There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all intranet. Each one is distinct because your organization’s requirements are distinct; you have distinct priorities, objectives, structures, processes, and technologies.
Not all intranet users will have the same requirements. Employee 1 will seek different resources than Employee 2. Likewise, the Communications team will require different information, tools, and forms than the Sales team. Analysing your people is an excellent place to start your redesign journey.
To begin, determine your target audiences based on the size and structure of your organisation. Begin by breaking down your organization’s existing silos like departments, offices or even operations. Is there a segment of the workforce that will not use the intranet at all (for example, payroll, etc.)? On the other end of the spectrum, you could look at the information and/or intranet areas that the majority of employees require. These may include various forms of communication, various applications, tools, and even separate portals, each of which may have individuals or teams supporting them, the needs of which must also be understood.
After you’ve identified your target audiences, you can reach out to them through a variety of channels. Polling users and interviewing management are two of these methods. It is critical to understand what is important to various representatives of your user groups when engaging with them. What are their tools? What kind of communication content is useful? Is there a difference in corporate culture between different groups? What is the current intranet lacking? What future requirements can the intranet meet? There may be some areas of your organisation where things appear to be running smoothly, at which point you should either dig a little deeper or simply focus more on the audiences who require it.
You’ll be surprised at what you can learn when you look at different aspects of your organisation through different lenses, especially in the context of intranet technology and processes. This allows for a thorough understanding of the current intranet’s flaws, as well as your key requirements for improvement on your new intranet. It only takes a little delving and a lot of analysing.
Knowing your target audiences lays the groundwork for understanding where your intranet is today and where it needs to be tomorrow. Of course, the collections of requirements and desires for the future intranet must be prioritised. Who will be needed to run the new intranet once it is up and running? Of course, IT development and support will always be present, but what about the other company processes that will be intertwined (e.g., training, payroll, communications, etc.)? Knowing your audiences’ needs will help you understand where and how the intranet will fit into your organisation.
In brief, your intranet should have plans in place for strategy and governance. This step must never be overlooked if you do not want your intranet to fail in a short period of time. The intranet strategy is critical because it connects the intranet to the performance and success of the organisation. How well is your intranet’s vision aligned with the organization’s goals? If the company’s priority is to maintain market leadership, the intranet must specifically support that directive. This allows you to assess its success, which is critical.
Governance is the process of assigning roles and rules to the intranet, which is necessary to maintain accountability and establish a solid internal support network. To ensure the intranet’s continued success, a dedicated intranet owner, editors, and IT personnel must be established. These intranet-related duties should be included in each member’s job description. Furthermore, policies that define the appropriate terms and use of the intranet should be established and enforced. The intranet will then be supported by an active team of individuals and processes.
Beyond the technology itself, there will be the complexities of configuring it in a way that works for you and your organisation. With the right people and processes in place, now is the time to choose the right platform, applications, tools, and so on to power a successful digital ecosystem. This may include integrating existing systems where possible, but it also aids in assessing and selecting various technological options if you are looking for new software and service offerings.
Knowing what should be available within a few interactions and bringing it as close to the surface as possible. The best way to accomplish this is to rethink your information architecture.
How well has content been grouped, categorised, and tagged? Information is frequently segmented (or “siloed”) by functional area or department, especially as intranets grow. However, this can have serious consequences for important aspects of the intranet, such as governance and content management. Instead, revisit the content groupings with the goal of simplifying where the various types of information reside.
This includes the ability to categorise your content in a variety of ways, such as a form, a policy, a web resource, a video, an announcement, a discussion, an article, and so on, as well as by organisational function. More than just the user experience is improved by ensuring that this metadata is captured and that the appropriate content and sections are characterised and tagged. While a thorough content audit may take more time or resources, it will ensure seamless content migration and intuitive organisation on your new intranet.
It is critical to obtain feedback from your team before moving forward with the concept implementation. This can be accomplished through an internal presentation as well as by conducting usability tests to collect reactions and suggestions from your user audiences. After receiving approval, you can proceed to the implementation phase. It is critical to remember that your current designs are most likely just a template on which other designs will be based. So, regardless of your implementation strategy or phasing, make sure to capture the appropriate branding and design guidelines for use throughout the new intranet. Colour palette, logos, fonts, spacing, page templates, and other preferences may be included. This is critical for maintaining a consistent, unique, and modern look and feel throughout your new intranet and as it evolves over time.
Upon recognizing that your organisation is unique, some of the areas outlined in this process may already be defined – for example, an existing governance model or your technology usage. Whatever your circumstances, it is critical that you devote attention and resources to activities within each of these steps in order to adequately ensure the balance between user audience needs, business processes, and your digital ecosystem / technological capabilities. This will not only ensure that you have a functional and engaging intranet, but it will also help you during the implementation, change management, and other phases of successfully launching your new intranet.
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