Why Intranets get Stuck and How to get Them Moving Again


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This presentation provides intranet managers and leaders with insight, practical advice, and actionable tools to help them assess and fine-tune existing intranet strategies that have not met expectations as well as develop and implement new intranet strategies successfully. The presentation is based on a book, Why Intranets Get Stuck, which was written by three colleagues who together have over 60 years of combined intranet experience working for and with organizations including PwC, URS Corporation and Schlumberger.

8 Characteristics of a strong intranet sponsor
8 Steps to a social networking strategy
12 Most common employee tasks on an intranet
20 Questions to help you rate your intranet
20 Downloadable tools and templates you can use now
22 Measures of intranet success
50 Topics for standards and guidelines

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Why Intranets get Stuck and How to get Them Moving Again

  1. 1. WHY INTRANETS GET STUCK And how to get them moving again Practical Advice for Getting your Intranet Back on Track Visit: intranetsunstuck.com for tools and more information Tracy Beverly Susan O’Neill Edward Walter
  2. 2. Introduction Fixing an Intranet that’s Stuck When an intranet hasn’t been adopted into the organization as fully as expected, management often questions its value. This can cause the intranet to get stuck: implemented, somewhat useful but not viewed as a strategic priority or a primary online destination for employees. When done right, an intranet can be a place here employees go and easily get current information, complete tasks, interact with colleagues and collaborate to get a job done. It can also be an important vehicle for communicating and reinforcing corporate culture and messages. This presentation will help intranet managers determine why their intranet has not reached its potential and what can be done to improve the situation. Want to rate your intranet? Visit intranetsunstuck.com and take the 20 question quiz. The site also provides access to tools and templates that will help with intranet assessment, strategy development and implementation. 2
  3. 3. Stuck 10 Reasons Why Intranets Fail ① The goals for the intranet are not well-defined. ② The ownership of the intranet is not clear. ③ Departments engage in siloed thinking and try to go it alone. ④ Users and their needs are neglected. ⑤ Mistaken belief that technology is a silver bullet. ⑥ Content is an afterthought. ⑦ Intranet resources are insufficient or the wrong kind. ⑧ The intranet’s roll-out was a secret. ⑨ Mistaken belief that launch means the project is done. ⑩ Continuous improvement is an aspiration but not a reality. 3
  4. 4. Strategy Defining Purpose and Setting Goals 4
  5. 5. Strategy Defining Purpose and Setting Goals When setting goals for your intranet, keep in mind both the demands of the users and the needs of the business. The key goal of any intranet is to make the lives of employees easier, but helping senior leadership communicate mission and corporate culture can be as important. 5
  6. 6. Strategy Strategy Development To build a strategy, start with a discovery process: Review Analyze • Project objectives • Stakeholders • Critical success criteria • User needs • Technology • Communications channels Assess • Current state • Project implementation challenges This intelligence will help you identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and give you the foundation for developing an effective strategy. Tool: Strategy Development Guide Intranetsunstuck.com 6
  7. 7. Strategy Strategy Development Strategy development should be collaborative. Involve stakeholders and leadership, and make the process simple.  Agree on purpose.  Set goals and priorities.  Define approach.  Develop a plan and road map. 7
  8. 8. Strategy Sponsorship and Governance Sponsorship and governance are critical to the success of an intranet. One of the main reasons intranets fail is because of weak, isolated or nonexistent sponsorship. The ideal sponsor: • Is a champion with a direct relationship with leadership. • Drives the strategy and sets the pace. • Keeps the intranet strategy closely aligned with business priorities. • Is a passionate employee advocate. • Makes decisions and sticks with them through implementation. • Chairs the governance board. Tool: Standards and Guidelines Intranetsunstuck.com 8
  9. 9. Strategy Sponsorship and Governance Which type of governance model is best for your organization? Centralized Decentralized Typically feature a central program office that oversees the day-to-day management of the intranet. This model works best for hierarchical organizations with one intranet. Have governance groups at multiple levels. Typically this model is used when there is an intranet incorporating multiple divisions or countries. 9
  10. 10. Strategy Autonomy versus Consolidation Another critical strategic decision is the level of consolidation that an intranet should have. Sometimes some autonomy is needed – if, for example, there is classified information that should be available only to some employees. There are ways to consolidate all or part of your online content that still provide a good user experience: • Microsites that adhere to company-wide standards. • Information architecture that accommodates sub-sections. • Portal strategy with over-arching information architecture and consolidated home page. Tool: Integration Guidelines Intranetsunstuck.com 10
  11. 11. Users The Key to a Successful Intranet 11
  12. 12. Users The Key to a Successful Intranet The biggest single factor in the success of an intranet is its users! This may seem obvious but many organizations often don’t fully understand what this means. Employees want: • The intranet to help them be productive and efficient. • The usability to be similar to their personal experiences on the web. • Easy access – from anywhere, on any device. Employees should be at the center of the user experience. 12
