Do you remember that scene from Office Space? You know, the one where Milton gets moved down to the basement in hopes of being forever forgotten by the company? It’s funny because a lot of corporate projects often suffer the same fate once they land kitty-corner to the server room.
It’s a bit embarrassing, but I’ll be the first to admit it – my initial experience with a business intranet revolved solely around ‘a glorified craigslist’. The extent of my own usage was to load up our intranet home page, navigate to the “Buy and Sell” section, look for useless junk I didn’t need, and then repeat that process throughout the day. As a member of the basement dwelling IT Team I thought I was one of the few in our company who basically ignored what the intranet really had to offer…turns out I was one of the majority.
The reason for this was that our intranet had been setup quite sparsely with only a home page, an employee directory and a few basic applications. This was all they thought was needed after all, and the IT team was busy with other things. If the IT Manager had started asking each department what applications they needed and what content they wanted to add, the whole IT team would have been overwhelmed with requests, as they were the only ones who had access to make updates. Therefore, our software became IT focused, and IT oriented – in short, it became an IT Intranet.
Truth is I, and most of my co-workers, never appreciated the importance of a structured and useful intranet. We worked with what we had, not really considering that there would be a better and more effective use of this software.
The intranet is, by definition, an organic software that changes and evolves to meet the needs of various parts of an organization. This only applies, however, if those same various parts are involved. The impact of a properly implemented intranet can reap huge rewards for the organization, but only if each department is given the ability to contribute to the intranet themselves, without needing to push all changes and additions through the IT Team.
Get your Human Resources Department involved from the ground up. From on-boarding, to document repositories, to new employee forms, the intranet offers a wealth of options for making HR’s life simpler. It’s very easy to demonstrate the value of having a centralized place where all HR tasks can be handled.
Reducing or eliminating the email and paper trail involved with new hires, retirements and access changes will quickly have Human Resources championing your intranet and will help demonstrate it’s value to the rest of the organization. The intranet should be one of the first things a new employee interacts with. The immediate exposure allows your new hire to become comfortable with the intranet as part of their daily activities. No longer an ‘internal craigslist’ but a one-stop-shop for all their corporate resources.
It’s also crucial to get your communications and marketing team involved. People are visual creatures and the design of your intranet will play a big part in attracting your internal users to incorporate the intranet into their daily activities. Solid design principles will keep your employees engaged, and accessing much more of your intranet than just the buy and sell.
Finally, it’s great to give your entire organization a chance to post and customize the intranet to their wants and needs. Department sites, especially, allow a particular section to modify the intranet to their specifications – It’s like having your own intranet tailor! Security permissioning, sub-site management and smart delegation allows you to put intranet responsibility into the hands of those who want it.
Getting your entire organization involved, interested and invested in your intranet solution is really the only sure-fire way to guarantee a successfully implementation and ensure that your organization is getting the most out of their intranet software. Besides, no one really wants to see their intranet banished to the basement, do they?
Do you have tips for moving your intranet out of the hands of IT and into the hands of other departments who would benefit from it? Leave your comments below. For more great intranet strategy tips check out our Intranet Journey ebook.