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Top 4 Common Intranet Mistakes

by Paula Darch on October 20, 2016


If you are embarking on an intranet project or are part way through and are frustrated by the lack of progress, you are not alone. Through the many years of working with intranets I’ve found that there are 4 main reasons why intranet projects simply don’t solve the problems they were designed to overcome. To find out how best to manage your intranet, download our free guide, or to discover how our intranet software can help your business book a demo with the experts.

Top 4 Mistakes:

1) Unclear objectives

The phrase ‘I want to improve communication’ is used a lot as the objective of a new corporate intranet – but what does this really mean? The intranet needs to have objectives that reinforce the goals of the business. If your business is looking to grow, how does the intranet support this?

'Improving communication between staff', 'centralising business documents' or 'making staff feel more connected to the business' are not intranet specific objectives in themselves. You need to describe in detail why these things matter to the success of the business and how your intranet can help you achieve these goals.

Without having a clear objective that is linked to the goals of the business your intranet risks lacking direction. Over time, staff will become less engaged as your intranet project loses focus and struggles to help them achieve the key performance indicators that they are measured on.

2) Too much focus on functionality

When the intranet objectives are not clear there is a temptation for the intranet project team to be seduced by features of the intranet software they are evaluating. If we were looking to improve communication we may see some brand new social functionality that allows staff to chat to each other. We deliver this to the business and encourage people to use it.

The problem comes after the novelty wears off. For staff to effectively use intranet functionality on an ongoing basis it needs to be clear how this helps them achieve their objectives. If your organisation had remote workers traveling across a wide geographical area and your intranet project delivered social functionality as a way for staff to share best practices to improve customer service, this clarity is likely to cause a greater uptake in its use. Were the functionality provided without any link to objectives the usage may dwindle.

3) Lack of support within the business

Not aligning the intranet project to your business objectives is often the root course of the lack of management support. For the intranet project to add value senior management need to see how it impacts the business.

Intranets fail because they don’t have direction – even if the intranet project was implemented to solve a business problem, the objectives of the business change over time. Without management support the intranet will never be seen as a business critical tool.

Having management support enables the intranet to look for opportunities to positively impact processes within the business. It also enables the intranet to bridge the gap between departments, teams or office locations. Some of the most successful intranets are run by intranet teams that have created a culture where the business looks to the intranet to enhance day-to-day processes.

4) Not considering the future

Intranet projects are often delivered as a response to an immediate problem or challenge that the business is facing. It could be two organisations merging together that want to create a platform to define their shared culture or as a way of automating a manual process. Whatever the immediate need, the intranet needs to be flexible enough to adapt to the ongoing requirements of the business.

Intranets that fail to adapt over time simply lose their relevance and go unused. Staff begin to look for easier ways to accomplish the tasks they need to perform and go elsewhere.

Delivering an intranet to your business can sometimes seem like a massive challenge but it does not need to. If you are clear about what you are looking to achieve and how it supports your business objectives you are half way there.

At SORCE we don’t just provide intranet software, we guide you through your intranet project from start to finish, helping you uncover your requirements as well as making sure it engages with the business. Come and see for yourself: book a demo and we’ll explain our process and demonstrate how we have helped produce effective modern intranets.

Topics: intranet project, intranet support

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