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Building a digital workplace to serve every employee

Banner Health’s pre-SharePoint intranet platform was outdated and not delivering a modern digital experience.

The company polled its employees on the performance of its intranet and were surprised at the results:

  • 59% of employees had trouble finding information they need
  • 64% said that search didn’t yield helpful results
  • 63% of employees believed content on the intranet was not current and relevant
  • 61% said they wanted access to the intranet outside of the work VPN
  • 55% wanted access to the Banner intranet from their mobile device




These findings were critical in helping Banner Health’s digital workplace team create the blueprint for its employee experience strategy.

Banner Health partnered with Akumina to build Banner Connect, a digital front door that provides a single point of access to corporate information for all employees. Built on SharePoint online, in Office 365, Akumina’s Employee Experience platform (EXP) gives the company build and design flexibility and won’t force them into a bland template. The digital workplace team is creating a branded workspace with simplified, global navigation, improved enterprise search, LinkedIn-style profiles, and collaboration tools that enable knowledge sharing among colleagues.

The company's central digital hub requires a single log-in to access key business apps, enable employees to securely work remotely, make information accessible to nurses and doctors on mobile devices, and design a digital experience consistent with popular consumer apps from top-tier companies like LinkedIn, Apple, and Amazon.

Banner Health

“Our calculations indicate that Banner Connect will save the company more than $6.2 million annually by moving to a high-usability digital experience and improving on basic tasks, such as enterprise search."

Tyson Henrie | Director, Digital Workforce Group, Banner Health

Q&A with Banner Health

Tyson Henrie, director, digital workforce group, Banner Health

We view digital experience as integral to not only the quality of care our clinicians can deliver to patients, but also as a method of retaining our top talent. There were some obvious areas that we needed to improve based on employee feedback – including mobile access, enterprise search, and content management – but we also saw this as an opportunity to completely reinvent the employee experience. It wasn’t enough to meet our workers’ expectations, we needed to exceed them.

To take our digital workplace to the next level, we knew we didn’t want to use a boring template from an intranet company. Akumina was the only employee experience platform company that gave us complete control over the design so we could deliver a digital workspace that looked, felt, and was built for Banner. Akumina is helping us build a digital workplace platform, not just an intranet.

Mobile was an extremely important capability our employees asked for. In addition to the poll, the digital workplace team shadowed a select group of people to get a feel for employee workflows and mobile’s value was immediately apparent in relation to patient care. This is why we knew that Banner Connect needed to be a highly mobile-responsive site that could be securely accessed from any device regardless of its location or VPN connection. Mobile productivity is no longer a luxury, it’s a fundamental capability of a modern digital workplace that we needed to adapt to help our knowledge workers and clinicians.

We have a lot of diversity within our workforce: everyone from desk workers to doctors to custodians. We need to keep them all informed, but their needs vary greatly. This is why we are working with Akumina to create personas within our organization to help us deliver timely, relevant content and the business apps they need to complete their jobs. The EXP’s open architecture allows us to leverage APIs and integrations to pull data to employees’ profiles rather than forcing them to log in to several apps every day.

This eliminates a ton of distractions for employees and helps them stay productive and maintain focus. Simplifying clinicians’ digital workspace has tangible benefits to patient care so we’re contributing to the company’s overall mission by delivering an exceptional employee experience.

Employee experience projects can be tricky to secure funding for so we knew we had to highlight the initiative’s positive effect on patient care and make a compelling ROI case to management.

To do this, we used a great intranet metric from Nielsen Normal Group, a leading firm focused on design thinking and web usability. They’ve done research and created KPIs that tie intranet performance to employee productivity. We plugged in our own numbers and found that Banner Health employees were wasting millions of dollars due to time loss because of the poor usability of our intranet. Our executive team saw the benefit in improving our digital workplace and gave us the resources to build Banner Connect.

Our calculations indicate that Banner Connect will save the company more than $6.2 million annually by moving to a high-usability digital experience and improving on basic tasks, such as enterprise search. We took an important step in our digital journey but I think we’ve just scratched the surface on what we’ll be able to achieve.

Akumina offers a customizable, brandable and multilingual platform that seamlessly integrates with leading enterprise cloud applications to deliver a contextual, collaborative and engaging workplace experience to every user on any device. Akumina’s customers include Whole Foods Market, GlaxoSmithKline, Vodafone, the Boston Red Sox, and the United States Department of Defense.