Creating an intranet

There are a number of things you need to do before you start to implement an intranet if you want the process to be successful. Hopefully after taking a look at these steps you have a better idea of where to start when implementing an intranet in your organization and what it takes to lay the foundations for a successful intranet.

#1. Define your goals and objectives

The aim of any new technology needs to be defined before the process begins, so you know exactly what you’re looking to achieve from the implementation. It is very important to not plough ahead with planning or design until the goals and objectives have been clearly defined. You can ensure your new intranet delivers ongoing business value by tailoring your approach to your digital goals and laying out a clear plan for your intranet.

Define your goals and objectives and create a vision statement for both your intranet and digital transformation project. These goals will set a benchmark for success that you can measure performance against, allowing you to make informed decisions and changes to ensure your intranet continues to hit your targets. The challenge could be to do with improving internal communication, breaking down information silos that are currently hampering collaboration, improving talent retention, or driving better employee engagement across the business. Talk to staff and key stakeholders to see what they want to get from the intranet.

Once the purpose of the intranet has been decided it will guide all future work, so it is the best place to start!

#2. Understand your users and their needs

Each member of your organization has different needs and requirements from your enterprise technology. For a truly user-first intranet, your platform needs to be personalized and targeted to ensure that the digital employee experience meets these priorities. Prior to designing and launching your intranet, take stock of your user base and gather feedback on what they need most from your new solution. With this information, tailoring your intranet to remain relevant and valuable to your people becomes much easier.

#3. Choose a project team 

You’re going to need people to implement an intranet and this means choosing a project team with the skillset required. It’s good to choose a team from across the organization, so each sector is represented and you have advocates of the intranet spread through your business to encourage adoption.

#4. Plan your adoption strategy

As with any enterprise technology, one of the greatest hurdles in implementation is achieving widespread user adoption across your organization. When an intranet platform fails to gain traction, its benefits remain out of reach. Before launching your intranet, it’s important to let employees know what’s coming and support adoption by offering staff training. A staff training program is needed to make sure that the intranet is used and engagement is high.

Next-generation intranets come with a host of features designed to reach and engage even the most isolated and dispersed workforces, such as mobile-first design, intuitive and familiar social features, consumer-grade search experiences, and many more. What is key for ensuring these features draw in your audience is planning and defining your adoption strategy: consider your launch plan, how you advertise the solution, how intuitive it is for new users to pick up and use, and how you’re communicating this new technology to your workforce.

Digital workplace adoption guide pages


Digital workplace adoption guide

Intranets tend to suffer from low levels of usage once they’ve been launched, when the initial period of excitement has ebbed away. Download our 12-page guide as we dive into digital workplace adoption, helping you to understand how to plan for it, measure it, and put a strategic plan in place.

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#5. Decide how to build your intranet 

When implementing an intranet there are 3 things you can do:

  • Custom build
  • Develop an off-the-shelf intranet using downloaded software, which is then hosted on a server connected to your company
  • Choose a cloud-based intranet provider

Custom building an intranet may sound appealing as it gives you total control, but it requires extensive technical knowledge and advanced expertise to do it properly. If you do not have the technical skills needed, then you could end up with an intranet that simply isn’t fit for purpose.

The issue with developing an off-the-shelf intranet from downloaded software is that the intranet’s capabilities are often limited and simply will not give you the functionality required. To improve functionality may require additional investment that could add up to substantial costs not planned for in the original budget. In addition, this intranet option still requires technical knowledge to set it up properly.

Choosing a cloud-based intranet solution has a number of advantages. They will build a customized intranet solution for your organization’s specific needs and requirements. They will then provide an online hosting service to host your intranet site, taking the pressure off your servers. Choosing an expert intranet provider can also speed up the deployment process, which will certainly take the pressure off you.

#6. Make sure you see a demo before going

It is very important to demo the intranet to see what works well and what could work better. Most intranet providers provide the opportunity to demo their intranet product for free. Invite your project team to attend the demo, so that you can get plenty of feedback and highlight any potential issues early on in the process.

With adoption key to your intranet’s success, your top priority needs to be ensuring that your intranet caters to your users’ needs and delivers an unparalleled employee experience.

Use the demo to see examples of good design and UX. The design of your intranet is as important as its functionality. UX can be make or break for your users, as a clunky, hard to navigate intranet will deter employees from making it their go-to hub. To truly drive engagement and use of your platform, everything from its theming and color scheme down to its page structure should be optimized for your users. The key is simply to keep your users’ needs at the front of your mind as you consider intranet design.

Case Study

The Estée Lauder Companies: Designing the world's best intranet

Get an exclusive look inside the world's best intranet of 2022 and learn why MyELC made history as the first-ever beauty company intranet to feature in the Nielsen Norman Group's Intranet Design Annual.

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#7. Analyze performance, test, repeat

The best intranets withstand the test of time by adapting to suit the evolving needs of the workforce. As you launch your intranet and beyond, maintain consistent tracking and analytics. This will make it easier to measure the performance of your platform against your strategic goals and allow you to identify areas for improvement as you look to develop your platform to reach new heights.

Intranet Analytics

Gain insight into your users, your content, and your digital workplace. Custom and pre-configured dashboards let you drill down into the things that matter to you and benchmark your success against other enterprises.

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Reinvent your intranet for the employee experience era.

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