View point2 - intranet design


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View point2 - intranet design

  1. 1. Issue 02 Intranet design Introducing the next generation of corporate intranets viewpoint Corporate brand communications
  2. 2. Issue 02 Intranet design viewpoint How do you build an effective and engaging intranet? In this issue we discuss the trends and best-practice innovations being employed to create the next generation of cutting-edge corporate intranets. The corporate intranet landscape is changing. Organisations are recognising the efficiency and productivity benefits a good intranet can bring and are investing resources to ensure the latest generation of intranets are pushing boundaries. The challenge is a fascinating one with huge potential to benefit the business. But there is also a balancing act between delivering cost benefits and delivering something that engages, inspires and motivates staff. At View, we know from experience that building a truly successful intranet is the result of careful planning and focused delivery. 1 Stakeholder engagement Talk to your staff and assess business requirements. Audits, workshops and research will all help define and drive the project and ensure everything needed is captured – from the CEO wanting to share his vision, to staff out in the field who need to stay in touch. 2 Information architecture (IA) The biggest problem facing many intranets is information overload. It is critical to structure information and signpost users to relevant content through a smart and clear structure. Consider new methods of targeting content such as information personalisation or page customisation to ensure content is quick and easy to find. 3 Content Content is key to a successful intranet. Ensure it is presented in a succinct and engaging manner and updated as regularly as possible to keep it relevant and interesting. Don't just recycle existing content from other places. Instead consider how it might work more effectively online: potentially as a video or an animation. Old content needs to regularly audited and archived where relevant so that the intranet doesn't get cluttered with too much information. 4 Design and branding Corporate brand should be at the heart of your intranet, enhancing its appearance and helping communicate your company values to staff. Ensure the intranet complements other communications channels such as your corporate website, CSR brochure or financial reports? But make sure you get the balance of corporate messaging right. Too much or too obvious could be counter-productive in the long term. 5 Innovation Innovation should underpin all aspects of the intranet – from the design and brand implementation to the technologies used. The right innovations will future-proof your intranet and ensure it becomes a fundamental communications tool for your organisation. It is no longer simply a question of being a 'nice to have'. Innovation is something that users expect. 01
  3. 3. Listen to your people... Every successful intranet is built on an understanding of what your employees need. User testing, surveys, field studies and prototypes will help engage with all stakeholders from the very beginning of the project. 02
  4. 4. Some innovations which might help Every business is unique and has different requirements for its intranet. However the following trends and innovations are worth discussing with your agency at the planning stage. 1 My status HOW can i book Killer Apps. New technologies such as AJAX-enabled applications can transform business flights static HTML pages into rich and responsive 2 Flight finder web applications. Should be a low more easily? investment, high impact tool, that attracts more staff to use the intranet. I HAVE AN OPINION Web 2.0. It means different things to different people. We think it should mean 3 Blogs ABOUT THE ‘enabling collaboration to allow teams and 4 Wikis individuals to communicate more efficiently BUSINESS TOO.... and share information with greater ease’. 5 Polls 6 Book meeting rooms online I WISH I COULD Self-service tools. The best intranets provide tools to support employees’ BOOK MEETING everyday work and improve productivity. 7 Online expense forms Useful time-saving devices are the order ROOMS ONLINE! of the day. 8 Online holiday forms 9 External RSS HOW CAN I CONNECT Communication is key. Intranets provide a platform to share information with staff WITH OUR STAFF? globally and help develop a cohesive 10 Internal news corporate culture. 11 Inspiring corporate comms 1 12 Customisable news feeds 13 Dedicated HR section What’s our health HR Tools. Intranets are the perfect channel for HR teams to reach out to staff, & safety policy? inform and educate. Consider including 14 Online training employee orientation sections for new 1 joiners or online training. HOW CAN I SHARE Collaboration. Intranets can now provide a wealth of new collaboration tools to allow 15 Collaborative working WORK ONLINE? teams to share online and work together 16 Knowledge sharing more effectively. 17 Customisation WHAT’S IN Targeted content. Recognise that different users have different needs and IT FOR ME? offer them choices Develop features and 18 Tag cloud search tools to allow individual users to tailor 19 Intelligent search functionality their experiences. 03
  5. 5. SE W LO E H SS G AT A ’S RY A O An example corporate intranet W N IK P I? AG The example shown here contains a wealth of new features allowing staff to collaborate, share knowledge and do business more quickly and efficiently. E 8 19 Intelligent search 1 My status 17 Customisation 7 Online expense forms 11 Inspiring corporate communications 8 Online holiday forms 3 Blogs 5 Polls 10 Internal news 4 Wikis 15 Collaborative working 9 External RSS 16 Knowledge sharing 12 Customisable news feeds 18 Tag cloud 2 Flight finder 13 Dedicated HR section 6 Book meeting rooms 14 Online training 04
