Is your intranet a dinosaur?

Is your intranet languishing without fulfilling its potential? Are you frustrated that it is under used, lacks support and people would rather find information elsewhere? If so you are certainly not alone.  Many businesses have discovered the hard way that creating an intranet is the easy part – the real challenge is to keep it relevant, current and engaging in an ever changing business environment.

Try asking yourself these questions about your intranet:

  1. Does it serve real business needs?   Your intranet strategy must be aligned to the business’ strategic objectives and be regularly reviewed to make sure it stays that way.  Intranet objectives should be clearly defined and measurable.  The aim ‘to improve communication’ is held by intranets across the land but is worthless.   On the other hand, ‘to improve communication with frontline employees by providing access to policy and procedural information via intranet kiosks’ is specific and results can be demonstrated through usage statistics and reduced printing costs.
  2. Does it make life easier?  Whether finding a telephone number, compiling a bid document or checking the canteen menu, simplifying and speeding up everyday tasks saves time, improves efficiency and helps employee morale.  Every intranet should have at least one ‘killer application’ that keeps people coming back day after day until a habit is formed.
  3. Is it actively managed? Like a road network without the highway code, an intranet without rules will soon descend into chaos.  And yes you will need ‘enforcement officers’ to apply the rules.  While many intranets have a policy for content ownership and responsibilities few actively apply them and remove out of date and under-used material.
  4. Has it evolved?  Is your intranet a ‘living breathing organism’ or a dinosaur heading towards extinction? Too many intranets are launched with a big bang then don’t change until it’s time for a redesign 3 years later. Great intranets evolve through continuous improvement; they have a clear roadmap for new features and content that reflects changing business needs and improvements in technology.  
  5. Is it easy to find what you are looking for? Intranets usually start life being easy to use but as more content is added the navigation often becomes muddled and useful information is buried. If the search function is ineffective as well finding information becomes time consuming and frustrating. So why not apply the 80/20 rule?  If 80% of intranet traffic is generated by 20% of your pages, remove the other 80% of content.  Not only will it be quicker for users to find the most useful stuff but it will be easier to keep up to date.  Have you ever heard of an intranet fail for having too little information?
  6. Does it encourage people to get involved? How can people engage with the site? Whether it is rating content, taking part in a forum, commenting on the CEO’s blog or submitting a story, people do expect to ‘have a voice’ and be able to interact.  And while of course we know people aren’t at work to enjoy themselves (heaven forbid!) a touch of fun can lighten the day. An informal section with social news and competitions  can help build a sense of community  and keep lunchtime  traffic on the intranet rather than on YouTube.

These questions will help you identify the priority areas to tackle to revitalise your intranet and prevent it heading the way of the dinosaurs – in to extinction.

We’d love to hear how you keep your intranet alive and essential to the business –use the comments box below to share your thoughts.

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One Response to Is your intranet a dinosaur?

  1. Pingback: IntranetLounge

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