What is the Digital Workplace and Modern Intranet report?
For the second year in a row, we've been able to conduct a survey leading to this report. The reason we started this came after the realization that a lot of the data around intranets and digital workplaces was published prior to the pandemic. As we all know, everything grew and changed so rapidly in 2020 and 2021 that there wasn't anything we could look at as physical, updated number. Really, the only information we had was the number of people who had started utilizing Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
Last year, for the 2022 State of the Digital Workplace and Modern Intranet report and webinar, we sent the survey out to roughly 160,000 participants around the world, and we increased that number for this year's report to about 200,000 industry professionals. This year's survey was about 50 qeustions overall and responses came back from deskless workers, knowledge workers, remote workers, in-person workers, workers in different industries and company sizes, etc. We really worked to gain insight from all different types of workers.
Key themes from the survey
- The evolution of workplace flexibility and how best to support dispersed teams
- Effects of mental health on employee experience
- Equalizing customer experience and employee experience
- The importance of personalized content
Flexibility is the name of the game
Of everything that we asked, we wanted to understand a little bit more about the reasons behind why someone would be looking for a new job in the "Great Resignation."
"If someone were looking for a new job today, what would they be mainly drawn to?"
- 87.02% - Compensation and benefits
- 69.23 - Workplace flexibility
- 35.58% - Company mission statement
- 13.46 - Long term availability/opportunity for growth; good company culture; purposeful work
Numbers one and three have not really changed much - compensation and benefits is always number one. However, number two, workplace flexibility, has never even been included in the top five, or the top ten for that matter. We often see things like training, career growth and development, and culture but workplace flexibility is something that just emerged within the last few years.
The first graph shows the number of people who self-reported they were remote or hybrid workers prior to the pandemic.
In addition to this, we also asked who is responsible for making this decision. Who is responsible for determing whether or not your team, or you as an individual, can ultimately decide if you work from home. Prior to the pandemic, only 27% of managers and employees were making this decision. That number rose to 35.7% in 2021 and as of 2022, 40% of managers and employees are making this decision at the team level as opposed to the corporate level.
Samantha Kenney: Alex, at RGP, your team speaks frequently about the dispersed nature of your workforce and your thought processes and really the factors in success that you've had with a remote culture. So can you talk to me a little about what you're seeing at RGP and comment as to whether or not these are the same trends you're seeing within your organization as well?
Alex Ragland: It's absolutely spot on with what we're seeing in our own environment. We have about 5,000 consultants worldwide so we fall in the sweet spot of what you were talking about with primary company size and we do business in all of North America, plus Europe and APAC. So we were distributed before but we were running very localized PNLs, so everything was seen as this local or regional construct. Actually right before the pandemic, we started to look at what we call "borderless talent." We have a really interesting model where we were already a gig-model but we offer benefits so people are employees at RGP, because it was that flexibility we were trying to build in. But we were still tying them to regions. We were hearing from our workforce that they'd rather be untied from those regions, they wanted to be a global workforce, and that opens up the type of work people could be doing which was very important to them.
We also wanted to be able to provide our clients with the best talent that we could, and sometimes that's not necessarily in their region for specific things. So, we started looking into ways to connect people. Community was a big part of it. Collaboration tools were a big part of it. But how do you tie all of that together? So RGP is currently going through our own digital transformation to start to tie our business model to modern ways of working. So of course we have an O365 stack and we have SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, and Workday, but how do you tie that together into a common experience? Additionally, how do you add that transparency? Another big thing we heard from our workforce was that they want to have transparency into pipeline. Obviously we aren't giving everyone a login to our CRM, so how do you provide that transparency? All of these tie together so it's not one thing OR another. So what is the pipeline of what we're selling and where can I work? How do I grow my career against that? Right, I need that transparency to grow my career against that. And I also want to feel connected and part of something and I think what we've been seeing over the last few years is not a nice to have but we have to do this.
So RGP is definitely connecting everything so that's really where we're headed as a company. And as a note to what you were talking about [regarding the charts above], we actually ran a survey and got very similar results to what you're showing here in terms of we are allowing people primarily to choose work from home or hybrid. We have offices all over the world, but we have been able to reduce our footprint in certain areas and tie people to other offices to give them that hybrid workability if that's what they want. We actually do as a company allow you to work with your manager to make that decision that's best for you.
