Updating an organization’s intranet is becoming more important within enterprise organizations today. Often, this initiative stems from many difficulties, spanning from outdated internal communication networks to the current intranet not looking after each stakeholder’s needs within the organization. While the intranet is not a revenue generator, these updates are generally driven from pain points within the foundation of each organization, so it's an important project to undertake.
A modern intranet connects users to additional services, apps, and external data through integrations, creating a seamless digital experience.
What is a Modern Intranet Today?
The intranet is not a revenue generator but generally comes out of a pain point, so it's important to internally discuss these topics so you can create the most suitable internal communication network for your organization. However, before launching a new intranet project there are five critical discussions an organization should have internally.
1. What’s in an Intranet?
“What does an intranet mean for your business? ” The intranet was historically focused on increasing workflow and had less impact on employees. Now, a modern Intranet can enhance internal communication, increase employment engagement and make content and resources a lot easier to find for the employees.
Creating this repository of information can allow users to connect with additional services, apps and external data through integrations. These integrations can allow a seamless digital experience of multi-layered internal communication. The modern intranet also expands into more advanced analytics giving employees the power to have immediate insight to how their solutions are performing. The key to a successful intranet for a company is creating meaningful analytics that is suited towards your organization and can help assist your employees.
2. Where Does It Hurt?
Let’s face it, most intranets are outdated and abandoned. Here are the top complaints you are probably hearing about your prehistoric relic:
1. The Search Sucks: The current intranet wasn't organized or structured for long-term usability and makes finding the right resource in a timely fashion difficult at best. Without proper governance and information architecture in place, the search experience quickly become diluted and useless.
2. The Intranet is Ugly: The current intranet is outdated and lacks an emphasis on user experience. Now, user experience is becoming critically important for employees in a workplace as it can allow them to conduct their work more efficiently and productively.
3. There is Nothing Modern about this Fossil: The outdated intranet looks a bit circa 1999, but that bubble burst. A modern intranet has a wide range of additional features to assist their employees, as well as a user-friendly interface to make navigation, engagement and productivity much easier.
The Importance of Employee Feedback in Planning an Intranet
Employee feedback is absolutely necessary when designing an intranet that serves the entire organization. Before starting an intranet project, conduct a simple survey to understand what difficulties employees are facing with the existing tools. This is crucial to the success of your intranet project.
This feedback can be as simple as understanding their biggest pain with the current system, the employee’s most used features, and what features they would desire in a new intranet. These simple answers can allow the organization to develop an internal communication network that is in line with their organizational culture.
3. What is the End Goal of Your Intranet?
Defining objectives for your intranet project before starting the project sets the tone for every decision and allows everyone to align their motives correctly. It's quite simple, by knowing the goal of the Intranet it will be a lot easier to make decisions as a team going forward. Setting out and identifying generic and specific objectives for the Intranet will spur the team into focus.
Generic Objective Examples:
Increase employee engagement
Improve internal communications
Help execute messaging resonate across the organization
Specific Objective Examples:
Achieve 50% engagement for the CEOs end-of-the-year speech
Increase employee retention by 4%
The generic objectives can be as easy as increasing employee engagement, improving internal communications and the specific objectives could be increase employee retention by 4%. The main difference between these objectives is the generic objects cannot be measured exactly whereas the specific ones can be measured more precisely. But it is important to achieve those short wins at the early stages of the project. The quicker your team sets out to define these goals the better, as they serve as the backbone for a smooth and more succinct intranet project.
4. Who Should Be Involved?
It is very important to assemble a solid team that is best suited to manage the organization's upcoming intranet project. There are combined factors to consider, such as team size and the roles and departments of team members.Here are a few scenarios I have seen, including the optimal team size:
1-2 members: isn't ideal for achieving buy-in and developing an intranet that is well suited for the entire organization and can result in adoption difficulties.
5-6 members: is ideal for productivity as it reduces conflict and is highly effective for defining features and goals to achieve a successful intranet project.
10+ members: isn’t well suited for most organizations as it can completely slow down the process with too many opinions and losing track of the core goals of the new internal communication network.
Who makes up a typical Intranet Project Team?
The team members should be a good mix of key intranet project stakeholders, including Internal/Corporate Communications, IT, Marketing, HR, Sales and Finance. As we can see above, a strong influence from IT and Internal Communications in the organization, working together, leads to the most successful intranet projects. A good relationship between the appropriate number of stakeholders and IT staff can be a strong contributing factor in successfully completing an intranet project.
5. What Are Realistic Expectations?
Defining a timeline can be a difficult task as there are so many factors that can influence an intranet project. Each organization much answer the following:
How much do you know about what you want?
How fast does your organization move?
Do you have a deadline you have to meet?
In answering these questions you can determine an ideal timeline for your intranet project.
6 to 24 weeks is a realistic timeline for most intranets.
Intranet projects are becoming far more easier to judge now with pre-packaged intranet platforms, similar to what we have at IntranetPro. Typically, most projects can span for us from 6-24 weeks, depending on the new internal communications network they are implementing.
The Time to Start Your New Intranet Project is Now – Start the Discussion Today!
Once these five topics are discussed within an organization you are ready to launch your intranet project. You may need help from external resources to progress, but allowing organization to submerge themselves in the task is the first step to launching your new intranet project.
Don’t waste time listening to more employee complaints. Gather your core intranet team and start an intranet project to address your organization’s needs. To further educate yourself on these internal discussions before starting your intranet project you can check out our on-demand webinar “The 5 Must-Have Discussions Before Launching Your Successful Intranet Project” which elaborates on these vital discussions along with real scenarios to help you start your intranet discussions today!