What the 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Intranet Packaged Solutions reveals about employee experience challenges

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Firstup was recently named as a Leader in the Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Intranet Packaged Solutions. This milestone presents the perfect opportunity to examine the business challenges organizations face and how Firstup’s focus on enhancing employee productivity and providing hyper-personalized experiences solves them. 

Demystifying Magic Quadrant™ research

Let’s start with the basics. What is a Gartner® Magic Quadrant™? Since it was first introduced in the mid-90s, Gartner® has used the framework to analyze technology categories. The reports provide unbiased guidance and insights into a market’s direction and maturity, as well as the vendors providing solutions within the space.

While “Magic Quadrant™” is used to describe each research report as a whole, the name is really drawing attention to the graphic that depicts a market using a two-dimensional matrix. Solution providers that meet certain criteria like size, sales, and market reach are invited to participate in an in-depth evaluation that spans not only the technology available today, but their product roadmap and business strategy. The findings are then plotted on the matrix based on their Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute—landing participants in one of four grids.

  • Leaders execute well against their current vision and are well positioned for tomorrow.
  • Visionaries understand where the market is going or have a vision for changing market rules, but do not yet execute well.
  • Niche Players focus successfully on a small segment, or are unfocused and do not out-innovate or outperform others.
  • Challengers execute well today or may dominate a large segment, but do not demonstrate an understanding of market direction.

Introducing Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Intranet Packaged Solutions

At last count, Gartner® produces Magic Quadrant™ research for about 100 different technology categories annually. This year, Gartner® expanded its scope to include a Magic Quadrant™ for Intranet Packaged Solutions, a first-of-its-kind analysis of the employee communications space and 15 technology providers vying for position in the coveted Leaders corner.

It goes without saying that Firstup is thrilled to be recognized as a Leader. But to understand why we believe we received the placement, it’s important to consider this.

Intranets have existed about as long as the Magic Quadrant™. Why was 2023 the year Gartner® decided to include Intranet Packaged Solutions as a category for the extensive analysis? 

Employee experience problems persist

Firstup views the expansion as affirmation that organizations continue to struggle with and seek solutions for fundamental employee productivity and communication issues. Many are looking for a panacea to alleviate real business problems.  

  • Productivity and performance are adversely affected by time wasted looking for information, accessing disparate systems, and following complex processes.
  • Disengaged and disconnected workers are on the rise—and they are voting with their feet. 
  • Critical workforce segments are difficult to reach because they are on the frontline, remote, in different regions, or speak a different language. 
  • Communicators and HR teams don’t often have access to robust employee data, making it impossible to personalize communications and segment with any precision. 
  • Top-down, one-size-fits-all communications are ineffective and impossible to measure.

But that’s just looking at it from the employer’s perspective! As for employees? They want experiences that mirror those they receive in their personal lives as consumers. They expect hyper-personalized, relevant, and timely communications and effortless access to information and services. 

Organizations are falling far short of meeting those expectations. 

If they’re digitally connected workers, they’re inundated with one-size-fits-all communications across countless channels. It’s easier to tune out notifications than to spend time sorting through them. Frontline workers have the opposite problem. They’re left in the dark or reliant on managers to pass information along. Meanwhile, everyone is frustrated by disjointed processes and tools and information spread across multiple systems.

All too often, employees — regardless of role or location — feel unsupported and confused. Loyalty goes down. CVs and applications go out. Attrition goes up. It’s a vicious cycle. 

“Employees want experiences that mirror those they receive in their personal lives as consumers.”

How Firstup solves employee experience problems

Firstup’s position in the Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ is a tremendous achievement. We view it as reinforcement that organizations are placing their workforce at the center and have prioritized intelligent, timely communications and centralized productivity tools. They recognize that a true solution to solving their business challenges requires:

Omni-channel
Ability to manage and deliver relevant and engaging experiences across various channels, devices, and endpoints.

Personalization
Targeting and context awareness to ensure a relevant and individualized experience for the employee based on attributes, roles, segments, behavioral data, and other factors.

Platform Extensibility
Architecture that makes it easy to integrate with and add components to — enhancing its configurability, composability, orchestration, and interoperability.

Analytics
Analytics and insights to continually improve the performance, effectiveness, and utility of digital experiences.

Publishing
Centralized platform for communicators to plan, create, coordinate, customize, distribute, and measure the effectiveness of content.

“We looked at building something off of SharePoint or a custom app, but having a platform purpose-built for engagement and experience is more important.”

Paul Baltes

Director of Communications

90% adoption in just the first few months!

Let’s take a closer look at how Firstup uniquely delivers on these capabilities to solve our customers’ challenges.  

Firstup is a purpose-built communication and engagement platform
The most important element of any great experience is communication. Firstup makes it easy to plan, build, deliver, and measure hyper-personalized communications across the entire employee journey.

Firstup is optimized for intelligent delivery and personalization at scale
Firstup is the only platform built with the employee at the center — activating employee attributes AND behavioral data with AI to intelligently automate and orchestrate hyper-personalized campaigns.

Firstup is omni-channel
Firstup leverages employee data to optimize what message to send, when to send, and (perhaps most pertinent to this blog post) where to send. Sometimes that’s an intranet; other times, it could be a mobile app, email, Slack, or even a digital sign. The goal is to get the communication into the hands of those who need it.

Firstup is built for productivity
Firstup APIs and AI-powered Assistant provide employees with streamlined access to the tools and information they need to perform at their best.

The intranet road ahead

While the intranet has been around for quite some time, 2023 may prove to be a landmark year for employee experience. With the first ever Magic Quadrant™ for employee communications, Gartner is giving worthy recognition to the importance of not only the technology, but the real-world challenges organizations are trying to address.

Firstup is honored to be included as a Leader in the Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Intranet Packaged Solutions, and look forward to delivering even greater innovation in the years to come. 

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Matthew Hutchison

Matthew Hutchison

Matthew Hutchison is the Senior Director of Product Marketing at Firstup. His background includes over 30 years conceiving and executing high performance marketing and sales strategies for tech companies ranging from startups to industry leaders in the Fortune 100. His current focus is to help internal comms teams and HR professionals achieve their business goals and deliver exceptional employee experiences.

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