Learn more about intranet strategy, planning and best practices with the latest articles from Prescient's intranet consultants.
By Michael Marchionda - The benefits of an enterprise portal are well documented. If portals continually prove to increase employee and business productivity, as well as improve communications, collaboration, and knowledge management, then why do so many portal redevelopment projects fail?
by Toby Ward - What works well in one organization, may be a disaster in another. IBM’s intranet is spectacular, but it would fail in many companies.
by Toby Ward - The bulk of intranets continue to be powered by off-the-shelf content management systems (CMSs) and portal solutions, but social intranet platforms are rapidly becoming a suitable and powerful alternative to bigger, more established software vendors.
By Toby Ward - Social media tools (intranet 2.0 tools) are exploding in popularity: the Intranet 2.0 Global Study has found that 87% of organizations have at least one social media tool on the intranet. The most popular tool: blogs (present on 53% of intranets of all sizes). However, blogs have only been deployed enterprise wide (available to all employees to read or write) on 18% of intranets. Most of the time, like most social media tools, the blogs are relegated to some corner of the intranet, a division or team site, or the IT department.
Of the many critical success factors for measuring intranet 2.0 performance, securing a realistic level of employee participation should rank at the top of the list.
A social intranet is only one part technology, and two parts people and process. In fact, technology is only an enabler, and may only be worth 20% of the total value of an intranet.
by Toby Ward - Two years ago, the social intranet did not exist. Social media tools on the intranet (intranet 2.0) have existed for a number of years, in fact, discussion groups and instant messaging first appeared on intranets in the late 1990s.
Prescient’s Intranet 2.0 Global Study has found that 87% of organizations have at least one social media tool on the intranet, but the statistics also reveal discrepancy in satisfaction, usage and measurement, challenging the teams tasked with implementing social media tools to determine where best to start.
by Michael Marchionda - Before inexpensive social media tools emerged on the market a few years ago, organizations looking to improve internal communications were hard-pressed to find tools that suited not only their business requirements, but their budget too. These tools were expensive to buy and implement, and many organizations’ business requirements went unmet due to budgetary constraints.
by Michael Marchionda - This year’s Intranet 2.0 Study comprises feedback collected from hundreds of survey-takers around the world who were asked specific questions about their organizations’ intranet. The feedback provided Prescient with valuable information on global intranet trends including intranet adoption rates, the prevalence and types of Intranet 2.0 tools organizations are using, and employee satisfaction rates with these tools.
by Michael Marchionda - When it comes to the web, everyone’s a critic. Most people form a negative or positive opinion of a site in about the same time it takes to click a mouse (according to a Carleton University study).
by Toby Ward - Blogging is more than popular, it’s revolutionary. Blogging has turned ordinary Joe and Janes into celebrated authors, and celebrities. However, for every Arianna Huffington, there are millions of Joes and Janes that have contributed one or two posts and subsequently never return again to the blogosphere, hundreds of millions that will never try blogging.
The vast majority of organizations that have implemented social media tools on their intranet (intranet 2.0 tools) have done so at little or no cost (or simply activated bundled tools that came with SharePoint or another CMS or portal solution).
by Toby Ward - The original intranet, intranet 1.0, typically began as nothing more than a technology outpost under some techie's desk in the corporate basement. The first version of this intranet was nothing more than a welcome page, perhaps a name and a phone number, and a simple welcome message.
It's an exciting time for internal communications professionals. The convergence of demographic shifts within the workplace, a growing percentage of knowledge workers, and low-cost communication technology creates ideal conditions for communicators to add value to their business by adapting their knowledge and creativity to unleash the power of the social intranet.
From mundane to social: intranets are rapidly evolving into social media systems that greatly distance themselves from their former, glorified brochureware sites.
By Toby Ward - If a tree falls in the forest will anyone blog about it? Do blogs beget blog postings? As too many organizations are discovering the hard way, employees don't want to blog. Approximately 1-2% of employees are interested in blogging (today), but most don't have any desire to pick up the proverbial pen.
by Carmine Porco - The number of social media tools available to organizations today can be overwhelming. With your organization’s efficiency and collaboration on the line, it’s important to pick the right one. Despite their potential impact, the best social media tools are seldom chosen by organizations looking to support their unique intranet 2.0 strategies.
By Toby Ward - 1. SharePoint will continue to dominate - All hail the king, SharePoint. SharePoint has become the single biggest, most pervasive intranet platform of all time (present in 50 – 60% of all medium to large-size organizations). While SharePoint is still minimally used for department and team level document sharing and collaboration, more organizations are looking to use it as the enterprise intranet platform.
Most employees don’t like to blog, but they like to read them.
