A new intranet project requires more than just writing a couple of database applications and putting them on a network.
A useful intranet requires an appealing, easy to use interface, which integrates applications, has good security features, document management and helps you to work smarter not harder and applications that grow and develop with your needs.
In fact, a well planned and thought out intranet can really revolutionise the way your company does business. It can certainly change the way your employees interact and positively impact all your business processes.
This checklist brings together a range of considerations to support you in creating and maintaining an effective and sustainable intranet.
Consider the potential of the intranet to enhance the operation of your organisation.
- What business benefits will your intranet achieve?
- How quickly will ROI be achieved?
- How can an intranet benefit the different departments/areas of your organisation?
- What benefits to envision beyond the ROI in terms of collaboration and communication enhancements across your company?
Consider the Specific Needs of the Organisation
- Key Features
- Branding Your Intranet
- Linking to Other Systems
- Identify User Needs
Determine Intranet Goals
Effective intranet goals generally focus on business outcomes and benefits such as:
- Increase staff efficiency, productivity and satisfaction
- Improve decision making
- Improve customer service by providing accurate and consistent advice
- Support internal communications and collaboration
- Reduce duplication of effort and costs
- Build corporate identity
Establish an Intranet Project Team
The planning and on-going development of an intranet requires a diverse skill set as well as the consideration for issues from different viewpoints:
- Appoint intranet sponsor/s – senior intranet sponsors can drive the adoption and growth of the intranet
- Intranet Management – a single manager or team to manage the intranet on a day-to-day basis and market it to users
- Content authors – usually representatives from different areas of the business who take responsibility over managing the content of particular intranet sections
Design and Content
- Build or buy? Consider the pros and cons of building your own solution or purchasing an out-of-the box solution
- Your intranet should be easy and efficient to use for all users, regardless of their IT literacy
- Carry out regular evaluations and usage monitoring to ensure that the site remains effective
- Incorporate ‘killer applications’ and make the intranet a place for ‘doing things’ e.g. booking holidays, staff directory with professional networking groups, online forums
- Ensure high quality content – if the information on your intranet is not consistent, accurate, comprehensive and appropriate, staff will seek the information from alternative sources
- Information architecture – consider the more appropriate structure for the intranet, e.g. task/subject based structure
- Establish content review processes – can these be automated through the content management system?
- Ensure the intranet meets accessibility standards – intranets are required to be accessible by disabled users and users of assistive technology.
- These requirements have been outlined by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
- Ensure that the intranet administrators and authors receive adequate training
Launching Your Intranet
Marketing the Intranet
- Name the intranet – consider a naming competition to determine a suitable name. This can generate awareness and knowledge of the new (or redeveloped) site
- Establish clear intranet branding – this can help distinguish the intranet from the corporate website
- Develop a communications plan – this outlines the ‘message’ about the intranet that will conveyed, who the target audiences are and how and when they will be contacted
Plan other promotional activities:
- Emails linking to intranet
- Automatically loading the intranet home page on log-in
- Gimmicks and novelties
- Staff training/induction
Build trust in the intranet. Staff are more likely to use and support the intranet if they have confidence in its content and management. Users will trust the intranet if they feel that:
- Content is complete, accurate and up-to-date
- The intranet will continue to be viable into the future
- It is worth devoting time learning how to use the intranet
- The intranet is being supported and taken seriously by senior management
Plan to phase in new functionality over time – this gives you the opportunity to repeat some of the marketing initiatives above and will help you maintain interest and usage in your intranet.
With good planning and preparation you can provide a tool which helps employees to work smarter not harder, good luck with your project.