Time and time again, we see evidence that shows intranets without a senior level sponsor do not engage staff and achieve the objectives of the organisation.
After all most intranets, no matter how small, starts by someone justifying spending some time, effort and energy (and money) setting one up.So how does this happen?
In my experience this usually happens during one of the following scenarios:
- The senior sponsor was originally given the position without it being formally recognised (they then focus their time on actions they are accountable for).
- The original intention for the intranet was to fix a short term problem and the business objectives have now shifted (as well as the focus of the original sponsor).
- The intranet was seen as a project that has now been delivered
- The sponsor is too senior and doesn’t have time to attend meetings and follow up on actions that drive the engagement deeper into the business.
- The senior sponsor leaves and is not replaced.
Each of these are also symptoms of a wider issue, that of the intranet not being seen as a tool that can help achieve the business objectives.
Without a senior sponsor intranet managers simply don’t have access to financial and other resources that the intranet requires.
So what are the responsibilities of the senior sponsor?
- Monitoring the performance of the intranet against its specified objectives
- Agreeing intranet roles and responsibilities
- Assigning resources and budget to maintaining and enhancing the intranet
- Approving the objectives for intranet roles and reviewing these on an annual basis
- Reviewing the audits of adherence to standards, processes and good practice and agreeing recommendations for change / improvement.
- Sanctioning actions for the persistent non-conformance to standards and processes
- Feeding back to the board the contribution the intranet is making to achieve business objectives
These are really just guidelines, ultimately the role a senior sponsor has for your business will depend on the size of your organisation and your business objectives.
The senior sponsor is the link between the day to day intranet management and the strategic direction of the business.