Strategy & Decision-making

3 surprises on the “relevancy list”

…… Part of The Basics series. First published in June 2008 ……


The Quick Poll for the 2008 Global Intranet Strategies Survey offered organisations a list of 29 topics and asked them to indicate the relevance these topics had for them and their organisations. 

Surprise 1: Intranet managers do not seem to be concerned with risk management.

What bothers me the most is to see “Risk management” next to the bottom of the list. If we want the intranet to become a business critical tool, the way of working, the single entry point into the organisation’s information and collaboration resources, etc. – all those good things we keep talking about, then why are intranet managers not more interested in seeing how other organisations are managing the risks.
Only 1 out of 5 taking the Quick Poll considered it “highly relevant”.

I recently talked at a group of IT directors for major companies in the pharmaceutical industry, and when I showed them how  organisations with Stage 3 intranets have a high degree of business applications integrated into the intranet, the first question I got was “How do they manage the risk of the intranet failing?”

Surprise 2: Accessibility is at the bottom of the list.

By accessibility, I mean designing the intranet so that it is accessible to people with different handicaps or limitations. There are official, legal requirements for accessibility for public web sites of government agencies in some countries. There are also legal requirements in many countries that employees should all have equal access to the information they need to do their jobs.

It seems to me that accessibility will be moving up the list sooner or later. If intranets are being re-designed, it should be built in now. (Web accessibility initiative of the W3C)

Surprise 3: External social networking concerns are fairly low on the list.

This surprises me because I hear so many people talking about non official groups their employees are creating in the name of the company on Facebook for example. Many use the company logo, and are open to anyone, employee or not.

Closed groups (or networks) on external tools are a different story because only employees can join. The open ones appear to be “supported” by the company, yet the company has no say in what happens there.

I recently found a Facebook group from one of the huge global pharmaceutical companies where medical representatives in the vaccine business in a country had created their own group. People from the public were coming on and asking questions related to the company’s product strategy. Although the members of the group (from what I could see) were not actually providing answers, it seems to me that the situation is ambiguous to say the least.