Best Practices

Read about some of Prescient's best practices and winning strategies on Internet and intranet planning.

All Access Pass – How accessible is your website?

We all hate barriers that prevent us from getting what we need or want. We quickly become frustrated and annoyed when access is denied, especially when it needn’t be. We may try to find ways around the barriers or we may just give up and move on, looking for an easier way to get what we want.

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How to talk to IT staff

In a recent Prescient seminar, a communications person lamented about how hard it is to talk to IT staff. She had requested something and was told no because there was a firewall issue. She didn’t get what she wanted, and worse, she doesn’t know or understand why not.

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Speed as a website strategy

by Toby Ward – On the web, speed doesn’t kill – speed wins. Users want to get at what they want as fast as possible. Throwing impediments in their way will only tick-off your users, and a ticked off user is a lost sale.

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Managing positive intranet change: Watch out for the J Curve

Have you ever noticed that despite how ineffective and poorly structured your intranet may be, and no matter how hard it is to find information on it, people will have developed workarounds and tricks to find what they need.

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Evaluating and Benchmarking – how does your site measure up?

Think of your favourite website. Now think of six reasons it is your favourite. Now think of your own website, assuming it’s not your favourite, and ask yourself how it ranks within the six criteria you chose.

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They won’t go changin’ just to please you: Change management strategies to support intranet adoption

Imagine you’re a typical employee, just trying to figure out how you’re going to do what you need to do with the tools you’re used to using, when management comes up with yet another “new” and “revolutionary”innovation” or “transformational” tool or idea.

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Plan to succeed

The old saying that “a failure to plan is a plan to fail” applies extremely well to most intranets. Without first setting a plan for your intranet plan that includes a strategy, functional details and a building blueprint you may well find yourself six months or even a year or two down the road having to start all over again because the tool is ineffective, out of control or both.

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Business Requirements Interviews – So much more than a conversation

When kicking off any kind of project, be it implementing an intranet or revamping a business process, the most important stage of the entire project cycle is the business requirements stage. And one of the most productive and useful research methods is the business requirements interview.

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Get discovered – Understanding search engine optimization

If you’re one of the 694 million people who used the Internet in March 2006 (according to comScore) then you also probably conducted at least one of the 2.7 billion searches on Google or 1.6 billion searches Yahoo (Center for Media Research). Did you find what you were looking for?

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Hallelujah! The gospel of Six Sigma reaches the intranet world!

Given the fervour of its apostles, you have probably heard of the term “Six Sigma” and its incredible power to literally transform organizations. Six Sigma conferences more closely resemble evangelical events than business meetings and to hear people talk about the ROI on Six Sigma you would think that they were talking about a new religion.

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Building a web brand

by Toby Ward — Building a brand is tough. And it’s getting tougher. An explosion in the number of brands—as well as a proliferation of ways to communicate them, from hundreds of cable channels to the Internet, product placement in TV and movies, billboard, radio and now mobile advertising—has made it tougher to get messages through.

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Tuning in the right employee communication channel

by Carmine Porco — I had to give the client an “A” for honesty, but unfortunately an “F” for effort. I’d asked if his organization had recently surveyed its staff on how the company communicates with its employees. “No,” came the response, “we’re afraid of what our employees might say.”

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Six Strategic Resolutions for 2006

Six strategies to help your site be healthy, balanced and fit.

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The Best of the Web 2005

by Toby Ward — In determining “The Best of the Web 2005” three Internet sites in particular excelled in adhering to best practices and demonstrating excellence. It is not surprising that two of the names are familiar - Google.com and Microsoft.com. A third, Canadian retailer Indigo.ca, receives honorable mention.

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Getting To Yes - Tips for winning funding for projects

While failing to sell projects is a common problem, especially for departments like Communications or HR that are often unfairly viewed as cost centers, there are an increasing number of resources available to help understand how to ensure that decision makers perceive the value of your proposal.

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The best government intranet designs

by Toby Ward — Truth of the matter, based on my years of experience working with several dozen organizations, is that usability and design take a back seat to content and planning.

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Best of the Web 2004

by Toby Ward — The 2004 Webby Award winners were announced recently and we highlight some of the best of the best including Google, Wikipeida, iTunes, and HealthyOntario.com.

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Best Practices: Five Winning Intranet Characteristics

by Toby Ward — Prescient Principal Consultant Toby Ward looks at five winning characteristics of proven and successful intranets from the likes of Cisco, Microsoft, E*TRADE, and others.

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People: The Heart of Your Portal

by Toby Ward — Don’t fall into the trap of relying on out-of-the-box solutions for solving all of your problems. Successful portals have a foundation built on people, not technology. Portals must be based on employees and the work they undertake during an average workday. If a portal could be likened to a house, then technology is equivalent to the wiring and appliances while people serve as both the foundation and the inhabitants.

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The Nexus of Web Success

by Toby Ward — Everyone has a website. It’s not enough to say that every other company is doing it. If you haven’t done so already, you need to ask yourself ‘why’ you’re building a website and determine how it will measurably contribute value to the organization.

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Online Marketing: Mastering the Basics

by Toby Ward — In short, the power of online advertising is present, significant and growing. For those that seek to further harness this power there are three particularly important marketing concepts to understand - Search Engine Optimization, Paid Search and e-mail Marketing.

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