Intranet Planning

Where does Intranet fit in Your Digital Workplace Strategy

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Summary:
Your Digital Workplace is not a single tool. It’s a set of tools that make work possible by complimenting each other. By evaluating new tools that come on the market in terms of their fitness on your roadmap, you can avoid tools that are roadmap-distractions and require costly backtracking. Intranets have some very clear goals and purpose in comparison to other communication tools, but you have to ensure governance and adequate support in order to make the investment worthwhile.

1. Digital Workplace: Understanding

A bit more than a year ago, at Microsoft Ignite Conference in Orlando, I had a chance to speak with Joe Francis who runs a Yammer network for over 200,000 users at Glaxo Smith Kline.

The interview of our conversation is still available here, so feel free to check it out.

Joe and their MS Partner Leslie provided some real close-up looks on how they manage their Yammer network and how it has transformed communication within their organization.

At the time, Yammer was known in the Microsoft community to be on the “decline“. I spoke with several SME’s in the area and everyone had a nervous feeling what’s going to happen with the product. And yet it does so well at GSK.

Just 5 years ago, Yammer was considered a disruptor and many claimed it will displace SharePoint as a communication tool. But it didn’t. Now, similar disruptor stories are told about Microsoft Teams.

Many organizations are struggling to figure out how Microsoft Teams and other tools in Office 365 suite will fit their digital landscapes.

How do you know when a new tool is right for the organization?

First, let’s understand what a Digital Workplace is:

A Digital Workplace is a cohesive set of tools and environments which help the company operate successfully and drive towards a business goal.

Few key characteristics:

  • Each tool must have its purpose and audience in your organization

    • For example: you’re not trying to do project management with Yammer, just as you wouldn’t use Microsoft Project for employee communication

  • There is a governance around each tool and business users are not confused

    • Users are not mistakenly putting confidential files onto an externally accessible network

  • The tool belongs to a roadmap

    • It’s not a rogue tool installed out of someone’s impatience. Even if it’s an ad-hoc solution, it needs to have a roadmap and transition plan

2. Is the Tool a Distraction or does it belong to a roadmap?

Now that we know what the Digital Workplace is and that it can have several tools in its arsenal, let’s define the “distraction” on a roadmap.

The Roadmap

Your roadmap is a way to go from point A (now) to point B (say, 3 years from now).

A tool that is a distraction will take you on a side road and lead nowhere so you’ll have to backtrack to get back on the right path.

There are a few characteristics of a digital tool that make it a distraction.

Tool is a distraction if

  • It’s a short term “band-aid”; not tied to solving a business goal for the company

    • Example: A team needs to collaborate with a contractor who doesn’t have a corporate account, so they create a Dropbox account for them to share files with.

      • This action does not create a strategy for sharing files externally, it’s simply a band-aid for this one case

  • It doesn’t fit core values or policies of the business

    • Example: Help-desk team using email to ask customer for passwords

      • This action can result in breaches and customer information leaks

  • It doesn’t scale with growing demand

    • Example: Using Microsoft Teams channels to store project documentation

      • This decision might make sense temporarily but as more projects you’re assigned to, the more channels you’ll have and searching, archiving, and accessing relevant deliverables will become a nightmare as the team grows

  • It has visible negative impact on business goals

    • Example: Email blast company news

      • This clogs people’s email. They stop paying attention to newsletters and miss important announcements resulting in disengagement

3. Where does the intranet fit into all this?

Intranet revolves around these key goals:

  1. Be a hub for reliable corporate communication (leadership communication, KPIs etc)

  2. Be a one-stop-shop for corporate knowledge (templates, samples, Knowledgebase, How to’s)

  3. Be a central spot for resources that employees need to get their job done (manuals, policies, request forms)

  4. Be a one-stop-shop for collaboration (including: document management, findings skills and expertise through directories, launching key forms such as HR forms)

Additionally, if you don’t have any overlapping tools such as HRMS systems, your intranet can also be a place for:

  • Employees to connect (employee news, events, and ideas contributions)

  • Staff Engagement (shout-outs and kudos)

4. Setting up your intranet for success

As Joe mentions in his interview about Yammer, you have to plan for success.

