Thursday, May 19, 2011

Keep the Intranet Small

This tweet by Jonathan Phillips (@digitaljonathan) triggered to finalize this post, that's been burning in my draft box.
I've always been intrigued by how unsuccessful many intranets are. And there are all kinds of good reasons for intranet failure. One of the things that is hardly ever mentioned is: Shouldn't the intranet be smaller?
Usually intranets are huge. Lots and lots of pages with lots and lots of content. With complex navigation. The intranet  evaluation surveys almost always show employees only use the news page and people finder. But still we build and maintain nice big intranets.

Not only stats point to smaller intranets. There are others reasons as well. I came up with a few. If you have more, just leave a comment. Here's my list:

-          user requirements: users don't require large intranet
-          search/navigation: searching and navigating a small intranet is easier than in a large intranet
-          mobile: the content of the intranet is easier to take with you on mobile devices and the like
-          bandwidth: loading and accessing the intranet is faster
-          money: a small intranet is not as expensive to build and maintain
-          implementation and improvement (makkelijk en snel): improving a small intranet is easier because interdependences are clear
-          migration easier: migrating a small intranet to a new tech platform is easier
-          manageble: a smaller intranet is just easier to manage by the intranet team

Maybe 'smaller is better' should be the new intranet trend, like it is being proposed for information management.

What do you think, should the intranet be smaller? And will that make the intranet more essential?

Thanks for the trigger, Jonathan!
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