How organisations can use Windows 10 notifications to deliver value

For many of us, Windows 10 notifications are an everyday part of our IT experience. These come in two forms: popping up in the right-hand corner of the screen, and appearing in a feed with the Windows 10 Notification Centre. These notifications can be interactive with calls to action, buttons and the ability to post replies, and can also include images.

In practice, few organisations are actively using Windows 10 notifications in their digital communications or digital workplace. In this article, we are going to explore how they can be utilised by companies to provide value for employees and support organisational goals.

The value of Windows 10 notifications

Windows 10 notifications provide an interesting option for organisations to issue push notifications relating to essential updates, internal communications, and even autogenerated notifications from across the digital workplace. These provide value in different ways:

  • Employees do not necessarily have to be in a particular application to receive the message.
  • They do not have to authenticate into anything apart from the network.
  • Windows Notifications can be very precisely targeted to different groups.

There are a number of potential use cases:

  • Letting employees know about urgent updates relating to operational issues, such as IT outages and office closures.
  • Keeping employees abreast of developments relating to COVID-19 – an ever-changing situation where employees need to stay informed.
  • Providing more general push notifications for the intranet, allowing employees to keep up to date with internal communications and news without necessarily having to visit the intranet.
  • Providing another channel for priority notifications across the digital workplace, such as approvals, reminders and to-dos, some of which may be autogenerated from systems.
  • Providing updates from social channels and collaborations, again providing the basis for more extensive notifications without the user having to necessarily visit the root system.

How Windows 10 notifications work

The Windows 10 notifications that pop-up to users are known to developers as Windows 10 Toast.

They are defined by business logic, and can be targeted to different users and devices. Each time an individual logs in to the network via their device, a profile is set up for that session. These can incorporate different information, including:

  • Individual AAD profile data such as role and base location
  • Device information including the model of laptop, or if a mobile device is being used
  • The location of the user when logging into the network
  • Applications being utilised, such as the browser.

Combinations of such information can be used to create tags that target the device and user for that session.

These tags can then be used to define groups to direct notifications too, including division, role, seniority, device model, application used and current physical location, providing the ability to target urgent messages.

This granularity is important. Lets say there is a COVID-19 case associated with  a particular office – you may need to issue a vital communication to all those who are actually at the location as indicated by that session, but also people associated with that location through their Active Directory profile who may be planning to visit the office on another day.

Having information on a per-session basis is also important. If more than one person uses the same device quite possible in places like hospitals, local authorities and call centres then having per-session details means that notifications can also be targeted to each users individual needs.

The set-up of the business logic associated with each tag is done within Azure Notification Hub, a cloud-based service from Microsoft.  The Notification Hub provides a very flexible approach to setting up Windows 10 notifications.

Approaches that drive value

To get maximum value from Windows 10 notifications, there are a number of different approaches that organisations can follow.

Avoid noise

Windows 10 Toast notifications can get lost and be regarded as noise or an annoying distraction. To avoid this, ensure you use them sparingly and focus on high value use cases, and also establish the priority cases or levels when they should be used.

Take a content management view

To ensure that notifications have value and impact, consider them as you would any other piece of internal communications content. Use images, short and to-the-point text targeted to audience needs and languages, and apply appropriate calls to action. The ability to post replies and messages back can also have real value.

Extend your intranet notifications

A recent theme we have noticed from Content Formula clients is more interest in how to push intranet notifications to users without them having to visit the intranet. This is perfectly possible to do, although you will likely need developer involvement to make it happen. Consider how you can configure key notifications using Windows 10 and how this will fit into your overall approach to digital communications.

Extend your digital workplace notifications

Windows 10 notifications can be used to extend your digital workplace notifications, for example, triggering workflows through Power Automate, receiving alerts from transactional systems like Service Now, and more. To access the full potential of digital workplace notifications, you may need to install a custom, intermediary application to run on a users machine. This is something we are already talking to some clients about.

Make it easy on your admins

Although, again, this may require some custom development, ensure that you have a good experience for admins that allows them to easily target notifications as they happen, or configure the wider business logic and rules to automate notifications. For example, an option to be able to send a Windows 10 notification from the intranet puts the power in the hands of the internal communicators, and means they do not have to rely on the IT function.

Make it easy on your users

It is also possible to give more power to your users by building a custom interface through which employees can control the notifications they receive. This could even involve a subscription model to different types of notifications, supporting a better digital employee experience.


Interested in the power of Windows 10 notifications? Get in touch!

Windows 10 notifications are an under-utilised feature in most digital workplaces that have useful potential, particularly during the current global crisis. If youd like to explore or discuss Windows 10 notifications and how they can provide value to your business, then get in touch!

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