The Gatehouse Blog

Making IT work a Moody’s

The following is an extract from the Journal of Internal Communication. See if you qualify for a free industry subscription at www.internal-communication.com/joic.

Moody’s Julie Pinsonneault shares the journey to a new searchable intranet, and shares her secret to a win-win relationship with IT.

When you mention ‘Moody’s’, people usually think of our rating agency business. That is one of our core business, but there’s another half of the business that focuses on providing solutions and training to help companies assess and mitigate their risk.

Our company has been growing exponentially over the past 4 years. We’ve grown from approximately 4,500 to 10,000 employees. Much of that expansion is happening internationally, so I’m about to move to London to set up a regional presence in EMEIA.

Business case

In February 2015, we launched a new company intranet called MINT, which stands for Moody’s intranet. Like many global corporations we’re a very email heavy company, and one of the reasons we wanted to overhaul our intranet was to try to reduce our reliance on email.

We had identified a number of issues with our previous intranet. Our previous intranet – ‘MoodysNet’ – was based on SharePoint 2010. The search didn’t really work, which is a problem because people are so used to Google. They expect the search to pull up what they’re looking for.

We wanted our new intranet to be a consolidated space; a goto platform where employees could access internal news, but also quick links to all sorts of applications and systems that they use on a regular basis. Instead of having to save those links in their favourites or in an email, they can access all they need at the click of a button: our time keeping system, our compliance policies, our ADP-pay portal, and a link to book travel. Some people come here for informational purposes, but for the most part they come to get something they need in order to fulfil a task.

Content strategy

Before, the big problem was that the content was rather outdated. People would just end up emailing and asking questions instead of using the portal for selfservice purposes. One priority was to make the new intranet a trusted source of information for employees.

So we decentralized the governance. Representatives from eachof our business units now “own” the content in their particular space. We’ve hired a full-time intranet content manager to help them shape content; but the business representatives are really the subject-matter experts. This ensures that content is as current and relevant as possible – they’re better placed to talk about the benefits packages that we offer in different locations for instance.

Soon, we will also have an automated archive to ensure that content remains up-to-date. The idea is that business representatives will receive an alert when a piece of content has been on the portal and untouched for a year so that they can either update it or remove it.

We only just launched MINT, so it’s still early days. We’ve just sent out a survey and we will soon be running a few focus groups. We’re also in the process of setting up our Webtrends reporting so we can start reviewing metrics quarterly and understand how people are using it.

We still need to do more to develop content and make the portal as robust as possible. A lot of content still sits outside of MINT – team sites and operational content that people have built up over the years because MoodysNet didn’t offer the workflow they needed. I’d love to see this incorporated into MINT as it would offer a seamless enduser experience where anything can be found on MINT.

My mission over the next year will be to persuade people into valuing the intranet and make them want to come into the fold.

Working with the IT guys

One big reason I think we were able to launch this successfully is the fact that we have a close relation ship with IT, so much that the same people have continued to sup port our portal. Every single quarter we work with them to build out requirements for new enhance ments and fixes and things of that nature.

One of my major relationships is with IT. Companies are investing a lot in technology, which means there’s always projects coming out of the IT department. I like to get involved with the IT managers, and make sure they understand the potential impact of their products on employees.

Typically when you’re working with an IT project manager, engineer or developer, they’re focused on getting the product to work. Their focus is not user interface, or the best way to apply the technology to the employee base.

Because they’re not thinking about the end user impact of these sorts of things – and I am always focused on the end user impact – sometimes I’m able to identify things and say: “Oh, does that really have to be 10 steps instead of one?” It’s my job to bring those things to the table. Sometimes I feel like I’m the inquisitor! When you’re managing an internal relationship with people who are technically minded, they key is to ask them a million questions.

As an internal communication expert, I often feel that we bring a more customer-centric approach to IT projects.

BIOGRAPHY – JULIE PINSONNEAULT

Julie Pinsonneault is an experienced strategic communicator for internal audiences with a special interest in increasing employee engagement by reinforcing the connection between everyday activities and overall business goals. She is currently an Assistant Vice President – Internal Communications at Moody’s.