Employee Experience impacts more than just an employee's job
Samantha Kenney: So we started talking about what factors people are considering in another job. The next part of this really comes down to wellness and overall employee experience. We really considered not including some of these stats because they seem so incredibly obvious. But it's interesting because we actually asked the question and got the answer, how much employee experience actually does impact someone's day to day mood? It's not just the experience on the intranet of course; it's if you have a bad day at work, does that actually affect your personal life? The answer is "of course it does." But since we actually asked the questions, now we have the data to back it up.
Additionally, nearly 55% of survey respondents said that they are considering leaving their jobs for someone who cares more about their mental health or their overall wellbeing, so Derek I'm going to toss this one over to you. I mean we think about our own workdays and workloads, but how have you or your clients used the intranet to ultimately address employee health or at least get to a place where people can enhance their overall employee experience in the workplace?
Derek Barka: Obviously these numbers aren't surprising. I think we've all had bad days where we drive home and you bring that bad news home; if you work at home, you're already at home to bring the bad mood along so it's even worse in that case. But as far as SilverTech goes, we do a lot more of the traditional things. We're fortunate, if you want to call it fortunate, that we're more of a hybrid model so we're in the office a couple days a week and at home a couple days a week, so we offer that kind of work-from-home flexibility, but then kind of keep that culture and cohesion. We do the traditional things like "Take Out Tuesdays" and "Fireside Thursdays" to kind of get the teams together. We do lots of culture events and even offer to pay for gym memberships for things like that when it comes to health.
But we have lots of clients that are fully remote and don't have the benefit of that in-person connection to help with mental health, so they try to do it virtually. The intranet is obviously the place where you would go to leverage that, so the intranet has become more than just the information hub that it was just a couple years ago. It almost becomes a social hub because if you can get people to interact socially then they feel connected to their team, but hopefully they're more happy with their jobs and they stay longer.
So you can use the intranet to obviously provide access to those direct mental health resources if they're available through the company, but we've even seen things like virtual meditiation or virtual yoga through these company websites. We've also seen things like gamification. We do games in-person but you can do games virtually as well. We've seen things like trivia and bingo through the intranet to kind of help bring the company together in different ways.
Samantha Kenney: Brian or Alex, anything to add?
Brian Shield: I would just say that Covid was kind of a wakeup call in this area for us. In our organization what's a little bit tricky is that we have about 500 full-time employees, but that number grows to about 2,000 during the baseball season. So one of the challenges is that we get a lot of seasonal employees. Many of them come back year after year, but some of them do not, many are new. And the business of baseball is actually fairly complicated, it's a complicated process to seemlessly pull off a game. So the intranet for us really became a way for us to educate more. We also used it to make people aware of programs that you sometimes lose track of when you have your head down doing your job, whether it's benefits around Peloton or other sort of things that we do.
In our new release we have coming up, we're really focused on things like the ability to acknowledge co-workers. So you'll be able to throw out little accomplishments about somebody and you'll have the ability to post things that are really available to everyone. We also use gamification with fun facts about the organization like, "How many hot dogs are sold during the course of a given game?" or certain consumption of certain things. I do feel like one of the challenges we have in this very distributed model that many companies are now living in, and especially for new employees, I do worry about translating the benefits of the culture that we've spent so much time trying to build and foster, to someone sitting at home in their slippers.
Alex Ragland: We're seeing a couple similar things. For one, with the gig-model, a large part of our company uses the onboarding that Brian was talking about. As you go through it, it used to be seen as a bad thing but it's just a fact now, so how are you going to deal with it? Turnover is the wrong word because often people will come through our system over and over, we call them alumni.
But it's a little bit different because we expect them to remain active in our community and we're actually seeing that a lot more than we were before the pandemic. A lot of people might say "I'm going to work six months this year." So they give you that time slot and then technically they're off-boarded, so when they come back six months later to work in our model, things may have changed and benefits may have changed.
