What’s needed for a good intranet strategy?

I was asked what was a good example of an intranet strategy recently.  It made me scratch my head and take a step back from what BT has successfully achieved.

Strategies will vary from one organisation to another in focus, length, substance, etc.  What will make sense for BT’s intranet strategy won’t necessarily for other intranets.  But I think some general principles will apply to most ‘best practice’ strategies.  These could be:

What is your organisation’s strategy and does your intranet contribute to it?

First you need to find out what your organisation’s strategy is.  What direction is your organisation moving?  What are it’s future priorities?  Then see how your intranet can help support this strategy and develop your own intranet strategy that is aligned to your organisation’s.

What are your priorities based on what do your users need most from your intranet?

You know what your organisation needs but what about the people who are using the intranet or maybe NOT using it?  You need to research how they do their work and what the intranet can do to help people do it better (this may be being quicker, cheaper, more satisfying even).

What long term priorities should be included?

Your intranet priorities need to be stretching (dare I say visionary!) and not too specific – that’s for your action plan for the shorter term.  So ‘Extend relevant standards to all intranet content and services’ is stretching and generic and not so specific as ‘Add this logo to the top right hand corner of xx pages with this colour and yy pixels in size’ would be.

Who are the key stakeholders to be involved in your intranet strategy?

Who can stop, hinder, accelerate or start your intranet plans to deliver your strategy?  Once you have a list of their names they’re probably going to be most of your stakeholders.  I don’t favour the ‘x reps per business unit’ approach but rather feel stakeholders should be mainly from the key functions that people are involved with or work in.

What is the culture and behaviour of your organisation?

Is your organisation highly regulated and command driven from the board level?  If yes then it’s no good having a wiki if the culture is resistant to sharing knowledge.  However if your organisation is flexible and receptive to new ideas and critical feedback then wikis and blogs can flourish and be part of your strategy.

So, know what your organisation and its strategy first, then you can prepare a strategy for your intranet which will flourish along with your organisation.

12 responses to “What’s needed for a good intranet strategy?

  1. Mark, good list of “best practice” advice. I especially like that you mention the long term priorities for the intranet and that you should dare to be visionary.

    Essentially it is all about having enough “room” in your strategy to deal with something new that you haven’t seen yet. Some may call it a more vague strategy, but I see it as being ready for the next big thing to hit the online world.

    After all there, people benchmark your intranet against what they see on the www.

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  3. Thank you very much for this post. This amongst some other research activities we have undertaken recently have made it clear to me the importance of involving key stakeholders.

    Many thanks,

  4. William Johnson

    Hi Mark,

    I’m currently writing an essay on BT’s intranet, and would really appreciate any sources of information/links/a couple of sentences on any of the following:

    (i) The challenges you faced in aligning the system with the requirements of the different orgaisational functions

    (ii) The social/organisational/culture impact of the technology when it was first introduced back in 1994

    (iii) How the adoption of the technology was managed to make it as effective as possible

    any response at all would be appreciated!

    Thanks very much


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