By Toby Ward - Employees shouldn’t waste too much time on the intranet; social media wastes time; the Internet is a productivity drain. These are common refrains and concerns expressed by many executives, albeit the less educated ones, generally of an older generation, nearing or past retirement.
by Michael Marchionda - As the use of blogs, wikis and other social media tools increases in our personal lives, fears about bringing these social media tools (and the problems they potentially bring) to the workplace naturally arise. There’s good reason to fear social media (time wastage and reduced productivity are the major concerns), but statistics demonstrating the benefits of social media suggest that the benefits can out weigh the concerns, especially if a company implements a sound social media policy. A sound policy allows employees, and the company, to enjoy the benefits of social media; primarily, improving knowledge worker productivity, decreasing redundant effort, disseminating best practices and accelerating time to productivity.
You think collaboration and even social networking tools are a good idea but there is a real concern that they’ll waste employees’ time and decrease productivity. Do intranet 2.0 tools, like internal social networking, wikis, blogs and discussion forums have a business value?
A very general definition of the term “implementation” is execution of an idea, plan, design, model, standard, algorithm, or policy. In the realm of information technology, an implementation is the realization of a technical specification as some type of computer related system or applications. The key words being; plan, specification and realisation.
Social media adoption has accelerated on the corporate intranet, led by blogs, wikis and discussion forums. Despite a low cost of entry—often below $10,000—adopters are not reporting outstanding satisfaction with the investment, especially among the executive ranks, driven by inadequate planning and weak or non-existent business plans.
By Toby Ward — Universal McCann (UM) is a global media communications agency with 2,800 employees in 66 countries. UM undertakes massive marketing campaigns and media buys for large Fortune 500s such as Coke, MasterCard, Microsoft, and others. With a highly distributed workforce, UM found that knowledge and expertise was often trapped in geographic silos that could not be shared easily with other offices.
By Toby Ward — The choir has been singing for some time. Though many executives have yet bought into the gospel. They've heard the messages and are beginning to take notice: the intranet is a valuable business asset.
By Toby Ward — I once asked an intranet manager if they had a defined intranet strategy. His response was to say “sort of... it's mostly up here” (pointing to his noggin). Ummm... no, they didn't have a strategy. Unfortunately, most organizations are not disimilar and do not have an intranet strategy.
The enterprise portal solution market continues to consolidate while the big name vendors like IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft focus their R&D and marketing on Web 2.0.
By Toby Ward — The single most credible survey I’ve found to date confirms what I’ve been saying for some time: Web 2.0 is still a lot of hype, and not a priority for many.
By Toby Ward − Once the domain of the Internet, social networking has virally spread to the intranet with impressive results for Sabre.
By Toby Ward − “Looking for greater flexibility and support for more ad hoc processes, employees have responded with a more bottom-up approach, in some cases circumventing official information systems,” said CMS Watch Founder Tony Byrne and contributing analyst Jarod Gingras, the principal authors of The Enterprise Social Software Report 2008.
By Toby Ward — IBM promotes innovation and collaboration through it's own employee social networking site.
By Toby Ward − Most intranet or employee directories are the most used, if not most popular, applications on the corporate intranet. Most pull key contact information directly from the HR database or ERP; others allow employees to update and maintain their own information.
Wikis can be very powerful tools, if executed properly. But just because Cisco has them, doesn’t mean your organization is ready. Change management is far more important than the technology.
An examination of the information architecures for 13 leading intranets provides some clues, tips, and lessons for crafting an effective intranet information architecture (IA).
by Toby Ward - The process of planning an intranet, and the role of executive management and end users in developing the plan, determines the potential success of an intranet.
Enterprise blogging, wikiing, podcasting, and social bookmarking, within the confines of the enterprise, are powerful enablers of enhanced knowledge sharing and employee engagement.
by Toby Ward - The new, emerging workforce expects their organization to match the pace of technology and deploy social media tools.
Intranet 2.0 Trends - Global Intranet Trends Report
The adoption of Intranet 2.0 (Web 2.0) tools in the past two years has barely grown while organizations and intranet managers focus on more pressing priorities.
Predictions and trends for enterprise intranets in 2008 include further consolidation of the portal market, increased competition from new web 2.0 vendors, and a simpler home page for the enterprise portal or home page.
For many organizations, an intranet makes a fundamental change in organizational communications, and also, business process. A change management communications program is a requisite for any intranet launch.
by Toby Ward — According to a Harvard Business Review study of Project Management Best Practices in Global 500 Enterprises face-to-face meetings and interaction in the work place is declining rapidly – and instead many teams are working virtually.
by Carmine Porco — First off, intranet managers must come to the realization that their organizations’ employees are in fact their clients. To assume otherwise is to assure failure. Like any client, the organization must understand their constituency by asking them what their problems are, propose solutions, monitor their progress, ask for feedback and continually care and nurture them.
by Toby Ward — The open source revolution is still in its infancy and many myths persist.
