If you are an intranet manager, you have probably heard these or similar questions and statements before – from either colleagues or management.
The perception of the existing intranet is rarely positive if you ask around most organisations. They are typically information heavy, difficult to navigate, not up-to-date and have failed to evolve much; they simply don’t live up to users’ expectations. So how do we move from the much maligned intranet 1.0 towards solutions that meet current user demands?
Not 5 minute changes
Many members in the J. Boye intranet manager groups feel they are trapped in a dark triangle of rising user expectations, cuts on internal communications budgets and demands from management around “getting more out of the intranet by way of among others knowledge sharing, collaboration and supporting business change”.
Some organisations have, however, chosen to face those challenges and made strides in terms of changing their intranets from the static, top-down intranet to a more social and collaborative environment for employees. One example is Scandinavian dairy giant Arla Foods who made their intranet social.
But these are not 5 minute changes. They are complex and often torturous journeys – not just in terms of adapting the technology, but in terms of getting the users onboard and understanding the functionalities and potential value of this new way of working.
Many intranet managers are holding (or being held!) back. Embarking on a process like this is daunting. Where do you start? Digital agencies and self proclaimed experts are busy telling everyone that social is the new black, but many intranet managers have also heard from peers that it is not simply a case of “build and they will come”; that simply adding a bunch of new social tools to the technology stack will do little but confuse users. So what should you do?
Is there a real business benefit?
We strongly advise our members to start by assessing whether any of this would be of any real business benefit to your particular organisation. Angela Ashenden, principal analyst at UK based MWD Advisors has conducted extensive work and research in this area and has compiled a number of useful considerations on how to assess, get started and dos & don’ts backed up by the firm’s ongoing research.
In the 4-stage free webinar “Empower your employees: 6 top tips for Social Intranet success”, she explores the emergence of social intranets, trends and tendencies, technology options, the vendor landscape and highlights a number of current best practices around aligning strategies, change management, adjusting ambitions, integration with existing platforms and other important considerations before you embark on “the social journey”. A good place to start if you are still trying to decide what to do – or if you are evaluating what you have already done. The webinar is accessible directly from the website - no need to register. MWD have also published a more in-depth report for those who want more.
More about the potential of more collaborative intranet solutions and potential pitfalls of going social:
Recent blog post from J. Boye’s Guy van Leemput on social intranets.