Design & Technology January 15, 2015
7 common challenges to the development of an effective Intranet
Before diving straight into developing a strategy for developing an intranet, it is important to undertake discovery and stakeholder workshops to identify and define the challenges your organisation faces.
Having worked with many global organisations on intranet development, here are seven challenges that often arise during discovery workshops:
We need to define the purpose of the intranet.
- ‘Need to understand what the intranet is for’
- ‘We have no strategic direction for the intranet’
- ‘We need to make the site attractive and improve our communication’
- ‘We need to be able to evolve the space as we understand its role more’
It is important to ensure that the wider business supports the intranet, understands its role alongside the other business communication tools, and its place in the communication mix. Senior stakeholders, a business champion and stakeholders from across the business are required to drive the project forward.
We need to create a sense of urgency and business-focus around the intranet.
- ‘Nobody manages content as the intranet is not really a priority’
- ‘There are lots of barriers to creating good quality content’
- ‘I think we have a lot of content already, it’s just a case of maximising and featuring what is already there’
For an intranet to be a success the wider business must understand of the purpose of the intranet as a global resource and communications tool. The organisation must dedicate ongoing time, responsibility and commitment to maximise the benefits of the intranet.
We need to identify and answer the needs of the intranet users
- ‘What does our internal user want?’
- ‘There is a lack of trust for the intranet content’
- ‘There are too many intranets and it’s confusing to use’
- ‘It would be good to share info and comment on good content’
- ‘I want to find people with the right skills’
Key to an intranet’s success is ensuring that it meets the needs of its users. Consolidating all internal comms into one centralised system will reduce complexity, ensure consistency, and provide a much better user experience.
We need a clear path to contact and provide a genuine service.
- ‘Not user-orientated, people can’t find what they need’
- ‘We should be providing a real service’
The lack of a consistent global proposition could result in multiple intranets having been developed, each with a disparate look and feel, resulting in complexity and subsequent user negativity.
We need the right technology platform to design and develop on.
- ‘The CMS is not very easy to use and outdated for the content we would like to use’
- ‘We need a simple CMS – simple to connect and simple look and feel’
Historically, poor technology may have been implemented, or the current CMS may not be fit-for-purpose any more.
We need to put the intranet on the map in all markets in a consistently strong and relevant way.
- ‘We have just created a new department or business function so let’s develop a new intranet’
- ‘The intranet doesn’t reflect the innovation, ideas and leadership that we have’
The intranet should act as a global knowledge and innovation hub, which delivers consistent comms across the organisation.
We need to understand how to rollout, manage and maintain the control of the intranet experience, whilst allowing innovation and local control.
- ‘We have too many templates that are not flexible, so we only use the ones we find easy’
- ‘We created the site because the main site is too difficult’
The selected technology platform should enable the creation of flexible templates, with the ability to easily add new templates, as required. Each local market should have sufficient CMS training to empower them to use the selected platform, to ensure ongoing content management.