Business & Value, Strategy & Decision-making

What keeps senior management awake at night and what is your intranet doing about it?

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

The second annual Global Intranet Trends Survey is currently on going. It will still be open for several weeks, and I want to go down on record with some predictions before I close the survey to begin analysis.

Three predictions about the 2007 intranet survey results

This article is the first one and focuses on whether or not the intranet has become the “way of working” in organizations:

1. Intranets will still be primarily perceived as information tools.

The major perception of intranets is that they are information tools, only somewhat a collaboration tool and practically not at all a tool that brings business value to the organization.

This was the result in 2006, and I expect only a slight change in 2007 results.

2. Intranets will not yet be the “way of working” for the vast majority of organisations.

There will be a small number of organizations where the intranet will have become the way of working, but not even 1 out of 4 or 5.

The 2007 survey asks the question: “How soon do you think the intranet or portal will become the “way of working” in your organization?” and offers a choice of answers:

  • Not foreseeable.
  • It’s a long way off. (Over 5 years.)
  • We have made progress. Still far away. (Another 3 or 4 years.)
  • It is in the process of becoming so. (Another 1 or 2 years.)
  • It already is.

My guess is that most organizations will fall into the “we have made progress” group.

3. Awareness by senior management of the potential role of the intranet will have increased very little if at all.

I would love to see a jump from the 2006 survey results where in only 13% of the cases, did senior management consider the intranet to be “business critical”. Another 29 % considered it “very useful”.

This left 58 % where it was considered “useful” or “nice to have”.

“Lack of awareness of the potential role of the intranet” was considered the biggest hindrance in 72 % of the organizations.

I do not expect to find a big change in the numbers for 2007 because this is a long-term issue that will require much communication and work on the part of organizations.

A few words on “business critical”

Most intranets lack the “full service offering” that makes them indispensable to doing business within the organizations. How many of the following statements are true about your intranet?

  • The intranet facilitates business changes & reactivity because the information architecture and navigational options are defined from a user-centric viewpoint, not an organizational one.
  • Senior management communicates regularly on the intranet, with “real” content, not corporate speak.
  • The home page has new news every day, not just from headquarters but from around the world, specifically from the field operations.
  • Business connections can be made across the organization because staff directories let people find people without knowing the exact name, do searches by function, geography and expertise.

There are many other statements to be made, and I invite your contributions!

What keeps senior management awake at night?

I close with one piece of advice. If you want your intranet to be perceived as critical by top management, do the following:

  • Brainstorm on what keeps the senior management of your organization awake at night.
  • Make a short list.
  • Then make sure your intranet content and service offering relate to these things, whatever they are.

If your intranet is going in the right direction, it should not be hard to do. If the points you come up with and your intranet offer seem unrelated, then some re-thinking might be called for.


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