Whatever the strategy for your intranet is, it needs to align with your organisation’s overall strategy. It must clearly show how it supports and will help your organisation to deliver its strategic priorities.
You should also consider how it aligns with other strategies that support different business areas and functions. It is important to know the direction they are taking and if they support or conflict with your intranet strategy. One of the most common business functions relevant to your strategy and plans will be Internal Communications.
In some cases, the intranet strategy is part of the internal communications strategy. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, your intranet is more than a communications tool. It has a much wider strategic role that includes operational information, business processes and tools to share knowledge.
There is normally agreement and minimal conflict between each strategy. However, there are two areas with the highest risk of conflict between the approaches for the Intranet and Internal Comms.
Sometimes Internal Comms’ focus on news to the virtual exclusion of any other information. There are probably several places on the intranet where people read the news: corporate homepage, each business area and function site, senior leader’s pages, etc., as well as news feeds or discussion groups.
But they don’t want to find the same news article or angle on that news wherever and whenever they go to these sites. When people reach a saturation point they will be turned off by the amount of news that is the same. People feel bombarded by news and will switch off rather than feel engaged and interested.
I have not found one survey that showed reading the news as the most effective use of an intranet in helping people with their work.
You need to find the right balance so people see the right amount of news in the right places at the right times. Less is more. Make sure the news is only in specific places and relevant to each audience.
The other area of concern is the amount of space news takes up on your corporate intranet portal or Homepage compared with business tools, operational information and ways to share ideas and problems. Too often I find a mismatch.
The majority of people emphasise how important business tools, information and sharing are but the majority of space is taken up with news, particularly images. While not directly a strategic or governance issue, it does contribute to the overall user experience if the Homepage does not meet people’s needs.
Ultimately, this can affect people’s overall effectiveness and productivity. That risks a conflict with Internal Comms narrower approach to the intranet as a good communications tool rather than it being a great business tool as well.
Get the balance right so you provide what people need. Test out with people who use the Homepage to find out what helps them with their work, then provide it. That will probably be less news than exists but will likely mean the remaining news will be viewed more because it matches people’s needs.
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