Intranet portals integrate multiple use cases into a single user interface. This approach has failed entirely: working with hundreds of customers over the last decade, we have not seen a single intranet portal which has sustainably met its expectations.
The reason: intranet portals are way to complex. Users may claim that they want to see everything at one glance, but in reality they don’t: The only page which is frequently visited in such systems is the menu.
Likewise, internet portals like Yahoo and T-Online are on the decline. If many users did not have their email accounts there, they would not use them at all.
Unfortunately, many companies still do not know about all this. This is why until this day, lots of time and money is being invested in creating intranet portals – although it is already clear that they will not work and thus have to be replaced again in a few years.
Thus our sincerest recommendation to you is: Please do not under any circumstances build another one of these intranets portals: it is just not worth it.
Similar to intranet portals, social intranets and enterprise social networks (ESN) have also largely failed mainly because of two reasons:
First, most social intranets and ESNs also combine many different use cases into one user interface and are therefore as complex and difficult-to-use as intranet portals. Second, many social intranets and ESNs have been (and some still are) used for project and team work – although they are not well suited for this.
The latter is surprising when considering that nowadays nobody would create a Facebook group to communicate with their friends, family, school or sports team. Instead, we use tools like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Slack which enable team communication in real-time.
Social networks are tools for sharing information with a great number of people (= networks). The name of the core feature of any social network – the post or microblog – already points to this use case: it is all about posting short (= micro) articles (= blog). On Twitter, these articles usually consist of text, on Instagram of pictures and videos and on Facebook of a mixture of everything including links.
Therefore, social intranets and ESNs are great tools to share news with the entire company. This is the only use case for which they are made for, and this is where they work better than email or chat. Consequently, social intranets and ESNs have to be very simple and reduced to this use case, just like our Just News app.
Please do not try to implement a complex social networking or ESN tool and/or use it for communication in teams and projects. This has been tried thousands of times, and it has never worked. We know this from our own experience: after the initial euphoria is gone, you will be left with many inactive groups and frustrated user.
For this reason, many international vendors of such products have barely survived now that the first hype about this topic now is gone, and some have even been eliminated from market.
For a few years so-called employee apps have been available on the market. Employee apps integrate various features such as chat, news, knowledge etc. into one app – like a mobile version of an intranet portal, as it were.
This is precisely where the problem lies: just like intranet portals, employee apps also fail because of their complexity. There is a reason why you use many different apps on your smartphone: every app only serves one use case and is therefore extremely easy to use. From chat and social media apps to email and calendar apps, to weather, dating, taxi, music or fitness apps, you've got a specialized tool for everything, and not a digital Swiss Army knife like an employee app. For this reason, there are more than 2 million apps available today in the app stores of Apple and Google, of which the average person uses several dozens.
For the same reason, Facebook split its chat feature from the social network and launched it as a separate messenger app in 2011. Of course, there were people complaining about it, but without the simplicity of a specialized app, Facebook's Messenger would neither have over 1 billion active users today nor stand a chance against WhatsApp & Co. This strategy of “unbundling” can be seen everywhere: the latest example is Apple's iTunes, which has been divided into three new apps (Music, TV and podcasts) to reduce complexity.
To summarize: Only specialized, single-purpose apps which are as simple as possible will succeed. Multi-purpose apps such as employee apps will not prevail, let alone inspire users.
Users love simplicity. That is why the most popular tools and websites are focused on serving only one use case:
- Google = search
- Wikipedia = knowledge management
- Doodle = scheduling
- WhatsApp = chat
- Dropbox = file sharing
- Trello = task management
Similarly, Just Social contains six apps which are each focused on only one use case. Therefore, every app is extremely easy-to-use:
- Just Connect = chat
- Just News = social network
- Just Wiki = knowledge management
- Just Drive = file sharing
- Just List = task management
- Just People = directory
Moreover, all Just Social apps are perfectly integrated with each other and thus provide you with:
- search across all apps
- only one login
- consistent usability & design
- central administration
All these factors maximize the level of simplicity and minimize the time and effort needed for the successful adoption of Just Social.
Since all successful tools are focused on a specific task, we need many different tools both at home and at work. How will the tool box which integrates all these applications into a digital workplace look like?
The answer is simple: it will look exactly the same as it always has. From the first Mac in 1983 and Windows 1.0 in 1985 to today’s PC’s, smartphones and tablets: They all start with a plain digital space with icons for every e.g. app, which is called desktop in computers and home screen in smartphones.
That’s why Just Social also provides you with such a digital surface as a start page for your intranet. It integrates the six Just Social apps as well as all your other apps in one place – finally. You can also use drag & drop to personalize the order of your apps, just like you do with your PC and smartphone. Wonderful.
In our private life, we rarely (if ever) ask ourselves when to use social networks, chat and email. Instead, we intuitively use these tools whenever we need them for the use cases they are designed for:
- Email = Formal communication
- Chat = Informal communication & collaboration
- Social network = Information of large groups
In the workplace, email are often used for all three of these use cases which leads to losses in productivity and frustration of employees.
The word email is short for electronic mail which already points to the use case: It is the electronic version of the good old letter and made for formal communication. Today we rarely use email in our private life since we do not communicate formally with our family and friends except for e.g. invitations to weddings.
In our workplaces, formal communication with email is more common, especially when corresponding with external parties such as customers. For internal communication, however, emails are often neither needed nor efficient:
Sending electronic mails back and forth to communicate informally or collaborate on e.g. a project is slow and messy. The right tool in this case is chat. Just as we all use chat tools like WhatsApp to stay in touch with our family, friends, sports team etc., we need to use chat tools like Just Connect for communication & collaboration in our workplaces.
Moreover, sending email for pushing information (e.g. newsletters) to the entire organization disrupts employees in their work and does not allow for any feedback and discussions – at least not without sending around more emails to everybody. In this case, internal social networks like Just News are the medium of choice, in which everybody can select the news they want to receive – and interact with the content via likes and comments without distracting the entire organization.
- Informal communication and team collaboration should take place in chat tools like Just Connect.
- Information for the entire company should be posted via internal social networks like Just News.
- Internal emails should only be used when formal communication is truly needed such as in the case of e.g. internal applications.
Just News is an enterprise social network made for sharing information and content with large groups of people (one-to-many) – usually the entire organization. Typical examples include news from:
- Management (e.g. corporate strategy, financial updates)
- Marketing (e.g. product launches, trade shows)
- Personnel (e.g. news employees, trainings, team events)
- IT (e.g. new services, updates)
- Customer support (e.g. customer feedback, KPIs)
Successful implementation of an enterprise social network for internal communication essentially requires the same preparation than the use of social networks for external communication: You need a content strategy defining who is responsible for publishing what information when & where. More specifically, you need to define for each news channel:
- Name of the news channel (e.g. marketing news)
- Content to be posted in the news channel (e.g. marketing campaigns, trade shows)
- Author/admins of the news channel (e.g. VP marketing and assistant)
- Target group (e.g. marketing department)
- Visibility (private to the marketing department or public to the entire company)
- Subscription (mandatory vs. optional)
In addition to posting news from various departments, news channels can also serve as black boards or discussion forums e.g. for ideas/innovation.
Black boards create an open space for discussions on any topic and thus foster socializing and networking within a company.
Creating a channel for innovation provides a forum for posting and discussing ideas within the entire organization. Since innovation is usually the outcome of a communication process, enabling a company-wide exchange on innovation works much better than implementing e.g. process-based tools for innovation management.
Without a content strategy, the adoption of an enterprise social network will fail because very few people will produce content on a regular basis – just like very few people frequently post content on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
For example, the number of posts per day for communities up to 1,000 followers is only between 0.2 (Facebook) and 0.8 (Instagram, source: Quintly). Instead, people use social networks mostly for consuming information and content created by e.g. celebrities, sports stars, politicians, companies, brands etc.
