Intervate and The Foschini Group win global accolade for Intranet design

The Foschini Group’s (TFG’s) recently-developed Intranet solution has been confirmed as one of the world’s top 10 Intranets in the prestigious 2015 Nielsen Norman Intranet Design Annual.

Developed in partnership with Intervate – an enterprise information management specialist and part of the T-Systems Group – the Intranet was recognised by Nielsen Norman for its intuitive design and user experience, and its innovative use of new technology.

27th January 2015, Press Release, Wilhelm van Rensburg, Managing Director, Intervate Cape Town

TFG and Intervate became the first South African, and indeed the first African, winner in the Design Annual since its inception in 2001.

Jakob Nielsen, principal of Nielsen Norman Group, describes TFG’s Intranet as “a dynamic and engaging way to access information, connect with colleagues and get work done”.

“It incorporates elements of TFG’s corporate identity like brand, colour, and fonts in a way that puts a fresh design on the intranet. The modern style and features support employees in the head office, regional office, and distribution centre, as well as field management,” adds Nielsen

Intervate Cape Town MD Wilhelm van Rensburg says: “The sense of reward from knowing that we are contributing to industry best-practices at a global level is immense.”

Van Rensburg explains that TFG needed to evolve their Intranet from being essentially a static document hosting service, to a more dynamic environment that made finding information easier, encouraged collaboration between teams, and facilitated internal communication and innovation.

TFG’s Intranet benefits from rich, visual designs that emphasise the top company news in a rotating carousel. Topical messages from leadership and from various areas of the business are combined with simpler features like birthdays, work anniversaries, canteen menus and weather forecasts, for example.

The ‘About Me’ section encourages staff to populate their profiles with information about their skill sets, their recent projects, and what they’re currently working on – all with the intention of fostering greater collaboration between business units and teams.

Van Rensburg adds: “Optimising the Intranet for mobile was a key consideration, with increasing numbers of users accessing the Intranet from smart devices, and with many staff constantly on the move and in various regions throughout the country.”

TFG’s Team Manager, Marius Botha, explains that any company on a quest for innovation and fresh ideas needs to have a strong focus on people, communication and culture. “The new Intranet is a vehicle for collaboration and innovation that promotes an environment of engaged and high-performance employees,” he adds.

The Nielsen Normal Group 2015 Intranet Design Annual can be purchased here:

Nielsen Norman Group design awards

FREMONT, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Intranet personalization and mobile strategies that aim to deliver the right content to the right person and on the right device sometimes have the unintended consequence of making employees feeling handcuffed. Many of this year’s winning intranets successfully tackled this problem by making it possible for employees to access content other than what is usually funneled to them and to access their company’s Intranet on any device they want, according to usability expert Jakob Nielsen whose user-experience research firm Nielsen Norman Group today announced the winners of its 15th annual Intranet Design contest.

This year’s winning teams and their intranets are featured in detail in Nielsen Norman Group’s new 374-page report “Intranet Design Annual 2015: The Year’s 10 Best Intranets.”

“Generally speaking, intranet personalization serves the very useful purpose of pushing employees the information they need according to their job and location and hiding the information they don’t need. Less noise. But, that’s not always a good thing,” said Jakob Nielsen, principal of Nielsen Norman Group. “Maybe the manager based in Italy wants to view information served to the people she manages in Germany. Several of our winning intranets developed advanced personalization capabilities that allow people to view content that is not part of their default role.”

In another effort to give employees better access to the content they need when they need it, a number of the winning intranets focused on allowing employees to view the company intranet on any device they want, rather than designing an app for only one or a few particular devices. This required intranet teams to really prioritize content in order to offer the most appropriate features and information by default on displays both large and small, and either tappable or clickable.

Demonstrating these advanced personalization and mobile strategies, the 2015 world’s 10 best intranets — in alphabetical order — are:
• Accolade (The Netherlands), a social housing office for affordable homes.
• Adobe (United States), a digital marketing and media solutions company.
• ConocoPhillips (United States), an explorer and producer of crude oil and natural gas energy.
• Klick Health (Canada), a digital health agency.
• Saudi Food & Drug Authority (Saudi Arabia), a government agency ensuring the safety of food and drugs, biological and chemical substances, and electronic products.
• Sprint (United States), a provider of wireless telecommunications products and services.
• TAURON Polska Energia (Poland), hard coal mining and generation, distribution and supply of electricity and heat; the largest distributor and supplier of electricity in Poland.
• The Foschini Group (South Africa), an independent chain store retail group.
• UniCredit S.p.A. (Italy), a commercial bank spanning 50 markets and operating in more than 17 European countries.
• Verizon Communications (United States), a telecommunications company.

These 10 organizations are headquartered in seven countries and have an average of 52,200 employees. For the first time ever, one of the winning intranets is being honored for the third time on Nielsen Norman Group’s list of the world’s 10 best Intranets: Verizon Communications is being recognized this year for its human resources portal; Verizon also had winning intranet designs in 2005 and 2011.

Other trends to emerge from this year’s intranet design contest include:

Social Goes to the Next Level — Once excluded from intranets, social tools are now pervasive throughout each of this year’s winning intranets. In addition to the usual features (e.g. rate, like and recommended), several organizations added tools — birthday and anniversary calendars, for example — that encourage employees to make casual and work-related connections.

Search Filters — Search is a powerful feature that helps people locate the information they need to do their jobs. But for many years, intranet search capabilities have been sorely lacking. This year’s winners have made great strides with tagging content and using faceted search to help employees be more productive by finding the right resources.

With Content, Less is More — Intranet teams are improving the way content is published and maintained. The focus is now on streamlining content, publishing it once and judiciously spreading that same content throughout the intranet, resulting in reduced re-work and fewer errors.

“Intranets have come a long way in the 15 years since we started evaluating them. It used to take years for teams to launch one huge, ‘full’ intranet. Today, the trend is to use an iterative process that allows teams regularly to add new functional elements and more importantly, to innovate, which is in abundant evidence with this year’s group of winners,” said Kara Pernice, Nielsen Norman Group managing director.

Nielsen Norman Group’s “Intranet Design Annual 2015: The Year’s 10 Best Intranets,” co-authored by Kara Pernice, Amy Schade, Patty Caya and Jakob Nielsen is available to download for $248 from the Nielsen Norman Group website at