Business & Value, x-Early Perspectives

Attitudes & activities for intranet managers in 2008

…… Part of The Basics series. First published in December 2007 ……


As an intranet manager, you are in a unique position: you may well be one of the few people in your company who realise the full potential value of the intranet, how close your organisation is to achieving this or how far away you are.

Above all, you have a good idea of what can be done to transform the intranet into the strategic asset it should be.

Achieving changes comes down to attitude and activities. Pick one or more activities that strike you as important for your organisation, but whatever you choose, do not skip the first one!

1. (Attitude) Find a good job title for yourself, get your manager to agree to it and re-do your business cards and email signature.

See my post of  August 2007 “Does your job title reflect the strategy and vision behind your role? ” with suggestions based on intranet managers around the world.

2. (Activity) Create a global intranet team with representation from different parts of your organisation.

Communicate through conference calls at least once a month, and set up an online space on the intranet to share ideas, ask questions, and in general build relationships.

3. (Activity) If you have a major project in mind, put together a short presentation (maximum 10-12 slides) for budget decision-makers.

Use business language. Focus on senior management, business and user needs. Do not use any technical words. Suggested content: (one slide per item):

  • Our intranet (portal) today
  • Stakeholder needs
  • Business and user needs
  • Current issues / risks / challenges
  • Proposed solutions / actions
  • Benefits
  • Requirements
  • Snapshot roadmap with major milestones
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Next steps
  • Decision criteria
  • Call to action

Include a short appendix of 6 – 7 slides: “what others are doing”. Refer to similar organisations and illustrate with screenshots (if possible), commentary, industry data, benchmarking information.

(Commercial break…. you’ll find plenty of ammunition in the Global Intranet Trends Report to show your management what others are doing.)

4. (Activity) Get a high level mandate to clean up the intranet landscape.

Then do it by defining roles and scopes for different sites or parts of the intranet. Work on this with the global team, get it signed off by senior management, and define a realistic but firm timeline for all sites to align. Without the high level mandate, you won’t be able to do this because you’ll hit too many political roadblocks.

5. (Activity) Work on the basics of search.

Study search logs, implement best bets, work with content producers to make content more searchable. This combined with point 4 will raise the findability index of your intranet dramatically.

6. (Attitude) Stop talking about 2.0 and begin talking about functionalities that bring value to organisations.

The very concept of version numbers does not have much meaning for intranets anyway. Intranet landscapes are so varied even within a single organisation (with the possible exception of very small ones), that you’ll find intranet 3.0 (whatever that is!) right alongside with intranet minus 1.0 (whatever that is!).

Talk about co-creation of documents, building a corporate dictionary, collecting and consolidation of marketing intelligence, project management, crisis management, internal brand-building and knowledge sharing.

7. (Attitude) Do not hesitate to make decisions on major issues, once you’ve been through the consultative part of the process.

Listening, exchanging viewpoints and discussing solutions is only the first step. It’s too easy to get bogged down and even blocked completely at that point by lack of a 100 % consensus. However, you’ll need to have a global team or visible, cross-organisational involvement as well as a clear mandate from senior management before you’ll be able to turn major decisions into reality.

One of the 2007 Survey participants cited in the Global Intranet Analysis Report says: “It is a fine line between community decision making and getting things done. There is a middle path that will help you gather a consensus in the organisation without stopping work. »

Final word: Hang in there and keep up the efforts.

You’re managing one of your organisation’s key strategic assets even if they don’t know it yet. Making them aware of this could be the most exciting and rewarding activity in your 2008 action list!

Happy New Year!