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Networking for intranet managers

Intranet Management can be a lonely occupation. Even in larger organisations, there’s rarely more than one or two people with Intranets as their sole responsibility, while in smaller companies it falls to internal comms or someone in the web team.

If you need others to learn from, bounce ideas off and share your intranet woe, you need to get out and about and network with your fellow intranet pros. By connecting with contemporaries, you can keep up to speed with developments in the tech world,  sneak a peek at intranets elsewhere (and nick all their best ideas), and find the occasional shoulder to cry on.

Here’s some ideas to get you started:

Twitter

I get all my news from Twitter. Follow the #intranet hashtag for the latest industry news and blogs, as well as to connect with fellow intranet specialists. To make life a bit easier, we’ve created an intranetizen twitter list with the key people that we think you should follow. Take a look here.

Blogs

While intranets rarely get a mention in mainstream IT industry news sites, there’s an impressive range of intranet managers, consultants and researchers out there who regularly blog on all aspects of intranet management.

Our top five intranet blogs to bookmark:

  • Column Two: James Robertson of Step Two Designs writes regularly on intranet innovation
  • KiloboxCommunique: Interact Intranet’s own Wedge writes impressively regularly, with a focus on the communications side of intranets
  • NetJMC: Jane McConnell, who runs the annual Social Workplace study, blogs regularly on digital workplace trends
  • Content Economy: Oscar Berg writes about communication and collaboration technologies, with a particular focus on  productivity,efficiency and innovation
  • Intranet Diary: Luke Oatham writes on the trials and tribulations of intranet management

Groups

Online is great – and for those of you outside the big cities is often the only option – but as any internal communicator knows, there’s no subsitute for face-to-face comms. There are a number of practitioner groups for intranet specialists which have popped up in recent years. This list is quite UK- (and specifically London)- focussed; so let us know of other  international groups via the comments section below.

  • J Boye: These guys run a wide range of practitioner groups for different sectors in the digital world. This includes a number of dedicated intranet groups meeting regularly in the UK and Europe, where small groups of intranet specialists review case studies and get feedback from peers on their own intranet challenges.
  • UKeiG Intranets Forum: The intranet wing of the organisation for information professionals. As well as regular informal meetings, UKeiG’s member site offers an impressive range of online resources, with a focus on information and knowledge management.
  • IBF: The Intranet Benchmarking Forum’s confidential member meetings are the gold standard of intranet networking groups. Open only to organisations which use their benchmarking service, these regular meetings bring together those managing large corporate intranets and provide valuable insight for those managing complex, global intranets.
  • Intranetters: Organised via a Yahoo group and mailing list under the watchful eye of Rob McLean, this informal, friendly group of London-based intranet managers meets (roughly) quarterly for a show and tell, followed by Q&A (usually followed by pub). As a largely self-organising group, it is, refreshingly, free to join and attend. A must for those with small training and development budgets.
  • Internal Communications Teacamp: Another free-to-attend group, this time co-founded by me. These bi-monthly meetups are open to all IC professionals in all sectors. Each time one or more attendees will share a case study, share ideas, natter about comms and drink tea. Past meetings have covered low-cost digital comms, evaluation and measurement, and communicating with hard-to-reach groups.

Conferences

Another sign of the increasing maturity of the industry is the emergence of dedicated conferences for intranet professionals. No longer are we expected to be happy with a couple of workshops within a broader web event; now there are events taking place all over the world, covering a wide range of intranet topics in their agenda. You can see intranetizen writers at a few conferences this year.

Our top five recommended conferences for 2012:

Others

If you can’t stretch to a conference, IBF Live, the monthly online offering from the Intranet Benchmarking Forum, is excellent value. Using a WebEx meeting, and compered by IBF’s Paul Miller, this gives you a whistlestop tour though some of the world’s leading intranets. Fantastic for generating new ideas. For those with stamina, try the IBF24 event in May; this brings you live tours of some of the world’s best intranets in one 24-hour marathon session.

LinkedIn is a fantastic resource for intranet managers, with a burgeoning number of groups covering all aspects of intranet comms, collaboration, design, usability and governance.

Intranetizen’s top five LinkedIn groups:

We hope that’s inspired you to get out there and connect with – and learn from – others in the intranet industry. If you’ve got a favourite group, blog or event, let us know in the comments section below.

 




There are 11 comments

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  1. Martin White

    A very useful review. Thank you. You will find a list of intranet-related conferences on the Resources section of the Intranet Focus web site, as well as a list of blogs, and the Intranet Management Handbook also lists a lot of intranet resources. I’ve added a new section specifically on Enterprise Search resources and next week there will be a significant announcement about a new set of resources for intranet managers. In terms of networking groups you’ve not mentioned the wide range of IntraTeam groups, though these are based in Scandinavia.

  2. Catherine Grenfell (@CatherineG99)

    Sharon, thanks for another excellent post. You are spot on about the loneliest of being an intranet manager. In Australia we have the Intranet Leadership Forum a professional community for intranet managers. With chapters in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney. We meet on a regular basis, share demonstrations of our intranets and best practices. (www.steptwo.com.au/ilf)

  3. Nadine

    Thanks Sharon, this is a great round-up of resources. Will be very useful!

    Couldn’t agree more, the connection with peers is invaluable, and it’s great to be an industry that (though lonely at times) has such a flourishing online community!

    Thanks!

  4. Samuel Driessen

    Nice post! One of the things I see in Holland is that intranet managers have a hard time networking and learning from others. I don’t see very many of them going over to other companies and learning from their intranet. How is that in the UK (or other parts of the world)?

  5. @DigitalJonathan

    Hi Samuel — thanks for your comment.

    I think there is a culture of informal and formal intranet sharing in the UK, with managers connecting privately to view and learn, as well as joining some of the networks that Sharon discusses in her post.

    What I do think is surprising are the sizes of the networks. For example, there are more than 10k companies with 1000 employees in the US and I would therefore consider there to be maybe 5000-10000 intranet managers in those establishments. But where are they? The situation is very similar in the UK, albeit the numbers are much smaller. My conclusion is that there are thousands of intranet managers who are not connected to any others and therefore our networks are not that strong.

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    […] No matter what your selected platform is, there are many intranet agencies out there waiting for your business. It’s not hard to build a comprehensive list, but it is beneficial to do your own research to be prepared. There are more formal ways to invite companies to tender, but in today’s world it can be as simple as posting a question on LinkedIn – in appropriate intranet groups of course! (A list of these groups can be found in our recent post networking for intranet managers.) […]


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