Often referred to as “the one place where you start and end your day” or “the one place where you can find all the information about your organization and your role”, the idea that you can create a single location, whether an Intranet or more recently something like Microsoft Teams, to be the only thing your workforce needs has been fed to us by software vendors and information consultants. It is the mythical “enterprise front door” that takes all needs into account, for everyone. After more than 20 years in the business, I have never met an organization (client or otherwise) that has achieved half of what was idealized, and even then it didn’t last very long before falling apart. But don’t take my word for it – read this great article by Sam Marshall on the Digital Workplace Hubs: Nice in Theory, Not in Practice (reworked.co).
What problems are hubs trying to solve?
There are multiple, very real pain-points that Digital Workplaces, or Hubs, are trying to solve. Including:
- Too many places to monitor for updates, some updates happen on the Intranet, others in MS Teams or Yammer. Employees lose track of what’s happening in their organization.
- Fragmented content across multiple platforms which makes it hard to know where to find reliable information.
- Too many options for what to use when
Why do they fail?
Most of them start out by limiting the number of users who will even have access to the system by making it an Intranet [reference stats that show max users per day], or by trying to enforce a way that everyone needs to work without looking into how they work. It also makes several incorrect assumptions about how people want to be engaged with and how important they will see going to the intranet every few hours as being.
Another reason that they fail is that with all of the eggs in one massive basket, even if the initial solution can be built, it becomes a problem of maintaining it. Quickly the very things that were drawing people in become stale, Communications can’t produce enough content, departments aren’t talking ownership of keeping their areas up to date, and then it becomes a challenge of finding what’s needed, knowing where the right information is, and the frustration of old becomes new again.
How can Sparrow solve these problems?
Sparrow has been designed from the ground-up to be a distributed communication platform and address the problems that Hubs have been trying to solve.
- Flexible entry points. We let your workforce choose the entry point that suits their work. This is where they will be focused and is the platform, they will fire up first, like the icons you put on the first screen of your phone. For some employees, that place will be outlook, for others MS Teams, for those on the go a mobile. We support all of those the key here is to have one conversation (post about one conversation) and letting Sparrow automatically keeping them all in sync.
- Aggregated notifications. Sparrow supports keeping track of updates and changes via aggregated notifications. These notifications are kept in synch across all the platforms, allowing your employees to receive the same timely information and notification regardless of which platform they prefer.
- Search. We don’t believe in trying to bring everything into one place to make it easier to find things, our search technology allows us to index multiple sources and present unified search results regardless of which platform you are searching from. Each platform has a specific purpose and it is important to not force content into multiple platforms.
Sparrow is omnichannel (Why omnichannel is the only path forward – Sparrow (sparrowapp.io)), we surface all this functionality in wherever platform makes sense to the individual. That is likely to vary across work styles in the same organization. For people who work all the time in Teams, the notifications may appear there alongside chat and task notifications. For frontline workers, your universal search may exist in our dedicated employee app.
If you’re looking for a platform to help make your life easier and connecting you with all of your workforce, give Sparrow a look. We’ve lived the pain, we understand the hopes, and we built a platform for communication professionals that delivers. From Intranets, to Microsoft Teams, to newsletters, and mobile, we know how important corporate communications is. Sparrow – Built for Communicators. Book a conversation with us today.