WOW Factor and other 3 key things that make any intranet stand out


Long gone are the days where intranets are just news articles, events, some policies, and a whole lot of documents.

Many companies have spent a lot of effort and resources building amazing looking sites but their usage didn’t live up to expectations.

In this post, I want to share some of my most prized success factors in making sure whether you’re building or upgrading your intranet, it’s something your people are going to use and love.

Make it Relevant

Why is craigslist North America’s top classifieds site? It’s not the fresh new look, that much I can tell you :)

Start with your people. Sure, there are a lot of people in your organization and they have different opinions about how things should work. But what are main camps?

Is your organization mostly split between: Customer Service and Corporate Support? Or maybe it’s Consumer Services and Business Services? Client Services and Delivery? It’s ok to have more than 2 camps, just know what they are. By understanding what those are you immediately make a huge leap in building a tool that’s relevant.

Now you know what people you need to involve in your workshops, so you don’t under represent key audiences. Which takes us to the second point.

Know Your Culture and Habits

I’m not talking about the eating habits here :)


Now that you know your key camps in the organization, how do people in those groups do their work?

If sales is one of them and their work typically happens on a mobile, make sure you plan for mobile! Also, if sales mostly access CRM, make sure you integrate with it in a way that will be useful.

Is there a key process in your company which drives the whole business? Are majority of users participants in that process? That’s a perfect candidate to incorporate as an automated tool on your intranet.

For a customer support organization this could be Knowledgebase with well tuned search. For an agency this could be a tool which automates generation of contract documents. For a law first this could be a tool which let's you easily access key matters and related documents.

Now you know what are key tools you need to include in the intranet; which takes us to the next point.

Involve Your Own People

Consultants are amazing mainly because I’m one of them :) however, consultants are only there to help with their expert knowledge.

Don’t under estimate involving your own people in the process. You already know what are the main camps so why not involve representatives from those camps and let them input on the tool they will ultimately be using.

Imagine how this is going to impact your adoption! You’ll have allies and champions help you push what ultimately they have built. Your team will feel engaged and important.

One thing people love is when they get to contribute to organizations they worked for so long. And yes, recognize when you need expert help to get things over the net.

Which brings us to the final point.

Make it Innovative

Everyone loves simplicity and utility but innovation excites everyone.

People love innovation, and if you used innovative approaches, make sure you let everyone know about it.

Perhaps you built a tool which uses latest AI bot. Or maybe something that looks amazing or is highly interactive.

WOW factor matters.

It doesn’t need to be the whole intranet – just a single feature with a WOW factor will impress just about anyone.

What are your stories?

Yaroslav Pentsarskyy has been Microsoft MVP for 8 years and speaker at many local and worldwide tech events. Several of Yaroslav's books include: Rapid SharePoint 2013 development, Top 60 custom solutions built on SharePoint 2010, SharePoint 2010 branding in practice, and SharePoint and PowerShell Expert Cookbook.