Launching your intranet can be a nerve-wracking experience. In fact, it can be just as challenging than setting up the intranet itself.
A well-planned intranet launch is half the battle won. To help you in the planning stage, here are 7 questions to ask yourself:
1. What resources do you have for the launch?
Take a look at the budget, time, and workforce available to you. Don’t settle for crumbs in your organization. Let management know, if they want good user adoption of the intranet, they must invest in its launch. If you’re short on manpower, get other departments involved.
2. Are you launching a brand new intranet or relaunching an existing one?
It’s probably easier to launch a brand-new intranet than to relaunch one that you’ve overhauled. After all, if you’re relaunching the intranet, it’s probably because the previous one sucked. Which means staff members have a lot of negative feelings and experiences towards the old intranet.
So when planning an intranet relaunch, think of how you’re going to address negative attitudes towards the intranet. You’re promising something better and brighter — how can you give credibility to that promise?
3. Is the intranet ready?
This may seem common sense, but you’ll be surprised how many intranets are launched before they’re ready. Test, test, and test! Some bugs will always escape testing, but be as prepared as you can. Also make sure the most frequently used content and forms should have been uploaded. You don’t want to disappoint your users when they log into the intranet for the first time. Make sure the intranet makes a good first impression.
4. What’s the best approach to launch the intranet?
Our friends at intranetizen have identified 5 different approaches to an intranet launch. Which one is most suitable to your organization?
5. What information do your staff need to get excited about the intranet and remember to use it?
Time to think like a marketer. What features and benefits of the intranet will resonate most with your co-workers? Is it the ability to communicate without using email? Collaborate on documents? Hold virtual meetings with co-workers from across the country?
What types of communication materials would be most effective? Consider brochures and posters. But don’t forget T-shirts and computer mouse pads. Even screen savers can be effective.
Many companies produce launch videos to get their staff excited about the intranet.
And don’t forget about training staff to use the intranet. Will you have in-person training sessions? Produce quick-start guides? Create a YouTube channel? Whatever you decide is best for your organization, have a plan for intranet training.
6. Should you create a launch event?
If you decide to have a Big Bang Launch, then you’ll need to organize a launch event. It could be an in-person event, such as serving cake and tea as your CEO “unveils” the intranet. Or, if your company has offices in different locations, you could have a virtual event instead, using something like Google Hangouts. Whether in-person or virtual, a launch event is a good way to signal the “opening” of your company intranet.
7. How will you follow up?
This is a very important questions, but one that most intranet managers forget. After you launch the intranet, what will you do next? After all, you need to sustain the staff members’ interest in the intranet, and motivate them to keep using it.
You’ll also be tweaking and constantly improving the intranet. Few intranets are perfect from the get go. What are your plans for getting feedback from users, tracking your intranet metrics, and implementing improvements?
We hope your find these questions useful when you plan your intranet launch. Let us know how it goes!