The same holds for enterprise social networks. That is why you need a content strategy and define responsibilities. Otherwise there is a high risk that little or no content will be produced and the social network will eventually dry out due on lack of activity.
Publishing news content via Just News allows users to
- personalize their newsfeed by (un)following news channels
- process a lot of news quickly by scrolling down
- interact by liking or commenting the news
- read the news when they want without being disrupted needlessly by e.g. notifications
These are major advantages compared to sending news via e-mails which
- are complicated to personalize through the administration of mailing lists
- are tedious to process especially in large quantities (click, read, delete and repeat)
- do not allow for interacting with the content (e.g. commenting) without sending more mails to everybody
- needlessly disrupt people in their work e.g. with notifications
News channels usually address the entire organization or in big and/or internationalized companies potentially also a business unit, country or language area. If you are dealing with smaller groups of people (< 50), creating a chat group in Just Connect will most likely make more sense.
Internal social networks are often implemented to foster open and transparent information of the entire organization. That is why all news channels are usually visible for all employees within a company.
Whenever one of our clients wanted to create a private news channel, it eventually turned out that the use case was not information/content but rather team collaboration. Consequently, a chat group in Just Connect was the better option.
The more news channels there are, the better the users can personalize their newsfeeds. However, from our experience it is also true that the more news channels there are, the fewer users will actually invest the time to personalize their newsfeeds. Thus, we recommend keeping the number of channels small (< 10) to make it as simple as possible for the users.
As a matter of fact, we have seen very successful cases of small to mid-size companies up to a few hundred users, which have implemented only two news channels: one official news channel for everything that is work related and one black board for non-work related “social” stuff.
Users and subscriptions to news channels can be (and often are) imported from Active Directory (AD) or a csv file. If a news channel is optional, users can unfollow the news channel and will then no longer receive these posts in their newsfeeds. If a news channel is mandatory, users cannot opt-out and will always receive the information.
The easiest and most transparent way of handling multiple languages is setting up different news channels for different languages. This is also best practice followed by international firms/brands on any social network (Facebook etc.). That way, users can simply select the news channels they want to read in their language(s). That way, they will also be able to read the comments of other users and participate in the discussion. If you have country/language information e.g. in your Active Directory, you can also assign the users to the respective country/language channels via import.
All information posted in a news channel should be posted in that news channel only and not be duplicated via other mediums such as email. As a matter of fact, that goes for any information and any medium: Nothing should be communicated in more than one place to avoid confusion and prevent admins and users from posting and reading the same information twice.
Internal social networks are supposed to foster open and transparent communication. Thus, it is very important that management sets an example by actively posting, commenting and liking content. Why should employees engage when management does not? Especially because it is usually the management that does have access to information that is of interest to the entire company regarding e.g. business development, strategy or financials.
Have realistic expectations on the amount of content being produced. Just because you have an internal social network like Just News does not mean that there is more newsworthy content to be published. From our experience, there are on average about 1-3 posts per day in small to mid-sized companies.
Do not artificially make up contents just to increase post frequency. If there are no news at any given day, then that is fine too: Nobody will complain about having to consume less information. As a matter of fact, chances are that the opposite will be the case: People will be thankful that they have less to read and more time to get their work done.
Have realistic expectations on the reach of your posts. From our experience, news-based intranets are visited daily by only 25% to 33% of all users. The reason lies in the nature of news content itself: in the eyes of many employees, it is simply not that interesting. In many cases, the lunch plan of the cafeteria is by far the most popular piece of content. Additionally, news content is usually neither time critical to read nor does it require any (re)action. Consequently, many employees log-in only 2-3 times a week, some never do.
Similarly, if you would send the news via e-mail, only a fraction of all employees would read the news. As a matter of fact, many employees automatically redirect emails sent to all employees into a separate folder. That way, they never reach the inbox and are thus unlikely to be read.