  13. 13. Users Information Architecture Developing an effective information architecture should start with a thorough needs and resource analysis. • Understand how the intranet supports business objectives. • Identify the most common tasks. Most Common Tasks Employees Complete on their Intranet 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. Complete a form Manage benefits Contact a colleague Find an expert Get help Request a resource Do the right thing (i.e., business methodologies, project procedures) Stay in compliance Track with company culture and direction Get help in an emergency Profile personal skills and role at company Interact with other employees 13
  14. 14. Users User Interface The user interface is about way-finding, access and familiarity. Most of all, it’s about usability. User interface design elements: • Navigation – clear and consistent • Page layout – optimal visual performance • Color – draws attention and shows relationships Tool: User Interface Guide Intranetsunstuck.com 14
  15. 15. Users Social Networking The integration of social networking tools into all facets of an intranet can have a powerful effect on the workforce. These tools can help: • Recruit, engage and retain employees. • Empower collaboration. • Improve business processes. • Shorten development cycles. • Support and reinforce the organization’s brand and culture. 15
  16. 16. Users Social Networking Develop a social networking strategy first before introducing these tools into your intranet. • Make sure you are clear on what you want to accomplish. • Determine cultural expectations. • Identify organizational parameters – are there financial, cultural, legal or technological limitations to consider? • Gain senior leadership buy-in. • Select social tools that align to business objectives. • Implement and integrate as seamlessly as possible into legacy systems. • Develop guidelines and measurement tools. • Benchmark, measure and improve. 16
  17. 17. Users User Surveys Users should be driving upgrades and fixes to the intranet. The user survey is the best way to gain valuable insight into how the intranet is faring and what can be done to improve it. Tool: Employee Questionnaire Intranetsunstuck.com 17
  18. 18. Technology Not the Silver Bullet 18
  19. 19. Technology Not the Silver Bullet Technology alone won’t produce a great intranet. Many intranet projects focus too much attention on picking the right technology, scanting other important issues. They fail to consider organizational and employee requirements, integration points with other internal systems, or bottlenecks for employee tasks and processes. To create a successful intranet, start with understanding the full scope of requirements, and then decide which IT solution is best. 19
  20. 20. Technology IT Requirements Key elements of the right technology: • Web content publishing capability. • Employee identity management, authentication and single sign-on. • Integration support to connect to email and legacy systems. • Social networking capabilities. • Side-wide and topic-specific search. • User activity analysis. Tool: IT Requirements Checklist Intranetsunstuck.com 20
  21. 21. Technology IT Requirements Common technology mistakes to avoid: • The technology dictates the navigation. • Wrong development methodologies. • Too much customization. • Poor IT support. • Security concerns overshadow the user experience. 21
  22. 22. Content Good Content is Fundamental 22
  23. 23. Content Good Content is Fundamental Many organizations assume that populating the intranet with content will be easy – easier than choosing the right technology or designing the user experience. Nothing is further from the truth. Too often there is no clear idea of: • What content is important or relevant. • What users prefer for accessing and using the content. • How up-to-date or complete the content is. • What’s involved in getting the content ready for integration into the intranet. • How content will be maintained once the intranet is implemented. 23
  24. 24. Content Developing or Rethinking Content Strategy What • • What topics? What forms? Why • • Why does this provide business value? Why will employees care? How • • • • • Tool: Content Strategy Discussion Guide Intranetsunstuck.com How will content needs be identified? How will content be developed? How will content be delivered? How will content be maintained? How will content be measured? Where • Where will we get the content? When • • • When will the content be published? When will the content be updated? When will it be expired or decommissioned? Who • • • Who is responsible for creating the content? Who is responsible for publishing and producing the content? Who is responsible for updating the content? 24
  25. 25. Content Content Categories Typical content categories for intranets: Our Organization News and Communications Our People Projects and Project Resources Policies and Forms Knowledge and Research Administrative Tasks and Departmental Information Human Resources Marketing and Sales Training and Career Development Employee Groups and Communities Tool: Typical Content Categories Intranetsunstuck.com 25
  26. 26. Content Content Consolidation Need to consolidate content from recently acquired businesses or previously existing intranets? 1. Inventory and analyze content 2. Categorize and align 3. Eliminate duplication 4. Develop integrated content structure 5. Vet and agree levels of consistency and divergence 6. Pilot and refine Tool: Content Consolidation Roadmap Intranetsunstuck.com CONSOLIDATED CONTENT STRATEGY 26
  27. 27. Resources The Right Resources 27
  28. 28. Resources The Right Resources Most intranet teams are under-resourced. As an “overhead” project in the corporate structure, they inevitably make do with less than the ideal. But with a good strategy and a way to set priorities, they can be very effective. The intranet team leadership role is critical. Successful intranets are led by a leader who sees the big picture, has credibility with leadership, and reports to senior management. 28
  29. 29. Tool: Job Descriptions Intranetsunstuck.com Resources The Dream Team Bare minimum Intranet Manager Producer or Client Manager Home Page Editor Ideally with these additional roles User Experience Specialist Change Manager Company Information Specialist Search Optimization Specialist Human Resource Specialist Social Networking Specialist Policy Specialist Metrics & Analytics Specialist Quality Assurance Manager 29
