3 ways to bring coherence to the intranet ecosystem

August 9, 2011

The global intranet manager should govern the intranet, not manage it. The word “governance” is often used to cover both, but we should in fact make a distinction:

  • Governance is a steering framework that defines strategic goals, decision-making (who and how), accountability, and procedures for reconciling differences.
  • Management, on the other hand, refers to how the governance decisions and principles are put into practice. For example: the definition of guidelines and rules, life-cycle steps, processes, editorial policies, standardization, and so on.

Intranet managers responsible for large intranet eco-systems should focus on governing, not managing. Their vocation should be to help bring meaning and relevance for people using these systems.

Intranet managers have 3 primary governance tools…

People work within a “maze” of web-based and digital platforms and systems. This often creates complexity, confusion and frustration for people. Three key pieces for bringing meaning to this “maze” are…

1. A start page strategy

The start page strategy  may become less important one day.  People are already beginning to use feeds of personally selected, chunked content to  devices of their choice. The death of the start page is not for tomorrow. But it’ coming faster than most people think. In the meantime, the start page is key to creating relevance for an intranet.

2. A global navigation bar or banner, anchoring the eco-system

The global navigation bar is resisted by many players in the intranet eco-system. It’s often seen as something imposed from HQ, which may be the case if it has not been defined in a collaborative way. However,  it’s the only glue that can hold some of these systems “together” for the benefit of the user.

3. A set of minimalist rules

The minimalist set of rules is the most realistic way to go in a world where intranet managers no longer (thank goodness!) have tight control over publishing content and creating spaces and sites within the intranet eco-system.

Actionable governance means embedded

Each of the three pieces above must live within a foundation of actionable governance. Actionable means embedded into the way people work. It is the opposite of governance that lives on paper only.

The next few posts will discuss the three tools above and throw out some ideas for your comments.

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