Using Just News will make internal news easier to publish, to consume and to interact with. This will improve the reach of the content somewhat compared to both email and traditional news-based intranets. However, Just News will not change the core nature of neither the content nor the use case. Thus, using it as your only app would not be enough to draw most users into Just Social daily.
Therefore, it is very important to implement Just Social not just with Just News but with other apps that support “harder” use cases. This will make people log-in everyday and thus dramatically increase the reach of the news content.
Have realistic expectations on interaction rates. On Facebook, the average number of interactions (comments and likes) on a post per 1.000 viewers is only 2.0 (Instagram: 8.7) – although most Facebook posts do not only contain information but entertaining and emotional contents including pictures and videos.
By contrast, many corporate news are rather neutral and informative and therefore less likely to trigger any response. If you nevertheless manage to get response rates comparable to Facebook or Instagram, you would still get less than ten interactions per post in a company with 1.000 users.
In any case, there is no need to be discouraged: The interactions rates with Just News will definitely be higher than if you would send the news via e-mail or publish them in a traditional CMS-based intranet. In addition, the communication would be much less efficient (see above).
From our longstanding experience, we have very rarely seen any cases of information overload or inappropriate content.
Too much content is almost never the problem since producing content takes time and effort. That is the reason why you need a content strategy: to avoid the opposite and much more likely problem of too little content, as already discussed above.
The likelihood of people posting inappropriate content is extremely low because anonymous publishing is not possible: There is always the name, the picture and a link to the profile of the author. That’s why abusive posts are as unlikely as inappropriate emails which will also disclose the sender.
Just Wiki is a great tool to organize the knowledge of an organization. In the following, we outline how use Just Wiki to organize the most important general information within an organization. The information contained within such a company wiki usually includes:
- Forms (e.g. travel, vacation)
- Presentations (e.g. on company, products)
- Corporate identity guidelines
- Privacy policies
- Safety provisions
Creating a central knowledge base for the entire organization requires effort: It needs to be structured, created and maintained. That is why the first step is to define the authors who will consistently put in the work. Letting everybody do their thing will most likely results in too little knowledge being created and/or in redundancies, suboptimal structures and outdated pages. That is the major reason why most decentralized and “democratic” approaches of implementing a company wiki in organizations have failed in the past.
A great way of creating wiki pages is to think of them as questions and answer pages. People usually just type-in a search word (= question) and expect to find the information (= answer) that they were looking for. That is why most people get to Wikipedia after performing a Google search. Similarly, users of Just Social perform a search almost every time they are looking for something. Thus, a great way of creating wiki pages is to:
- Create one wiki page for every popular search word
- Fill the wiki pages with the information that answers the “question” in the mind of the user as shortly and efficiently as possible
That way, the users will find the information in the easiest and quickest way. In most cases, typing the first few letters of a search word will be enough: If there is a wiki page named like the search word, the wiki page will already appear in the suggestions.
After defining the author(s) and creating a wiki page for every search word, step three is to create a wiki index page that lists all wiki pages in alphabetical and/or topical order - much like the index of a book. Such an index page serves two functions:
- An index page provides an overview
Since the wiki index conveniently lists all contents at a glance, it is a great way to browse the wiki in case the search was not successful.
- An index page builds trust
The mere existence of an index page greatly improves the overall trust of the users in the information contained in the entire wiki. This is because users take the index page as a validation that the information on the listed wiki pages is officially approved and accurate. By contrast, the lack of an index page often has the user wonder whether the pages they stumble upon are official and correct.
When you start creating your company wiki, please keep in mind that less is more: Keep the content on the wiki pages as short as possible. Think hard about what information the user is looking for and what he or she needs to know – and leave out everything else if possible.
From the user’s perspective, having to read less saves time and effort which in turn also maximizes the chances that the user will come back next time. From the perspective of the company, saving time means saving money.
Consequently, every time before you add new information to a page, think about the costs (= time) of creating and updating that information versus the benefits of making that information available.
