Ensuring effective intranet governance is often one of the big oversights of any intranet project. Many intranets are ‘installed’ to solve a problem - to increase communication, grow awareness of business issues, centralise documentation or to streamline processes. Once the intranet has been delivered, problem solved, the business can now move on to the next project.
The real problem is that these type of issues change, as the business evolves new challenges (and opportunities) appear that the intranet needs to adapt to. Fundamentally the intranet needs to be relevant to the needs of the staff, without this it will fail.
Effective governance is vital in maintaining this relevance, as it helps guide change. The intranet steering committee is used by many organisations to keep this change in line with business objectives.
Whether you already have some intranet governance or you are just starting a fresh, the following tips will help you create an effective steering committee for your intranet.
1) Represent your users
While the intranet steering committee should be viewed as a decision making body, with individuals of a seniority to mirror this, membership should be reflective of your intranet audience.
This will largely be dependent on the size of your business. Larger companies need to consider choosing people with enough seniority to make decisions and commit resources but able to devote enough time to attend and follow up on any actions they are assigned.
Smaller companies may not be able to devote this level of seniority, and that’s ok. It’s important to get input from people that represent the needs of your intranet audience.
2) Relate to business objectives
The long term focus of the steering committee should be to make sure the intranet helps achieve the business objectives. It can do this by setting goals for the intranet, highlighting to everyone involved the ultimate purpose of the tool.
As the intranet steering committee considers opportunities, they should base these decisions on the impact they have on the business objectives. As these objectives develop, the intranet needs to adapt. The intranet steering committee needs to drive this change and help seek opportunities for the intranet in the wider business.
3) Focus on the next phase of the project
As a business tool, the intranet needs to adapt to meet the ongoing demands of the organisation. The intranet steering committee can help guide the next stage of the project by setting high level priorities which reflect the needs of the business. They should bring awareness to the intranet team of the business projects or challenges so that these can be incorporated into the intranet plan.
4) Involve key stakeholders
The intranet steering committee needs to not only be reflective of the users it should also look to bring in other intranet stakeholders. These could be your supplier or a consultant that has been working with you or project managers that the intranet could add value to or be used to deliver their objectives.
5) Regular commitment
There needs to be a regular commitment between the intranet steering committee to meet and discuss the intranet. This may change as the intranet gets imbedded into the organisation, going from weekly when this is new to monthly or quarterly.
6) Don't get bogged down with complaints
To be effective the intranet steering committee should be a decision making body that discusses the medium and long term progression of the intranet into the business. Inevitably there will be complaints or annoyances that staff have, while these are important and should be considered the steering committee is not the place for these to be resolved. These should be dealt with by the intranet manager or the day to day owner of the intranet.
7) Periodically refresh membership
New ideas and perspectives on your intranet are invaluable to help it change with the needs of your business. Periodically refreshing the membership of your steering committee will not only inject ideas but also help engage other areas of the company.
Effective governance comes in many different layers, the intranet steering committee should help oversee the intranet from a decision making level. If you want to go deeper into the role of governance within your intranet, download our intranet governance guide. Within this guide we take you through these layers and explain the role they can play to align your intranet to the objectives of your organisation.