Find out your goals and needs for an intranet
Should we choose SharePoint, Sitecore or Umbraco? Is it better to use a standard-platform or should we develop the intranet solution from the start? Often you use more time and energy on discussing technical details and systems, than finding out what the new intranet should contribute to about the business and the employees.
Before you decide whether you need a hammer or a screwdriver, it is a good idea to identify what challenges the intranet should solve. Write a business case, if it makes sense in your context. But you should also spend some time discussing your goals and needs, before you start figuring out what platform your intranet should be based on.
Kosan Crisplant about ”the employees’ intranet”
Kosan Crisplant needed a platform, which makes knowledge sharing intuitive. With around 600 employees spread across the world and a good deal of employees who are not working on a computer, it was important to get an intranet.
We wanted an international user interface, which is recognizable for the users. The goal for the first year with the new intranet was first and foremost to get the employees activated on all locations and therefore the intranet should be easily available. – Lillian Christensen, Kosan Crisplant.
Read the whole Kosan Crisplant case here
Kosan Crisplant has spent time on investigating the employees’ needs through a range of both quantitative and qualitative interviews. They then rewrote these to user profiles and needs, which have been a part of supporting selections and deselections in the process of implementing the new intranet.
The user surveys have also been a key part of securing that you do not risk developing an intranet full of content and tools, which the employees can find elsewhere. The goal has, among other things, been to ‘avoid pleonasm’, to avoid an intranet full of redundant material.
Kosan Crisplant has not formulated a big intranet strategy, but the company has thought a lot about the purpose of the new intranet. Shortly put, it should be “the employees’ intranet” and the goal is to “create more interdisciplinary collaboration in the organisation”. By having the overall goals and needs to be sorted out, it is also easier to form a range of evaluation, - and comparison criterions, which can partly be used when choosing the platform and partly when measuring the new intranet’s success.
- Decide on goals and needs before you choose a system
- Investigate how a new intranet can support the work processes of the employees
- Avoid an intranet, which creates pleonasm – both about content and tools.
Create engagement and motivation from day 1
It may seem difficult and time-consuming to involve the organisation in the process, but as Malene Brink from Skive Kommune states, it is the alpha and omega if you would like the entire organisation to be on the intranet. In Skive Kommune, which has around 4.400 employees placed on a lot of different locations, a range of key gatekeepers have been involved in the entire process from choosing a system to designing the information architecture and content. The gatekeepers have thus also participated in many staff meetings to “sell the intranet” to as many as possible.
If you are a part of a global organisation as Emma Wahlberg, Clipper, which has more than 200 employees spread in 10 countries, you have to use for example Skype to get the message out to everyone. Besides selling the intranet, it is also valuable to let one or more groups of employees test the use of the new intranet and then use their feedback in the development.
As in any other change-project, the successful implementation of a new intranet demands that those exposed to the change can see the meaning and values of the new intranet. At the same time, it is also important to match expectations, as in Skive, where they aimed for:
The top 50 most visited pages/features in the old intranet should serve as minimum work at the opening of the new intranet. - Malene Brink, Skive Municipality.
By defining the top-content and features you want to air at day 1 and be explicit about it in both the collaboration with the supplier and in the organisation, it is easier to steer the project towards success.
Many organisations have a tradition of celebrating the implementation of something new. In Skive Kommune, the intranet opened at the same time as the yearly Christmas lottery, and in Clipper there was chocolate for the employees. But it is not enough to celebrate; there should also be time and room at the launch day for helping the employees getting started and to have a plan for how to get from the festive opening to a fruitful and valuable working day with the new intranet.
- Involve the organisation from the beginning and plan the opening day carefully
- Define the content which should be available from the first day
- Create motivation by letting everyone contribute to content
The intranet is not just a project
Last, but not least, it is important to communicate to the rest of the organisation, that even though you have defined that the implementation of the new intranet is a project for a certain period – then a live and dynamic intranet demands that you keep working with it and develop it.