Everybody Lies, but not to Google, or your Intranet search!

I recently read Everybody Lies, a book that discusses how big data and, in some aspects, machine learning can be used to explain certain behaviours in today’s world and how our digital interactions can help explain current events. I highly recommend this book!

One of the main sources of information used in the book is Google Trends. If you are not familiar with this service, it allows you to explore and compare different topics and identify their trends over time.

For example, the chart below compares the terms “Digital Workplace” and “Intranets”:


Not only it will provide a graph showing the trends of both topics over time, but will also provide information on the regions where the term is most popular as well as related searches using this term.

While this works wonders for learning about interests and social behaviours at a global scale, this got me thinking about our options for “corporate land”. If people don’t lie to Google and for example, Trends can help to identify where an outbreak of a disease can start, or how an election was won despite many pools showing different results, the closest thing we have to this type of information is our Intranet search.

Well yes, our often neglected, left to it’s own devices, good old Intranet search can be a great source to identify the trends of what employees are thinking (or caring about) inside the corporate “firewall”.

Thankfully, the search history or top searches report of your intranet (most popular Intranet solutions have this out of the box, if yours does not, let’s chat!) doesn’t need much maintenance and is definitely a great way to take the pulse of your organization.

You can use your intranet search or top searches report for:

  • Creating new content (articles, how-tos, lists, resources) of information employees are searching for –  If, for example, people are looking for cost centres, but are not finding this information, compile it, publish it!
  • Rising the best content to the top – If people are looking for the term vacation, they are most likely trying to find the vacation policy. If your Intranet supports it, make it a best bet or a preferred resource.
  • Identifying trending topics – in today’s corporate world, chances are your have a topic or two that are top of mind. Consider using this to create AMA (Ask Me Anything) forums or use tools such as Slack or Teams to help employees engage with subject matter experts in real time.
  • Enrich your editorial calendar   There may be slow months (rare this days, but it could happen) where there are no big company announcements or events. Use this gold mine to provide employees with information and resources around topics they care enough about because they are searching for them.
  • Obtain ideas for a corporate bot –  A rising trend, an internal bot can help employees with their day to day work and there are tools out there (such as Tangowork) that are making this happen even easier. Use intranet top searches as input to help build the knowledge of topics your employees might ask your bot.

I hope this helps plant the seed to take a look at your Intranet search statistics on a regular basis, try also looking at abandoned search results and other trends in your analytics.

Are you using your top intranet search results in other ways? What other sources of information can you identify internally to help build that corporate pulse? We would love to hear your thoughts.