Building an intranet publishing community

I recently posted about ‘5 simple ways to have good intranet publishers’ which James Robertson publicised on his blog and added the comment “All good stuff! I like to see a strong authoring community on this list, but that is probably difficult in an organisation the size of BT”.

So, grateful for any encouragement, especially from someone like James, I’m trying to show what we have done and will be doing in BT.

As BT’s intranet has grown so has the number of people publishing.  The method of publishing and the management of content but the leadership has consistently been with communications in BT.

As the BT Intranet manager, I lead a small team in communications responsible for the strategy, standards, compliance and development of our intranet that meets the business, user and publishers needs.

We communicate to key stakeholders the strategy and action plans so we have their commitment for funding of key developments that improve our intranet and awareness, hopefully understanding too, when needed.

We have a decentralised publishing model.  Each of our 6 lines of business has a key contact who engages with my team on operational needs and extends the implementation of our action plan and strategy.

Someone responsible for information is also responsible for publishing and managing it on our intranet.  They have training, standards and tools to check compliance.  They review their own content and respond to any user feedback.  The owner’s name is on every page they own so users know who to contact with any queries.

Line managers approve or reject publishing requests.  Soon if our new automated intranet management tool identifies content that doesn’t comply with key standards e.g. content out of date or not accessible, line managers of content owners will need to act or the offending content will be removed if no action taken by the owner.

I’m talking about formal, content management published, type content here that is authoritative and factual.  It is different for user generated content like wikis and blogs which are rightly managed with a much lighter touch.

Previously we had Frontpage discussion groups and newsgroups when we had a smaller number of publishers who helped each other by sharing problems with each other.

As the numbers have increased – potentially everyone in BT is a user and publisher of content now – so the technical skill level has dropped and the time to devote to helping others.

Now we use BTpedia, our corporate wiki, to share any publishing issues.  While people may have less time to devote to helping others than before, there are far more who can.  We hope one will balance out the other.  Time will tell!

3 responses to “Building an intranet publishing community

  1. I always enjoy reading your posts Mark, keep up the good work (and practical advice).

  2. Interesting to compare the concept of an “authoring community” to the idea that “anyone can publish”.
    Intranets are moving in the second direction (thank goodness!) but at the same time standards, training, etc. must exist for that essential “reference” or “authoritative” material that all organizations have.
    I would love to see how others are handling this. Hope you get some more feedback here, Mark. -Very relevant topic.
    I’m going to send it to IntranetWatch on Twitter – hope you don’t mind?!

    • Hi Jane,

      It’s good to hear from you. I’m very happy you sent it to IntranetWatch on Twitter. I’m hoping it will generate some more feedback. I’ll be following up with James Robertson offline about this.


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