Viewpoint 5 - Defining and delivering a vision for your intranet
Issue 05Intranets EvolvedDefining anddelivering a visionfor your intranetviewpointCorporate digital communications
Issue 05Intranets Evolved viewpoint Corporate intranets - delivering a step change In this issue, we explore the challenges and opportunities now faced by many large organisations as they embark on the next development phase of their intranet and how we can better leverage this important internal communications channel to drive real organisational change. Most organisations now have an intranet of some sort. But often the lofty aspirations at their inception have failed to materialise. A lot of information has been poured in – but has it been translated into knowledge coming out? And have these corporate intranets delivered the tangible business benefits that their significant budgets intended? Outcomes have been mixed. As organisations ask where next for the corporate intranet, we can start to shape the answers to some important questions. HOW CAN HOW CAN WE GET OUR OUR INT DELIVER RANET PEOPLE TO USE THE REAL BUSINES INTRANET MORE? S IMPAC T? HOW CAN WE PLAN A SINGLE GROUP ENCOURAGE OUR INTRANET? HOW CAN WE COLLABORATE? EM PLOYEES TO LANCE E BA ESS CAN W BUSIN HOW D P AN IS THERE A ROLE FOR GROU ING? D SOCIAL NETWORKING BRAN WITHIN OUR INTRANET? HOW DO WE KEEP CONTENT UP-TO-DATE?
Some emerging themesThere are many components to consider when defining and delivering a vision for yourintranet. Whilst every organisation has its own set of challenges, there are usually a seriesof common issues which should be considered as part of any corporate intranet initiative.Good governanceIt’s all too easy for there to be a lack of coordination, cooperation and collaboration acrossthe different businesses. But frustration and loss of confidence are inevitable if content isout-of-date. The goal really has to be that every page and each application has an owner.You first need to establish exactly where your intranet is today. Which means a detailedand structured content audit to map out your entire intranet. Don’t forget to identify, engageand empower content owners. Then put in place a sound Governance structure, includingstrong sponsorship by senior management. From solid foundations, you can establish a contentstrategy that clarifies roles and responsibilities for all content creation and ownership.Content strategyContent migration is often the single largest activity in an intranet redevelopment, and usually theleast interesting! Don’t underestimate the scale of the task: updating, migrating or creating anintranet from scratch, or moving to a new platform requires a lot of time, effort and support.A next-generation content strategy should be focused around content streamlining to identifygaps, duplication and what can be removed. Plan what to do with the content and set clearpolicies, guidelines and procedures for content creation, publishing and maintenance. Explorenew forms of content delivery, such as multimedia, mobile or social media and define standardsfor metadata, taxonomy, and search engine optimisation.Navigation & informationarchitectureToo often, the information architecture (IA) is a legacy that simply reflects the company’sorganisational structure. But an effective IA is one that is intuitive to users and reflects how theythink about the subject matter.A smart information architecture is one that helps, not frustrates the user, with navigation thatenables them get where they want to quickly and easily. Help them to perform tasks, rather thanjust read information. And remember - people can only appreciate what they can actually find!Personalisation & segmentationTechnology has made it easier to deliver the right content to the right people. Personalisationand segmentation makes for a more integrated user experience, identifying the individual andpushing key content to them. It can also provide a much more flexible platform on whichto surface a range of content on key pages of the intranet.Of course there is the balance to be struck to satisfy all requirements, allowing personalisationby individual users and segmentation by business units, while still meeting the needs of thewider organisation. While personalisation might seem like a holy grail, there are technical issuesto overcome, particularly if your business intranets are built across different platforms and thereare inconsistencies in employee data.
Your intranet as a collaboration toolCollaboration might sound a bit wooden. But working better together is a very smart thing to doand we all need to become better at sharing skills, knowledge and information. However, peopleneed clear and compelling reasons as to why they should collaborate and the necessary toolsand resources to be able to do so effectively - it doesn’t just happen by chance.The key is to keep it simple. The intranet is a powerful tool and perfectly placedto enable collaboration. It’s a place where employees share ideas and create relationshipsby creating, publishing and sharing information in real time. Put your people at the heartof your business intranet and let a social intranet break down organisational and geographiccommunication barriers.Social mediaSocial media tools have transformed the way in which people communicate with one another.So why not use the same channels at work that people use in their personal lives?But first, it’s vital to foster a culture in which people aren’t afraid to speak, and that encouragesthe active uptake of social media. Be careful not to become constrained by poor data - enrichand develop your employee data first. And get Search right - one of the challenges of socialmedia is the massive explosion in content that will result.Creative, branding anduser experienceA good designer is one who resists the temptation to ‘over-design’ instead strikingthe right balance between attractive and useful. The role of intranet design is principallyto encourage people to use the content and applications, and to get them to theinformation they require quickly.There is also the issue of brand. How important is the employee brand experience while usingthe intranet and reaching the right compromise between Group and individual business brands?Making (and naming) the intranet as a brand in itself is a nice side-step but accommodatinglegacy and valuable brands is the design challenge faced by today’s Group intranets.Ongoing stakeholder engagementListening to your audience is a fundamental marketing principle - few would argue with that.Stakeholder engagement has become an increasingly sophisticated process. Not least withan intranet because of the range of stakeholders: end users who in turn vary in the roles andtasks they perform; business owners, wishing to communicate; managers, needing to manage;intranet, content and communications managers responsible for running it; and the key businesssponsors of a corporate intranet.It’s a subtle exercise, engaging stakeholders in an increasingly complicated subject matter,gaining genuine insights, and translating these into the all-important road map for delivery.And it’s important that stakeholder engagement is not limited to a one-off exercise atthe start of the project. As in the marketing cycle, research and measurement are tasksthat are repeated again and again.
Ten words to success... 02 Trusted Your intranet is a trusted source of information and business tools. 01 Innovative Your intranet innovates to meet ever-changing organisational needs. 02 01 04 05 03 04 Useful Your intranet supports day-to-day staff and 05 Pervasive organisational needs. Your intranet supports every staff role and every geographical location. 03 Productive Your intranet delivers tangible and visible benefits to the organisation and staff.
07 Essential Your organisation is not able to function effectively without the intranet. 08 07 08 Collaborative Your intranet supports staff working together effectively and sharing knowledge. 09 09 Coherent A clear and consistent direction, purpose and design underpins the intranet as a whole. 10 06 10 Strategic The intranet is a strategic platform and environment for the organisation.06 UsableYour intranet is easy to useand quick to learn for allmajor staff groups.
Case studiesView have designed and built a number of intranet solutions for our clients, across a range of technical platforms.Centrica is in the process of upgrading its intranet to the Microsoft SharePoint 2010 platform. View areengaged at a number of levels, facilitating a range of stakeholder engagement activity in order to better understandthe corporate and individual business unit requirements, in order to deliver a framework on which to build a morecoherent, consistent approach, whilst providing the flexibility the businesses require to deliver the right contentand functionality to their employees.theSource, Anglo American’s new intranet has become the main application for collaboration and innovation aroundthe Group. Following an extensive stakeholder engagement exercise, View collaborated with Anglo American’s IT teamto deliver a solution that enables and supports individuals to find information, expertise and knowledge; connectsindividuals and groups across business units, geographies and time zones, and provides the principalrepository for documented and recorded experience, best practice and processes.View partnered with Tullow Oil to build and implement a new intranet that better serves the needs of this rapidly growingorganisation; connects staff globally; and provides an information and communications hub for the organisation.The new intranet delivers dynamic targeted content to employees, based on their locations or roles within thebusiness and is now a key internal communications channel.View are working with United Biscuits on the design and build of an intranet solution for its ‘iProfessional’ community,comprising approximately 800 employees from various areas of the organisation. This group receive a high volume ofemail traffic, interface with a number of systems and applications, frequently require remote access, and require theability to quickly and seamlessly access and transact with the application. We’ve delivered an interface design thatis simple, intuitive and provides a coherent, consistent access point for this key audience.Rentokil Initial partnered with View to develop and launch a single, ‘cloud based’ intranet environment that spans Groupfunctions, individual divisional businesses and country business units. View delivered a range of creative and technicalassets, working with Rentokil Initial’s internal IT team on build and implementation. The new intranet platform is a keysource of content within the Rentokil Initial Group and will provide a portal into key business processes.
