Digital transformation: how to ensure adoption of your intranet

If you are launching a digital transformation project, this post is for you. All the more so if your project is global and transversal, such as a new intranet, digital workplace or collaboration platform.

In any digital transformation initiative, success is measured first and foremost in terms of adoption. If the project gets traction, other KPIs can be brought forward to justify your ROI – productivity, time gains and so forth. But without wide and lasting adoption, none of those metrics has any real value on the enterprise scale.
Digital transformation, intranet adoption


So the question is: what can you do to ensure successful and lasting adoption of your tool?
In our experience, you can tackle this problem in different ways. Depending on your particular situation, you can choose one or several of the strategies that we present later.
But first, let us debunk some common myths about intranet adoption.

Common myths about adoption

Myth 1. Viral adoption

There is no such as thing as spontaneous viral adoption in an enterprise setting

However beautiful and user friendly your tool is, or however useful, people always greet change with mistrust. In an enterprise setting, they are worried about getting it wrong and being judged. So change needs to be pushed and promoted gradually.

Myth 2. Silver bullet

There is no silver bullet solution to handle your change management and adoption

Changing behaviours is a complicated problem and has no simple solution. In particular, the problem has no one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on your particular context, you will face challenges and constraints that other companies might not have to deal with, and vice versa.

Myth 3. Adoption issues is a big company problem

There is no link between the size of your company and adoption

Company size in itself is less a factor than the makeup of the workforce. A large company 80% filled with millennials fresh out of college might be a less challenging ground for digital transformation than a small 500-person company with senior, digitally reluctant staff.

Myth 4. My launch went great, it’s a win

There is no immediate AND lasting adoption

The adoption curve is always bell shaped. To start, you will get a lot of hype and traction (if you manage your communication campaign well), and the curve will go up. And then, after the wow effect, the curve will always go down…. and then it should slowly climb up again. Adoption is a process. Let’s dive deeper into that.

The three stages of adoption

How can we judge the level of intranet adoption? Adoption happens gradually, in three usually successive stages:

0-  No adoption

The users ignore the tool.

1- Passive consumption/participation

First, users consume information passively – that is, silently. They read corporate communications, they browse around the knowledge base, they observe how other users interact with each others

2- Active consumption/participation

Then users start participating in conversations. They like, they comment, they express their opinions in reaction to others’ opinions.

3- Interaction

The final stage is when users start interacting with each other. They post their own opinions, they contribute knowledge, they create collaboration spaces and invite other users to join, and so on.
At any given point in time after your launch, your collaboration workforce’s behaviour will be spread among those types of behaviour.
For example, you can start with most people in level 1, some in level 2, and rare champions in level 3. The goal would be to gradually push people from 1 to 2 and from 2 to 3.
It is rather rare to reach a level 3 adoption for 100% of a collaboration workforce. In some contexts, you can come close. In other more challenging contexts, 50% between 1, 2 and 3 is already a huge success. Depending on your particular context, choose your own realistic goals.
The bottom line is that adoption is not easy. This realisation is the first step to a successful digital transformation initiative. So what are the common hurdles to successful intranet adoption?

Common hurdles to digital transformation adoption

Depending on your context, you might face all or some of these challenges to intranet adoption.

1- Your workforce

Your workforce can be more or less ready to embrace the change. The most common factor to consider is the generations spread within your collaboration workforce. Usually, younger more digitally savvy users will be easier to move than users in the older generations.

2- Your company culture

Your company culture may be an obstacle to overcome in your digital transformation efforts. The culture of secrecy is a pertinent example: when people equate knowledge with power, it is difficult to promote knowledge sharing digital practices.

3- Your management

A lot depends on whether your management actively supports your initiative at all levels. In practice, their involvement is one of the surest and most reliable ways to help with intranet adoption.
Let’s sum up
  • Transformation is never easy – so be prepared
  • Change is a gradual process – so choose realistic goals
  • Identify your challenges and find strategies to address them
Always keep in mind that business value is the only thing that ensures lasting adoption.
We will dive into strategies to address adoption challenges in our next post.
Meanwhile, comments and ideas are welcome!
Discover the new generation
company intranet


You will find here Frequently Asked Questions about intranet with all the answers in one place.

intranet is a term used with abundance whenever the subject of internal communication and collaboration is brought up which makes defining it a bit challenging. In its simplest form, an intranet is an internal website for your organization. It is used mainly for top-down communication where employees can access corporate news, policies and announcements.


See the full definition of intranet

To gather a thorough understanding of intranets and their different types, let’s walk through its history from the early days up to now:

  1. Intranet Portals
  2. Enterprise Social Netwrok (ESN)
  3. Intranet 2.0

Find out the different types of intranet solutions

The main difference between intranets and extranets lays in the target audience. Intranets typically target users from a specific organization whereas extranets is the hub that can group users from multiple external organizations ranging from partners and suppliers all the way to clients


Discover the real difference between intranet and extranet

Different types of Intranet solutions from the early days up to the intranet 2.0 (commonly referred to as digital workplace solutions) bring a host of benefits to businesses of all sizes and industries. Below is a list of benefits often associated with intranets:

  1. Streamline internal communications
  2. Connect employees and eliminate silos
  3. Foster collaboration
  4. Improve knowledge sharing
  5. Recognize and reward employees

Find out teh benefits of intranet solutions

Here are three different strategies for a successful intranet adoption:

  1. User focus strategy
  2. Global community management strategy
  3. Private communities focus strategy

Which intranet adoption strategy should you choose?

I am the Chief Executive Officer of eXo Platform (the open source digital workplace platform), a company that I co-founded while in college and that I came back to after several years in the banking and consulting industry. I blog about modern work, about open-source and sovereignty issues. Occasionally, I also blog about my personal areas of interest, such as personal development, work–life balance, sustainability and gender equality.
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Candis Best
Candis Best
9 March 2018 11 h 32 min

I thought this was an article with tips on how to ensure adoption. All you have listed is reason’s why adoption doesn’t happen.