21 November - London, UK - The US is leading the UK in the adoption of intranet technology. This is the key finding of a survey published today by international marketing agency Rainier to coincide with the start of the ‘Maximising the Benefits of Your Intranet’ conference taking place in London from 21 to 22 November.
Rainier polled 150 medium and large sized companies, characterised as having more than 100 staff and a turnover of more than £10 million, to determine the adoption and usage of intranets as an internal communication and application sharing tool.
Take-up of intranets in the UK currently stood at 30 per cent or less than one in three companies. US companies with subsidiaries in Europe or Asia were most likely to have an intranet (52 per cent) whilst UK companies with a single office in the UK are least likely to have an intranet (8 per cent).
Rainier undertook the survey to provide a snapshot of corporate intranet usage in the UK ahead of the conference which is being chaired by its chief executive, David Davis.
"Intranet communications needs to become a management issue and gain across the board from human resources, marketing and IT departments. Used correctly an intranet can provide the power of a private broadcast channel for a management team combined with a one-on-one feedback mechanism for staff. Corporate UK should set itself the goal of making the intranet as ubiquitous as the telephone," said Davis.
For the purposes of the survey Rainier classified companies into three categories and surveyed 50 companies in each category:
- UK single location - domestic companies with a single office in the UK;
- UK multi-location - companies headquartered in the UK with subsidiary offices either in the UK or overseas; and,
- US multi-location - companies that are headquartered in the US with subsidiaries in Europe are most likely to have an intranet.
Intranet take-up amongst each category was as follows: UK single location 8 per cent; UK multi-location 28 per cent; and US multi-location 52 per cent.
For those companies with an intranet, the most common application is to host company-wide telephone directories (86 per cent), internal policy documents (81 per cent) and as a channel for internal communications (61 per cent). Bulletin boards, real time meetings and personnel management are the least popular applications.
US multi-location companies have the richest feature content of the three types of company surveyed. UK single location and UK multi-location companies typically use intranets as a passive delivery channels for corporate information.
The majority of intranets are text and graphics based. Only 34 per cent include an audio or video component. US multi-location companies are most likely to utilise full multi-media content on their intranets with 46 per cent reporting that this was the case.
"While still in its infancy, the intranet is the most powerful tool yet devised for company communications because when it is fully technically matured it will harness the instant reality of television and the ease of reaching its audiences on their computer screens," said Davis.
Of those companies surveyed, 22 per cent claim to update their intranet on a constant basis. 18 per cent made updates on a weekly basis, whilst 60 per cent of companies made updates on either a monthly or less frequent basis.
"The majority of companies still design their intranets around what they want employees to know, rather than what employees are interested in. intranets must be updated at lightning speed. Employees should get news there first and company intranets need to be backed by strong internal communications programmes," said Davis.
In his speech to the conference, Davis issued a call on companies to develop corporate guidelines for intranet communications, content and management.
"Companies need to develop corporate policy in these areas to give comfort to employers, shareholders, customers, suppliers and all other stakeholders that their intranet can be trusted for accuracy and honesty and that it will respect the individual’s right to privacy outside of the workplace," said Davis.
Rainier is a full-service, high-technology marketing communications agency with US offices in Princeton, Massachusetts, and Silicon Valley, and a European headquarters in London. Rainier works exclusively on high-tech advertising and PR accounts on a worldwide basis. Rainier's rapidly expanding global client roster makes it one of the high-tech industry's fastest growing advertising and PR agencies, serving emerging technology companies from startup to Fortune 500. Rainier maintains a strict focus on quality and its Princeton headquarters was the first full-service marketing agency to become ISO 9002 certified. For more information please visit the company's Web site located at http://www.rainierco.com
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