Note: This post will be regularly updated with new sources. Last update: 14 November 2017!
There is a considerable amount of useful intranet, ESN and digital workplace research available which can:
- help teams develop a strategy
- act as a reference point for ongoing initiatives
- be quoted in business cases
- inform buying decisions
- or allow individuals keep up to speed with the latest information.
Some of the research is free (particularly if you are participating) or is reasonably-priced. In this post I'm going to cover some of the main recurring publications or places where there are regularly published reports.
Beyond this there are many other blogs, one-off surveys, academic papers , conference presentations and vendor whitepapers which also deliver some very useful insights. I'll cover some of these sources in a future post.
Some topics covered are specifically about the intranets and digital channels at work, but others cover the wider context such as internet habits or employee engagement.
If you need some help with defining an intranet, ESN or digital workplace strategy or making a business case then don't hesitate to get in touch.
Disclosure: I have contributed extensively to the DWG Research Programme and also am the author and editor of the Intranet & Digital Workplace Showcase report from Step Two. I have also worked with Sam Marshall at ClearBox Consulting and Jane McConnell from NetJMC. I have received no payment from any of the organisations mentioned below for inclusion in the list below - my observations are solely based on my experiences of sources I've used to inform my own research and writing.
The reports below are presented alphabetically. Some links change occasionally, but I will endeavour to keep them up to date.
AIIM has produced a range of good reports and material on information management, information governance and related digital themes. Some is free but most is for members.
Altimeter Group's State of Digital Transformation (and more)
Altimeter Group (acquired by Prophet) is one of the leading research outfits on social business, and includes highly respected analysts such as Charlene Li and Brian Solis. Altimeter's annual report on the state of digital transformation is always very useful context for any large digital initiative. There have also been very good reports on social business and other areas too.
Aon Hewitt trends in Global Employee Engagement
Although not specifically about digital engagement, Aon Hewitt's annual global report on employee engagement trends is authoritative and extensive and covers one of the key intranet and digital workplace themes.
Arctus' annual French intranet trends survey
Arctus' annual French e-transformation and intranet survey is an undiscovered gem. It's been running for over fifteen years, is very detailed and the substantial report is free to download in English and French. Although the survey is suited to the French market, the insights are relevant to other countries and provide an excellent insight into intranet and digital workplace trends.
ClearBox Consulting SharePoint in-a-box report plus other research
Sam Marshall's ClearBox Consulting now produce a mammoth guide to the SharePoint in-a-box market which I do some editorial work on. It really is genuinely very good - but it is a paid for report (and for disclosure please note that if you end up buying the report from my link I get a commission.) ClearBox also regularly produce other high quality research and other guidance which is free to download. Sam's presentations are also available to view. Resources are sometimes by different authors and cover topics from content management to strategy and governance and beyond.
The Community Roundtable's State of Community Management Survey
The Community Roundtable produces the definitive annual survey on community managers in organisations. Running since 2010, this has insights into the importance and value of the role for organisations, as well as profiling the individuals within the industry. The Community Roundtable also produces some other reports, including one on careers and compensation for professional community managers. Definitely worth a read for anybody involved with social platforms.
Deloitte's Human Capital Trends
Deloitte's Human Capital Trends report is a very detailed report based on a survey of 10,000+ businesses which looks at opinions on top HR future trends. It's very relevant to the future digital workplace and includes breakdowns by industry and country. The report is free to download with the 2017 report weighing in at a hefty 144 pages long. Noted analyst Josh Bersin is one of the key authors.
Digital Workplace Group research programme
The Digital Workplace Group, formerly the Intranet Benchmarking Forum, has an excellent and extensive research programme which focuses on intranets and the digital workplace. Unfortunately most of this is for members only, but you can download executive summaries, and there are also occasional free reports available for download. (I've recently written a couple of these). There are also some blog posts about the research.
Edelman Trust Barometer
The annual Edelman Trust Barometer covers one of the big themes of intranets and the digital workplace. It's very useful background in considering how digital channels can help increase levels of employee trust.
Findwise search reports
Findwise carried out the most comprehensive enterprise search survey from 2012 to 2016. The 2017 report pulls data from that but didn't conduct another survey - let's hope there is a 2018 survey.