Issue 05Intranets Evolved viewblog “Creating an intranet strategy that senior managers buy into is key.” Mark Smith Creative Director As organisations contemplate the next steps in the evolution of their corporate intranet, it’s time to pull together some building blocks and lay solid foundations. We are now able to track and assess user journeys, create user personas, and look to deliver personalised and customised content to enhance the online experience. The stakeholder engagement workshops that we have developed focus specifically on this. Content audits, strong governance models, collaborative tools, and social networking media are all useful tools that can be added to the modern intranet manager’s armoury. Most importantly, these need to be forged together and articulated into a clear and compelling vision for your corporate intranet. Many companies are now looking for a single intranet for the whole Group, integrating different intranets from different businesses. As these intranets have often been built on different technical platforms, using different content management systems, and variable content consistency, the task should not be underestimated. However, developments in collaboration and content management platforms such as Microsoft SharePoint 2010 have opened the door to opportunity. SharePoint 2010 is an ambitious enterprise platform with six core functional areas: sites; communities; content; search; insights; and composites. Using SharePoint 2010, your people can set up sites to share information with others, manage documents from start to finish, and publish reports. When companies develop their intranet using platforms such as SharePoint 2010, they will start to realise some pretty tangible benefits. Metadata and tagging is much easier, which leads to a more powerful Search function. Managing metadata has been more of an operational hazard, or mission impossible; now it can become a seamless part of content management. The use of social networking media in business has also taken a quantum leap. Improved personal profiles are now much more akin to what people are familiar with on Facebook or Twitter. Meanwhile dynamic activity feeds that aggregate content you track and publish, and tagging notes and pages are all features designed to improve the social experience. While opportunity beckons you need to be realistic in delivering your vision. Our clients find it useful to start mapping their vision for their intranet onto a project ‘Roadmap’ that stakes out the ground with achievable milestones, checkpoints and measurement. Making your intranet integral to achieving your business goals is a journey, not an event, but a journey worth embarking upon. And View is well-placed to guide you on this journey. For more View blogs visit our website: www.viewplc.com
A useful glossaryYou may be fully aware of the terminology around intranets and Web 2.0. But if you’re not,here are some useful terms and references, some of which are contained in this document.Active directory MetadataStores information about network-based entities (e.g. Metadata provides information about a content item.applications, files and people) and provides a consistent For example, a text document’s metadata may containway to name, describe, locate, access, manage and information about how long the document is, who thesecure information about these resources. author is, when the document was written, and a short summary of the document. Web pages often includeAggregator metadata in the form of meta tags, to allow searchA tool which gathers information from multiple online engines to operate efficiently.sources, usually via an RSS feed, and then republisheson your site. For instance, allowing users to view PersonalisationBBC News headlines on their intranet homepage. Web-based personalisation involves delivering customised content, applications and channels to a user based onAPI their stated preferences through web pages, e-mail orA development interface that facilitates the use of push technology.3rd party applications, such as Google search orGoogle maps. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) The process of improving the quantity and quality ofBlog traffic to a website from search engines. Typically, theA series of personal articles written in an informal tone, higher a site ranks in a search results the more userswhich can also refer to photo, audio or video content, will visit it.and often contain links or tags to other online sourcesof content. Derived from the term ‘web log’. Segmentation Identification of different groups within a target marketCMS in order to develop different offerings for each group.Acronym for Content Management System. An application Segmentation can analyse and characterise a visitor’sused to create, edit, manage, search and publish content activity on a website and their profile. Content can then beonline, to a website or intranet. specifically targeted to the visitor’s needs and interests.Collaboration Social bookmarkingOnline collaboration allows people to work together Systems to enable users to store and share lists oron projects, documents in real-time over the intranet. Internet resources that they find useful to view or useIt also embraces communications, including email, again in the future. This sharing of tagged content canvideo conferencing, instant messaging, and chat. create a grassroots popularity rating of a site by users.Content audit Social mediaCreating an inventory and assessment of all content Social media describes the online tools that peoplein preparation for a redesign or CMS. Can extend from use to share content, profiles, opinions, insights,‘what’s there?’ to an assessment of ‘is it any good?’ experiences, perspectives and media itself, thusA content audit may be limited or comprehensive, and facilitating conversations and interaction online betweenextend beyond a listing of all assets into areas of meta groups of people. These tools include blogs, messagetags, who published the content, date, where the boards, podcasts, micro blogs, bookmarks, networks,content is in its useful life cycle, and other attributes. communities, and wikis.Content migration SyndicationThe process of moving information stored on a web To make information on your intranet - such ascontent management system (CMS) (or any digital asset corporate news, blogs or podcasts - available to otheror document management system) to a new system. sites or registered users, for instance as an RSS feed.Governance Targeted contentAn organisation’s structure of people (each with To provide individual users with content tailored towell-defined roles, responsibilities, and authorities); their own specific interests or profile (also referred totechnical systems; and the policies, procedures, and as personalisation, customisation or localisation).relationships in place to maintain and manage an intranet. Good examples are the BBC or iGoogle websites, or Google-sponsored ad search results.Information architectureOn an intranet, information architecture describes Taxonomyhow content is organised and presented to users in Refers to the way a site organises its data intoorder to facilitate navigation and search. categories and subcategories, as seen in a sitemap. Usability At its simplest this means making online environments as easy to use as possible and matching them more closely to user requirements.
View is a corporate digital communications agency.We help FTSE and global companies engage with their business stakeholders.We do communications and content strategy; stakeholder engagement;corporate websites, intranets and microsites; bespoke application development;integrated marcomms campaigns; digital design, build and support services.For more information please contact:Jason Ross, CEOjross@viewplc.comTel: +44 (0)20 8811 8651Mike Boogaard, Client Directormboogaard@viewplc.comTel: +44 (0)20 8811 8612ViewThe PenthouseBlock A, Long Island HouseWarple WayLondonW3 0RG+44 (0)20 8811 8600www.viewplc.comCorporate digital communications