Statistics show that as many as 45% of adults make New Years resolutions, with less than half of those commitments making past the six month mark. And while not holding fast to personal resolutions may only affect you, a failure to execute on intranet initiatives can impact an entire company. So make 2007 the year you say, "This year I resolve to …” and you actually do.
by Toby Ward — Portal products still represent a green, emerging technology. The promise of success however is still overshadowed by many pitfalls and few success stories.
by Toby Ward — The intranet is a key driver of employee retention. Studies show that employees who were highly satisfied with their intranet or corporate portal also had a high level of job satisfaction. When employees are satisfied, they stay on longer, their productivity rises and training costs fall.
by Toby Ward — The success of intranet kiosks has been very limited. An increasingly more common and popular alternative may be the option of extending remote or home intranet access to all employees.
Surveys, focus groups and interviews - gathering the data to develop an intranet strategy.
What is taxonomy? How does it differ from information architecture? And how do you create an effective taxonomy for a successful intranet?
By Toby Ward — A winning intranet has many successful qualities and features. The QAS intranet is a winner at many levels – rich with tools and demonstrable, measured value.
by Toby Ward — In the intranet world, the big hype for the past five years has consistently been reserved for portals. Though not necessarily a top priority for intranet managers and executives, the vendors and tech media have focused great attention on portal products as the savior of for the corporate intranet.
by Toby Ward — Site sprawl undermines the very promise of an intranet—making it easier to store and find information. Downsizing the number of sites is a complex project.
By Toby Ward — Has anyone not heard of a wiki? No, not the exotic New Zealand bird...
All organizations that disseminate information start with a dream: multiple websites integrating seamlessly into an intranet that minimizes the effort of managing content and maximizes stakeholder satisfaction
by Carmine Porco — The third best way to improve through experience is to learn from your mistakes. The second best way is to learn from the mistakes of others. And the best way is to learn from your own successes.
Planning is critical for any intranet – without a thorough plan, the intranet is dead before it gets a chance at life.
by Toby Ward — True intranet success is rare and often fleeting. The dedication, rigor and resources required to build and maintain a successful intranet or portal are significant. And while a successful intranet does not necessarily require a lot of money per se, there are many facets that require attention, successful planning and execution.
By Toby Ward — Open source platforms continue to advance and evolve and they’re starting to appear more often as solutions for enterprise intranets.
Many businesses have deployed intranet technologies for business- to-user information sharing, but few have investigated the effectiveness of this investment as demonstrated by South Africa's The Porter Motor Group.
by Carmine Porco — Your competition is doing a better job of communicating, and consequently, they are extracting more value and productivity from their employees. Their secret: a highly successful intranet that supports the entire business.
by Carmine Porco — From deciding on a family outing to crafting the company strategy, prioritizing intranet projects can be daunting.
by Toby Ward — Complex and expensive, intranets are no longer relegated to just- another-IT-project status within the highly competitive corporate hierarchy. A successful intranet’s scope and reach should permeate all aspects of the business in every corner of an organization. And the rigor and execution required to build and maintain a successful intranet is massive.
by Toby Ward — Intranets are complex and expensive investments - their scope and reach should touch and positively affect all employees in every corner of an organization. The rigor and execution required to build and maintain a successful intranet is massive – from governance to content management, and from technology to business processes. At the heart of a successful intranet is the strength of the plan that underlies it.
Asking the right questions of the right people, and then translating the collected business needs into technical requirements is a necessary step that will help to ensure the vision and execution of the intranet are the same.
If you're not innovating, you're dying. Death may be slow, and take a few years, but it will come.
Like anything, you get what you pay for. However, that doesn't mean a social media or Intranet 2.0 solution can't be an inexpensive solution, but it does require proper planning & governance, and usually some customization.
Creating a Measurable Internet Strategy. How long is a piece of string? How deep is half a hole? These philosophical riddles leap to mind when approaching the subject of a measurable Internet strategy. As with the two aforementioned riddles, I have seen numerous clients struggle to find the answers when defining success for their web endeavors. Organizations typically have not defined what success looks like and have no measurable goals or key performance indicators (KPI’s) in place.
A common frustration for teams managing intranet projects is the difficulty they experience in securing resources. Successfully winning support could require grasping a number of concepts—from ROI to employee engagement—depending on the business environment. But in all organizations, the intranet team must understand the difference between a need, and a perceived need. The distinction is that a business case can quantify the former, but people act on the latter.
Given that a social intranet can be built for a fraction of the technology budget required for a traditional internal site, the job of creating a case for a more interactive resource developed on lightweight, highly usable tools should be easy.
by Toby Ward - Most intranets are awful; they're chronically underfunded, mired in politics, lack any meaningful governance, and use poorly implemented technology.
By Toby Ward – Social media tools on the corporate intranet (intranet 2.0) became mainstream nearly two years ago.
By Adam Wasserman – Organizations can improve the end-user experience by: 1) Understanding the current state and the needs of the users, 2) Engaging the users while the new site is being planned and built, 3) Testing, Testing, Testing