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Sébastien Chatel
Sébastien Chatel

9 November 2023

Why are users of certain organizations' intranets more satisfied than others? Is it possible to prioritize the projects to be carried out to maximize user satisfaction?

After delving into the links between editorial strategy and user satisfaction, let's now turn our attention to the impacts of technical choices. Do modern and feature-rich intranets genuinely bring more satisfaction to users? If you are responsible for Internal Communication, HR, or IT, these results will undoubtedly help you guide your decisions and persuade your stakeholders. Some analyses may confirm what you already knew, but others may surprise you!

Digital Workplace and Employee Experience (EXP): the winning choice compared to traditional intranets.

First, we looked into how intranets were presented or perceived by employees. Do organizations refer to them as "Digital Workplace," "Collaborative or Community Intranet," "Employee Experience Platform," or simply as a traditional information and communication intranet? And most importantly, what is the connection between this positioning and user satisfaction?

The results indicate that while information and communication intranets are the most commonly deployed, they appear to provide the least satisfaction. Indeed 69 % des répondants ayant un intranet classique déclarent que leurs utilisateurs sont insatisfaits (et seul 14% sont satisfaits). A l’opposé, les dispositifs de type « Digital Workplace » ou « Employee Experience Platform » apportent le plus de satisfaction avec 51% d’utilisateurs satisfaits (et seulement 26% d’insatisfaits).

For more details on the typology of intranets, please refer to the glossary in the appendix of the observatory report!

Choosing a specialized intranet CMS pays off!

A Content Management System (CMS) is software that allows for the creation, management, and updating of web environments (internal or external) without the need for technical expertise. The vast majority of operational intranets are built on a CMS, typically provided by a software publisher.


Regarding intranets, CMS can be categorized into five main categories:

The intersection of this data with user satisfaction clearly indicates that while intranets based solely on SharePoint are the most widely deployed, it is in these organizations that users are the least satisfied. Furthermore, intranets based on specialized intranet CMSs (SharePoint overlays or extended intranet CMSs) are the ones that achieve the highest level of user satisfaction! Finally, the observatory confirms that organizations that have opted for custom development for their intranet generally perceive their users as less satisfied on average.

Nevertheless, beware of misinterpretations. In all five categories, we find organizations where users are satisfied and others where they are not. This means that all CMSs can provide relevant solutions depending on the contexts, expectations, and needs of users. The key is to make an informed choice when selecting the technical solution for your next redesign!


To measure the impact of functional richness on user satisfaction, we cross-referenced this satisfaction index with the question, "What are the major features available in your internal digital system?"

19 features were listed, with some being quite common in intranets (such as likes, directory, or search engine), and others being more advanced (like idea sharing, meeting facilitation tools, or Business Intelligence).

Then, we categorized respondents into four groups based on the number of features directly accessible in their intranet: Less than 5, between 5 and 10, between 10 and 15, or more than 15. This yielded the following result:

As we can see in this table, the more respondents report having features in their intranet, the more they believe that users in their organization are satisfied. The average score varies from 6/10 for intranets with fewer than 5 features to 7.8/10 for intranets offering 15 features or more! By offering a wide variety of options, the intranet is better equipped to meet the needs of employees and enhance their productivity, which reinforces employees' positive perception of this tool.


Finally, it is quite clear that the older the date of the last overhaul of the internal digital system, the greater the number of dissatisfied users. 59% of users of intranets over 7 years old are dissatisfied, compared with only 35% if the intranet is less than 3 years old.

Cependant, mettre en place un intranet complet, répondants parfaitement aux besoins des différents métiers et proposant une expérience aboutie prend souvent du temps. Une refonte permet de remettre à plat l’architecture de contenus, d’améliorer le design et l’interface, mais il faut souvent plusieurs années pour adresser les besoins de tous les utilisateurs, identifier les cas d’usages spécifiques et accompagner le changement. 

In fact, our analysis shows that 33% of respondents with a system older than 7 years express satisfaction, demonstrating that some organizations invest over the long term and succeed in evolving their system to offer a satisfactory experience.

This is the case, for example, with EDF's intranet. Their intranet, launched in 2011, has undergone several evolutions to constantly adapt to emerging business needs. Today, EDF continues to invest more in user support than in functional evolutions, as Nathalie Dudragne, Intranet Project Manager, tells us: Aujourd’hui EDF continue d’investir sur l’accompagnement des utilisateurs, davantage que sur les évolutions fonctionnelles, comme nous l’indique Nathalie Dudragne, Cheffe de projet Intranet :

« Nous avons un vrai sujet de faire connaître notre intranet plus que de faire évoluer notre Intranet. Celui-ci est déjà très riche (en termes de contenus et de fonctionnalités), mais les niveaux d'usages ne sont pas optimums. Par ailleurs, nous voyons poindre des projets satellites émanant d'autres directions et faisant un doublon direct avec l'Intranet groupe. Il est donc important pour nous de centraliser au maximum les usages.»

"Intranet and User Satisfaction: What Are We Talking About?"

For this 2023 edition of the Intranet & Digital Communication Observatory, we asked a unique question: 'In your opinion, what is the average satisfaction level of the users of your organization's intranet?' Respondents were asked to rate this on a scale from 1 to 10.

1st observation: The overall average score is 6.5/10. If this score aligns with what we observe in our client surveys before a redesign project, it generally confirms that the intranets currently in place in organizations generally provide mixed satisfaction.

To add some depth to our analysis while keeping it readable, we chose to make groupings:

  • Organizations in which the average user level is rated from 1 to 6 are grouped under the label "Dissatisfied."
  • Those between 8 and 10 are referred to as "Satisfied."
  • Those who responded with 7 are considered "Neutral."
Satisfaction moyenne utilisateur intranet

Cross-tabulations: a way to visualize correlations.

In our surveys, we analyze in detail the cross-tabulation of questions with each other. This allows us to make sense of correlation factors. In the example of user satisfaction, it allows us to demonstrate, for instance, that in the Services sector, 42% of organizations consider intranet users to be satisfied, compared to only 13% in the Administration sector.

Warning: This approach does not demonstrate causality but rather correlation effects. It is not a predictive model and does not guarantee that implementing a specific initiative, feature, or rule will result in a particular increase in satisfaction. This remains inherent to each organization.

That's why it's essential to listen to YOUR employees and provide CUSTOMIZED responses! Contact us for that!

Sébastien Chatel
Sébastien Chatel

A specialist in internal communication topics, Sébastien has developed experience in managing international projects at Arctus. He is passionate about managing intranets and always on the lookout for trends and best practices to share!


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