Honey, an “enterprise social network for news-sharing that aims to revolutionise the intranet”, has launched in beta. According to a press release, the tool is “designed to enable employees to discover, discuss and archive content that matters to them” and their colleagues. Administrators can ‘guide’ conversations and “ensure that everyone is aware of critical company news”.
The product was developed because of internal communications challenges experienced by Huge Labs, whose start-up incubator division Honey emerged from, along with the lack of interest in the company's own static intranet. As the agency grew, it required a way for coworkers to more efficiently comment on things and communicate. The result has been a major upswing in engagement, with 90 per cent of staff using Honey weekly and two thirds daily.
Honey CEO Dan Hou (DH) spoke to .net about the importance of intranets and how Honey could be a viable solution for many creative companies.
.net: Why do you think intranets are still relevant in the modern world? Is it mostly about having your company's own space and also customising it to suit?
DH: Absolutely! In fact, we think of Honey as an intranet. Every company still needs an efficient way to share resources, connect and communicate, and intranets fill that role. The details of how well your intranet works, how accessible and ultimately useful it is to you and your colleagues, we think this bar absolutely has to be raised.
.net: Why aren’t intranets used more? What does Honey do to solve this issue?
DH: One challenge traditional intranets face is that their usage is sporadic. Most are libraries for reference documents or wikis that are initially full of great material. But maintaining these kinds of intranets is often too much of a burden, and they inevitably end up a graveyard of outdated content.
Honey works around this by solving two seemingly disparate problems: news sharing and knowledge management. The news-sharing aspects set up a usage pattern, where people use Honey regularly to share and discover company news. When it comes time that someone needs to find a template, say, they just go to Honey and search.
The other different approach that Honey took was to double down on email integration. Many enterprise social networks are positioned as a replacement for email, which hinders adoption. Email is just too widely adopted and too useful. Honey works seamlessly with email. A fair number of our users love Honey, but only use it through email—and we think that’s OK!
.net: Honey’s free to teams of ten or under. What was the thinking behind that decision?
DH: Nearly every company we've spoken to, regardless of size, wanted to try out Honey in a ‘pilot’ capacity before rolling it out broadly. We wanted to provide the opportunity to experience a fully-featured Honey without the threat of a trial end date. And being a start-up ourselves, we also felt that offering a free version for small teams was a way to give back to the community.
.net: Are there any future Honey plans you can reveal?
DH: One thing we’ve learned from our private beta is the notion of the monolithic company-as-a-single-entity is rapidly becoming antiquated. These days, tons of companies have outsourced part of their businesses or work closely with freelancers, contractors or agencies. While these extensions of your companies may not be full-time employees, you need to collaborate and communicate with them as though they were. You can currently invite external users into your company’s Honey network, but this could be made much more robust, so we’re working on that.
Beyond this, our roadmap focuses on three major goals: making it easier to share, easier to consume and easier to moderate.