So we are doing a lot around the intranet and aggregating those things together to have a very specific onboarding program for specific roles and tracks within our company. We're getting more explicit about what that means. I think that's a good callout from Brian. Just because the traditional word "turnover" is not necessarily a bad thing; as you scale to meet the baseball season, we often in our financial group scale to meet tax. Baseball much more fun, but certainly from the systems perpspective, they're very similar actually, in how we're onboarding and getting people through and bringing them that culture. So I think that's one thing that really stands out for us is that onboarding and alumni piece.
Brian Shield: It's funny, I think on that topic too, a lot of it is simple things too. Because I think one of the things that we try to anticpate as we work with HR and some of the G&A functions in particular, is what kinds of questions are you getting asked? Why are people calling you? I mean whether it's self-service with benefits or understanding when my next paycheck is coming. You know, we have 1,500 people who are not full-time employees all the time, they just want to see their personal information. Vacation days are not always obvious especially if it might fall on a game. I think one of the key things is creating this digital workplace that anticipates and simplifies employees' requests so that they feel like we are trying to eliminate any kind of obstructions. That goes a long way in making people feel more comfortable.
Derek Barka: You hit a key point there too about anticipation. I think that's where we see personalization coming in. So how do you replace the water cooler or the kitchen where people would meet up in person to have those conversations with people they've become friends with in a virtual world? We can see people using personalization to help that. So if I'm an engineer in a New Hampshire office, feed me news about things happening in New Hampshire or with other engineers. When you find people with similar interests or likes, direct them to a Slack channel or a Teams channel so if they want to talk about playing Forenite, or knitting, they can get in with people with similar interests to again, be happier at work and connect with people that they might not know and aren't going to meet at that watercooler because everyone is remote.
Tools businesses use for external feedback and satisfaction are not being deployed internally
Samantha Kenney: A big part of what we saw through the survey was actually that feedback mechanism to understand what those channels are, what those people are looking for on the intranet. We're finding that a lot of folks are doing this externally. So the organizations are doing this for their customers but not for their employees. In fact, 60% are doing this for their customers but they're not doing this for their internal employees.
A little bit of a tangent but not too much, is user experience. So especially Alex and Derek where you are on the agency and consulting side of this, think about how much work goes into all of those customer-facing assets. So your website and your collateral, all of those different things, but then how much work goes into the employee-facing pieces of it?
The last stat that I included here was 58% of the employee base would use something more if they had a UI refresh. When I say a UI refresh, believe me I know the amount of work that takes and it's not small task, but these stats were interesting to me as well.
Alex Ragland: I think that from an RGP perspective at least, we had a technical debt and we have to own that piece of it and say "our company has been very successful and we've run very successfully for many years, and we probably got a little behind in how we were looking at our technology stack and really how that relates to the employee experience." So we are making a very large investment in employee experience and looking at how we tie these things together to make it more accessible and easier to use.
All of the things we've been talking about from communities to benefits to all the components that we're using, we actually have a fair number of consultants that are out in the field that can't even get on our intranet. Because if you're at a company like Alphabet or Google, they're not whitelisting RGP's internal server so you can get on it. Mobile has been a really big part and so in some ways our technical debt has been a little bit of a blessing because right as the pandemic was happening, we jumped off in this process and were able to have that mobile-first or primarily mobile experience that worked for us with our consultants being in the field and not always having access to anything but really cellular. This has been a really important part of our strategy in terms of how we connect our consultants all over the world back to feeling like they're a part of RGP. Something as small as that, you'd be surprised but we've had great success.
One of the big things we liked about Akumina was that it has a very supportive mobile framework and we've seen that vet out in the field, and that's been hugely important.
Brian Shield: I think the UI component is really pivotal. You know, we've had a relationship with Akumina for probably seven years or so and we implemented something initially that I would say worked and everyone liked it, but it got old, like every site does - the UI I meant, not the content per se. For us, we're doing a new release within the next couple of months and it's going to be much more whitespace, you know all of the things that we were doing with the traditional fan-facing website, we're deploying internally. It makes a big difference because I think especialy with things like content creation, no successful intranet is effective unless you can really garner the support of the contributors. And if you make that process too complicated, then you kind of lose them.
