The Gatehouse Blog

Aligning IT and IC functions – Paloma Redondo, GSK

In internal communications, IT is an essential function. But as teams go, IT and IC can be chalk and cheese – and aligning both functions is fundamental to creating effective user experiences. Paloma Redondo, Employee Content Lead at GSK, tells us about UX, storytelling and the importance of a ‘one team’ mentality.

What was the catalyst that brought the IT and IC functions together at GSK?

I was initially hired to help address significant issues with the content of our digital platforms. Our intranet was huge – roughly 600,000 pages, with duplication everywhere. Our learning system and help library were also littered with content we didn’t need.

To eliminate the redundant content, we needed to truly understand the existing user experience in order to refine the journey going forward. However, we were encountering very IT-focused terms throughout the process, and we realised at that point that it was essential to speak to the experts.

As teams go, IT and IC can be chalk and cheese.

IT people are often treated as mercenaries. With projects like this, they don’t always ‘buy in’ because they haven’t been given enough background information. They’re just building to demand without really understanding the reasoning. Overall, we needed both teams to work together to really understand the user experience as a whole.

How did you go about aligning the values of the two teams?

Overall, IT needed to understand the internal communication needs of the business better. So, we started having regular meetings directly with the developers, and I was assigned an IT business partner. I realised that I wasn’t aware of the functionalities they could develop – particularly in terms of our intranet search function. For example, I discovered that IT could extract the data of what people were searching for, which was very powerful both as a measurement tool and to tailor our messaging. We were also able to test articles, intranet modules and pages to make the content and tools better for everyone.

We realised that our IT team was very disengaged. They hadn’t seen leaders in two years and were working remotely, which is a challenge when it comes to collaboration. By bringing them into the conversation and involving them in the overarching strategy, we were able to foster engagement, and bring the two functions together.

Lack of collaboration between IC and IT is why many digital platforms fail. There is a tendency to open the champagne when something is installed, not when it’s fit for purpose – but installation is simply the beginning of the journey. And when there is no clear user journey in place, we have a duty to define what that experience looks like.