An intranet strategy is "a plan of action to develop your intranet," according to Steve Bynghall (@Bynghall), a UK-based intranet, collaboration and digital workplace consultant. Steve is Founder of Two Hives, a provider of consulting, research and professional writing services.
While the strategy can be captured in a document or presentation, Steve notes that it is not a project plan, business case or requirements document. In other words, the strategy is the "why," while those supporting documents comprise the "what" and "how."
Intranet Strategy Webinar
Recently, Steve presented a DNN webinar titled "Developing an Intranet Strategy." A number of internal communications pros, HR managers, IT directors and project managers joined us for the live broadcast. Steve shared a five-step intranet strategy process, which I’ll summarize in this post.
According to Steve, research "is the process of gathering information and data to fully understand your organization and its employees." The research process can include several tactics: interviews, surveys, workshops and focus groups. In addition, it’s useful to analyze current intranet metrics and related statistics around internal communications, email use, etc.
Engaging your organization in the research phase can set up your intranet project for success. During this period, you’re engaging stakeholders as well as end users. Getting their buy-in now means they’ll be further invested in the success of the project.
Steve defines analysis as "the honest assessment of the issues, challenges and successes suggested by your research."
During this phase, it's important to look for repeatable themes. For instance, if interviews and surveys make it clear that employees can't find the information they need, then that's a key obstacle to overcome with a new intranet.
It's essential to operate with an objective and open mind. Instead of concluding that users are too old to understand digital tools, Steve suggests that the intranet navigation may not be based on how employees think or operate.
The articulation phase, according to Steve:
What you’re going to do
What you’re hoping to solve
What you’re going to achieve
It's important to focus the articulation stage on the "what," as opposed to the "how." The "how" relate to tactics and those can change over time.
Here’s an example articulation that Steve shared:
"We will replace our intranet CMS which is nearly at the end of its life cycle. A new CMS must have better search capabilities and support for content management processes."
And now we reach the "how" phase. Tactics, according to Steve, "are the actions you apply to support your approaches, they are not a strategic objective in their own right." Sample tactics include:
Content author community
Content clear out
CEO digital visibility
Communities and community management
Finalizing is the process of firming up your strategy and transforming it into something tangible that you can bring in front of your stakeholders. Those stakeholders will want to know about the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) you've defined for the intranet, along with your high level plan.
During this phase, it's important to do some PR and marketing around your project, which includes spreading the word and making your assets (documents, plans and presentations) impactful and memorable. In addition, you'll want to push the right buttons within your organization. Internal champions and influencers can be valuable resources here.
Intranet Strategy Presentation
Have a look through Steve's full presentation.
Developing an Intranet Strategy from DNN