Here are the key steps to implement your intranet successfully:

Solutions

  • Obtain Executive buy-in

    • Propose a pilot project. Set targets, measure outcomes, report results

  • Avoid the trap of Planned Obsolescence

    • Planned Obsolescence has several shades, here are few examples

      • Example 1: Instead of maintaining the service subscription companies do not renew it hoping the software will just work. Instead, the software becomes stale and users become dissatisfied with its performance

      • Example 2: No budget assigned for an internal resource to collect employee requests, prioritize, and action them

      • Example 3: No budget for increased demand on helpdesk resources when rolling out a new software

  • Equally represented content

    • Content on the intranet is often heavily tilted towards communications with very little representation for the areas of the business. This reduces your audience and engagement.

  • Build intuitive information architecture

We’re here to help

Struggling to understand how Office 365 toolset fits the digital landscape in your organization?
It’s not always simple, and requires expertise to help you gain insight in the roadmap Microsoft has for its products. We’re here to help you.
We’d be happy to help you with a transparent and objective consultation to get you on the right track and maximize your existing Office 365 investment.

Pre-built Office 365 intranet that always delivers on time and budget.

 
ypentsarskyy_2016_small.jpg

Yaroslav Pentsarskyy is the founder of OrigamiConnect, a rapidly growing service and product offering which enables organizations to get an intranet designed for them without starting from a blank page. He's also 8 time Microsoft MVP, speaker at many local and worldwide tech events, and a published author of several SharePoint related books.

@spentsarsky

4 Best Practices for Evolving Internal Communications to Digital

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Summary:
Many organizations switching from email, and analog communication channels (like this bulletin board above) struggle with adoption of their new intranet platform. These 4 best practices below will boost your engagement, build efficient communication strategy which includes people content, cultivates company culture, and promotes openness.

Internal communications are often associated with email blasts to everyone in the company or bulletin boards hanging in the staff area. Keeping track of updates and distributing important information in this way is not only time consuming, but often times ignored by employees.

With digital tools available, such as intranet, internal communications have evolved, but adoption rates often vary.

Here are the best practices that can help you get the most out of your digital communication tools.

1. Develop internal communications strategy

Switching from manual, bulletin board-style or email communication to digital involves a few more things than just moving your old content to the intranet.

Here are key questions about content you need to consider:

Purpose

  • What is the purpose of communication (educate, inform, call to action?)

  • Does your communication cultivate the culture?

  • Can you re-purpose stories featured externally with slight adjustments?

Frequency

  • How urgent is the communication?

  • How often things get posted/updated?

  • Does the publication schedule overwhelm your users?

  • How will the frequency scale with organization?

  • When do posts expire?

Audience and Roles

  • Does the communication need to be targeted to specific audiences?

  • Will leadership content be active on the intranet?

  • Who can post and where?

  • Who moderates content (if staff can post)?

Avoid

  • Duplicating the content. People will come to the intranet if your original content is available on the intranet and not in numerous other places they used to come before.

  • Only featuring leadership content. People love to hear stories and not just important communication.

2. Feature employee content

Employee content has many different forms and is a great way to engage others.

Interesting Fact: People are psychologically drawn to individual stories rather than statistics. This is related to how our brain loves to associate and relate our own experiences through the lens of others. In psychological studies, people remembered content presented through individual story much better than the same content in a form of generalization or statistic.

Here are few ideas to include engaging employee content on your intranet:

  • Shout-outs or kudos

    • Gives an opportunity to inform everyone about who was working on what, which goals have been met, and which members of the team are collaborating well.

    • Executives also appreciate this type of content to see how employees are performing.

  • Crowdsourcing ideas or feedback site

    • Gives people an opportunity to provide valuable feedback and have others agree and comment

    • Excellent at building culture of collaboration, improvement and transparency.

  • People news

    • Provides a channel for employees to share their experiences at a conference, industry event, customer story etc.

    • Promotes awareness beyond corporate type of content.

    • Encourages other to contribute

3. Cultivate company values

Out of several tools and types of content mentioned above, building culture is the desired outcome for the majority. Communication is not just about building awareness, it’s also about reinforcing the culture through examples.

At Sharemuch one of our core values is Empathy. We try to embody that in the content we feature and highlight examples of empathy in executive decisions, employee and customer relations, and product strategy. Many of the stories we feature is how understanding and empathizing with customer pain points helped build amazing user experience on our recent projects.

Be sure to feature the content not just from the management team but also from the broader team. Content featured from the entire spectrum of the organization is perceived as more genuine and less scripted.

The communications team can leverage spotlight-type articles in their editorial calendar and help key contributors provide information for a spotlight story. For these spotlight type of articles, it’s best if the content shows as posted by the original author. This will draw attention and encourage other to submit their story.

4. Build areas for feedback and discussion

Companies which have an area for idea and feedback promote a culture of openness. To encourage employees to submit feedback, enable comments and likes so that the most popular ideas get featured at the top.

If you plan to add idea crowdsourcing to your intranet, here are the things to determine:

  • Set categories for submitted ideas to keep submissions on topic

    • Examples: Offices, Technology, Process, People, Facilities etc

  • Assign a moderator to update ideas as actioned/more information required/in progress

    • This is also a way to get back to the employee who submitted the idea

One of the ways for promoting this new area might be featuring a bright new idea in a company newsletter and mentioning that this was brought up using idea crowd-sourcing tool.

In Summary

Switching your communication to digital doesn’t have to be cumbersome. It requires a communication plan and strategy. Don’t forget to engage influencers within your organization to drive the content on your site to encourage others to contribute.

Effortless communication with Origami intranet tailored to your organization in 3-6 weeks.

 
ypentsarskyy_2016_small.jpg

Yaroslav Pentsarskyy is the Director of Product at Origami, a rapidly growing service and product offering which enables organizations to get an intranet designed for them without starting from scratch. He's also 8 time Microsoft MVP, speaker at industry events, and a published author of several SharePoint related books.

@spentsarsky

Social Intranet Features: What are They and How To Use Them

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Summary:
Social intranets have a lot to offer, they are more than just an opportunity to bring people together. With a right mix of social tools and planning you will harness creative ideas locked in minds of your employees. Boost engagement and support for your social intranet features by featuring key contributions in existing channels such as company news.

What makes an intranet a social one?

Social intranet is a term often used to describe an intranet which uses features traditionally found in social media apps such as Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and so on. These features are packed into a product which now allows your staff to use them in a company context.

How it evolved

Traditionally intranets were targeted for employees to get their work done in a top down manner. Where information was authored by a department and distributed to employees.

In this scenario employees needed the following features:

  • Ability to search for files

  • Share documents and deliverables

  • Read company updates

  • Access policies

With the nature of the work changing to be more collaborative, processes are becoming less rigid as long as they align to a regulation (if there one for a given process). There are still departments but teams are being formed with cross-departmental members to work on a given project.

Those team members are often distributed and work independently on few tasks

Naturally this change calls for a different set of features:

  • Ability to instantly communicate

  • Find SMEs and contributors

  • Track tasks

  • Collaborate outside of organization

An intranet delivering on the demands from above is considered a social one.

Do you need a social intranet?

Question of Fit

It’s a question of organizational culture not just a technology initiative.

Here is how you can assess this question:

  • Think about your intranet as your digital office, do they match?

  • If you were to roll out some of the social intranet features (see further), will it jive with your culture? Or will it sounds off brand?

From ‘have to know‘ To ‘want to know‘

In the workplace with more social attributes the paradigm shifts from ’have to know, because’:

  • '“I’m required to know, my boss told me”

  • “To know what’s the process, because I don’t want to break rules“

  • “To know what are the expectations, so I don’t get in trouble“

To ‘what to know, because‘:

  • “I am accountable for the outcome, I want to succeed”

  • “I need to find a solution, to make the best outcome“

  • “I need to know who can help me, because I recognize other exterts“

Question of Cost

You don’t need a social intranet to have a fully functioning workplace, but sure pays to have one:

  • Social intranet features are aimed at reducing employee disengagement

  • Gallup estimates that 17.2% of workforce in the US is actively disengaged

    • Absenteeism

    • Missing deadlines

    • Negatively influencing employees that are engaged

  • In organization of 300 people that’s 50+ employees actively disengaged

  • Gallup also estimates cost of disengagement, and that is 34% of median salary

    • Disengaged employees are still productive but you loose more than 1/3 of their productivity

  • For organization of 300 (where 50 employees are disengaged) with average salary of 70K this translates to: 1,200,000/year in lost wages

What are some of the social intranet features?

Make it Work-Relevant

Every intranet feature you see below depends on the content.

The content needs to be work-relevant, otherwise it’ll become a dumping ground, here are some of the examples of work-relevant social content:

  • Posts related to the conference or a trade show attending

  • Posts about new industry trend

  • Interesting opportunity to attend external training or a competition

  • Idea related to a common customer request

  • Idea related to a process improvement

Here is a list of the most common social-work features:

  • Employee News

    • Example: Post your lessons learnt while at an industry conference

    • Employees get to contribute news posts

    • Employees get to tag their news (this is also the best way to organically self moderate the news posts so make sure to have clear categories and avoid the “miscellaneous”)

    • Moderator can approve posts

    • Other employees can comment and “like“ posts

  • Idea and Feedback Crowdsourcing

    • Example: Suggest lunch and learn on a new technology and see how many would like to attend

    • Employees get to nominate new ideas

    • Employees tag their idea (same self-moderation applies here as in Employee News)

    • Others get to comment and “like“ submissions

    • Most commented or liked ideas get to bubble up to the top

    • Moderator gets to tag ideas as they get through the “idea pipeline” … this also provides feedback as to what happened to the idea

  • Topic Discussion Channels with Office 365 Teams

    • Example: Rally potential participants in an external industry hackathon

    • Employees get to start a new channel in Teams

    • Others get to contribute

  • Staff Recognitions

    • Example: Give kudos to hackathon participants

    • Employees get to nominate someone for a job well done

    • Tags can include company values

    • Others can “thumb up“ or “star“ the nomination

  • Employee WIKI and How-To

    • Example: Suggest steps on how to create how-to GIFs

    • Employees get to create a how-to in a specific category

    • Moderators can approve the how to

    • Others get to rate the quality of the how to

    • Number of views gets tracked to showcase the popularity

How to roll out social intranet features?

Any intranet requires at least a part-time intranet manager as described in: 7 Reasons Why Your Intranet is Becoming Stale and Deserted. Social intranet also requires content moderation.

Before moderation, you need to assess how a specific feature you’re planning to introduce is going to be useful and what are the steps to roll it out.

Let’s assume you’re planning to add idea crowdsourcing to your intranet, here are the things to determine:

What are the categories for each submitted idea?
Who will be moderating submitted ideas?
How will you get back to the employee who submitted the idea?
How will you encourage staff using this new area and check whether new ideas are submitted?

One of the ways for promoting this new area might be featuring bright new idea in a company newsletter and actually mentioning that this was brought up by using idea crowd-sourcing tool.

We’re here to help

Struggling with a bland intranet? At Origami, we work with you to identify the culture fit and features to get your intranet buzzing again. We set you up with tools and templates to help maintain your new intranet with efficiency and ease. Have a chat with us and see examples of brilliant social intranets and digital workplace solutions we helped to build for our customers.

Office 365 intranet, tailored to your organization in 3-6 weeks.

 
ypentsarskyy_2016_small.jpg

Yaroslav Pentsarskyy is the founder of OrigamiConnect, a rapidly growing service and product offering which enables organizations to get an intranet designed for them without starting from a blank page. He's also 8 time Microsoft MVP, speaker at many local and worldwide tech events, and a published author of several SharePoint related books.

@spentsarsky

Building a Business Case for a new Office 365 Intranet

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Summary: Building an intranet business case solely focused on numbers is logical but rarely convinces decision-makers to take the next steps. Tie your intranet business case to customer experiences, and show how having a robust intranet helps your organization serve customers better. Start small, embrace iterative stages, and evolve with the Office 365 toolkit.

Why do you need an intranet

Before jumping into how will the intranet be built and what features will it have, we need to start with basics and supply relevant evidence on why do we think we need an intranet.

Go beyond Comparison

When building an intranet business case, it’s natural to try and appeal to decision-makes only in a very quantifiable way. However, this approach only covers surface issues and misses the opportunity to address more complex scenarios.

Say an organization uses file share to collaborate and manage files and other information. Your decision makers are very familiar with the existing file share, what it does, and costs associated with it.

Let’s say existing problems with file share have been identified as:

  • Cost of growing and maintaining storage

  • Lack of proper versioning

  • Cumbersome remote access

To address these, you might focus on:

  • Up to 1 TB of storage for $X/user/month

  • Version control included

  • Remote access included

Are these the only challenges your organization can solve with Office 365?

Here are few more to consider:

  • Eliminating rework by providing samples and templates

  • Reducing reliance on email by improving search

  • Reducing errors by introducing How To’s and Procedure Directory

  • Simplifying onboarding with the Welcome library

  • Eliminate bottlenecks for finding information

  • Align inconsistent processes

  • Promote knowledge sharing and engagement

Next, let’s see how we can provide compelling evidence to support above claims.


Provide relevant evidence

Regardless of how many benefits implementing a brand-new intranet will bring, you need to supply relevant evidence for your organization.

Here is an example of 2 statements. Which one sounds more compelling?

  1. According to LinkedIn study the Cost of Reworking Information on average is estimated 30% of employee effort over a year. In our organization of 300 desktop users, this means 3,600 of hour/week is lost due to people recreating information that could not be found.

  2. In a past year we have increased staff count by 50 new employees. With new employees onboarding, quick access to existing samples, processes, how to’s, and templates is needed to reduce the cost of recreating information. According to LinkedIn study, the Cost of Reworking Information on average is estimated 30% of employee effort over a year. In our organization of 300 desktop users, this means 3,600 of hour/week is lost due to people recreating information that could not be found.

Both statements offer industry research. The difference between the two is that second statement provides relevant evidence for the organization and not a generic assumption. In fact, I’d argue that ratio of rework hours is even higher because with 50 brand new employees, the learning curve is much steeper.


Tie your intranet to improving customer experiences

Employee efficiencies are tied to customer experiences whether direct or indirect.

When building an intranet business case, ensure this link is clearly visible.

For example, see the difference:

  1. By building a reliable intranet information architecture and testing it prior to launch with the staff, we will improve information findability and reduce errors.

  2. Our staff relies on search efficient results to find relevant client documents and deliverables. By building a reliable intranet information architecture and testing it prior to launch with the staff, we will improve information findability and reduce errors and client escalations.

The simple link to client results instantly elevated the value of proper information architecture design and testing, as opposed to ad-hoc site structure rollout.


How will you deliver a company intranet

Now that you have clear evidence why you need an intranet in your organization, we need a plan on how to get there.
Here are key aspects to consider for your intranet business case when describing the “how”.

Focus on iterative nature of the intranet

Long gone are the days when an intranet required a team of 20 stakeholders and 3 years to launch. The timelines have shortened and companies deliver relevant and useful intranet in an iterative fashion.

The benefits of the iterative approach are:

  • Reduced risk of timeline and budget slip

  • Smaller core teams

  • Focus on function, and value; less on widgets and changing features

  • Organic adoption

Iterative doesn’t mean barely functioning or bare-bones product. Your intranet roadmap needs to be driven by business priorities.

In your business case, provide the approach of how you plan to determine core scope. In this post on 4 Easy Steps to Effectively Prioritize Your Intranet Scope you will see the diagram on how we get from ideas to action when it comes to scope planning.

It comes down to laying out all of the priorities, and plotting them on the priority and feasibility spectrum.



Embrace diverse toolkit

Any given organization uses a wide set of tools for business. An intranet is not there to replace all of them. It’s important to help guide a clear scope for your intranet, and what the intranet is not.

The decision makers will appreciate a business case which is clear in its goals and embraces diversity of the tools that various teams are using.

Toolkits.JPG

Here is an example of the diagram that will help your decision makers see how your intranet fits with the rest of the company technology landscape.


What will you need to support your initiative

The final step in your intranet business case should be the support you require to continue.

Resources

To support the design and rollout activities, you will need adequate attention from stakeholders during the design phase as well s continuous support once the intranet is launched.

Here is the guidance in terms of support you need depending on the size of your company:

Organization Staff Size Intranet Project Team Size Operational Team Size (FTE)
100 6 0.5
1000 7 1
10,000 9 2

Technology/Vendor

Over the years, according to Nielsen Norman report on award winning intranets, intranet teams have engaged external resources to help in their redesign projects, both to fill internal team gaps and gain outside experience and perspective.

In recent years, especially for Office 365 intranets, companies realized that using intranet-in-a-box products such as Origami to gain deployment efficiencies, reduce implementation costs, and dramatically increase usability of their intranets.

Budget

To assess your budget, ensure you count the time required from internal resources, vendors, and cost of the product. Remember to account for the operational team once the intranet has launched. Depending on the size of the organization, the team can range from a part-time to a couple of full-time resources as you can see in the table above.

We’re here to help

Building a compelling business case for an intranet sometimes needs a little bit of collaboration. If you’d like to work together to help you build an engaging business case for your organization, we’re here to help. We have a wealth of techniques to help you drive the right support among your stakeholders.

Office 365 intranet, tailored to your organization in 3-6 weeks.

 
ypentsarskyy_2016_small.jpg

Yaroslav Pentsarskyy is the founder of OrigamiConnect, a rapidly growing service and product offering which enables organizations to get an intranet designed for them without starting from a blank page. He's also 8 time Microsoft MVP, speaker at many local and worldwide tech events, and a published author of several SharePoint related books.

@spentsarsky

Intranet Design Trends for 2019

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Summary: Among the top intranet design trends for 2019, these stood out: focus on Information Architecture to improve information findability, reduced average time to build an intranet using pre-built structures and tools , and finally focus on involving intranet team stakeholders to represent wider audience of the business.

Intranet Teams and Stakeholders

Your Intranet Team composition plays a vital role in how your intranet will be designed, launched, and adopted.

An Intranet team includes:

  • Project team, which is the team of stakeholders who design the intranet.

  • Operational team, which is a team of authors and support staff to help run the intranet once it’s launched

Intranet Project includes the following roles:

  • Representative from each of main Content Areas

    • Communications

    • Human Resources

    • IT

    • Other areas of the business, such as “Safety”

  • Project Manager

  • Project Sponsor

While the operational team usually consists of:

  • Intranet Manager

  • Content authors

  • Support staff

The trend has been showing that the best intranets out there, have on average, 10 intranet stakeholders (Project + Operational team) for a small or medium size organization, and up to 20 stakeholders in a large organization.

Intranet Stakeholder Team Size for Award Winning Intranets as tracked by Nielsen Norman each year

Intranet Stakeholder Team Size for Award Winning Intranets as tracked by Nielsen Norman each year

These are not all full-time roles, although larger organizations commonly have a full-time intranet manager and one dedicated support staff member. The rest are part-time resources: content writers and contributors.

The key for the intranet project team is to have even distribution among your key content area owners. This allows for even representation for your organization audience rather than heavy focus on just key areas, such as: IT or Communications.

We also recommend measuring outputs in your design workshops to ensure that input received from a small group of stakeholders doesn’t carry bias. Here is how we recommend measuring outputs from the information architecture sessions produced by an intranet team.

Organization Staff Size Intranet Project Team Size Operational Team Size (FTE)
100 6 0.5
1000 7 1
10,000 9 2

Here is also a guide on how many stakeholders to include in your intranet teams (project + operational) relative to the size of the organization:




Focus on Information Structure

The key goal for an intranet apart from communication is to help staff find information: Forms, Guides, Policies, Templates, Business Resources etc.

Organizations have seen over the years that staff struggle when looking for information in structures which haven’t been designed with Information Architecture (IA) usability principles in mind. Traditionally, the findability issue has been attempted to be solved with extensive branding and custom development.

Organizations have observed that well thought out IA design helps their users achieve better usability and adoption results as compared to extensive branding and customizations.

As more companies realize this, IA design is one of the growing trends during the intranet design phase.

Office 365 Hub Sites

Even with Microsoft’s introduction of hub sites, the issue of well-designed IA doesn’t go away, since information architecture still needs to be considered even though it’s easier to move the sites around. Here is more about the impact of hub sites and things to know.

Reduced Development Time

Rollout times have decreased dramatically over the past 5 years. Typical intranet project lasted about a year for a larger organization before it’s rolled out. This is a significant reduction from the previous years as you can see from the chart below produced with data from Nielsen Norman research.

Using pre-built solutions reduce that timeline. Medium sized organizations can deploy and launch intranets in 6-8 months or less.

Here is the historical trend for larger organizations:

Average number of years typical larger sized organization has invested in creating an intranet according to Nielsen Normal research. The trend for the past 5 years is about 13 months to create and launch an intranet.

Average number of years typical larger sized organization has invested in creating an intranet according to Nielsen Normal research. The trend for the past 5 years is about 13 months to create and launch an intranet.

Another streamlining factor is that organizations are taking more agile approaches. The most suitable method is building an intranet with minimal viable release first and deploying incremental updates after the intranet has launched.

Minimal viable release still focuses on key goals for the intranet, which means laying the foundational core components such as user interface design and IA design. This aspect is confirmed by a measuring only award-winning intranets according to Nielsen Norman.


Most Popular Features

Intranet feature trends for 2019 include the following top 10 picks:

  • News and Events + Targeting

    • Most organizations’ primary mechanism for sharing information, company news, employee news and events. Targeting news to a particular role or location is another growing trend for organizations of larger size and distributed workforce.

  • Employee Directory

    • Common across organizations small and large is the directory of staff. The growing trend is to have the data in the directory auto-populated from Office 365, reducing room for data entry error and keeping the directory up-to-date.

  • Forms Directory

    • This is commonly requested to help staff find relevant forms.

  • Templates and Samples Directory

    • Another common feature aimed at retaining knowledge and building consistency in deliverables companies are producing.

  • How-To Directory

    • Commonly used for employees (newly onboarded more frequently) to find common tips on for example: how to use suppliers, order services, work specific technology etc.

  • Policies Directory

    • Similar to How-To, a place for staff to find company rules and engagement steps in a single easy to find place.

  • Project Directory

    • With many organizations working projects-based (internal or external), the need for a centralized project directory and ability to locate project sites is growing.

  • Workflow automation and Self Serve

    • The demand for self-serve is on the rise whether it’s a request to provision a new project site, or track HR processes and collect signatures.

  • Mobility

    • Mobile responsive rendering is growing in demand due to staff accessing intranets from mobile devices.

  • Department Sites

    • Department sites are still a common ask among customer who would like to provide department specific information and content on their department site.

Conclusion

In summary, among top intranet design trends for 2019, we have: increased focus on Information Architecture to make information much easier to find, reduced average time to build and intranet and using pre-built intranets to achieve that, and finally more focus on involving intranet team stakeholders representing wider audience of the business.

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Yaroslav Pentsarskyy is the founder of OrigamiConnect, a rapidly growing service and product offering which enables organizations to get an intranet designed for them without starting from a blank page. He's also 8 time Microsoft MVP, speaker at many local and worldwide tech events, and a published author of several SharePoint related books.

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