I met up with some intranet managers the other day and there was a lot of talk of metrics. How many page views, how many users, who had clicked what and so on.
The conversation swiftly turned to which software each of us was using. However, I am sure that this was missing the point of metrics.
Here are my thoughts and experiences of metrics
1. In dealing with your stakeholders you always need to think about what you want your metrics to say. At first this seems counter to logic. Surely if we produce some standardised numbers then the 'truth' will appear before us? I would argue contrary to this and say that you need to use your site stats to support your strategy. If your intranet is about costs then show graphs about cost, if your intranet is about communications show graphs about communications. If you are forever getting into unproductive debates about something then use your stats to put a lid on it.
2. Design your stats to support your arguments. If you are doing this then it is unlikely that a standard stats package does the job. One of the things that I needed to do in my role was convince stakeholders that using the intranet was something that our staff did do. Back then nobody believed that the intranet was a viable platform for our business. I selected a metric that would convince those around me of this and also had some likelihood of success.
3. Put in the hard work to get the stats. If you need to collect stats by hand and process them in long convoluted ways then allocate resources to just that. Spend time in the presentation and rigour of your charts and graphs and perhaps prepare a dashboard.
4. Spend time communicating. Use your stats as a regular part of your governance meetings and carry them with you at all times. My dashboard is always with me and I find I use it in half of all my meetings.
By doing a good job of your metrics you will keep focus on output measures of success rather than random opinion of 'what makes a good intranet'.