Just as you need to optimize the amount of information on the wiki pages, you also need to optimize the number of total wiki pages: again, less may be more than you think.
One great way of building a wiki is to start with rather few pages that only contain the most important information. In many cases, the 80:20 rule applies: the most popular 20% of all wiki pages will cover 80% of all users’ needs.
After you have focused on creating these core pages, you can then determine what is still missing based on user feedback and search results. If nobody is searching for a piece of information, why invest the time to add and maintain it?
Keep the design of the wiki pages as simple, as functional and as similar as possible. Think about it: Why is every page in Wikipedia structured in the same simple way? Why is there mostly only plain text and hardly any pictures, icons, menus etc.? The answer is simple: because the use case is knowledge and not entertainment.
People search the corporate wiki not because they want to spend time and/or be entertained. They rather want to find a piece of information as quickly as possible, such as a company presentation or a travel expense guideline. Thus, if you want to do them a favor, reduce page design and text to a minimum.
This will also build trust in the validity of the information as all knowledge driven contents are designed in a very minimalistic way: from Wikipedia to white papers to scientific publications. As a matter of fact, the more puristic the design, the higher is the (perceived) quality of the information.
This is another mistake (in addition to combining different use cases) frequently made with CMS-based intranets: People mistake the use case knowledge for entertainment. Instead of building a plain, efficient and trustworthy knowledge base, companies have invested lots of money in designing content pages with different styles, drop-down navigations and lots of pictures and icons – and then wonder why most people do not use the intranet at all (despite checking the menu of the cafeteria).
Much of the knowledge of an organization is stored in files. When you create your corporate wiki, you often need to link to files such as presentations, forms, logos etc. There are two ways of doing this:
- Upload the files to Just Drive
The benefit of uploading the files to Just Drive (and then link to the files from the wiki page) is that files and wiki are separated. Users can then either concentrate on reading the corporate wiki or go to Just Drive to comfortably upload and browse through the files.
- Upload the files to the wiki page
The benefit of uploading the files directly to the wiki page is that the users only have to use one app. Moreover, you do not have to worry about the access rights of the files: All users who can see the wiki page will also be able to view the files since they are attached to the page.
If your corporate wiki contains mostly text and few files, then the first option works best: The complexity of having to use two apps then outweighs the small benefits of being able to handle the few files with Just Drive.
If your corporate wiki requires lots of files, you should store the files in Just Drive because that is what it is made for. As a matter of fact, some of our clients have all their knowledge in files and focus exclusively on using Just Drive to create their central knowledge base. This works pretty well because our full-text search runs through the contents of all files. Some customers additionally use Just Wiki to write a short description with links to the most important documents and folders in Just Drive.
In any case, you should avoid duplicating knowledge in files AND wiki pages: either put the information in a file OR on a wiki page, but not both. That way you avoid both extra work and confusing your users.
Most company wikis are only used occasionally, even if they are well structured and up-to-date. The reason lies in the nature of the use case: The knowledge stored in a company wiki is usually very general and only needed from time to time - with the exception of the menu of the cafeteria. This is a major reason why many wikis and CMS-based intranets have failed: The use case simply does not make people come back regularly so they never get used to it – and the system eventually dies out.
Therefore, it is very important to implement Just Social not just with Just Wiki but with other apps that support “harder” use cases. These will have people log-in everyday and thus also help sustain the usage of the Just Wiki.
So far, we have described how to use Just Wiki to create a company wiki. Nevertheless, Just Wiki can also support any other wiki-related use case such as documentations e.g. for IT systems, projects, quality management systems etc. Every one of these cases will be slightly different, yet many of the logics and principles above will still apply.
Just Drive is a great tool for sharing and managing files. It consists of drives, folders and files like any file system. Therefore, its general use requires little to no explanation.
Just Drive is built for making file sharing fast, easy and fun. To create a drive, just type in the name and give users permissions to read, write and administrate – and off you go. The permissions apply to every folder and file uploaded to the entire drive.
