8 ways to kill your intranet and other problems!

Fancy sorting this mess out?
I appear to have been a bit lax (again) about updating this blog so to stop that that in its tracks here are two articles I have read recently about intranets, which I think will be of interest more widely.

The first article is from CMS Wire and is called "8 ways to kill your intranet" in the article the author looks at some of the mistakes organisations can make when developing intranets.

The first mistake the author looks at is an intranet not being structured very well. All intranet managers should know how important it is to have a good information archictecture in place. However what the author suggests doing is to "focus on maintaining an organisational structure". This would seem to go against what most people believe is a better way to structure an intranet which is by task, but I'm not going to linger on this too much as there are 7 other mistakes!

Related to a lack of structure is an excessive amount of parent pages. Now this isn't something you would expect on intranets, wikis certainly, but intranets less so. However the author suggests it can be a big mistake and something that intranet administrators need to keep a close eye to ensure intranets don't get out of control.

Another related issue is hiding navigation tools, so this is about ensuring the ways by which users can navigate your intranet are consistent and obvious. So tools like related pages and breadcrumbs should help users find the content they're looking for and help them understand where they are in the intranet structure. A big issue which the author looks at is poor tagging, metadata and labelling, these are all essential to have in place especially to support search.

Of course it's all very well having a great structure and perfect search in place if the content that is being returned is old and really poor quality. This is a surefire way to ensure people stop using your intranet. For me these are the most important mistakes to avoid, although the article does list a few more mistakes which organisations can make.

Related to this article, is an article I read this morning by Rebecca Jackson. In this article Rebecca asks "How unique are your intranet problems?" and reports on an intranet engagement workshop she ran recently where the problems identified by intranet managers aren't unique and that there is probably somewhere out there who has the same problem, or who has a worse intranet! I think this is important to note when you are trying to address one of the problems listed by Rebecca, knowing that other intranet managers may be dealing with the same problem in my mind doesn't make it seem as big or difficult a problem.

Gravesend Floodlit Series 2015

My favourite number...ermm

Earlier tonight I took part in the final race in the Gravesend Floodlit Series. This is a series of 10k races, which take place at the Gravesend Cyclopark, this is a fantastic facility designed to facilitate both cycling and running around a 2.5km track, which used to be part of the old A2 road before it was widened.

I had previously run the 5th race in this series and had finished the 10k race in a respectable time of 48:17. I had entered the 6th race in this series which was due to be held in March, but unfortunately I was unwell, so missed out on trying to beat this time.

So on to the 7th and final race in this series and with the clocks going forward it meant that we were going to be running in daylight rather than darkness. As a result I had high hopes of beating my time of 48:17 by at least a minute, if not more than that. As it turns out I did much better than this and came close to running sub 45 minutes, which is a big benchmark for me! Here are my mile splits for the 10k race:

  • Mile 1 - 7:15
  • Mile 2 - 7:17
  • Mile 3 - 7:32
  • Mile 4 - 7:19
  • Mile 5 - 7:18
  • Mile 6 - 7:29
I'm not quite sure what happened during Mile 3, but it probably cost me a sub 45 minute 10k. So my finishing time for the 10k was 45:03, which I was absolutely delighted with. I cant remember the last time I ran close to 45 minutes for 10k and I've only ever run 10k sub 45 minutes twice and they were both a long time ago, so there is definitely the potential for me to do so, which makes me very happy!

 Bring on the summer and even faster times!

Intranet resources - March 2015

I thought it was about time I did another round-up of articles I've seen about intranets and other tools that interest me. I last did a round-up of intranet resources in  January and it proved popular so I'm happy to do it again.

So what did March bring us in the intranet sphere, well CMSWire seems to have run a special series on intranets v.s. enterprise social networks, publishing a series of articles which have looked at how these two tools can work together...or not.

The first of these is James Dellow's article called "Where intranets and Enterprise Social Networks Fit in your Business" James asks if an ESN can replace an intranet as James says you might be surprised by his answer.

The next article in this series is Oscar Berg's excellent article called "Are we asking the right questions about the digital workplace?" In this article Oscar suggest quite rightly that instead of asking people what tool they would like to use, or whether we should be replacing an intranet with an ESN and vice versa, we should be asking "what do people need to do to get work done". Oscar suggests we need to stop seeing IT systems as boxes into which we stuff as many features as possible. Instead we should view IT systems as mini-ecosystems which we can provide to users in a way that suits them. This is an excellent article, which I recommend anyone with any interest in the digital workplace, intranets and ESN's reads.

An article which might on the face of it sound like it wont be a very inspiring read for intranet managers is "Endangered species: The Corporate intranet" in which the author looks at some of the ways in which intranets are used and their future in the face of the many other service organisations now have available to them.

The last article produced by CMSWire as part of this series is Steve Bynghall's article called "Beware Red Herrings: Intranet vs ESN is a sham"In this article Steve looks at the crossover between intranets and enterprise social networks and asks what role these two tools have to play in today's organisations.

Other articles in this CMSWire series include "Intranets or ESN? Why not both" and "Are ESN's just intranets in new clothing"

Moving away from the CMSWire series the J Boye website published an articles at the beginning of March called "Want a social intranet have a plan" this excellent article looks at some of the steps organisations need to take if they're thinking about implementing a social intranet. This includes a community maturity model which outlines the processes and stages involved in developing a "networked organisation"

Some really excellent resources this month, especially if you're currently managing an intranet and an ESN.