  30. 30. Resources Organization Structure There is no one right structure for the intranet organization. Some teams are highly centralized while others are spread across divisions and geographies. The team’s organization should reflect the organizational approach of the business overall. Ideally the dream team should be centralized and coordinate specialties with their counterparts in other parts of the business organization. 30
  31. 31. Resources Partnering with Third Parties Many intranet teams incorporate third-party resources into their major initiatives or ongoing efforts. Third parties can be used for: • Strategy development • Content analysis and design • Graphical user and user experience design • Migration • Project management The successful intranet manager develops a cadre of trusted partners who can be quickly integrated into the intranet team for maximum benefit. 31
  32. 32. Communications The Intranet is Often an Organization’s Best Kept Secret 32
  33. 33. Communications The Intranet is Often an Organization’s Best Kept Secret It takes enormous effort from all involved to get an intranet off the ground or reinvented. A well-thought-out communications strategy can do more than prepare users for change; it can build excitement and anticipation. The communications strategy should take a multi-level approach and take into account the different needs of each target audience. Communications Planning Checklist  Identify specific audiences  Specify media or method to be employed  Define the purpose of the communications  List key messages to be included in each communication  Schedule timing of events from beginning to delivery Tool: Communications Plan Intranetsunstuck.com 33
  34. 34. Communications Pre-Launch Pre-launch communications should: • Provide timely information and progress updates to the stakeholders, sponsors and intranet team. • Direct and encourage word-of-mouth communications from early adopters and testers. • Announce what changes are coming and how they will benefit all employees. Create buzz through beta-testing. Communicate why, not just what. 34
  35. 35. Communications Post-Launch Communications don’t end at launch. They help engage users during the early stages of an intranet’s introduction or re-launch. They are also essential to keeping users aware of improvements and changes. The intranet can be a powerful communications channel – so leverage it. Experiment with using social media internally to spread the word. Use training sessions and demonstrations as communications. 35
  36. 36. Measurement How Do You Know Your Intranet is Successful? 36
  37. 37. Measurement How Do You Know Your Intranet is Successful? The challenge for many organizations is determining what to measure, what the metrics mean, and what to do next. It’s critical to link measurement to value, be it time-savings, revenue generation, or faster onboarding of new employees. Use both quantitative and qualitative measures, and tie these to regular assessment and planning processes. 37
  38. 38. Measurement What to Monitor and Measure User Activity Content Activity User Feedback • Unique visitors • Page visits • Help desk logs • Unique logins per day • Content ratings and favorites • Online user surveys • Visits • • Focus groups • Traffic patterns • Top 10 tasks Social networking (employee profiles created, number of comments) • Activity trends • • Activity of champions and trend-setters Content tagged for personal collections • Search results • Search queries • Systems Activity • Speed and performance indicators • Peak times • Time per transaction • Bandwidth use • Devices used Lack of activity 38
  39. 39. Measurement Strategic Assessment It’s also important to complete a regular strategic assessment that enables you to step back and take a holistic view of progress against strategy. This can help you fine-tune your strategy. Or, you may find that the strategy is not working, and a rethinking is needed. Perform an annual assessment of what progress as been made against stated goals and then determine implications and actions to address. Tool: Annual Intranet Assessment Framework Intranetsunstuck.com 39
  40. 40. Improvement Launch is Only the Beginning 40
  41. 41. Improvement Launch is Only the Beginning Once an intranet is launched, many organizations let their attention and communications dissipate. They under-estimate the level of effort needed to keep an intranet dynamic and alive. Principles for Ongoing Intranet Improvement Context Clarity Ease Make strategy and benefits clear to each stakeholder group Explain rules and processes; highlight the benefits of compliance Make compliance with rules easy for content owners to accomplish Sustained Maintain communications and support over an extended period Ownership Ensure that key stakeholder groups have “skin in the game” 41
  42. 42. Improvement Staying Relevant and Agile 42
  43. 43. What makes an Intranet Great? 43
  44. 44. Great Intranets Successful intranets share five key characteristics:  A company-wide mission.  A real home page.  It’s the place where the organization meets employees, and employees meet each other.  Keeps up with user needs and expectations.  Balanced and trusted content. 44
  45. 45. For More Information Visit: intranetsunstuck.com 45
  46. 46. About the Authors Tracy Beverly Tracy has 20 years’ experience working with clients to develop and implement best-in-class intranets in support of business productivity and successful user experience. Tracy was Global Director of PricewaterhouseCooper’s (PwC’s) KnowledgeCurve intranet, named by CIO to their Top Intranets list three years in a row. She provides intranet and website consulting services to URS Corporation, the United Nations, and other large companies and non-profit organizations. Susan O’Neill Susan is a retired principal of PwC and has more than 20 years of experience in leading and executing intranet and Internet strategies on a global level. She has worked with senior executives around the globe to develop and successfully execute business strategies dependent on effective integration of web technologies. Edward Walter Ed comes from a design background and has led teams in solving interface, usability and navigation problems inherent in the online space. He has worked with PwC, Watson Wyatt Worldwide, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Aetna Inc., Pfizer, Ernst & Young, Schlumberger, URS, Tyco and Lockheed Martin. Ed is a faculty member of Parsons The New School for Design. 46