Intranet Metrics: Part 1
Dave Hook, Business Research Supervisor, MacDonald Dettwiler Space & Advanced Robotics Ltd.
I have a manager who likes metrics. He likes to be able to measure value for dollars and to ensure that his engineers are using the intranet for its intended purposes. I, as owner of the intranet, need to know what parts are being used (or not used) and where problems are occurring, as well as needing to justify that the intranet was a worthwhile investment. Thus, we both need a good means of generating intranet usage statistics.
There are several methods available for counting hits on Web pages, but not all of these means are geared towards intranets. There are external sites that will record usage statistics for you, such as NedStat [http://uk.nedstat.net], SiteMeter [http://www.sitemeter.com], or Stats4All [http://www.stats4all.com]. These sites are worth having a look at simply to see the various slices they take with the data and how they graphically present this data. NedStat’s [http://usa1.viewstat.nedstatbasic.net/cgi-bin/viewstat?name=nedstatbasic-basic] is particularly detailed. Unfortunately, these sites will not help you if your intranet server is behind a firewall.
There are also free counter scripts that you can put on an individual page (several examples are available through http://www.merlet.com/counterlinks.htm), but these devices are often intrusive, sometimes including banner ads, and can only measure usage of one page.
are several software packages available that reside on your intranet server
and allow you to analyze your server’s log files.
that the intranet is a worthwhile investment
Estimate a return
on investment (ROI)
features of your intranet are most important
I also found that when a new feature or page was advertised on the intranet’s home page, it would guarantee a high number of hits. In other words, advertising on the home page can be very effective.
features of your intranet are not being used
A high number of hits on a page that is not easily accessible from the main page indicates that the popular page should be moved up in the hierarchy.
Keeping intranet usage statistics presented us with very useful results. We were able to learn which of the company policies and procedures were being read and which ones were not. We also found that one of the most popular pages was our database of company acronyms—perhaps a sign that the company uses far too many acronyms!!
In the next issue,
I will examine and review some of the available log analysis software packages,
both the free ones and the full packages.
Dave can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.