Most other file sharing tools allow for the possibility of giving permissions on the level of files and folders too. This frequently results in deep and cascading folder structures with complex permission rights. These structures have several disadvantages:
- Complex administration
Deep structures with different permissions on every level are highly complex to administrate. Thus, they usually require central administration. Some users and whole departments may try to avoid this: Instead of contacting the IT department for support, they will start using other (unofficial) tools that they can manage and control themselves.
- Tedious navigation
Cascading folder structures are tedious to navigate – nobody wants to click half a dozen times just to get to a file, and few people will remember the click path. That is why deep folder structures often make it harder to find files than flat structures: Although deep structures provide the benefit of showing less options at a time, the lack of providing an overview at a glance and instead requiring the users to remember various click paths outweigh the benefits.
- Low transparency
If every folder and every file can have different permissions, users will not have a clear understanding of the folders & files they are able to access. Similarly, they will not be very confident on where and how to create new folders and files since they are unsure about the access rights.
For these reasons, Just Drive only lets you grant permissions on drives – and thus is very easy to understand for both admins and users. This simplicity results in maximum transparency and control over the application which is the basis for users’ trust, acceptance and engagement.
Many of our clients have created a public drive accessible for all employees in the entire organization. It contains central documents such as company presentations, logos, forms etc.
In many organizations, this drive will be administrated by a few people who make sure that the drive is structured in the most efficient way without redundancies and outdated filed. All other users only have the permission to “read” the files.
Since such central documents have traditionally been stored in the intranet of many organizations, some of our customers call it the “public intranet drive”. Alternatively, this use case can also be covered by creating a company wiki. Please see “adoption of Just Wiki” for more information on when to use Just Wiki versus Just Drive.
We recommend creating private drives for supporting the collaboration within smaller teams such as departments and/or projects. These drives should be accessible only for team members for three reasons:
- Preventing information overload
Collaborative team drives tend to contain files which are not relevant to users outside of the team. Preventing access to irrelevant information reduces information overload e.g. when browsing or searching.
Collaborative team drives often include sensitive information about e.g. clients, contracts, R&D, personnel etc. Data protection acts require organizations to reduce access to certain types of sensitive information only to those employees who need to know the information (“need-to-know basis”).
- Misappropriation of information
Reducing access to the knowledge of an organization minimizes the potential for its (intentional and unintentional) misappropriation through employees – and thus protects the value of the company.
Whenever a team has created a file that is relevant to a wider audience (e.g. a new guideline or presentation), it needs to be shared with that audience to prevent the team drives from becoming information silos. This can be done either by uploading the document to the public company drive or to the company wiki, for example. In addition, writing a post in Just News with a short explanation plus a link to the file may also be helpful.
In every organization, there may be lots of other use cases that require creating more public and/or private drives. The use cases and appropriate structures will depend on the characteristics and needs of the organization.
In large diversified and/or internationalized companies, for example, creating one centrally administrated public drive for the entire organization may not be feasible. Instead, there may be several administrated drives which are private to certain regions or business units.
Almost all companies already have file sharing tools in place, ranging from stationary file servers to web-based apps like Dropbox to complex document management systems. However, a migration from any of these systems to Just Drive is often neither possible nor recommendable for several reasons:
Permissions on files and folders cannot be migrated since they are not supported by Just Drive.
- Clean up
You should take the chance of getting rid of outdated and redundant files as well as optimizing the structure of your drives and folders.
A migration of (all) files to Just Drive is usually not worth the effort.
As a matter of fact, many of our clients have started using Just Drive in addition to their existing file sharing tools without any migration of files. They discovered that after a short period of parallel use, the old systems were hardly used at all. The reason for this smooth transition lies in the fact that most of the work is usually done on very recent files as knowledge quickly becomes outdated these days.
For example, when e.g. a project is finished the corresponding files are often no longer needed in daily business and only kept for documentation. In the few cases in which the documentation is actually needed, the old file sharing systems should remain accessible for some time.
