In preparation for my intranet presentation at the Online Information conference in London, I've been talking to several intranet professionals about their current significant challenges. Despite various advances over the last years, it seems everybody agrees that there is still a long way to go for intranets if they are to fulfill their real potential.
When I first started working on the presentation a few months ago, I realized (with some guidance from intranet guru Martin White) that often little can be learned from “leading” intranets, even assuming that the characteristics of a "leading intranet" can be defined. Without the necessary prerequisites, e.g. management support, it is impossible to progress towards innovation.
BT in the UK, whose intranet is managed by Mark Morrell, is in my view an example of a very advanced intranet, perhaps even among the "leading" intranets in the world. Follow his public diary, you'll find that the BT intranet also has a long way to go, e.g. in the area of intranet application usability, where their systems were still very difficult to use.
The significant intranet challenges that I will focus on in my session titled "Why Great Intranets Still Have A Long Way To Go" are:
- lack of support (in all ways) from senior managers - making it difficult to realize the intranet potential
- usability - which makes adoption very difficult
- collaboration - many are still struggling to find the right ways to use the intranet to work together
- governance - an area where many intranets either have no real owner or are owned by a single unit, typically communication, HR or IT
- vendors, including software companies, agencies and analysts - confusing intranet professionals with all their different offerings and recommendations
I've heard about different approaches to tackling the above, in particular from conversations with several members in our community of practice and will share my thoughts on the topic at the presentation. I'll include how UNHCR were successful in getting executive management support by using a sponsor that opened doors. I'll also talk about how WWF have found a good approach to collaboration by using Google Docs. I'll post the final slides here shortly after the conference.
I would be very interested in hearing how you solved the 5 challenges
If you’d like to learn from other organisations where the intranet is truly business critical, I’d encourage you to join our international intranet conference in Copenhagen on March 22 2011.