Gartner Magic Quadrant reports
Gartner research is highly respected in IT circles and produce overviews of the major vendors in different topics. These are very useful for checking out the major provides and getting a broad view of platform capabilities. Individually Gartner reports are expensive but the reports are usually later made free by some of the profiled vendors who license the report from Gartner. For example one year I got my Enterprise Search report from Coveo. While that might sound like a potential conflict with Gartner's independence, the reports are very good. The Magic Quadrant reports most likely of interest to digital workplace teams are Enterprise Content Management, Enterprise Search, Enterprise Video Content Management, Social Software in the Workplace, Unified Communications and Web Content Management.
IntraTeam allow organisations to benchmark their own intranet via a survey. There is a bias in terms of Danish companies but more and more international organisations are being added and the notes are very interesting reading. Kurt Kragh Sorensen regularly presents the results at conferences with the slides usually posted on SlideShare, for example at Intranet Now and at SMILE from Simply Communicate.
Jane McConnell's Organization in the Digital Age
Jane McConnell's annual Organization in the Digital Age report is based on a comprehensive survey across multiple aspects of the digital workplace with a large number of organisations. The annual report that emerges has the most comprehensive data set around on the digital workplace, and is the must-have report for spotting year-on-year trends. It's free for participants but available for purchase for others. A free executive summary is usually produced. Participating has real value and you get some data back comparing your position to others.
Martin White's Research Notes
Intranet and enterprise search legend Martin White of Intranet Focus has produced a series of free downloadable occasional research notes which give excellent overviews of different topics relevant to intranets, search and the digital workplace. Highly recommended.
Mary Meeker's internet trends
Each year Mary Meeker, a partner at KPCB, produces a mammoth presentation which covers all the latest internet trends. It's a fantastic summary of what's happening in the wider digital world with lots of statistics and graphs to back it all up. It can also be downloaded as a PDF. The internet trends dates back to 1995 and is highly respected.
Nielsen Norman Group Intranet Design Annual and other research reports
Nielsen Norman Group's intranet design annual is a great resource to find very detailed intranet case studies of successful implementations with masses of screenshots. For the level of detail you get, the price is very reasonable. Nielsen Norman Group also produces lots of other research reports on usability themes, many of which cover internal digital channels.
Pew Research Center
Pew's research on internet and technology themes covers both the workplace and the wider use of digital. It's a rich resource of data to give wider context on what you do with your digital channels in the workplace. It also covers demographics, opinions and consumer habits. The research is all free to download and is consistently excellent. A critically important resource.
Prescient Digital whitepapers
Toby Ward's Prescient Digital occasionally produce good whitepapers which are very practical and have good case studies. These tend to focus on intranets. Although these have been less frequent in the last year or so the site is worth a visit.
Real Story Group
The Real Story Group specialise in reports on product evaluations in the digital workplace space which are probably less open to bias than say the Gartner or Forrester reports. Worth a look if you are evaluating products.
Rivelty Group's State of the Intranet Industry in Russia
Russian intranet consultant Elena Bogdanova runs a comprehensive survey of intranets in Russia and helpfully produces an English translation of the results. The data is useful to compare to other relative studies and trends.
Step Two's Intranet Innovations and other whitepapers
The annual Intranet & Digital Workplace Awards Showcase contains detailed case studies from that year's Intranet & Digital Wrokplace Awards and contains lots of screen shots of the world's leading edge intranets. It's very reasonably priced. I am, of course, somewhat biased as I edit and write the report. James Robertson's Step Two Designs also includes a number of other excellent whitepapers and research (free whitepapers are noted as being free to download), as well as numerous insightful blog posts. OK - I write some of those too.
Worldwide Intranet Challenge
Andrew Wright's Worldwide Intranet Challenge offers a benchmarking service based on an annual survey completed by the employees of participating organisations. There is a free version plus tiered levels depending on how much data you want to include. From this large data set Andrew has produced some insightful blog posts and research pieces about intranet trends, although these have been less frequent in the past couple of years. Note that only the participating organisations get the full works.