Often, the main focus of project teams is to get the technical infrastructure in place or to get stakeholder buy-in. However, many other elements are equally crucial to leading to a successful intranet both at launch and post go-live.
This checklist aims to give you an insight into the tasks often not accounted for when planning an intranet project and to help you prepare your teams if you are about to embark on one.
#1. Preparing existing content
This cannot be underestimated in its importance. An intranet is only as good as its content and it is vital that you begin this process as early as possible. If you have an existing intranet (s) you may have a large amount of content that needs a home in the new intranet. Your first task must be to perform a content audit.
- What content do you have?
- Where is it stored?
- What format is it?
- Who owns it?
- When was it last updated?
Once you have an understanding of the scale of your content you should begin to draw out your information architecture.
Agreeing on an IA can be a complex task but we recommend keeping it simple and not over-complicating the menu structure. Involve end-users and content owners in this process to test your IA decisions.
Migration is then your next task. Whether you choose an automated approach or a manual ‘lift and shift’ you should complete detailed mapping of source to destination. It is often a challenge, but encourage your content owners to leave a percentage of data behind that is not necessary. You don’t want to clutter your new intranet with unwanted, legacy content.
#2. Planning new content
While confirming your IA you will identify requirements for new content, make sure you have accounted for this and have enough new content to fully populate your site and keep it fresh. For example, video content, enough imagery available for authors and a backlog of blog posts. If the homepage starts to become stagnant users will disengage from the site very quickly. This new approach combined with the valuable migrated data will provide an up to date platform your users will be drawn to.
Governance is the topic that everyone loves to hate but it should be taken seriously when considering an intranet project. Without formal governance in place, the platform may become out of control and lose its direction. Key things we recommend with regards to governance:
- Assign content owners as well as a dedicated intranet manager (or team)
- Agree on a permission structure for content creation
- Establish a mechanism for end-user feedback. The intranet should be evolving in line with your business so it’s important to keep the communication channels open between your users and intranet custodians.
- Establish a governance forum to handle decision making. They will establish goals and vision for the intranet, future changes in the platform and review feedback.
Plan your training approach ahead of time to allow you to reach as many people as possible within your organization. Training your content authors and intranet champions is key as they will be the driving force of the platform as well as the supporting functions such as service desk and IT management teams.
We also recommend running roadshows and showcases across all parts of the business to introduce end-users to the new tool. Creation of training videos, user guides and use cases further support your training strategy. Giving users the understanding and context will drive engagement rather than this ‘being another IT tool’.
10 essentials for staging the ultimate intranet launch
Launch activities are an essential part of maximizing returns on an intranet investment. Planning an effective launch gets new sites buzzing from day one, resulting in faster adoption and increased engagement. Whether there’s budget available – or just manpower and internal communications – the key to a successful intranet launch is having a solid plan backed by reams of enthusiasm.
Intranet launch is an essential part of maximizing returns on investment
Here at Unily we are always trying to remove complexities of launching a new intranet or digital workplace for our customers and support them in ongoing employee engagement. We have found that the clients who account and plan for the topics discussed in this blog are more successful overall.