AMP – Technology, culture & design thinking create an innovative intranet

Australian financial service company, AMP, has a long track record of pushing the envelope with its intranet, the Hub. AMP has supported collaboration and social media features on its intranet for many years. Its latest iteration – based on SharePoint 2010 and Newsgator – has been described as one of the most innovative intranets ever created, which is highlighted in this home page screenshot:

AMP Hub screenshot

Newsgator’s Social Sites for SharePoint have provided the technology engine that drives this social intranet at AMP. However, we also know that every innovative intranet requires that just great technology. Newsgator CEO, Danial Kraft, recently interviewed AMP’s Catalyst for Magic, Annalie Killian, who provides great insights into the impact of AMP’s culture on their intranet design.

A couple of highlights include:

Daniel asks, “…looking back, would you say that social business and social technologies make you a better company?” and Annalie is quite definite in her reply, “Yes“.

On the issue of business value, Annalie also warns about getting lost looking for certainty about return-on-investment (ROI) first. She thinks the main reason companies fail to innovate is because they say:

Unless I can see the ROI I’m not going to go down this route, when the evidence of adoption and the transformation of consumer behaviour is all around you. The point is that not everything that may create disruption to your business model can be quantified and neatly packaged upfront but can you deny it is happening?

AMP also invested in user experience (UX) design to create a unique interface on top of the Newsgator engine. As one of AMP’s UX designers, Octavia Maddox, explained:

We did a lot of research with our users to understand their context and a design a solution to fit. Whilst we did co-design sessions to engage users, this generated key themes rather than specifics. If we asked users what they wanted and delivered just that, we wouldn’t have arrived where we did.

Creating an innovative intranet like AMP requires three critical success factors: the right technology, culture and design thinking.