  6. 6. Issue 02 Intranet design clientview “It is essentially just about getting better information to the right people more effectively” Cherry DeGeer Global Practice Leader - Communications Rio Tinto plc At a corporate level Rio Tinto has always worked to improve its online presence internally, not only to support a growing business and evolving brand, but most importantly to ensure we meet the needs of our staff. Rio Tinto employs over 106,000 people, with operations and offices on every continent. In such a large and diverse organisation the intranet has always been a key channel to keep our staff informed and allow them to work more effectively with each other. Today, new innovations bring the potential to genuinely help companies engage with staff and make the intranet a useful business tool for the company as a whole. For instance, message boards that allow more personal dialogue with staff; videos and podcasts that allow the presentation of corporate messages in a more dynamic manner; blogs and wikis that allow staff to exchange information and opinions with each other and hopefully feel a greater sense of involvement with the company. The ability to target content is also becoming increasingly sophisticated, allowing greater levels of page customisation for individual employees. This ensures the intranet only carries information relevant to them and their job roles and does not bombard people with unnecessary information whenever they log-on. Corporate messaging on issues such as safety or productivity, and ensuring they are consistent and reach all employees effectively, fully exploits the intranet as a communication channel and helps develop a cohesive corporate culture across diverse geographic regions. With the right platform, it also begins to open up the possibility of true online working and project collaboration between teams based around the world. Material that might otherwise have been printed and distributed can be produced online and made available to employees globally, providing considerable cost benefits and time efficiencies. Although many of these innovations were originally designed for consumer sites I believe they have now made the transition successfully to the corporate sphere because they have proven benefits for corporate communications - not just as window-dressing but as tools that can really assist the business. Essentially the role of the intranet is to get better information to the right people more effectively and any innovation that helps do this should be embraced. 05
  7. 7. Case studies View has designed and built a number of intranet solutions for its clients, across a range of technical platforms. View partnered with Microsoft to help this major Scandinavian oil company plan their next global intranet. A major component of the project used collaborative technologies to integrate social networking into the intranet and deliver features such as blogs, wikis and instant messaging to staff. View developed an innovative online ‘Leadership Lounge’ to allow Diageo’s 850 top executives to share information, sign-up for events, contribute to forums, and access news and communications tools, allowing them to be kept up-to-date and informed on the issues facing the business. View undertook stakeholder research and developed a solution to support the business as it consolidated its global operations and migrated multiple intranet sites into a single group-wide portal, including: personalisation features, collaborative tools and discussion forums to allow staff to work together more closely. View designed and built an intranet portal to improve internal communications. The new portal provided a single information point and knowledge resource for staff across the business; it also introduced an innovative ‘have your say’ feedback mechanism for news stories. View developed a virtual meeting place where senior managers can debate and discuss the day-to-day issues the business faces in a more creative and collaborative environment, including: interactive discussion forums, knowledge sharing features, latest news and analyst briefings. 06
  8. 8. Issue 02 Intranet design viewblog “Before you get too excited think twice... Twitter is a particularly sharp double-edged sword” Audrey O’Kane Senior Planning Consultant It seems that all of a sudden everybody, including corporations, is jumping on the Twitter bandwagon. Thanks to new technical platforms provided by companies such as IBM and Socialtext, Twitter can be added to corporate intranets as the communication channel of choice for employees to ‘tweet’ each other with meeting requests, document uploads or general “who has my stapler?” type office enquiries. But before you get too excited please think twice. Incorporating social media into your intranet can be more hassle than it is worth. And Twitter is a particularly sharp double-edged sword. Why? Because as a communications channel, Twitter is too convenient. “What?”, I hear you say, “Now you are being ridiculous!”. But think about it. Whereas on day one we’re full of good intentions and ‘tweet’ about CEO announcements and industry news, one month later the most twittered topic is more likely to be about the company’s most unpopular secretary. How can you sort out the good from the bad and the ugly? Given the obvious risk of Tweeter-swarming and abuse, robust governance is absolutely necessary to organise, filter and potentially archive content. Unfortunately, in our experience, so far this critical element is found wanting in many corporate intranets. The second problem arises when a group of hardcore Twitterers assume that everybody else in the company is as enthusiastic as they are. The average employee already has to keep an eye on their overcrowded Inbox (and possibly IM too). What if your SOS meeting request is not picked up because your required attendees did not check their Twitter in the morning? Then the company will have to upload yet another set of guidelines onto the intranet: what types of messages are too urgent for Twitter? Who are active users and who are not? By the time you submit your proposal to the senior management team the Twitter phenomenon will already be officially dead. So unless you are a very Web 2.0 company, dedicated enough to hire a full-time tweet-supervisor or have someone like Mark Zuckerberg as CEO, here is my advice: stick to your Lotus Notes or Outlook. Their time is not over yet. For more View blogs visit our website: 07
  9. 9. A useful glossary Sometimes it is easy to get lost in the terminology - and this is never truer than in the world of intranets and Web 2.0! Here we have listed some of the common terms you may come across. Accessibility Rich media The degree to which a website or intranet is usable A generic term for any advanced form of interactivity by people with disabilities. Sites should be designed to delivered to a user through video, audio or animation. remove as many barriers as possible and allow all users to understand, navigate and interact with content. RSS The W3C organisation provides industry-recognised Stands for 'Really Simple Syndication'. A form of guidance for achieving accessibility. syndication that allows users to subscribe and receive new or updated content, for instance from blogs, news Aggregator or other frequently updated online content sources. A tool which gathers information from multiple online sources, usually via an RSS feed, and then republishes Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) on your site. For instance, allowing users to view The process of improving the quantity and quality of BBC news headlines on your intranet homepage. traffic to a website from search engines. Typically, the higher a site ranks in a search results, the more users AJAX will visit it. Short for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. A development technique for creating interactive web Social bookmarking applications that increase a web page's interactivity, Systems to enable users to store and share lists or speed and usability. Internet resources that they find useful to view or use again in the future. This sharing of tagged content can API create a grassroots popularity rating of a site by users. Short for Application Programming Interface. A development interface that facilitates the use Social networking of third party applications, such as Google search Using the web to communicate with friends, colleagues or Google maps. and even strangers is now at the heart of the online experience for many people. Blog A series of personal articles written in an informal tone Syndication but can also refer to photo, audio or video content, To make information on your website - such as which often contain links or tags to other online sources corporate news, blogs or podcasts - available to other of content. Derived from the term 'web log'. sites or registered users, for instance as an RSS feed. CMS Targeted content Acronym for Content Management System. To provide individual users with content tailored to An application used to create, edit, manage, search their own specific interests or profile (also referred to and publish content online to a website or intranet. as personalisation, customisation or localisation). Good examples are the BBC or iGoogle websites, Extranet or Google sponsored Ad search results. A secure online environment with restricted access levels for sharing information with clients or partners Taxonomy outside of your immediate network. Refers to the way a site organises its data into categories and subcategories, as seen in a sitemap. Forum An administrated content area. You set a topic Podcast and people will come and talk about it. Digital media files that users can subscribe to and listen to on their computers, PDAs or mobile phones. Can be Intranet very effective for marketing and training purposes. A website for an internal audience typically hosted behind a company firewall. Usability At its simplest this means making online environments Portal as easy to use as possible and matching them more A web interface which allows users to access a variety closely to user requirements. of resources and information, including non-web based services, quickly and efficiently. Wiki Websites that allow users to create, edit and collaborate on content. 08
  10. 10. View is a corporate brand communications agency. We think if you've got something to say, you should say it in a way your audiences will understand; whether you're launching a new website or intranet, producing an annual report, developing a CSR strategy, or creating an employer brand. We work with a range of FTSE and global companies; our clients operate across many sectors, including Energy & Utilities, Manufacturing, Technology, Defence, Pharmaceutical and Financial Services. For more information please contact: Jason Ross, CEO Tel: +44 (0)20 8811 8651 Ben Procter, Senior Account Director Tel: +44 (0)20 8811 8613 View The Penthouse Block A, Long Island House Warple Way London W3 0RG +44 0(20) 8811 8600 Corporate brand communications