…… Part of The Basics series. First published in December 2009 ……
All things intranet can and should be addressed from 360 degrees. That means, covering the full circle.
For example, when you do evaluations or needs analysis for the intranet, you need to include:
- Staff of course. However, the end-users are sometimes the only ones targeted because many digital managers have become focused on user-centered approaches (which is good!) but have forgotten other angles.
- The main digital players need to be consulted. Intranet site owners, application owners and major content contributors have a lot to say.
- When it comes to management, functional and business managers are usually considered “stakeholders” and are usually included.
The forgotten ones: However, senior management, in my experience, are often forgotten. We want them to sponsor the intranet but forget to ask them how they want to use it to achieve their goals.
When you organize workshops to explore new directions for your intranet or digital workplace, or when you choose people to participate in a user panel, you need to include a range of ages and seniority. The views will be complementary. They will learn from each other.
- Combine people in their 20’s 30-40’s and 50’s .
- Include new staff and people with many years of seniority.
- Make sure all parts of the organization are represented: from bottom to top, across the divisions or regions. If you can’t do this physically, then get virtual.
Of course, the people you choose need to be motivated to participate in your initiative. I recently ran a workshop with very senior people and very new staff and the results were surprising and extremely positive. There was a high degree of listening, from both ends. And a lot of discovery.
Deliberately-mixed cocktails can be quite potent!
Most organizations can group their job types into 3 large families:
- Support functions (HR, IT, communication, finance, etc.)
- Product or service development (R&D, engineers, etc.)
- Customer-facing (marketing, sales, customer support)
The first are usually involved in the traditional intranet. The second are to some extent. Depending on the type of organization this segment wiil be more or less involved. (Sometimes they are the “rogues” who do their own thing because they know how to!)
The forgotten ones: The customer-facing people are frequently forgotten. Why are often neglected when it comes to the intranet? I believe it is because we still have the out-of-date view that intranets are for internal purposes. This is a limited view and needs to change. Business needs should be a major strategy driver for what we do on intranets.
Try the following exercise to test how well your intranet serves the customer-facing teams:
- Make a list of all your “customer touch points”. A “touch point” is any time or place customers have contact with anyone in your enterprise.
- Then go and talk to someone who works at each one of the “touch points”.
- Find out how they work and how the intranet could better support them.
Providing services and content to support the customer “touch points” will attract management attention. Be sure to find the corresponding business indicators for the “touch point” before you implement your service. You can use that as a baseline once your service is in place and start to show how the intranet brings business value to the organization.