Intranets2015: 5 things for intranet managers to do

One of the global centres-of-excellence for intranets is Australia: a thriving community, several international award winners and a terrific conference. In 2013, we were there in Sydney to see this event first hand but this year, Rebecca Jackson was in attendance to listen, learn and write up for Intranetizen. What did she learn?

1. Look for inspiration beyond intranets

If  you’re reading this article, logic dictates that you probably get your regular dose of intranet awesome from your favourite sources. Michael Sampson encourages us to study beyond our own work and explore outside the lines of our own industry.

Why not start by reading a new book, joining a course or seminar, or even going along to a meetup in a subject area outside of your usual field of interest.

Michael Sampson – Reimaging Effective Work

2. Steal like an intranet artist

Using your new found inspiration, why not build some of it back into your design? The teams from Prophet and Ogletree Deakins took ideas from social media and retail websites and brought it back into their intranet as features. If that seems a bit radical for your liking, pull it back a little and look for great ideas in other intranets. The Intranet Innovation Awards and the Intranet Design Annual and good places to start.

Find a cool idea, adapt it to your business and implement it as your next minor enhancement.

Intranet Innovation Awards

3. Give some love to your authors

Content may be King but it doesn’t crown itself. There were numerous presentations about well-loved author communities who have freedom to create supported by training and technology. Wintec have a team of empowered staff who build their own solutions on their intranet. The Department of Human Services pulled together several separate intranets and authoring communities into one well governed site.

What can you do to support your author community? Try something simple like rewarding and recognise great publishers with a treat or thank you. Already doing that? Step it up and review your publishing process to see where you can adapt your technology to loosen up governance a little.

Kristi Bernards (Wintec) – Curiosity Conquers Control

4. Get into the ‘G’ word

Usually a topic that draws groans, governance was highlighted in a big way with Susan Hanley’s keynote. Susan reframed governance to make it more consumable with 5 easy principles:

  • No big documents or long pages
  • Use quick guides
  • Integrate governance with training
  • Make it online and interconnected with the intranet
  • Deliver it in context

Don’t fret any more about that big governance document you’ve been meaning to write. Start with a one page guide and deliver it in your next training session.

Susan Hanley – Establishing Practical (and Consumable) Governance

5. Make a date to listen to your users

It was clear from listening to the many case studies that successful intranets are built by teams who take the time to listen to their users. Understanding your users will give you insights into how the intranet can help their jobs, and support culture. James Robertson emphasised the point by laying out the challenge in his closing keynote.

Make a time in the next two weeks to spend with one of your users learning about how they do their job. Then step it up, and make it a regular occurrence.

James Robertson – How to Deliver the Workplace of the Future

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