So I think the 5.5 release is a big deal because it greatly simplifies that for a lot of people in our company. Otherwise we had to do a little work to kind of shield them sometimes from some of the elements of the AppManager because we didn't think it was going to be their cup of tea. I think the bottom line for us is that [iPhones] have sort of raised the bar. Our employees are sort of used to having compelling, attractive, effective apps and I think if you deliver it stale corporately, it doesn't look to favorable on some of the services that we provide. So I think it's really a pre-requisite in any sort of modern business these days.
Derek Barka: I think the problem with a lot of modern intranets, ours included, have the problem of "the cobbler's kids have no shoes." We're too busy building other people's intranets that we're too busy to work on our own. A lot of people, us included, are still on old, ugly SharePoint intranets that don't really get the information to the people who may want it.
And to your point Brian, iPhone came out in 2007 so it's been 15 years now, we've become accustomed to information being pushed to us and available at our finger tips, and if the intranet or employee experience isn't the same way, then we're just not going to use it. That's one of the issues that we see even internally because we've been slacking in that regard.
Alex Ragland: And the content piece that Brian talked about is huge, I agree with that. Getting the content owners and subject matter experts on the platform is hugely important.
Location-based content is the most-adopted form of content targeting
Samantha Kenney: One of the things that we have seen to increase adoption has also come out of some of the survey pieces as well. So the biggest way, and probably the hardest way, to increase adoption is to make it as relevent as possible with content that is tailored to that particular user. So this answers the question, "how many people are using personalized content and to what end is it being implemented?" So out of the survey that we conducted, we found that 22%, so a fifth of people, are based on employee interest and then a little bit more was based on specific role or function. Finally, 36% is based on employee location, which makes the most sense because it's probably the easiest way to do out of Active Directory. I know I see lunch menus from a lot of folks for those who are still onsite and have a cafeteria, those are still pretty common. Also, any type of swap or employee classifieds are also good ones based on individual buildings. And I know Brian, this has been a big part of Home Plate and what you've talked about for that next release. Can you talk a little bit about why you felt so strongly about that particular experience and why you decided to go that direction with more personalized content?
Brian Shield: Sure. For anyone just starting off, you can start to design for the future but it's very hard to add personalization at the beginning; you almost have to go through a version or two before you really understand what works, what doesn't, and what actually makes a difference. I'll give you a really simple example, even if we add cascading menus or drop-down menus to access certain content, to me there's nothing worse than giving someone five menu options of which you really only have access to one of them. It's just kind of silly in this day and age. So just basic things like giving people what is relevant to them and not tease them with a broken app that they don't have access to so they can then back out.
Little things like a "Me Bar" that's kind of about you and for your O365, the capability may be to throw up your calendar, and just being able to click the links that are valuable to you which obviously differ quite a bit from job to job. The challenge a little bit in this space, and it's a challenge that all companies have in this area, it does put a premium on the quality of Active Directory. And so we try to choose meta data or features or attributes that don't have to be 100% accurate. In other words, if I provide some content that's unique to Boston, like say there's an alert that there's a snow storm in Boston and we want to send a message through other means but also here where we will have a scrolling ticker that says 'Snowstorm - Office will be closed. We encourage people to work from home.' It's like sending that to Fort Myers in Florida at the same time seems a little awkward to me. So a lot of the time, it's just recognizing your audience, especially if you live in a world where you have a corporate office location but you have many sub-offices. There's nothing worse than peppering all of those people with all of those cool things like 'Hey the boat cruise is going to be at 2:00 today and we think you'll really enjoy that,' and then have other people asking 'Where's our boat cruise?'.
I don't think we want to over index here because there's a maintenance responsibility associated with it, but in our world, it's really full-time employees vs. seasonal employees, it's location oriented and what company are you in and things like that so we can overtime continue to tailor more of the content. But we want to do it in a thoughtful manner so that we feel like the quality of the Active Directory content that feeds all of these things is keeping pace, if you will.
A couple examples of what we've also done is some reporting that is somewhat sensitive that we want to make available on the intranet to say, 20 different people. So we'll create new attributes in Active Directory and we'll title them, and they're only available to people who have that box checked. It's a very simple thing to do, you can control your content easily, but now content becomes automatically available to employees that won't be available to probably 99% of the people out there.
So I think it's an actual revolution and I think it's a thoughtful one, you just kind of want to approach it thoughtfully because it does evoke other kind of maintenence and quality considerations.
Alex Ragland: I'll have to check if Brian has our Zoom links, I mean it's the same thing for us, it's almost word for word what we're seeing and what we're going through. We have some subsidiaries, we bought some companies, we have sensitive documents that don't necessarily need to get to others, and the cleanliness and functionality of our Active Directory, that's absolutely spot on from what we're seeing as well. I couldn't echo that more. I mean that's not 99% right, that's 100% right.
Integrating tools and maximizing productivity and adoption
Samantha Kenney: So we have for the past two years asked lots of questions around integration and tool usage, so how many tools people are actually using for their jobs. Last year, we specifically asked how many tools per day people were using that were not adopted by their company to do their job. This stat was staggering and also probably scary for anyone in IT or Enterprise Applications.
So this year, we decided to switch it out a little bit to talk about how many tools per day are [people] using and when I saw 15 and then 40, the original stats here (96% use up to 15 tools PER DAY for work; 97% use up to 40 tools PER WEEK for work), I said, 'Wait, is it really?" and then I started adding them up and just the Microsoft suite is six, at least in mine, and then we talk about the Adobe suite and that's another six and that doesn't even include all of the financial things that I need to log into or anything like that. So it's not surprising that almost 100% of the survey respondents are using that many tools for work. Of course, that probably changes, for this type of tool anyway, for folks who are deskless, but does anything jump out at any of you? Any surprises to any of you?
Derek Barka: I don't see anything surprising. I think when I look at these numbers, same as you I started counting in my head the number the same ones that I use everday, and me personally, my role encompasses many different things - I might have sales responsibilities and might have to pull out a certain RFP, I oversee IT and hosting so I might have some delivery work I have to do, and I have trouble paying attention, so I lose focus a lot and I have all of these different tools and all of these different tasks, if I can centralize all of these things in one location, it makes productivity that much better. If I can go to my intranet hub and say 'Oh, I forgot to do X,' or 'I owe someone a quote for that task,' or 'I owe someone a something for this. Oh I have a meeting I'm 5 minutes late to.' If you get that one central location where all of your information is, it really does make you that much more productive, that's no secret.
Brian Shield: I think the other part of this that's challenging is that for many of us, we've also implemented things like single sign-on, so it's not just going to another app, often times it's having to re-authenticate whether it's on your laptop or your mobile device. So, I don't know that trend is going to go down because there are more discreet tools. We try to limit the amount of tools where we can, but the reality is we're also kind of expected to provide the kind of services that people are looking for, so it's a fine line because it does also sort of drive a lot of IT support requirements. The thing that frustrates me is when you have two different tools that do the exact same thing. But I think this is the new reality that we'll be living with.
I also think the comment down here about the training one is probably a fair comment (Only 11.05% of respondents strongly agree they had adequate training on how to maximze the potential of their intranet) because I think we do take for granted training. We like to say sometimes internally that we're focused on that because in our world, like we leave a lot if it on the 5 yard line. You know, we implement systems but if this were a circle, we don't close the circle. We still have that 5% sometimes and a lot of it is because we're tasked to go in so many different directions, that we don't always complete it. So that's kind of the focus of ours.
When I see 21% would like to see more productivity tool in their intranets, I'd love to understand that one better. That one surprises me a little bit just not knowing exactly what those kinds of tools are. I'd be interested in knowing what people think they don't have that they would like to get more of.
Alex Ragland: Yea the training one is one we haven't figured out quite either. We can't close the loop on some, some we have that adopt really really well and they're champions for others and we're trying to setup that governance program that we can get other people involved with champions. But that's a tough one.
And then getting the funding behind that because it's no longer the shiny object. It's out there, it's being used, and check the box that it's launched. Well no, there's a lot more that goes behind that change management and that adoption. And we're having really good adoption because we were also just using SharePoint so being able to make steps forward has been relatively straight forward. Beyond this and extracting all of the ROI out of this, that's where it's going to get a little tricky I think.
And also I would say that on the training, we're using the philosophy Brian that you guys are where we had our version 1 and then 1.5 and I agree you have to iterate these things especially with the complexity here because it integrates with so many other tools that we're releasing so much stuff so frequently, that it's really hard to get people trained because it's changing on them faster almost than we'd like it to. So we've actually taken a little bit of a more pragmatic approach, just because we can do a lot of releases, we're actually slowing that back down and saying 'Let's not do that. Let's do very focused monthly releases that give people functionality that they're expecting so that we can get them trained.' The last bullet is a struggle for us for sure.
Brian Shield: And another thing I want to say there, is if you're trying to maintain an environment where people can access your intranet both on a laptop and a mobile device, the other thing that gets challenging is the integration of other tools and kind of embedding them or linking them directly into the app itself has other repercussions or challenges sometimes. So this is kind of a tricky one because there's things that you can do on a website and so some of those same things on a mobile device isn't always as intuitive, if you will.
Alex Ragland: Agreed. And then we also run into everything is now RGPedia so if there's a problem somewhere, then it automatically comes back to us and we're triaging that and we have a relatively small team so be careful what you ask for. You know, you want it, you have everybody on it, and now there are [other] problems. Like the cloud is down but now all of a sudden because I can't get into my email, that's an RGPedia problem.
So we're having to deal with a lot of 'how do we triage?' because once everyone is on this thing, it becomes their de facto starting and ending point for their day and we are figuring those things out and we're getting a lot better, but that was something that was a little bit of a surprise because people aren't in that world of 'Well this is Akumina and this is Microsoft,' they don't care. Like do you really care how your iPhone works? No, you just want it to work. So we've been lucky in that our support from IT has been excellent and we've been able to route things the proper way. But that's also a bit of a challenge in the support of these things, like you integrate all of these things together where they become one when they're really not.
Derek Barka: I think you said two things and kind of hit the nail on the head. Earlier you had said something about adoption, and I think historically, intranet adoption has been a big problem. I was a SharePoint consultant in a former life and back then, getting people to actually use SharePoint was miserable - it was worse than getting sales people to use a CRM tool.
But I think if we can do this integration thing you talked about, it can be the de facto hub where you go to to get to your OneDrive, to get to your recent documents, to get to your task list, then people start using it not because they're told to use it, but because it's actually beneficial to them and it makes their life easier. And once it makes their life easier and they're going there, now you can start pushing the information to them that you want them to get since they're already there.
And also, I didn't miss that football reference from the baseball guy - that was pretty good.
Brian Shield: Oh the 5-yard line?
Samantha Kenney: I think that's probably true of anyone who has ever managed a project through to completion, when you go back and you look at it you feel like 'You know what? We did a really good job until that last step. I feel like those last five yards are the hardest to do. It's maybe one task but it's really difficult to get there.
Brian Shield: We tried to come up with a better way of measuring our success sort of in the red zone, like as you get closer to deployment, how many points can we effectively get? And I compare it to if someone in our home were doing a remodeling of the kitchen and someon asks you if they do good work, at first your first reaction is all of these wonderful things that they've added but then they still have a punch list with eight things on it and so, I'd give them a B. And I think that happens too often kind of with us is that we do remarkable work, but then we're almost on to the next remodeling project, so to speak, and I think it kind of leads some residual behind.
Samantha Kenney: When we talked about this panel, I said, "This is going to be a great group of people to bring together" and boy was the team right so thank you all very much. Derek, Alex, and Brian, your time of course we very much appreciate and your insights have been excellent this morning.
Before we wrap up, I just want to see if there's any questions from the audience that we need to answer from the Q&A panel.
One question that came in during our talk, and I'd be intersted to hear your thoughts, whether or not employees would ever feel over-surveyed. So are there some creative ways to maybe solicit their feedback without surveying them? I'm trying to think of what that could be, or incentivize them in any way. I don't know if you've seen any of that.
Brian Shield: We tried to move to a model where we do one or two questions. I think people's tolerance for surveys, and just speaking for myself here, I'm totally fine with doing some surveys as long as it's a modest ask of my time. I think if we do more of them but they're short, you can still get the information you're generally looking for. I think when we try to bombard people with tremendous amounts of detail, that their eyes kind of roll back in their head and they almost feel like they're being insulted.
