It’s the New Year and for many the start of a new exciting project schedule. We have been inundated with enquiries for intranet software and it seems many intranet professionals are planning a new intranet for their organisation this year.
If you are planning a new intranet or drafting a continuous development programme, then dedicating some time to intranet planning is essential.
10 Steps to Successful Intranet Planning:
1. Create your team
If you have been given the responsibility of delivering a new intranet, first things first. You need to make sure you have the team you need to make this happen.
If a dedicated resource is not possible, then gaining internal support and assigning intranet roles is an essential. You will need someone with overall responsibility for the intranet (maybe this is you?) and intranet contributors and editors. Your intranet team needs to be able to focus on achieving the results but also able to enthuse and influence other stakeholders.
2. Understand user requirements
Your intranet is only as good as its ability to meet end users requirements. When intranet planning, allow sufficient time to get to understand how the intranet fits in with the overall organisational strategy and business objectives. This, combined with end user requirements is essential. We suggest that you approach this through a combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques.
3. Educate yourself
Ensuring your intranet software solution is going to deliver everything you need now and might need in the future is time well spent. Review what you have now and check whether that type of intranet solution is still fit for purpose, or is it time to consider other options. This is a great opportunity to seek some expert advice and your knowledge will grow as your project progresses.
4. Content Clean
Make time to review all of your existing intranet content and devise a checklist with which to evaluate content with your intranet team. It might be last time accessed, document duplication, location, content. Review the most popular pages and understand why they are the most viewed.
5. Functional Specification
Working through all of your user requirement feedback and marrying this with business processes and strategy needs time to make sure it is right. It’s also important to say that what is right now may change in time as your end users use the system and provide feedback, enabling you to develop your ongoing continual improvements programme.
6. Intranet Build
The actual intranet build will be much easier if you have taken time to undertake everything highlighted above. Creating a winning page design, page layout and content hierarchy for your business is essential and is the interpretation of everything you have discovered before this stage.
7. Managing your Intranet
Intranet governance is something that needs to be outlined. How you manage your intranet in terms of content management, development and usage will determine its future success. The aim here is to produce an intranet governance policy that can be implemented and managed on an ongoing basis.
8. Intranet Launch
On the horizon, think about your intranet launch strategy. You don’t need to plan this in detail at this stage but just think about important dates to the business that you could tie in with. Perhaps there is an office move planned for 2016/17 or a new product or service release. As you progress through your intranet journey, you can start to think more about the launch.
9. Continual Development
It’s never too early to start thinking about what will happen after your intranet has launched. You may have phased your intranet delivery, meaning that you still have lots to do! Or you may have gone live having fully delivered your requirements. When intranet planning build in the ability for continual development and feedback. This enables you to have some degree of future proofing but also to the keep the project front of mind of senior management and end users.
10. Encouraging Collaboration
Launching a new intranet is great achievement and delivering one that meets end user requirements, solves historical pain points and facilitates new ways of working is amazing, but you really need to build in a plan for how you will encourage ongoing engagement and collaboration through the intranet.
How long will all this take? How much time should you allow? This is very dependent on where you are now, the size of your organisation and what you have now. Our implementation guide, might be able to give you some greater insight here.
I hope you have found our intranet planning blog useful. If you would like further inspiration we run lots of events which enable you to see how other organisations have benefited from their intranets and of course you can access our free training material.