3 Steps to Launching an Effective Enterprise Intranet

Intro

As companies grow into the digital age, one of the first places executives look at is the Intranet. That’s because, from top to bottom, it’s often viewed as a portal of regret, featuring a wasteland of outdated, inaccessible information that provides employees no value. So, let’s fix this, shall we?

To get where you’re going, you must first understand where you’ve been. As Scott Liewehr, President of Digital Clarity Group, a leading consultative firm, appropriately outlined on the show, “CMS Connected,” the evolution of Intranets is not too dissimilar from the evolution of the Internet. Initially, both mediums were used to push out information (Web 1.0). The next iteration of each medium emphasized collaboration. For the Internet, this meant blogging and social media; the Intranet, meanwhile, incorporated better collaborative tools, such as message boards and document management.

From an Internet perspective, Web 3.0 has placed urgency on understanding intent. The best digital ecosystems offer end-users a personalized experience, from your company website to your social media and email channels ... all in real-time.

Make no mistake: Intranet users, - employees - require this same experience. However, company Intranets are lagging behind this new wave of focus; instead, teams are stuck using antiquated technologies that lack integration or the support needed to maximize employee engagement and the portal’s Return On Digital Investment (RODI). experience.

Thus before advancing your project, your team must dispose of the cliché, “That’s the way we’ve always done things!” Once your organization commits to a change in processes, the possibilities will seem endless. Read on to learn the three steps to creating a collaborative Intranet that your employees can effectively use.

3 Steps to Launching
an effective enterpise intranet

1

DEFINE SCOPE   
& COMMIT TO EXCELLENCE

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2

SELECT SOFTWARE
THAT FITS YOUR NEEDS

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3

DEVELOP COMMON
ORGANIZATIONAL KPIs

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1
DEFINE SCOPE & COMMIT TO EXCELLENCE

STEP 1

The largest mental hurdle to clear is embracing the idea that an Intranet isn’t a “project” - it’s a program. This means your Intranet needs real resources and ownership assigned to its development and refinement to ensure success.

Intranets are versatile in their range of use cases and how your portal operates to serve employees is not only dependent on what type of organization is using it, but the specific layers within that organization.

In other words, the experience should be contextualized – tailored, really – toward the user. To get a general overview of how your organization can develop an effective Intranet, work backwards to determine how, as an organization, you’ll arrive at your desired destination.

The investments in software, delivery, and human capital to provide ongoing ownership to the program gives clarification about your Intranet’s success (or failure). All told, this is largely predetermined by how well your project team can amass buy-in in the planning stages of the Intranet.

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2
SELECT A SOFTWARE THAT FITS YOUR NEEDS

STEP 2

As Intranet use has evolved, a CMS has become the primary tool driving enterprise portal success. Contemporary Intranet experiences are akin to web experiences. A CMS has the ability to integrate with other critical tools and features to offer employees an efficient, relevant user experience.

Personalization: To spark employee engagement, Intranet web masters must offer content on its Intranet that speaks directly to specific employees. Through the use of audience segmentation capabilities, a CMS can do just that: push content to users based on a number of demographics – department type, recently viewed documents, search history, even the device a user is using to access the portal. The use of targeted content will help users find the information they are looking for before they even login by constantly updating relevant attributes to thepersona type.

Enterprise Search: Perhaps the most important aspect of an Intranet is searching for commonly used documents. But, as you likely know, over time, information on your Intranet often becomes buried inside databases, in folders, or on other media. Ultimately, the business value of the information can be largely diminished if employees cannot easily access the right (up-to-date) content. With the integration of a robust Enterprise Search Engine, users can be assured that, if properly tagged, the information they are looking for is easily accessible.

Mobile-Friendly Capabilities: Your employees use company smart phones and tablets to work on-the-go, right? Then, it’s prudent to provide a mobile-friendly Intranet. With the use of a responsively designed website and persuasive content, your employees will experience a contextualized experience that adjusts to their needs and circumstances, not the other way around.

Community Management: Blogging tools, social media integration, message boards and comment moderation – again, not only does a CMS offer an effective means of asset and document management, coupled with personalization and search mechanisms that help provide relevant information to employees, but the software also inspires a collaborative workplace.

3
DEVELOP COMMON ORGANIZATIONAL KPIs

STEP 3

Whereas other web development projects will almost always have more direct, traceable impacts, an Intranet will make waves in different ways. So long as you’ve properly prepared, with adequate resources aligned to manage its success, you can understand your Intranet’s performance.

Intangible Evidence of Success: Again, because an Intranet’s overall goal is employee engagement and improved efficiency, this process begins with stakeholder interviews. Their satisfaction is a primary indicator of success. Is the experience relevant, intuitive, and helpful towards completing tasks in an efficient manner? Or is the content clunky, user experience scattered, and a hindrance in their daily work? Those are extremes, of course – but how they feel about the portal should provide a baseline sentiment for how you feel about the Intranet.

Tangible Evidence of Success: Beyond that, rudimentary statistics -- like overall use, path analysis, time spent logged in and bounce rates -- will help your team peel layers off the onion to decide what’s working and what’s not. Moreover, if creating a collaborative environment is an important goal for your Intranet, then monitoring discussion boards and project management will give you a high-level understanding of whether or not the portal has become a transformative tool for your organization.

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