Has there been a change in your organization and the intranet admin duties have fallen on your lap? The best indicator of a successful intranet is the people that power it, and in most cases in small to mid-size organizations, there’s a single point person championing the cause. Because of this, it can be a difficult time when that person is gone for an extended leave, retirement or moving on to other opportunities. Below are 5 tips to ensure a smooth transition in your intranet admin takeover.
Assuming there’s a period of time to work closely with a previous intranet admin before they’re gone, you may have the time to cross-train with them. Start by elevating your security rights to their level, making yourself the admin (point person for feedback and customer support), and replacing them in any approval publishing workflows they handle to yourself. Often the best way to start learning is by doing, so by integrating yourself early, you’ll get a feel for the things that come their way.
Identify your intranet adoption rates and usage by utilizing your intranet analytics. You will be able to get a sense of the reach and distribution of your intranet such as; how many people are using it, how often or how much time, what features stand out, and opportunities to improve. Knowing the primary features of your intranet, whether it’s communication (news, blogs, social), Document Management, Online Forms & Workflows, or better yet, a combination of these is important. Lastly, connect these key features back to the initial drivers/reasons the company purchased an intranet in the first place. Common examples of workplace drivers are cultural development, standardization due to M&A, streamlining work tasks, centralizing knowledge, or otherwise.
When it comes to learning the extensive technology of your intranet, it can feel daunting, especially when it’s a mature intranet. Start with the basic fundamentals of information architecture. Map out how content is organized by sub-sites, applications (focused and feature rich components), or page content. There are many resources available such as your Intranet Software’s Support knowledge base, blogs on best practices, regular topical webinars, and recorded videos.
TIP: Create a test site inside your intranet as a sandbox to play with apps, pages, and other items that mimic what is in live production. You’ll feel comfortable trying things, adding/updating/deleting without affecting any users.
If you’ve been with the organization for a while, you probably already know who your intranet ‘Power Users’ are. Power Users are defined by the users that engage with content, contribute content, and own pages/workflows. If you’re not sure who these Power Users are, refer to your intranet stats. A successful intranet will ensure key areas of ownership are delegated so as to avoid a bottleneck of limited Intranet Admin resources. This delegation could be in the form of department heads, or key roles in IT, HR or communications. Create a focus group with different groups that will meet regularly. These meetings are a good time to capture fresh feedback, perhaps through an online survey of the user base, or to conduct 1-on-1 usability studies. This group is your number one source to ramp up from.
After you’ve collected all the above information you can begin to look for ‘easy wins’. These are those simple yet significant changes that make a difference and will instill confidence in the team. These can be anything from subtly improving a workflow, adding a widget to highlight success in the organization, color coding a calendar for clarity on event types, adding icons to your news feed, improving the design (colors, logo, whitespace, background image) and more. This is where it gets fun! In the end, an intranet is a tool powered by your creativity.
If you’ve been tasked with taking over an already established intranet at your company we want to hear from you in the comment section below!