features of the platform? How much time does it take? This is the type of thing that can be glossed over in a slick demo, but making sure to know what it actually takes to put the solution in place, how much is it going to require from your communications team and how much from IT, can make a world of difference. How about setup charges? Are they included or not? Remember that your time is a lot more valuable than the amount of money you will spend on the tool.
4. Does it have the metrics you need? Corporate communication is all about testing, measuring and improving. Here’s a quick list of features you’ll probably want to have:
- Tracking open rates and engagement. Tracking the performance of the content you are putting out.
- Can you break down your analytics by channel? By language? By location? By Audience?
- Does it have dashboards showing you trending analytics with regards to usage and engagement? For example, number of users reading your content on a monthly basis.
- Ability to download the analytics so you can integrate them with external data sources in your organization.
5. What is post-sale customer support like? What about consulting services? Having customer support after the sale is crucial. You don’t want to be left by the wayside with a robust corporate communication platform, important content that needed to go out five minutes ago, and a blazing fire that you can’t put out because you don’t have the appropriate customer support channels from your provider. And in addition to support, do they actively keep you in the loop on new features, do they regularly solicit you for your feature ideas? Make sure to get the complete picture.
6. How simple is it to edit and add content? Does it support workflows for content approval? You will spend most of your time creating, editing, and approving your content. It is important for the platform to make that process easy. The last thing you need when faced with a deadline is to spend an inordinate amount of time formatting to reflect your brand identity. Likewise, most organizations have a content review and approval process, you want your chosen platform to support this process and make it easy to follow it.
7. How easy is it for employees to find and interact with your content? This is crucial, the main reason you are going through the trouble of deploying a new corporate communication platform is to increase engagement with your content. Is it easy for your employees to find your content? Is the platform intuitive to us, maybe even integrating with existing platforms that your users are familiar with such as Outlook or MS Teams? Can your employees easily engage with content in their favorite platform? Does the solution support single-sign-on?
Whether you have 300 or 10,000 employees, you need to deploy a good and cost-effective corporate communication platform. I hope this article and the comments below provide you with enough questions and ammo to help you make a good selection and ensure your chosen platform works for your organization.
When it comes to communications platforms, the Sparrow teams aims to not only to deliver the best value product but to also be the partner that’s there for you. We work closely with our customers, sharing where we’re going, listening to what they would like to see in our platform, and always thinking about how we can make them even more successful with our platform. At Sparrow, we believe that corporate communications can be transformative. Sparrow – Built for Communicators. Book a conversation with us today.