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20 steps to maintaining an effective intranet

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Whether you are responsible for your intranet as part of a team, as part of a broader role or as a full time Intranet Manager, there are a number of things you can do to ensure you have an effective intranet.

1. Check your alerts on a regular basis

Your alerts notify you of things you need to action or know. If you aren’t responding to these, it gives a poor example to your users and will hinder adoption.

alerts final

2. Review your ‘Best Bets’

Best bets work the same way as Google Adwords within a search. If you make a page a Best Bet, it will appear at the top of the search identified as a Best Bet.

3. Identify who the collaborative influences are on your intranet

Users with a high influence score conduct behaviour which contributes to a collaborative intranet. Use the Influence Score widget on your homepage or a Content Area homepage to see who the most influential (and least influential) users are.

influence

4. Familiarise yourself with analytics

Throughout these points, I will keep referring back to Analytics. Using your intranet analytics is key in ensuring your intranet is effective in meeting user needs.  Your analytics are designed as a dashboard to enable you to maintain your intranet and be aware of future risks.

5. Focus on your warnings

Warnings inform you of  things you need to do immediately and less urgent issues you need to be aware of and plan in to your schedule. Make a habit of reviewing warnings on a regular basis to maintain a healthy intranet, if you are short of time focus on high warnings, and consider that the moderate warnings will need looking at in the next month

6. Ensure your profile is 100% complete

If you want your users to complete and update their profiles, not only do they need to understand what is in it for them (anecdotes sharing the frustration of out of date phone numbers work well) but they also want to see their intranet manager and senior management team leading by example.

profile completeness

Your analytics will offer a report of users who do not have a complete profile, so you can work with them to get their profiles up to date.

7. Check the pages with inactive authors

If your pages don’t have an active author, pages are at risk of missing expiry and review dates, the content is unlikely to be timely and comments will not be responded to.

8. Review documents without keywords

Pages without keywords are less searchable which in turn means your users may think content isn’t available which really is.

If you have a lot of these, maybe consider  if there is a training opportunity among content authors.

9. Look if there is a theme for your users’ peak usage?

Whilst you may want to know this to understand your users’ behaviour and understand why usage is higest on certain days, this information will also indicate to you when the peak days are to launch comms and features.

Set your time period within Analytics and look for the peak in Analytics Overview. In the example below, there is a healthy level of usage but Tuesday appears to be the peak day:

peaks in usage

10. Searches which failed to find what your user wanted

This feature is a great way to spot gaps in the information your intranet offers your users, alternatively this could go back to the issue of content with no key words.

11. Analyse searches which returned zero results

Spot gaps in what your intranet offers your users, you can use this information to work with department managers and put in your intranet development plan.

12. Review pages not read in the last 3 months

Redundant content on your intranet will lessen the user experience. However pages may not be read due to being housed in an inaccurate content area or maybe not featuring the terms your users may know a piece of content by. This is where you need to review your Keywords and Best Bets too.

13. Review content expiring within next 30 days

This feature is particularly useful if you have authors who aren’t particularly proactive with maintaining their content despite alerts. If you have any authors who are particularly tardy, this information will help you work with them to ensure they’re reviewing their content.

14. Identify which authors write engaging content

Engaging content will undoubtedly increase both the readership and usability of your intranet. The Document Quality Score (DQS) informs you which authors write effective and engaging content against a set of criteria. The higher an author’s DQS, the more engaging their content is likely to be.

15. Similarly identify which authors write disengaging content

In the same manner, a low DQS informs you which authors have poor and disengaging content against a set of criteria. You might choose to use example of authors with a high DQS’ work to give them good practice examples. You may even choose to buddy up poor authors with strong authors.

16. Review most searched terms and consider these in your shortcuts

Review your search Analytics and understand which features your users are most commonly looking for as well as looking at the hits rate of your various features. These Analytics will guide you on what shortcuts would most benefit your users. If you have multiple homepages for different elements of your user base, you may choose to identify those analytics against specific departments.

shortcuts

17. Review content areas with a poor blend of widgets

Homepages typically need a good balance of widgets to meet your business’ needs.

To discover which homepages have a poor balance between collaboration, business process and communication consider:

  • Too much communication leads to a feeling of a tell culture in your business, users are less likely to comment
  • Majority focus on process, leads to the intranet being seen as a task tool, with users unlikely to browse
  • Too much collaboration risks losing some business needs

Try to get a good balance of widgets which cover all 3 of these areas.

18. Analyse your intranet department by department

To understand the impact of your intranet across your business, it is useful to be able to view Analytics by department to understand which departments are key users and which are not adopting your site en masse.

Work with departments who have not adopted your intranet to find some time saving benefits for them and help them to see the value they can gain.

19. Review Mandatory Read levels

See which users have outstanding Mandatory Reads you can even send reminder notifications for critical information like health and safety or new legislation.

20. Review levels of expertise and interests

Often business spend money on third parties believing they don’t have the skills they require among their workforce, identify common interests, providing ideas for targeting features or content.

Written by Nigel Williams.

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