Monday, August 29, 2011

Why is Intranet so Easy?

Recently I blogged about why intranet is so hard. This struck a cord, it seems, because it received several good comments!
At the end of that post I promised to write about the easiness of intranets as well. My post about intranets being hard didn't want to imply it's impossible or frustrating to develop, implement and maintain an intranet. The fact that it's hard intrigues me and keeps me interested in intranet.

However, intranet can also be easy I think. I'll explain why here. I'm really curious if you agree/disagree.

Intranet deployment is usually a complex exercise. Lots and lots of requirements from different people and roles are collected. And these are squeezed into one overall intranet concept. Then building and deployment begins.

But what is an intranet? It's a collection of webpages, containing content, linked together. Sometimes added with a couple of web applications, like a people finder. Yes, the Digital Workplace.
So, why don't we just give that the functionality to create internal webpages, content and links to employees and get out of the way? Maybe with the exception of a central newspage.
The employees will publish information they find useful to capture and share with others. They'll link content, pages and people. They'll read the information they want to read. They'll decide what news is. They know what information they need to get their work done. Etc.

I take this approach because lots of intranet research shows employees only visit a couple of pages. Namely the newspage, the people finder and the daily menu of the internal restaurant. The actual intranet is small.

Subsequently the role of the intranet team is not to implement and maintain the intranet. Their role is to nuture, cultivate and maybe structure the intranet, like Jane McConnell says in this good blogpost. And, together with IT, offer intranet functionality and build web applications when needed (i.e. it is requested for by employees and can't be built by them). And fulfilling these roles is the hard part. :-)

What do you think of this approach? Is it too easy?
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