About two years ago, I started getting a cluster of customer inquiries on a topic that I thought had faded away from the content management landscape: the corporate intranet. The topic had been a quiet one in the seven-plus years I’ve been covering content management here at Forrester, but I took those calls because the theme was often related to modernization and migration to the cloud. Over these last couple of years, it has been a pleasant surprise to discover that this market has been rejuvenated. There are new requirements, new vendors, and a recognition that employee experience must drive any modernization effort. Intranet revitalization has consistently been among the top topics in my inquiry calls with customers over the last year.

Forrester is pleased to announce the publication of “The Forrester Wave™: Intranet Platforms, Q2 2020.” What did we find in this 26-criterion evaluation of 12 vendors?

  • Newer vendors have upped the ante on employee communications, flexible design tools, and personalization to serve different employee roles. Trusted communications at the right time to the right people is a top requirement — particularly now, as pandemic response and phased recovery plans continue to evolve. It was gratifying to hear reference customers attest to the importance of their intranet platforms to help with communications as their organizations shifted to home-office work styles literally overnight.
  • Cloud is now the dominant delivery model — older, homegrown systems on-premises are ripe for migration and decommissioning. Cloud vendors are innovating at a faster pace and can use their platform analytics to scale and assure performance.
  • Integration with employee productivity tools (such as Microsoft 365 or G Suite) is critical, as well as being able to aggregate and use data from other enterprise apps such as human capital management platforms.
  • Internal communication and employee experience roles are driving these renewal initiatives, supported by their technology management peers. Nontechnical decision makers and content owners are shaping requirements and participating in vendor evaluations — vendors must market to these roles and focus on usability.
  • Distributed governance and content authoring models are required to keep new deployments fresh and relevant — there’s no more tolerance for publication bottlenecks or being forced to learn new ways to create content. Subject matter experts — not internal webmasters — will drive these new sites.

Want to learn more? We’ll be hosting a 1-hour webinar on July 7 to step through the Wave findings and go deeper on some of the lessons learned during this vendor evaluation. Click here to register.

On behalf of my research director, Daniel Hong, Researcher Sara Sjoblom, and myself, we’d also like to express a big “Thank You” to the vendors who participated, as well as the customer references that they provided. Wave evaluations are big-time commitments and demand a lot of effort from the vendors — we thank each one of you for being responsive and flexible, even as many of us were disrupted and had to move into home offices just in time for our briefings and demos. We appreciate your efforts.