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How to make your Intranet Suck Less in 2011

Engaging with users and changing with ROI in mind

Every year Intranets become more important to corporations and with the rise of familiar social networking tools in 2010 this year was no different.  I don’t know of any published statistics but I bet Corporate Intranets were likely accessed more in 2010 then they were in 2009.  However just because a site was accessed frequently doesn’t mean those visits were enjoyable or valuable to the members of that Intranet.

Engagement with UsersIntranet Sucks Less

Analyzing your intranet is a very important process for improvement.  There are many ways to analyze an Intranet but most of the popular ones are not very helpful.  For example, counting hits to the home page or measuring the growth of the site as a whole are techniques that will not help measure the success of your Intranet.  Historically companies will also send out basic polls that have questions about the Intranet.  For Example, “Do you find the Intranet Useful?” isn’t a very helpful piece of information to measure the success of the Intranet.

Intranet Managers must engage with the users of the Intranet.  When polling employees or meeting face to face about the Intranet the questions asked shouldn’t be multiple choice.  All questions should be open ended and focused on that users actual work process or task.

For example, “What can we change on the Intranet that would help you get more work done?” is a simple question but the answers you get will help you immensely during future planning sessions.

As you ask these open ended questions you will get different answers from every person but you must take all of the feedback into account when you start planning changes to the Intranet.  Engaging with the users of your intranet will provide more discussions and less answers but the discussion will reveal problem areas that you may not see as an Intranet Manager.  During the engagement step I guarantee you will hear complaints about your Intranet.  Don’t take these complaints lightly or shrug them off.  Think of your Intranet users as customers you need to satisfy.

Change for ROI

The economy is improving but the Intranet needs to be a source of value not a cost as it has been in the past.  All changes you are planning to make to your Intranet need to be Return on Investment focused.

Every proposed change needs to have a value associated with it.  Time is Money is the popular phrase and its very true within an Intranet.  If you can save even 5 minutes of wasted time for each employee the results are tangible and will go a long way with getting management support for enhancing your Intranet.

Here are a few Intranet Return on Investment Resources.

Finding Intranet ROI (Whitepaper)

Buy-in from Executives: Intranet ROI

Intranet ROI: It’s in the Functionality, Not the Design

Please comment on this as I would love to hear your thoughts and know how you measure the success of your Intranet.