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There are a certain number of things an intranet must offer, but deciding whether an intranet is good or bad is always subjective. However, the Nielsen Norman Group (NNG) does make this determination when it publishes its yearly list of the top intranets. Given the criteria, the history and in-depth research that goes into compiling this list, it’s a pretty good bet that Nielsen’s list does, in fact, identify the very best in intranets across the board.

The winners come from large and midsized organizations from around the world. They had short development time and small teams who relied on both internal resources and external help. You can view the list here. An important aspect of the report is the reasoning behind the decisions made and the identification of intranet building trends in digital workplaces everywhere.

Of the 10 winning teams, five come from the US (which is likely because NNG is based in the US). For the first time in years, Canada has no winners this year. Of the remaining five winners, Australia has two, and Dubai, Norway and the UK each have one.

There are a wide range of issues and developments that NNG has been able to identify this year, but some of the more significant include:

  • The need for rapid intranet development.
  • Last year, the average winning intranets’ development time is now 14 months down from 2.8 years in 2014.
  • Redesign’s now include restructuring the information architecture (IA), auditing content, revamping search and changing the look and feel.
  • The winning 2019 intranets come from organizations with an average of 72,330 employees.
  • Eight of this year’s winning organizations looked to outside agencies and consultants to help with their intranet redesign.

Key areas that teams sought help for included:

  1. Development
  2. Content creation and editor training
  3. Discovery
  4. Ideation
  5. Information architecture
  6. Persona creation
  7. Journey map creation
  8. Project management

Reliance on outside resources is a double-edged sword. Many winning organizations have quick development times and iterative practices, which raises a crucial question: When these short-term external resources leave, who is left to iterate, maintain and continually improve the new site?

Slack Ditches ‘Pained’ Logo

Speaking of design, Slack has just redesigned its logo. And the reason? The current one is "pained" and even "simply awful." Unfortunately, a quick look at twitter will show that most don’t think much of the new logo either. The announcement was made in a blog post, which points out that having 11 colors in the original logo makes it easy to get it wrong. “Firstly, it’s not change for the sake of change. That said, change is inevitable, and something to be embraced, etc. etc., but that’s not a good enough reason to change a logo. A good reason to change a logo is that it’s not doing the job you want it to do — and because a simpler, more distinctive evolution of it could do that job better.”

Maybe it does, and maybe it doesn’t. Some people just don’t like it, the best James Temperton at Wired UK could say about it is that at least it “doesn’t look like artful genitals.

The change will happen over the coming weeks and months. According to the blog post, over the next few months, you’ll see all the other visuals around Slack aligning around this new direction. Coincidentally, Slack's chief product officer April Underwood announced that she'll be leaving the startup to focus on #Angels, an organization she co-founded that focuses on investing in female founders. Underwood will be replaced by Tamar Yehoshua, who previously led the search business at Google.

The timing of the announcement is interesting especially as Slack is expected to file an IPO later this year. Given that its market valuation was $7.1 billion after the last funding round of $427 million, this could be the biggest IPO of the year.

Google Ups G Suite Price by 20 percent

Over the past years since the release of Microsoft’s Office 365, one distinct advantage that Google’s G Suite could offer over Microsoft’s enormous enterprise productivity suite was that it was considerably cheaper. But that is about to change.

Last week, Google announced it's raising the prices of the basic and business versions of G Suite productivity apps, like Gmail and Docs, for the first time. To be clear though — pricing for Google's Enterprise Edition will remain the same and Google will continue to offer free accounts for non-business users.

Meanwhile, the cost of the basic and the business plans will increase about 20 percent — from $5 to $6 per user /month for G Suite's Basic Edition and $10 to $12 per user / month for the Business Edition.

The changes won’t come into effect until April 2, giving enterprises the chance to decide whether the new difference in price between Office 365 and G Suite is so small that they may as well pay the little bit more and get Office 365.

The 20 percent price increase comes soon after the appointment of Thomas Kurian, a former Oracle executive, as the head of Google's Cloud division. Google says that the price changes will not impact current contracts or renewals made before April 2. It also says that there are more than 4 million organizations using G Suite.

Infor Secures Massive $1.5B Investment

Another potentially record-breaking IPO that looks to be in the cards in the near future is Infor, an enterprise software company, that has just announced a $1.5 billion investment, being led by Koch Industries’ investment arm, Koch Equity Development, and Golden Gate Capital. The recent investment comes on top of a $2 billion+ cash infusion from Koch in 2017, bringing the total raised to at least more than $3.5 billion.

Over the last 5 years, Infor has consistently gained market share in cloud applications, and 70 percent of its software license revenue is now derived from cloud applications. Infor has expanded its presence in key industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, retail, the public sector and hospitality. Over 72 percent of all hospitals in the US run Infor applications, as well as 19 of the top 20 automotive suppliers and 8 of the top 10 fashion brands.

Box Hires New Chief Information Security Officer

Finally this week, Box announced it has hired Lakshmi Hanspal to be the company’s new chief information security officer (CISO). Hanspal has 20 years of security experience, including holding executive security roles at SAP Ariba and Bank of America. She also spent time in a senior role at PayPal.

In a blog post announcing the hire, the company explained what her new role will be: “In the role of CISO, Lakshmi will be responsible for Box’s cybersecurity practice, security operations and data and platform protection.”

Box CEO Aaron Levie pointed out that security is central to everything Box does, so finding the right CISO was absolutely critical. “Not only does Lakshmi bring with her an impressive and diverse leadership experience from her time at SAP, PayPal and Bank of America, but she’s an incredible team builder and culture add for Box that will take our security team to the next level,” Levie said.