Greetings fellow intranet fanatics! Welcome to my fourth blog entry for Intranet Connections. It’s an absolute honor speaking to you good people and I’d like to thank you in advance for tuning in.
For those that do not know me, I am Maz. I work exclusively with our client base to ensure their utmost satisfaction when it comes to the discussion, implementation and maintenance of their intranet solutions. I feel blessed to have been placed in such a position. I mean, I get to see the birth, life and death of so many intranets. It’s so dramatic and epic all at the same time! OK – enough with the showboating; let’s get to the goodies.
Believe me when I say that I’ve seen a ton of successful and not-so-successful intranets! My goal today is to share an exercise that I believe will help intranet administrators create, build and maintain a successful intranet.
Define Your Intranet Problems
Folks, the MOST important question that you, as an intranet administrator, need to be able to answer:
How can I make the intranet essential to our organization!?
The answer to this question will evolve and change over the lifespan of your organization. Although the answer is an ever-changing beast, an answer must be stated in order to ensure the continued success of your intranet.
The answer should consist of a list of organizational problems and solutions as they pertain to communication, information delivery, internal workflows and any other categories currently being handled by your intranet. There are ALWAYS ways to improve these areas within your organization (so no ‘buts’ people)!
Personally, I like examples so let’s walk through the creation of a sample problem list together. We’ll keep it simple for the purposes of this exercise and identify two common organizational problems.
Hard-copy forms waste paper, waste time due to inefficient manual workflow processes which ultimately wastes organizational funds.
Our knowledge assets come in form of specific individuals which results in inefficiencies and other problems when the knowledge assets leave our organization.
Now that we’ve identified our problems, we can move on to the fun part – determining our requirements!
Develop the Requirements
Based on your knowledge, develop a solution to each problem. Keep in mind, I may be oversimplifying the solution descriptions for the purposes of preventing information overload for my readers.
Requirement 1 (Forms):
Requirement 2 (Knowledge Assets):
We need an open FAQ repository that allows individuals to ask questions and receive answers in a public area. With this feature, users will be able to perform searches/ask questions in this application. Alternatively, if no answer is found, the end-user can post a new question. This will help centralize the organizational knowledge in a common area that cannot diminish.
Implement the Solutions
As a final step, intranet administrators need to open their glorious intranet toolkit. This intranet toolkit should provide you with a set of invaluable solutions to the identified problems. Let’s continue onward and develop a basic implementation plan for each solution that works within the boundaries of our intranet application (in this case, Intranet Connections).
Implementation Plan for Solution 1 (Online Forms):
- Leverage the Form Builder application available under the admin > Applications tab to create online forms with streamlined workflow processes.
- Create a different folder for each department making use of organizational forms.
- Delegate ownership over the different folders to the respective department head’s to allow them to start adding their online forms based off the hard copy forms.
- Look through the knowledge base for best practices and instructions for creating the forms. As well, provide these resources to the department head’s.
- Work with the Intranet Connections support team to get over any additional hurdles.
Implementation Plan for Solution 2 (Centralized Knowledge Base):
- Create a new Appbuilder application through admin > Applications using the Knowledge Base template.
- Tweak the form and views to meet your exact information storage/display needs.
- Create a single Q/A folder that allows any employee to add an item (ie, question) but only administrators can edit/delete questions.
- Enable comments to allow users to answer other user questions.
- Add a feed to the homepage to display the latest questions that have been asked.
- Promote the tool on the homepage as a centralized, interaction Q/A area. Encourage users to save any emails that include a question that has been answered and upload that in to the Q/A area (with the permission of the parties involved, of course).
- Create documentation surrounding the search in the knowledge base to walk users through the process of searching for a desired answer.
In its simplest form, the above exercise should illustrate the process of identifying problems, developing solutions and implementing solutions within the boundaries of your intranet site.
Final Intranet Success Thoughts
Intranet administrators should make an effort to brainstorm and develop a list similar to the sample list seen above at least once a month or couple of months.
Another very important item to note: Intranet administrators will need to ensure the continued success of their solutions by gauging and monitoring the solution adoption rates. An easy way to monitor the adoption rates will be to leverage the intranet stats module. Using the Intranet Connections stats module, you should be able track the overall solution usage (e.g. number of hits per day, rate at which content is being published). Beyond monitoring statistics, you can conduct a company-wide survey using your forms module to request feedback on the newly implemented features and advertise a link to the survey on your homepage.
Ultimately, the success of your intranet can be gauged by the number of organizational problems it solves. More solutions will result in more $$$ to be saved by the organization, which yields a successful intranet = a successful YOU … potentially positioning a promotion for YOU (?)!
What ingredients do you include in your recipe for intranet success? Let us know using the comments section below.