When your business relies on SharePoint to help your team members collaborate, communicate and share content, it is vital that your Intranet environment is maintained, the corporate governance plan is enforced and continued implementation of the Intranet Strategy is prioritised.
An intranet is never ‘finished’ but is instead constantly evolving, growing and transforming to meet the requirements of the users, management and technological advancement.
Reasons for this include:
- Changes to organisational structure
- Changes to workforce demographics
- Regular updates to intranet platforms
- Management expectations
- New authors and site managers
- Technological advancements
- Content management
- Social tools integration
In the same way you maintain your vehicle by cleaning, polishing and taking it for a regular service, your SharePoint system requires a regular warrant of fitness to ensure the smooth running of your intranet portal.
Below is a checklist which includes a range of tasks which need to be completed on a monthly basis - some of these will address content review, whilst other tasks are focused on maintaining the intranet environment as a whole.
There are five key areas which require attention if your intranet is to add value to your teams as well as to your business as a whole.
Every intranet must have a clear strategy and roadmap for growth, improved efficiency and technological congruency. Whilst an initial strategic map may be in place, it is vital to revisit this on a regular basis to ensure that it continues to reflect the corporate ethos and workplace requirements.
- Create a roadmap which clearly states where the intranet is now and the plan for the future. Regularly revisit this document and update as requirements change
- Key strategic projects such as the rollout of new enterprise aps should be supported by and aligned with the intranet
An intranet is only as successful as its ease of use and relevance to the end user and therefore analysing usage, communication and integrity of the site will be required across a number of areas including information architecture, metadata and search functionality. It is not necessary to do a complete redesign as changes to the site navigation and overall design can be implemented incrementally.
- Gather search engine and usage statistics, analyse and act upon the user feedback these reports provide to understand how users access the intranet, which functions they use most actively and where improvements could be made to improve the user experience
- Update and shift site structure as organisational thinking and priorities change
- Regularly add to search synonyms and best bests to ensure search grows and prospers
- Test key areas of the site for ease of usability
- Improve site design and navigation incrementally to keep ahead of any potential incompatibility or user difficulties
- Maintain taxonomy and metadata protocols across all content
Keeping content up to date and ensuring new content is added correctly to maximise visibility and ease of access requires nurturing of the author environment, regular reviews of content and complete rewrites.
- Make time to rewrite and improve key content to ensure relevance and latest developments
- Conduct regular spot checks of content to review and identify areas for improvement and where further training or mentoring may be required
- Use web analytic reports to conduct a quality check for obsolete content and broken links
- Train and mentor new intranet authors
- Rewrite intranet guidelines and policies as changes to organisational structure and management expectations alter
Communicating the purpose and benefits of an intranet to the end user is vital if it is to be successful. Users must understand what’s in it for them and the system must be simple and efficient to use if you are to garner their co-operation. For communication to be effective, it must be a two-way conversation – giving information out but also pulling it back in. Successful intranet teams are a key part of the business and provide a link between the executive level and the end user. Communications should therefore be driven to all levels.
- Build relationships with key business areas and IT teams
- Work to ensure the needs of those outside head office are met
- Develop and improve systems for management and senior stakeholder visibility and communication with a view to improving executive sponsorship and support
- Communicate intranet success stories to highlight benefits to users
- Provide training and ongoing mentorship for existing staff and new starters
- Use social networking tools and sites, blogs and RSS feeds to improve collaboration within the organisation
In a face paced and constantly changing web-based world, keeping up to date with technological advancements, developing new applications and integrating social tools is a necessary part of any intranet team member’s role. As organisational thinking changes, workforce demographics alter and more collaboration is required, keeping the intranet functioning at maximum efficiency whilst integrating new technologies is a huge part of maintaining a successful intranet.
- Incrementally improve the underlying CMS and other intranet technologies
- Build the internal skills and knowledge of the intranet teams to match the evolution of the intranet
- Update software for new functionality and bug fixes
- Guide the development of web-based applications
- Revisit the strategic roadmap to ensure technological advancements and improvements are in alignment with the strategic goals of the business
A key area for concern, particularly when staff work from remote locations, is security. It is absolutely vital that human recourses and intranet teams have open lines of communication to ensure that as changes in staff occur the relevant login protocols are updated or removed.
- Review and update all login protocols
- Use usage reports to ensure there are no security breaches
- Managing and maintaining an intranet can be daunting and time must be used wisely to ensure that essential tasks including development and governance are prioritised amidst the daily demands of staff.
If you would like to know how you can ensure your intranet is operating at peak performance to best serve the needs of your staff then
contact me to book your FREE discovery call with me today