What Makes A Good Intranet


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Jed Cawthornes slidedeck from his session at JBoye09 conference in Philadelphia (May 2009) on what makes a good intranet, and whether or not you can build a good intranet using Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007

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What Makes A Good Intranet

  1. 1. WHAT MAKES A GOOD INTRANET? __________________________ AND CAN YOU BUILD IT IN MS SHAREPOINT ? Jed Cawthorne, Prescient Digital Media JBoye09, Philadelphia, May 2009
  2. 2. Who is Prescient? <ul><li>An end to end Intranet consultancy </li></ul><ul><li>Benchmarked best practices and a wide variety of website case studies that is drawn upon for every client endeavor. </li></ul><ul><li>A well defined and proven methodology that formally aligns the Intranet with the organization’s business and objectives. </li></ul><ul><li>Prescient owns no software or hardware; we are technology neutral. </li></ul><ul><li>A focus on measured success, proven value and ROI </li></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  3. 3. Our Clients
  4. 4. Part 1 – What makes a good intranet
  5. 5. What makes a good intranet? <ul><li>It depends ! What do you want to do with it? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you know what you want to do with it? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask key business stakeholders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask the users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Align the intranet to organisational strategy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In other words, develop an intranet strategy in order to provide some direction </li></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  6. 6. Where is the focus for your intranet? <ul><li>Four major categories or elements of organisational need an intranet can address: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal Communications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publishing content / information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaboration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Activities – actually doing something </li></ul></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  7. 7. Communications <ul><li>The Communications unit is often the business owner of the intranet </li></ul><ul><li>Intranet possibly just one of many internal communications channels for broadcasting news and important internal messages </li></ul><ul><li>There is a trend towards more conversational two-way communications </li></ul><ul><li>There is also a trend towards multi-media delivery rather than just textual presentation </li></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  8. 8. Publishing <ul><li>The ability for all units and even individuals to publish content for others within the organization to consume </li></ul><ul><li>The single source of truth ! </li></ul><ul><li>Links to the wider information and knowledge management environment, including document management systems etc </li></ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 trends, blogging, UGC, etc </li></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  9. 9. Collaboration <ul><li>Web based intranet collaboration as replacement for or adjunct to other groupware and messaging systems </li></ul><ul><li>Web based workspaces </li></ul><ul><li>Web interfaces to email or Instant Messaging systems, document management systems etc </li></ul><ul><li>For developing the 'work in progress' (before 'publishing' the final version) </li></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  10. 10. Activities <ul><li>Going to the intranet to actually do something ! </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive online forms </li></ul><ul><li>Applications like staff directories </li></ul><ul><li>Access to all sorts of applications and systems that provide 'web' interfaces </li></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  11. 11. The Intranet ecosystem ! © 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  12. 12. but........ <ul><li>Whether you focus on all of these elements, or in your own context you only need your intranet to provide one or two of these, what makes it good ? </li></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  13. 13. To build a good intranet..... <ul><li>Make sure you consider: </li></ul><ul><li>Design and Usability </li></ul><ul><li>Information Organisation and Access, including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Information Architecture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Findability & Search </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul><ul><li>Tools and Applications </li></ul><ul><li>Strategy, Planning and Resources </li></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  14. 14. Design and usability <ul><li>User centric design </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Persona development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use cases </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Graphic design and layout </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>Usability testing </li></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  15. 15. Information Organisation & Access <ul><li>Structures ! </li></ul><ul><li>Information Architecture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Categorization of content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Navigation schemas </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Findability = Metadata </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Metadata for navigation & search </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Taxonomies, folksonomies and ontology's </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Search facilities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Security – access control and authentication </li></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  16. 