Intranet impact: good or indifferent, according to intranet managers

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

Comments from participants in the 2006 Global Intranet Strategies Survey offer a fresh view from the front-lines. What do intranets really do, and what are the challenges for intranet teams?

Straight from the mouths of intranet managers …

“We are in a mode of commoditization and standardization, so the Intranet is playing a huge role in that effort. It truly is a culture-changing tool to force people to self-serve more than they ever have before.”

“What is interesting is that top-down leadership may not work with our culture considering how long we have operated as silos. The intranet may create a community we are not used to having, but then again, it may continue to be siloed. We will see. It depends a lot on how important an intranet is to our new executive director.”

“Adoption of the intranet has been quite smooth once workers find out what it can do, except for the older generation of workers, who have resisted change.”

“It can be difficult for a new employee to understand who does what in the organization because it’s not always obvious where a department sits in the organization. Having lots of organizational charts on the intranet doesn’t really help because the user still needs a certain amount of knowledge about the company to use the charts correctly.”

“Today, most employees in the operations rely almost completely on their local/unit’s intranet; with certain exceptions (e.g., global company events), outside of corporate HQs, the global intranet is mainly used regularly only by management and members of cross-discipline communities.

“Lots of employees have great hopes for the new intranet, and we plan to deliver on that desire. Creating an intranet strategy that senior managers buy into is also key. But we have to start small and replacing the current intranet with an easy to use content management system is our first step.”

One of the biggest challenges may be to make the organization and especially management aware of what is involved in keeping the intranet alive and well!

I offer you one final quote:

“People view it as a utility now, like the lights, telephone and e-mail. No awareness of the teams behind, or the work involved.”

Sounds like this organization has “made it” in terms of the intranet being business critical – but I wonder if the intranet team is getting the recognition they deserve…?