IBF Live is a monthly broadcast showcasing live intranet tours, often from global giants like IKEA, IBM, and Accenture. December’s tour featured Sally Roberts, Intranet and Knowledge Manager from Macfarlanes LLP, a 500 employee law firm out of London.

18 months ago Macfarlane went from a static intranet created through Dreamweaver, to a new intranet designed for better communication and resource sharing. Their navigation is fairly traditional and options are based on departmental structure. An “Add Content” menu drop down was a neat idea, with areas of contribution based on permissions.

John Wooden from Fredrickson Communications, a certified usability professional, weighed in on Macfarlane’s intranet home page, bringing up recent online discussions debating how much news to provide from the entry point on the intranet. He said that Macfarlane’s news area was in good proportion to the other content provided. Screen snaps from the IBF Live tours are not permitted but I would guess the news area was approximately 10% of the home page real estate. John agreed that too much precedent is given to news on an intranet home page, and that news is secondary, sometimes tertiary, to the primary reason employees visit the intranet: to find specific information, resources, and to conduct tasks such as filling out a form or requisition.

Funny how basic the needs are of many employees, simple really, as I view these intranet tours. Current trends tend to get all of the attention however never really show up as the top reasons employees go to an intranet. With the wave of social, and our own introduction of employee message walls and social profiles, it will be interesting to see if social tools do start to permeate the adoption rate of our intranet sites. The curve of adoption is slow in the enterprise, and based on the tours I have seen this past year through IBF Live, we have a way to go before our intranets become a social networking platform first and an informational / resource portal second.

Next up in the broadcast was Mark Morrell, Intranet Pioneer at Mark Morrell Ltd and a Benchmarker with IBF (Intranet Benchmarking Forum). Mark’s topic was “Intranet Love Affairs” and he had some good points about how far our intranets have come, thanks to the people behind them. Two key points:

  • Intranet Managers work with financial restrictions and often without much support from executives, but thank goodness that is changing. The profile of an intranet within the organization is increasing, as is the acknowledgement of the hard work and patience required in delivering a successful intranet
  • The people behind successful intranets have a lot of passion for them. This statement is close to my heart because I lived it with my first intranet site back in 1996 and of course for our intranet software, Intranet Connections. There is something about being an intranet manager, where you feel like it’s your baby. The commitment, care, blood, sweat and tears that Intranet Managers put into their sites is an inspiration despite low budgets, little support and little thanks.
  “Behind every great intranet you will often find one person whose courage, power and in the end love for their work,  has produced stunning results”IBF wants to hear from you Intranet Managers! Tell them your Intranet Love Affair

It’s quick and easy >> and you get to see the great quotes from other intranet managers

For more information about IBF’s Intranet Love Affair campaign visit their intranet blog 

Related Content: