Intranetters meeting March 2015

Last Thursday afternoon I attended the latest Intranetters meeting. For anyone not familiar with this group, they are an informal group of intranet and internal communication managers who meet on a semi-regular basis to discuss the management and development of intranets.

The latest meeting was held at Robin Partington & Partners, an architecture firm based on New Oxford Street. The first 1/2 of the meeting was a demonstration of their intranet, which had been custom built in-house by a small team of developers.

The intranet manager talked the group through the process of how they got to where they are today. This process started with Sineks golden circle which helped them identify why they were implementing a new intranet and how they were going to do it. From here they looked at building something that had a real purpose and that also looked good, after all they do design for other people, so why not do it for themselves!

The result is a very impressive task based intranet, which focuses on providing users with the essential tools they need to undertake their roles. These tools include integrated project management and project planning pages, timesheet logging pages linked to Outlook and a very impressive appraisal system.

The second 1/2 of the meeting was a presentation by James Robertson of Step Two Designs who talked at length about how "design thinking" is transforming intranets. Design is now a powerful word in business and there are many design techniques that we can apply to intranets. Design is especially important in relation to intranets as they can often be ugly and difficult to use applications!

So for example if you have a strong external reputation and branding then the internal experience users have "should" be just as good. Unfortunately this isn't often the case and users have to endure ugly looking intranets and other applications despite potentially being part of a large multinational organisation.

This is especially galling given that design is fairly easy to do and most applications including SharePoint can be designed to look nice and engaging.

As James said in his Presentation, which I have embedded below* for intranet managers it's about taking a fresh look at the bigger picture within your organisation and applying the fundamentals of good intranet design to your intranet. Applying design thinking will help push intranets to the next level and reshape the way we work.

*This presenation is from the IntraTeam Event 2015, but they were almost identical.