Migration only makes sense in cases of files which are either very important (e.g. contracts) or needed frequently. This critical knowledge is often (and should be) stored separately from other files in e.g. intranets, wikis or documents management systems. Thus, the corresponding files and information need to be migrated to e.g. the company drive or to company wiki (see adoption of Just Wiki for more information).
If such a migration takes considerable time/effort (e.g. due to the quantity and complexity of your data), you can also leave the critical knowledge in the “old” system and use Just Drive for collaborative file sharing only. Many clients who wanted to start using Just Drive quickly have done this successfully and then took on the migration at a later point in time.
File sharing is a use case that is on average needed a few times a day depending on the nature of both the job and the organization. Nevertheless, the use case is strong enough to draw users in: Without having access to files, most employees are unable to get their work done. For this reason, it is possible to use Just Drive without any other Just Social apps and still achieve successful adoption.
If you want to implement Just Social to support team collaboration, it is advisable to implement Just Drive in addition to Just Connect to allow teams to store their files in a more structured way.
Just List is a great tool for managing task lists. It can generally be used for two use cases:
- Personal lists: managing your own to-do list
- Collaborative lists: managing to-do lists collaboratively with your team
Managing your personal task list with Just List is easy and requires no explanation or preparation: just create tasks, put them in order and check them off when done.
If Just List is used for managing personal to-do lists, everybody can choose whether they want to do it or not. A commitment of an entire team to using Just List is not needed. Hence, many users will habitually stick to whatever they use – the spectrum ranges from (offline) notebooks and stickers to MS Outlook to mobile apps.
Managing to-do lists with your team in Just List also requires no set-up time: If there is e.g. a project that requires certain steps, just create a list of to-dos and assign them to the people responsible.
However, this requires that every member of the project team actually uses Just List and keeps his or her to-dos up-to-date – otherwise the lists will be outdated and/or incomplete. Thus, it is advisable that the entire team commits to using Just List before the start of the project.
Managing to-dos is a use case which is usually needed a few times a day. In any case, users will (have to) come back regularly to update their task lists. Thus, the use case has the potential to draw users in Just List and achieve successful adoption even if it is the only Just Social app being used. However, compared to Just Drive and Just Connect, the use case of Just List tends to be a less sticky:
On the one hand, team collaboration hardly works without a chat and a file sharing tool. We all know this from our private lives: if we took away our ability to communicate (e.g. WhatsApp) and to share files (e.g. Dropbox), we would be in serious trouble.
On the other hand, few people even use to-do apps with their family and friends. Although coordinating tasks plays a much bigger role at our work places, many teams get by just fine with the help of boards, stickers and notebooks. A digital task management tool like Just List only becomes indispensable when a project reaches a certain size or complexity or when the team members are dispersed in different locations.
Consequently, Just List may only be used by selected teams and individuals instead of the entire company. Moreover, some teams may need more complex project management tools like Jira because their use case requires additional features like time tracking.
Both is not a problem but perfectly fine since as task management is highly specific to the team or project at hand. Thus, having only a single and company-wide system to manage tasks is unlikely. Consequently, the use of Just List (and other task or project management systems) must be evaluated on the level of each team and not the organization.
Just Connect is great tool for team collaboration. It generally supports two use cases:
- One-to-one chats: enabling conversations among two people
- Group chats: enabling conversations in teams
Using Just Connect is easy and requires no technical explanation. It works similar to chat tools like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger or Threema. Nevertheless, you can foster adoption of Just Connect by:
- Educate your colleagues
People often assume that chat tools are not suited for work simply because they know them from their private life. However, chatting just means being able to communicate in real-time – which is exactly what you need when you want to interact and collaborate with a person or team.
