Over the last 16 years I have helped people understand what they need from an intranet, the majority of which was successful, but I have always been looking to learn and improve.
Consolidating my knowledge and experiences from helping to deploy or relaunch 250+ intranets Worldwide, 4 years ago, I created the Intranet Journey. As far as I could see at the time, this was one of the first complete Intranet success methodologies…
The success of this has led me to work with some very hard working intranet managers, sponsors and of course users. I have learned an awful lot and continue to do so from real people with real problems.
Over the last 4 years whilst implementing the journey, I have concluded that perhaps we have all been looking in the wrong place for ‘intranet heaven’, we have focused on the need. Why do you need an intranet, why do you need a page, why do you need to add that content in ‘that’ way, what do you need to add? The benefits and understanding of intranets including capability especially around social connection and process is well established. There are only a few people I meet now that rubbish the desire to add a social aspect into their business lives. Perhaps this is because the conversation has broadened into the term ‘digital workplace’ which encompasses all media: website, linked in, twitter, Instagram, extranet, portals, intranet etc. It’s harder for people to disagree when it’s simplified in this way, especially when the majority of these mediums add ‘known and understood’ value.
Over the years I have also seen that “why am I being interviewed” face. The expression that talks volumes to me saying “not another system please” there are too many ways of doing things… so off we go…. We look for the need and the fix for the problem.
If we are technical and perhaps focusing on product or development we are good at fixing things right? That’s what solution people do… a quick question or two and “here you go” that will do it. Some people think they ‘know’ what people need.
Recently I had a 30 min call with an IT manager, I was talking about what people needed and how to discover it? They had big problems. People were not engaged, no one was using the intranet. He said “I have bought SharePoint, they have documents, and the holiday form they asked for, and what else do they need?” Now this is not typical of all people rolling out a system and not meant to be harsh on SharePoint, remember software is just the enabler, but I was surprised to say the least.I reached out on social media to gather feedback about my recent encounter. Others had been in similar situations and I acknowledged a new approach was needed. Maybe I was not talking to the right person, or perhaps I didn’t tell the right story?
So why it is that people don’t see the value in understanding peoples requirements and jump into solutions. Maybe they feel there are lots of tools out there, hosted, software as a service and it’s simple. In my opinion its not. Nothing that has longevity and relevance is easy.
My Gran always said “good things come in small packages”, she was talking about me when I was young, I was a slow grower, but she had 13 years’ experience with me before she said that – she knew me, she knew what to say that would trigger the emotional belief I needed. My Gran put things in context to and from that day onwards she gave me the ‘want’ to succeed.
Intranets should be a place where people ‘want’ to get involved. During my stakeholder interviews I ask people “what would make you want to use it?” I am trying to discover what’s in it for them? It’s not about software and using the word ‘engagement’ is too loose a term.
The want for me is the Holy Grail of intranet longevity and in my next blog, I will talk about the factors that drive the inbuilt emotional triggers that we need to connect and stimulate us. I will do this from an intranet perspective showing you how to take your intranet to a totally new level.
Reviewing your intranet can be a daunting process, we’re here to help. We’ve experienced hundreds of intranets of all shapes and sizes and are skilled at helping uncover opportunities to improve the “want” and business processes. Our sister company SORCE intranet are software providers, so together we provide complete end to end solutions for a range of clients from finance to manufacturing, not for profit organisations (such as charities and housing associations) as well as local authorities and other public sector agencies.