What do you want your intranet to achieve in 2020? As we approach a new decade, there is no better time to take a moment to think about our intranets, how far they have come in the last 10 years and what we what to achieve in 2020 and beyond.
The role of intranets has changed dramatically over the last decade. The pace of change has been accelerated by mobile technology, social media, changing working practices, data security and the increasing need to connect our workforce in a way we've never experienced before.
I think the biggest influencers over the last decade have been:
- Smart phone technology - this has revolutionised our expectations of what we can do on our mobiles and has helped the blur the lines of work/personal life.-
- Social media - The way we communicate, how we communicate is in continual flux as more social media apps emerge and we are now communicating with less words and more images, video using emoji's.
- The rise of the remote workforce - In 2020 up to half of our UK workforce will be working remotely for some or all of their working week. This has meant we have needed to provide full mobile intranet access and for remote users to easily add content via whatever device they are using.
- Data security - With many high profile data breaches making the headlines over the last decade and the introduction of GDPR, our intranets provide a secure way in which your users can connect, collaborate and store documentation.
- How we work - Today our work/life balance has become blurred, the rise of the gig economy is changing the traditional intranet and we now work from anywhere at anytime. Not only has this generated new intranet requirements of functionality such as contacts directory but also intranet access and a responsibility to care about our workforce's health and wellbeing.
Given all of this, how do we go about thinking and planning for our intranets in 2020 and beyond? I think 2020 will be the year of health and wellbeing, with high profile public figures raising awareness of the importance of mental health, we need to ensure our intranets help our users.
I also think Office 365 intranets will continue to grow in popularity and will become even more business critical than they are today.
As with everything, the place to start working out what you need to do, is to look at your current intranet and think about scheduling time to undertake a review or audit. Find out what your users need and want because each business is unique.
If you are thinking about a new intranet for 2020, software choices will play a major role in your decision. Whether you opt for a SharePoint based intranet or something more tailored will be based upon your requirements, timings and budget.
Are you thinking about a new intranet or continuously developing your current one? If so, dedicating some time to intranet planning is essential. To support you, we have created a bank of free training material, including a guide to managing your intranet project.
To get you started this blog sets out 10 top tips for successful planning:
1. Create Your Team
If you have been given the responsibility of delivering a new intranet, you need to make sure you have the team you need to make this happen.
If a dedicated resource is not possible, then gaining internal support and assigning intranet roles is essential. You will need someone with overall responsibility for the intranet as well as intranet contributors and editors. Your intranet team needs to be able to focus on achieving the results but also able to enthuse and influence other stakeholders.
2. Understand User Requirements
Your intranet is only as good as its ability to meet end user's requirements. When intranet planning, allow sufficient time to understand how the intranet fits in with overarching business objectives. To aid in this process you should consider conducting stakeholder interviews to find out the needs of all employees from all areas of your business.
3. Think Ahead
Ensuring your intranet software solution is going to deliver everything you need now (and might need in the future) is time well spent. This is a great opportunity to seek some expert advice about all of your options.
4. Content Clean
Make time to review all of your existing intranet content and devise a checklist with which to evaluate this content against. Possible points to include might be: last time content was accessed; is the content duplicated anywhere else; is it still relevant? Review the most popular pages and understand why they are the most viewed.
5. Functional Specification
Working through all of your user requirement feedback and combining this with business processes takes time. It’s also important to plan ahead for potential changes in user and business needs. Your specification should be thorough and flexible.
6. Intranet Build
The actual intranet build will be much easier if you have taken time to undertake everything highlighted above. Creating a winning page design, page layout and content hierarchy for your business is essential. Designing the best build for you will come from an interpretation of everything you have discovered before this stage.
7. Managing Your Intranet
Intranet governance is something that needs to be outlined. How you manage your intranet in terms of content management, development and usage will determine its future success. The aim here is to produce an intranet governance policy that can be implemented and managed on an ongoing basis.
8. Intranet Launch
Even from the offset it is worth thinking about your intranet launch strategy. You don’t need to plan this in detail at this stage but just think about potential dates and how you might like to promote the new intranet.
9. Continual Development
It’s never too early to start thinking about what will happen after your intranet has launched. When intranet planning, build in the ability for continual development and feedback. This enables you to have some degree of future proofing and keeps the project on the radar.
10. Encouraging Collaboration
Launching a new intranet is a great achievement and delivering one that meets end user requirements, solves historical pain points and facilitates new ways of working is amazing. However, for your intranet to be successful, employee engagement must be maintained. Encouraging collaboration through the intranet and highlighting the benefits to users is key.