3 intranet horror stories

It’s easy to think that the masterpiece intranet that you have built will stand the test of time and last forever. Eventually however, things become slow, bits break, and it is time for a refresh to give your intranet a new lease of life. So without further ado, and in line with the impending all hallows’ eve, we present three new intranet nightmares… that for all you intranet managers out there, will make your blood run cold!

#1. The Phantom Newsletter-er

It was a cold gloomy October morning as staff began to pour in to the office in droves. With coats and scarves shuffled off and a hot tea or coffee in hand, staff took their places and began the usual process of reviewing yesterday’s emails and preparing a few more to go out. However, on this fated morning the office opened their emails to find a suspicious message waiting in their inbox, from an address they did not recognise. The content of this email horrified the office, describing closely guarded business secrets and speaking abusively of staff and the business alike. The message contained an ominous final line promising more revelations and nasty messages to come and was signed The Phantom Newsletter-er. A gallant young comms officer troubled by this offense decided she would track down the individual responsible before any more damage could be done. Working with the intranet manager they followed the digital paper trail, but what they discovered turned their faces ashen… the newsletter… was coming from inside the intranet! Rushing to the email newsletter builder in the intranet content management system (shameless plug: This is a new Unily feature) they discovered the culprit wasn’t so smart, and in the recycle bin they found the email that had been sent and the address used. The two heroes then proceeded to vanquish their business demon by removing the culprit's CMS access.

The moral of this story; permissions and security are an essential part of any intranet. Make time to plan your permission and governance structure and outline roles and responsibilities. Remember, this doesn’t have to be a negative process. It’s not about saying what a user can’t do, but about empowering them with all the things they can do!

#2. The Harbinger of Intranet Doom

It was the night before the new intranet launch and the team were celebrating loudly in the office at their triumphant success. A new solution to the age old problem of collaboration in the workplace. The new system had all the bells and whistles and was nothing short of the panacea to all the businesses problems. The project manager surveyed the room with a jovial gaze before sweeping through to take one last look at their months of hard work. The intranet was fast and within a heartbeat it had loaded on the laptop. It looked fantastic, branded top to bottom and raring to go. But wait… what’s this? The navigation doesn’t seem logical, and documents are showing up in unusual locations. The intranet pages are loading disconnected content, and before you know it you are lost within a sea of digital noise with no escape and no way to know where you are! The project manager slumps, there’s simply no time, no time to fix this. The content has been created and loaded into the system but staff won’t know where to go or what to look for or how to find anything. From behind the desk a tall dark shadow rises, eventually leaning forward to whisper the damning phrase “We didn’t plan the information architecture!”

The moral of this story of course; it's great having a shiny new intranet but content is king, queen and Dali Lama. Don’t forget to plan your information architecture to make the information stored in your intranet is more accessible and valuable to your staff!

#3. Collaboration breakdown

After a long day at the office a tired, hardworking salesman is driving home. He takes the scenic route through the woods as he unwinds listening to the radio. As he drives through what can only be described as the darkest and creepiest part of the woods, his engine coughs and splutters, and with one final sigh the engine dies. That’s all he needs after a busy day. But as he cautiously steps out of his car to investigate the car trouble his phone suddenly rings out. Stood alone in the darkness he answers. It’s his colleague with troubling news. The deal they have been working on for months won't complete unless they update a crucial document today, but she is driving and can’t send it. Suddenly the signal starts to drop and through the last moments of static she explains the document is in the intranet. The line goes dead. He reaches into his car for his laptop bag… it’s not there. The one time he leaves it at the office and now he needs it most. He decides to try and work on the document from his mobile. He logs in to the intranet and stares at the screen waiting for it to load. But what he sees shakes him to his core. Large images aren't loading in places and those that do are distorted and warped into grotesque and mad shapes. Links are misshapen wrapping on to two lines as content breaks out of containers and makes the page impossible to understand. The unintelligible swims in front of the salesman’s eyes as he struggles to focus until he finally lets out a blood curdling scream into the night air. The next day the police found the man’s car at the side of the road with no sign of the driver. But they did find his phone on the floor. When they looked at the phone screen… the largest images still hadn’t loaded!

The moral of this story; intranets can do a lot, but they can do a lot more if you make them accessible via any device and anywhere. A mobile optimized intranet is the only way to ensure that your users can get to what they need, when they need it and this will add real value for your business.

If you have been affected by any of these stories, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Unily where we can make your intranet dreams come true… whilst helping you avoid the nightmarish pitfalls above.

Happy Halloween!


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