16. Content <ul><li>Content is king ! </li></ul><ul><li>Tools and training for content authors / editors </li></ul><ul><li>Processes and workflow </li></ul><ul><li>Make it easy to create compelling content and provide 'stickiness' </li></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  17. 17. Tools and applications <ul><li>To be a truly useful business tool the intranet must facilitate activity </li></ul><ul><li>A home for interactive tools and utilities, and navigation to and access point for other applications </li></ul><ul><li>The intranet as the 'front end' for business processes, for example HR self service tools </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it simple, but be innovative, add value ! </li></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  18. 18. A slight diversion - portals <ul><li>A 'portal' is just a 'way in' </li></ul><ul><li>Portals don't necessarily mean portal software </li></ul><ul><li>An intranet can have more than one portal </li></ul><ul><li>Different flavours of portal: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaboration centric </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business process centric </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Application centric </li></ul></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  19. 19. Strategy, planning and resources <ul><li>Strategy is an absolute necessity, including appropriate governance structures and policies </li></ul><ul><li>Planning is also key – hence the 5P's: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>P rior P lanning P revents P oor P erformance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Resources are often not given enough consideration – do not forget the people! </li></ul><ul><li>Don't forget to measure intranet performance </li></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  20. 20. Part 2 – Sharepointy stuff......
  21. 21. Can you build a good intranet..... <ul><li>..... using MS Office SharePoint Server 2007? </li></ul><ul><li>Yes – but don't be sucked in by MS marketing </li></ul><ul><li>MOSS is a bit 'jack of all trades, and master of non' so take that into account when planning </li></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  22. 22. © 2009 Prescient Digital Media Sharepoint Technologies Windows Sharepoint Services WSS - Free download if you have a Windows Server licence Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007 The ‘cloud’ SaaS version of Sharepoint and other tools Microsoft Online Services MOSS07 – Separate server product, also requires MS SLQ Server to work
  23. 23. What does MOSS offer intranets ? © 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  24. 24. SharePoint for Intranets <ul><li>WSS – hosted for small business, on internal for workgroup team sites </li></ul><ul><li>We will examine MOSS' facilities for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Providing Communications channels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publishing content & information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaboration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitating business activities </li></ul></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  25. 25. Communications <ul><li>Out of the box 'Publishing Portal' provides a news site template, with news archive and 'news article' content type </li></ul><ul><li>2 way communications channels (blogs, forums) </li></ul><ul><li>Out of the box multimedia capabilities are weak </li></ul><ul><li>No Digital Asset Management (DAM) features for managing audio and video content </li></ul><ul><li>2 way comms – not best of breed functionality </li></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  26. 26. Publishing Content <ul><li>Replaced MS Content Management Server as the Microsoft WCM product </li></ul><ul><li>WCM in MOSS ('Publishing' features) is not configured as 'on' by default, it must be turned on and configured for a particular installation </li></ul><ul><li>Out of the box Publishing Site templates are available to build upon including a 'Publishing Portal' </li></ul><ul><li>MOSS blurs the traditional lines between designer and developer </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibility is not good – requires 3 rd party tool kit </li></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  27. 27. Collaboration <ul><li>Divisional / business unit level collaboration portal is often touted as MOSS sweet spot </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration is firmly document centric </li></ul><ul><li>Everything can be published as RSS </li></ul><ul><li>Summary: a quote from Michael Sampson’s, “7 pillars of IT-enabled Team Productivity”: </li></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media “ SharePoint’s collaboration features leave much to be desired. SharePoint can not be said to a mature collaboration product. If you want more than shared access to team data, SharePoint is not the tool for your organisation”
  28. 28. Facilitating Activities <ul><li>More complex activities include providing access to other applications via WebParts etc </li></ul><ul><li>It can be used to publish InfoPath forms to users who don't have the InfoPath client </li></ul><ul><li>SharePoint Designer and / or Visual Studio needed for coding more complex workflows </li></ul><ul><li>MOSS is just a front end for Windows Workflow Foundation services </li></ul><ul><li>.Net development platform – you can build just about anything with it, but how much will that cost ? </li></ul>© 2009 Prescient Digital Media
  29. 29. Conclusions
  30. 30. SharePoint can be your intranet <ul><li>But.............. </li></ul><ul><li>Don't let IT foist it on you because they have licences – business and user requirements have to be met ! </li></ul><ul><li>If you don't have MS skills or .Net expertise on site or the budget to hire it, then keep it simple </li></ul><ul><li>As a general rule MOSS is good for an SMB intranet, or divisional intranet portal, but not enterprise level (1,000 seat plus) intranets. </li></ul>
  31. 31. Jed Cawthorne MBA MBCS CITP Senior Business Consultant Prescient Digital Media 416.926.8800 www.PrescientDigital.com www.intranetblog.com www.ecm-stuff.blogspot.com Twitter: @jedpc & @Intranet2 © 2009 Prescient Digital Media