Below we will explain the 5 core stages that Intelogy uses to help our clients design, build and implement a successful modern Intranet.
1. DISCOVER – Objectives, Scope and Purpose
At Intelogy, we like to get to know our clients to ensure that any solution we design will result in a successful implementation. Business stakeholders are our focus at this stage. To deliver a successful modern Intranet, we need to understand the objectives of the organisation. How do your employees work? What is your organisation’s mission statement and brand? Who will be the main users of your new Intranet? How will you ensure enablement of your employees?
These are just some of the questions we consider during this phase of a modern Intranet project. Some of our objectives are to identify and prioritise our client’s key business scenarios and personas. Once we have established a solid understanding of how our client operates, we will be able to identify a vision of how and where a modern Intranet will aide their employees.
2. DESIGN – Planning your Intranet Information Architecture (IA)
During the design phase, Intelogy will strongly engage with key business stakeholders (defined in the Discover phase). These stakeholders will be communicated with throughout the project, as their engagement will be vital to delivering a successful Intranet. The design stage is not just about deciding what information will be displayed within the Intranet but also covers other very important areas such as:
- Establishing a communication plan – How will you communicate these changes to all employees throughout the organisation? If the client decides on a phased release, when would be best to start communicating these changes to staff and ensuring their interest is maintained?
- Determining a training plan – If a client is using older versions of Microsoft products, how will they ensure their employees are up to speed with all the new and exciting functionality that will be available once they gain access to their new Intranet? For those staff that will be managing and maintaining the content going forward, how will they know how to update content?
A training plan is vital to successful user adoption. Business champions (advocates) within the organisation will drive the success of change throughout the organisation and they will only be able to do this if they are fully aware of all new functionality available.
- User experience – To encourage productivity, engagement, and collaboration, you need to right digital tools to connect and support employees wherever they are. We consider how the client’s employees usually work. Are they primarily accessing the system via mobile devices? Do not forget, something as small as custom branding will ensure a consistent, strong, and professional corporate theme, inspiring a sense of connection and commitment with the organisations’ employees.
- Information architecture– This is the practice of deciding how to structure content to make it understandable. If you have ever tried to use a site and thought, “where am I supposed to go next?” or “this doesn’t make any sense”, you have encountered an issue with an information architecture.
One of the keys to a successful modern Intranet is a solid and clear information architecture. Below are some best practice examples for planning an Intranet information architecture:
- Forget the organization structure when planning the navigation structure – Ensure your navigational links serve a user’s way of thinking and navigating. If a person is interested in finding guidelines for their upcoming business trip, they may not know which part of the organization takes care of travel guidelines. They would intuitively search for travel guidelines in a section called Internal services or Guidelines.
- Use terminology that your employees use – Remember you are not designing an Intranet for professionals in your own field. In some instances, you may be required to use legally correct terms but always keep the end users in the forefront of any Intranet solution and make sure to use words that the users will understand.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is important – SEO is not just important in public websites. An Intranet’s search engine easily finds content that has one main subject which is clearly written in the page/document title and sub-headings. However, it also searches page and document content. Therefore, try to ensure you do not mix too many different pieces of information into one page, or duplicate information across different pages / documents. This will result in confusion for the user trying to find information. Keep the information clear and concise.
- Do not divide news into different categories – no longer do we need to split news into IT, HR etc. In an era of social media, users have grown accustomed to reading news in long feeds.
- Create pages instead of documents – Where possible use pages to store information with embedded links to additional supporting documentation where necessary. Finding information quickly and efficiently is not possible if a user needs to constantly open different documents.
- Use metadata to recommend relevant content for users – If a user is reading a guideline about annual leave and summer holidays, why not offer them the latest news and events concerning holidays?
- Give clear roles – All communication channels that are used within the organisation need a clear role defined. Intranets are now seen and used as a digital workplace with different tools for communication like Yammer and Teams. Do not create competition between these different communication channels. If users within an organisation are accustomed to using Yammer for company news, then try embedding Conversations within your Intranet instead of generating duplicated methods of communication.
Once Intelogy has learnt about the organisation and how their employees prefer to communicate and work, an appropriate information architecture is agreed, and we then move onto the build and implementation phase.
3. BUILD – Implementing a successful Intranet
During the build phase of a modern Intranet project, Intelogy brings to life the ideas and discussions agreed with the client. Implementation of the agreed information architecture commences, schedules for the communications plan are rolled out, stakeholder engagement delivery is actioned and agreed training schedules are prepared for launch.
This stage is when communication with key stakeholders is essential. Without involvement, the solution can end up becoming disjointed and irrelevant. It is important to obtain feedback throughout this stage to ensure the organisation’s ideals and user requirements remain in the forefront of the solution implementation.