Are you playing an Intranet tug of war?

Katrina Marques on her blog has written an interesting piece on some of the biggest challenges facing Intranet Managers.

In her post she explains how traditionally Intranets have been used to "push" news and corporate communications but over time Intranets have developed to the extent that many now offer two-way communication, including in some organisations micro-blogging tools like Yammer.

Katrina has two questions for her blog readers:

  • How necessary is it to still have information such as “About Us” on an intranet, when a large portion of that information would be available via the company’s external facing website
  • How much should individual teams like Marketing, Internal Communications, HR or IT influence the intranet in terms of content and architecture?
Both of these questions could be blog posts in their own right! In terms of "about us" information I believe it's important to retain this especially where organisations don't publish the details of support staff to their external website. This is fairly common in organisations I've worked in. Certainly there is a case for improving how this information as Katrina suggests in her blog post by adding in social features like status updates, connections, followers and groups the individuals might belong to.

The second question is much more challenging as Katrina indicates in her blog post "While intranets are maturing and need to become multi-faceted, many still sit within one of the above mentioned business units, resulting in siloed approaches to driving and developing the intranet. The likely outcome would be a lopsided solution to function, design and content" I asbolutely agree with this last statement, with any Intranet it's important to provide both features and content that are going to appeal to and work for the whole organisation, not just a small part of the organisation. I love the idea of an Intranet steering group/committee who drive the development of the Intranet equally but as Katrina says "Where do we fit in an organisational structure? Will we remain under the strong and often biased influence of our parent business unit (often IT, Marketing/Coms or HR) or will we break free and flourish – influencing and innovating the way we work?"