Derek Barka: I think if you can do, there's different names for them, progressive forms, smart forms, somebody's going to use in the marketing world forever if someone's already filled out a landing page form, you already have their name and their phone number and their email addres, the next time you ask for their title, the next time you ask them for their company size. If you do the same thing on the employee side, they've already answered forms A, C, D, and F then you feed them the form or the survey for X and Y instead. So if can progressively get different information from different people based upon other surveys they've already filled out, I think that kind of gets you to a good place.
Alex Ragland: Our survey that asked if people are over-surveyed was "yes", so one of the things we've been doing recently that's extremely valuable, is that design thinking model. We're really embracing that component and it's having conversation, not just survey. So we've set up these small teams where we go out and look at the organization and we say 'Okay, there's a champion within each of these pieces of the organization, can they identify and represent a representative community and instead of surveying 150 people, we have four or five people on a team in each of these areas and then we manage that with a little bit of a governance program so that yes, there's a risk that you haven't talked to everybody or gotten that feedback, but honestly, they're out having conversations with their peers and so you're not really surveying them per se, they're out having conversations, 'Hey what do you think about this?', they then bring that back to us and then we see that come up through from an information standpoint.
I think that's also valuable and it's been a little bit painful but all credit to RGP who has spent the time and money to actually have personal conversations. We have a couple of people on the team that actually go out, and they don't have to be an hour-long conversation. It can be a touchbase, five to ten minutes and you've got really good information. So we've also seen success there.
Samantha Kenney: Again, thank you to our panel. We appreciate you more than you know.
Meet the Panel
Alex Ragland, VP, Customer Experience and Digital Innovation, RGP
Alex Ragland is Vice President, Customer Experience and Digital Innovation at RGP (NASDAQ: RGP). Alex is responsible for strategic vision, direction and implementation across multiple RGP business units and digital channels with specialties in business and experience strategy, emerging innovation, retail and ecommerce services. Most recently, he has focused on defining a unified transformation strategy for RGP and its subsidiaries. In addition, Alex participates in activities as it relates to expanding the service offerings and go to market strategy across the digital enterprise.
Brian Shield, SVP, Chief Technology Officer, Boston Red Sox and Fenway Sports Management
Brian Shield is the SVP, Chief Techology Officer of the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Sports Management. He leads the technology team on all phases of the Red Sox IT strategy from creating a compelling digital fan experience at Fenway Park to enabling an effective front office and baseball operations environment.
Shield co-founded BostonCIO, is the national chairperson of Inspire-CIO, and was named ‘Georgia CIO of the Year’ in 2005. His work in digital media was recognized with a Technology ‘Emmy’ Award in 2006, and his leadership and commitment to Georgia’s business-technology community was recognized in 2012 when he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the GeorgiaCIO.
Shield completed his education at Bentley University in Waltham, MA where he majored in Computer Information Systems while minoring in Management and Accounting.
Derek Barka, Chief Technology Officer, SilverTech
As the Chief Technology Officer for SilverTech, Derek leads the team that helps businesses create profitable relationships throughout the entire customer lifecycle - from lead to loyal, with a strategic combination of engaging web experiences, marketing strategies, and content management solutions. He has helped to create many of the tools that marketers use today to manage websites and digital marketing campaigns, as well as bridging the gap between upper management and the IT and marketing teams. Derek’s unique and unparalleled experiences allow him to work closely with clients to identify stakeholder requirements and technology needs.
Derek’s experience includes web development, software architecture, content management systems, inbound marketing, custom integration, web experience design, SharePoint, and mobile development. He holds certifications as a Kentico Developer, Kentico Marketer, Sitefinity Developer, and Sitecore Developer.
Samantha Kenney, VP, Global Marketing, Akumina
Samantha comes to Akumina from Bottomline Technologies where she was responsible for their global digital strategy. Her extensive background includes work at Silvertech where she managed a team of digital strategist and built out brand recognition for their largest clients.
From pioneering a non-profit, regional branding initiative to advancing corporate digital transformation on a global scale, Samantha’s ability to spearhead marketing plans and execute efficiently is inspired. She coaches her teams on finding the ‘why’ for customers and then crafts solutions that will help them reach their goals.
Samantha is an in-demand speaker on a national scale, providing custom workshops aimed at driving organizations forward in the digital space.