6 simple steps for a good intranet plan

In BT I have an intranet strategy for the next 3 years and an action plan for the next 12 months.  It has timelines, owners and updates on progress made available for others to check on.  Every successful intranet needs to do something like this.  Here are some simple steps to follow:

Strategy

You need to find out what your organisation’s strategy is first.  You then need to make sure your intranet strategy is aligned to it.  If it isn’t it won’t succeed and you will waste time and effort.  In times like now you need to show even more how your intranet saves costs, adds value and maybe even can help generate revenue for your organisation.

You then need to create a plan that breaks down into more detail how you will be achieving that strategy.

User feedback

Make sure the views and needs of the people who use your intranet are driving your intranet plan along with any business needs.  It could mean for little time, cost and effort, simple changes to your intranet could improve productivity greatly making big savings for your organisation.

Benchmark

What are other intranets doing?  Whose intranet is better than yours?  You need to find out so you can feed those ideas into your intranet plan.  Benchmarking may mean, like BT, you pay for an external organisation like IBF to do this or it may mean by informal networks like LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook you can share ideas with other intranet managers to help your plan.

Prioritise actions

Make sure you group any related activities then prioritise them so the most important is given top priority by you and seen to be given it in your plan.  This can be by it being in bold type, earliest date, most senior ownership, etc.  It needs clear actions and progress updates on what is happening to achieve the right outcome.

Socialise

Everyone who needs to be aware and involved must see the action plan to comment on before you can start working on it.  However it is not just the immediate team and people you need to contact.  It is also important that key stakeholders (someone who can stop your plans!) of resources or people are aware, understand and accept why they need to do things to help your action plan.

Budget justification

Make sure you have the budget or can justify in a business case what you need to achieve the priorities in your action plan.  You need to be able to show what funding you need and the value to be gained (financial and other benefits) over a period of time.  BT is testing a new method which widens the value gained from the traditional ROI which I blogged about before – more on that soon when our Finance guys have digested it!

17 responses to “6 simple steps for a good intranet plan

  1. There’s also another point you haven’t talk about:
    you must have in front of you the diagram of the company.

    Why?
    Because may be your Intranet will compete with another one and your bosses will have to make a choice between both.

    Of course this problem only applies with huge companies where duplicates departments and positions may be found.

    I faced this while I was working on an international company.
    ;o(

    • Yes, that is a good point. I would expect the strategy to cover what was best for the organisation – one or many intranets – and the plan on action is needed to achieve that.

      In BT we have always worked on the strategy of one intergrated intranet that is as aopen to everyone as possible, I realise that isn’t always possible for business, legal, regulatory and other reasons.

      On a more general point if you can merge into one intranet I would always recommend that. It is better for users and saves duplicate costs for the organisation.

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  5. Hi Mark,

    I’m an internal communications officer for a large charity and it has become my role to produce the intranet strategy. I will be following your steps above but I’d also like some more advice on how the strategy should look.

    Obviously a strategy will change from one organisation to another but as someone who has never seen an intranet strategy before, I would really like to see some good practice examples. Do you have any suggestions of how I can do this?

    Many thanks,

    Amy

    • Amy,

      That is a difficult question you ask. Strategies will vary from one organisation to another in focus, length, substance, etc. what will make sense for BT’s intranet strategy won’t for a different intranet. So I think some principles will apply to most ‘best practice’ strategies. They are:

      1. Find out what your organisation’s strategy is and see how your intranet can contribute to it.
      2. Be sure what your priorities are. (what does the business and users need most from your intranet)
      3. Long term priorities should be included. (they should be stretching)
      4. Key stakeholders need to be involved in the strategy. (who can stop/start your intranet plans)
      5. It needs to reflect the culture and behaviour of the organisation. (no good having a wiki if culture is NOT to share anything)

      I’ll try and turn this in to a blog post when I have more time next week but hope this helps you in the meantime.

      Mark

  6. Hi Mark and Amy,

    Some time ago I outlined some steps that would be needed to develop a strategy. It is fairly generic and might need to be adapted to your organisation, but adding deleting steps and do them in a diferent order etc. Anyhow, I believe it is quite complete and would be a good starting point. Note the the actual strategy development is covered by steps 1 – 11, while 12 – 13 are implementation. Step 13 then closes the loop, by mandating a regular review of the strategy ensuring it is in line with teh business needs.

    Hope this helps. /Niklas

    1 GET COMMITMENT
    This step is needed if the strategy work is initiated lower down in the organisation, since without management commitment at the right level, the probability to succeed would be limited. Get commitment from the appropriate management level to ensure that the right management attention and resources are in place for the strategy development and later implementation.

    2 BUILD STRATEGY TEAM
    Define who should perform the actual development of the strategy and identify all stakeholders (internal and external) including how to interact with them

    3 DEFINE MISSION
    The mission is needed to be able to focus the remainder of the strategy work. (The mission of … is to … by ….) The mission need to be aligned with the mission of your organisation.

    4 PERFORM SWOT or similar analysis
    SWOT is a commonly used a strategic planning tool. It’s an acronym for:
    • Strengths: attributes of the organization that are helpful to achieving the mission.
    • Weaknesses: attributes of the organization that are harmful to achieving the mission.
    • Opportunities: external conditions that are helpful to achieving the mission.
    • Threats: external conditions that are harmful to achieving the mission.

    5 DEFINE OBJECTIVES
    Describes how the mission is to be achieved. Should be SMART, ie. Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Realistic and Time-bound

    6 DEFINE PARAMETERS
    These are the self-imposed boundaries within we will accomplish the mission and all decisions regarding the strategy need to be within the boundaries. e,g “No new system will be accepted unless it is moving us closed to the mission”

    7 DEFINE STRATEGIES and TACTICS
    A strategy is a longer term plan that defines how to fulfill the objectives. Often of the form We will … The Tactics (or Action Plans) are shorter term plans addressing aspects of a strategy. Each Strategy typically will have more than one Tactic.

    8 DEFINE GOVERNANCE
    Define (if non existent) or review and update the management structures needed to be in place to efficiently implement the strategy and govern the it after it is implemented.

    9 BUILD ROADMAP
    The roadmap is based on the priorities and dependencies of the strategies and defines what to do and in what order.

    10 GET APPROVAL
    The overall strategy including Mission, Objectives, Parameters, Strategies, Governance and Roadmap need to be agreed at the appropriate management level to have the management commitment. All or parts of the strategy are to be agreed with the main stakeholders.

    11 COMMUNICATE
    The strategy has to be communicated to stakeholders to allow for by in and avoid counter reactions in the organisation.

    NEW 12 IMPLEMENT
    Initiate and execute the project(s) needed to implement the Roadmap. If several projects are executed in parallel it might be necessary to have a Programme manager managing the allocation of resources to the individual projects and the interactions in between them. The governance defined in Step DEFINE GOVERNANCE, could act as Steering Committee.

    13 MONITOR AND CONTROL
    The implementation of the strategy need to be monitored and reviewed against the objectives, and need to be modified as needed if diverting from the them. The strategy itself need to be regularly reviewed to ensure it meets changing requirements in the environment.

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  8. Niklas,

    Wow! I only wish my post was that comprehensive. It is a very comprehensive set of steps that people can adapt to their needs.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Mark

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