What is the right mix of "push" communication (broadcast messages, news, announcements) versus "pull" communication (information that is personalized, community-related, and based on personal connections) within the enterprise, and how does the mix of these two forces impact employee engagement? At the recent IntraNET Reloaded event held in Boston last month, Beezy product lead Maximo Castagno (@maximocastagno) led several roundtable sessions with attendees that discussed this topic. Building upon those discussions and the overall theme of the conference, he was interviewed by the event team and asked the broader question: What is the future of the digital workplace?
For those unfamiliar with the event, IntraNET Reloaded is one of the leading conferences in the US focusing on digital workplace transformation. Beezy was a proud sponsor of this year's event, with Maximo hosting several discussions during the World Café roundtable segment, during which attendees were able to explore the push versus pull topic.
Finding the right communication "mix"
During his video interview, Maximo shared some of what makes Beezy unique within the enterprise collaboration space, and how the company offers large clients who want to make the move to Office 365 from leading competitive platforms, including Jive and IBM Connections. He explained that many of these customers want to make the jump to the Microsoft platform, but find many key capabilities missing. That is where Beezy fills the gap, he explained, as the only company able to work with SharePoint (whether online or on-premises) to match the features of these competing platforms, helping organizations move to Office 365 without losing any core capabilities.
Exploring further the topic covered during his roundtable sessions, Maximo discussed the difficulties of internal communication and the "push versus pull" dilemma. In a recent Beezy blog post (How Beezy Solves the Push versus Pull Dilemma), Maximo shared some of these same concepts of pushing content to employees versus allowing them to pull the right content, and how these ideas have helped to shape the Beezy solution for SharePoint and Office 365.
Employees need the homepage to be focused primarily on pull activities if we ever hope to have them incorporate the site and its content into their daily habits. At the same time, the benefits of pushing information to them (whether automated or curated) are clear form an organizational stand-point.
Impacting adoption and engagement
During the interview, he discussed his observations on the similarities between corporate communications and how the leading social networking platforms incorporate advertising into the newsfeed, sharing details on some of the experiments that led to the most recent newsfeed capabilities in Beezy, including recently announced integration with the Office Graph (press release). Within the typical intranet, communications personnel want to "push" content to ensure that the content they want to promote is sent to every last employee, while employees want to see only the content most relevant to them personally by "pulling" the content through various automated, or discovery feeds, through search, and through social connections within their personal and work networks or communities. There are valid reasons for using both strategies, but finding the right "mix" of push and pull can dramatically impact intranet adoption and engagement. This dilemma is something that he also highlighted within his recent post:
Newsfeeds are extremely efficient at driving adoption, and inserting small amounts of advertising into the newsfeed flow didn’t seem to hurt the traction of the social giants, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Flipboard. We started playing around with the idea of “injecting” pieces of push or “discovery” content within the Beezy newsfeed, and quickly saw great results in terms of visibility and employee engagement.
As for the future of the digital workplace, Maximo answered that the systems and tools we use must become more intelligent, once again likening what is happening within the enterprise to the evolution in online advertising, with marketers becoming more and more intelligent, and the way that they communicate to the end user becoming more integrated and personalized.
As (the platform) gets more intelligent, it's not disturbing you. It's just helping you in your day to day. And that's the intelligence that I think we need to bring to the digital communication world, and that employees and communicators will benefit from it.
To watch the entire interview with Maximo and learn more on his ideas of push versus pull communication within the enterprise, visit the IntraNET Reloaded Boston newsroom and scroll down to the Videos section.