A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Interact's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Interact is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Simon Dance, CEO, has been
with Interact since 2006
Interact’s software is developed
in-house in Manchester: this
has always been the case and
will always remain the case
Technology has transformed how organisations work. It has
brought a wealth of opportunity, but also many challenges,
particularly when it comes to managing how everyone
in the workplace communicates and collaborates. Interact has
been delivering intranet software to support organisations in
overcoming those challenges for more than ten years. However,
their rapid growth in the last three years, particularly in the US
market, shows just how much the digital workplace is evolving
and changing – and how crucial it is to have solid internal
foundations so that they can excel externally.
How we got here
The intranet has evolved dramatically over recent years. The modern intranet
can now combine process-specific applications, communication functionality,
collaboration tools and unify the corporate technology stack. As our workplaces
become increasingly dispersed and complex, the intranet has become a globally
recognised and indispensable part of digital workplace strategy.
Interact has risen and evolved in response. Our original idea was simple: to connect
employees to the people, information and tools they needed to get work done. It’s
an ethos that continues to underpin everything we do, but we’ve really seen our
growth accelerate in recent years. We attribute this to three key factors:
1. Changes in employee behaviours and the way those impact on the digital workplace
2. External enablers that have allowed us to evolve
3. Solid organisational foundations that have allowed us to grow organically
»CEO: SimonDance
»Established in 2000
»Based in Manchester with
offices in New York and
operations across North
America, EMEA, and Australia
»Services: Global enterprise
software company solving
internal communication and
collaboration challenges with
intranet software
»No. of employees: Around 120
»Serves millions of employees
across more than 850
organisations, including
Wireless, Lush, and Aldi
Highlighting best practice
The changing face of the
digital workplace
Consumerisation has grown in the
workplace: our employees are the new
customers. They are now our greatest
brand advocates and our biggest
reputational liability. They can review
us, promote us or indeed expose us.
Investing in the employee experience
has a positive impact on engagement,
productivity and the success of an
organisation – and the intranet is a key
piece of that puzzle.
Social networking and consumer
technology have also filtered into the
workplace. Employees are not only
familiar and confident with adopting
new technology; they expect it.
Substandard internal systems and
processes not only cause frustration; they
can cost us our employees. By evolving
the Interact platform to incorporate
familiar and practical social and
collaboration features, we’ve been able
to help our customers tap into – and
cater for – the needs of an increasingly
digitally demanding workforce.
Finally, we’ve seen work-life balance
and flexible working rising on the
business agenda. Thanks to technology,
employees can now work from
anywhere, at any time; but to get the job
done, they need access to the right tools
and information. By connecting remote
employees to knowledge, colleagues
and business applications, Interact offers
what many organisations are desperately
seeking: a virtual workplace and culture,
beyond the physical walls ofthe office.
External enablers
In 2015, the cloud computing market
was already worth $67billion, and
is projected to grow to $162billion
by 2020. We saw this as a huge
opportunity for us and in 2015 we
began to shift our offering from on-
premises to a cloud-based SaaS model.
This has seen Interact not only grow its
top-line revenue, but has also overseen
our provision of a more efficient and
effective service to our customers.
As a cloud provider, we can satisfy the
increasing need and expectation for
continual updates to software features
and functions. This ability to provide
and support our software remotely
has enabled us to expand rapidly into
international markets, particularly the
US, where we have seen 60 per cent
growth year on year.
Alongside this has been the shift
towards opening up of application
programming interfaces (APIs), giving
solutions the ability to integrate with
each other. The industry is seeing the
value of working together to improve
the experience for the consumer, both
inside and outside of the workplace.
Now, employees no longer expect to
jump from one application to another
to find what they need. With a user-first
mindset, we’ve been able to position
Analytics provide
valuable insights into
the performance of
customers’ intranets and
where improvements
can be made
has grown in
the workplace:
our employees
are the new
Interact at the centre of the digital
workplace: integrating with a broad
range of business-critical tools that
include Office 365 and SharePoint,
Zendesk, Successfactors, Concur and
Solid organisational foundations
Our rapid growth in recent years –
within both the UK and the US – may
have been facilitated by the factors
above, but it wouldn’t have been
possible without the solid foundations
that make up who we are.
Interact’s success is driven by
innovation and a second-to-none
approach to customer service. We
pride ourselves on our professional
services offering, supporting customers
at every stage of their intranet journey.
It’s an ethos that pays, shown by our
98 per cent customer retention rate.
The majority of our senior management
team has been here since the start.
Between them, they hold over 75
years’ experience working for Interact.
CEO Simon Dance began his career
as a Software Engineer for Interact in
2006, progressing to VP of product
development and subsequently to
CTO in 2014 before taking the reins
as CEO. The progression of the CTO
to CEO shows just how our product
roadmap and its development are at
the heart of what we do. We develop
our product in-house in Manchester:
this has always been the case and will
always remain the case.
Looking forward: a future-
proofed workplace
Recent reports suggest the number of
cloud applications used by enterprise-
level organisations may be as many
as 500, particularly as the “bring your
own application” culture continues
to grow. Employees want the right
solution for their individual needs, and
organisations will no longer realistically
retain control over which tools enter
the corporate technology stack.
The focus instead is on how tools can
complement and work together, and
this is where Interact’s strength and
future focus for growth lies. We don’t
see ourselves as a competitor of all
of these tools, but a connector and
a collaborator. By providing a place
where users can go to access everything
they need, we play a vital role in
“future-proofing” organisations for the
challenges and changes that lieahead.
success is
driven by
and a second-
approach to
Interact provides intranet
software that powers
internal communications
for organisations across
the globe

This article was sponsored by Interact. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister