An intranet or website is more than a project or a piece of technology; it’s a mission-critical business system and a significant investment that requires proper planning. Prescient has a five-phased approach or methodology that our Internet consultants use to creating highly effective websites. The first phase of this methodology is the Assessment phase, where the business and functional requirements of the intranet or website are determined and documented.
Prescient's unique Internet and intranet project methodology
Despite the traditional focus on technology and integration, the most critical phases are the initial ones: Assessment and Planning. At the heart of a website's success is the strength of the plan that governs it, and a successful plan begins with a website or intranet assessment.
Before undertaking any website plan or build, an extensive needs or business requirements assessment is necessary to identify, develop, prioritize, and document goals and current practices.
The assessment should include stakeholder interviews and input, as well as user research, and possibly stakeholder workshops. When building a leading-edge website, a detailed strategic blueprint can be crafted with the acquired data and knowledge including:
- Information architecture
- ROI plans
It is recommended that any organization consider engaging a third-party or consultant to conduct the assessment. While the cost may be prohibitive for organizations with tight budgets, a third-party may be more successful in gathering sensitive opinions and feedback as a third-party, unlike stakeholders, have no personal attachment or stake in the website and do not have any political agendas.
It is important to gather the needs and requirements of stakeholder and users, at the risk of failure; a representative sampling of user opinions is crucial to gathering an accurate reading on user needs and requirements.
Engaging Users, Identifying Needs
The first two phases, assessment followed by planning, are perhaps the two most important phases: without undertaking rigorous and thorough assessment and planning stages, the subsequent three phases will not realize their potential.
The purpose of the assessment is to identify the organization’s needs and requirements. Steps in the assessment phase should include:
- Current state evaluation
- Business requirements interviews
- User surveys
- User focus groups
- Review of existing research (surveys, etc.)
- Benchmarking (best practices)
- Usability testing
Business and needs assessment
The assessment serves two important needs: it documents the needs and requirements of the user population, for the purpose of answering those needs.
Before undertaking any site or portal design or redesign, regardless of the size of the project, a requirements assessment is necessary to identify, develop, prioritize, and document goals and current practices. As mentioned above, each engagement begins with an assessment that concretely identifies and documents the project’s goals and objectives, aligns those objectives with those of the sponsoring department and the enterprise as a whole, as well as documents the needs and requirements of the user audience and stakeholders.
Armed with the acquired data and knowledge, a detailed strategic blueprint – including creative, information architecture, and ROI plans – can be crafted to build a leading edge site. Individual modules in the Assessment Phase may include Stakeholder Engagement, User Research Review, User Survey, User Focus Groups, Benchmarking (sometimes conducted in the Planning Phase) and the delivery of the Key Findings Report.
For more information on our Website / Intranet Evaluation service or our other consulting services please contact us directly or phone our main office at 416.926.8800.
Specific services of note:
- Intranet Evaluation
- The Intranet Plan
- The SharePoint (MOSS) Plan
- Value and Return on Investment
- The Intranet Strategy
- Intranet Blueprint © 2013
- The Intranet Portal Blueprint © 2013
- CMS Blueprint © 2013
- The Intranet 2.0 Blueprint