- Create chat groups
Today nearly everybody has chat groups for every aspect of their lives: family, friends, sports, school, event etc. The same will happen at our workplaces: To enhance team collaboration, we need to create a chat group for every project, team, department etc. Initially, you should actively foster the creation of chat groups. Once people get used to chatting, it will no longer be necessary: just like in our private life, where somebody in the group will think of it anyways. This was not always the case: We all needed some time from our first use of e.g. WhatsApp when most of us did not even know about chat groups. Actively fostering the creation of chat groups at the workplace will considerably speed up the adoption process.
The duration of a chat group depends on the duration of the respective team or task. It can vary between less than a day to more than a decade:
- Long-term chat groups
Examples of long-term chat groups include departments which may last as long as the company exits.
- Medium-term chat groups
Examples of medium-term chat groups include projects which may last anywhere between a few weeks and several years.
- Short-term chat groups
Examples of short-term chat groups include events and decisions. Event-based chat groups temporarily enable a team to communicate for the duration of the event. An example would be a chat group that enables the communication of a cross-functional team during a trade show or training event. Chat groups for decisions usually last until a decision is made. An example would be a chat group supporting the discussion of several interviewers on whether or not to hire a job candidate.
While one-to-one chats obviously consists of two people, the size of chat groups depends of the size of the respective team. It can vary between a few people and the entire organization. The size of the chat group will alter the use case and frequency of use:
Chat groups up to <50 people
The usual size of teams that collaborate on a specific task or project on a daily basis is (much) less than 50 members. As a matter of fact, most work gets done in teams of less than 10 people. If a project team gets much bigger, the work is usually split up in sub teams. Otherwise the meetings will become inefficient since only one person can talk at a time, and not everybody needs to be involved in the entire discussion.
Similarly, collaborating in large chat groups would result in a high level of distraction and information overload since too many people will receive too many notifications and messages. Instead, most of the collaboration will happen in one-to-one chats and small chat groups up to 10 people.
The bigger the chat group, the less work will actually get done in the group, and the more the communication will shift from collaboration among the group members to one person purely informing the other members of the group e.g. about an outcome of a discussion within a smaller sub group.
Chat groups >50 people
To avoid unnecessary distractions, large chat groups should only be used cautiously for two use cases:
- Information such as quick updates: for example, letting everybody know that the cafeteria cannot open today because of a power outage in the kitchen.
- Quick coordination: for example, informing the entire IT department that a critical part of the technical infrastructure is not working and asking who can fix the problem.
When large groups of people are being addressed, it often involves two use cases that can be better addressed with two other communication tools:
- News content
If you want to communicate news content to large groups of people such as the entire company, social networks like Just News are better suited for the use case because that’s what they are made for (see adoption of Just News). They allow for displaying the news content in an attractive and aggregated way in an editorial order separated from the collaborative stream of chat messages.
- Formal communication
If you want to make a formal announcement (e.g. such as an acquisition, divestment, layoff etc.) or disseminate a legal information (e.g. changes in data protection acts) to a large group of people such as the entire company, writing an email as an electronic version of a letter is the best communication medium for the use case.
In the end, collaborating with each other is mostly about talking to each other. Since chatting is a digital way of talking to each other in writing, it is a use case which is usually needed many times a day. Thus, it is possible to implement Just Social by using Just Connect as the only app and still achieve successful adoption.
Moreover, chatting works synchronously as well as asynchronously. Thus, the people involved do not have to meet in person and also do not need to be available at the same time. Thus, chatting will considerably increase the speed of communication since it allows to read and respond from anywhere at any time and switch between different conversations quickly.
For these reasons, chatting has become the most frequent form of communication in our private life. As a matter of fact, the very few people who still do not use any chat tools like WhatsApp are almost cut off from communication because many people are not willing to send emails any longer. Needless to say, phone calls and meetings in person will obviously remain very important too.
At our work places, chat will also (and in some companies already has) become the most frequent form of written communication. However, email will remain an important tool since business communication tends to be more formal than private communication, especially with external parties such as clients. Needless to say, calls and meetings will remain crucial as well because they provide more context than written forms of communication by additionally transporting voice and body language, respectively.