The ball has dropped. You made toasts. You consumed drinks. Now, it’s back to work.
Now that 2020 has just begun, organizations are eager for their employees and staff to deliver on goals. On some of your New Year’s resolution lists — otherwise known as organizational priorities — is getting a new intranet.
For some, it can feel overwhelming. Don’t panic! We have steps and ideas to make it that much easier. In fact, if you follow these easy steps, you should have an answer in about three months.
Step 1: Gather your team and decide why you need an intranet
Gather your cohorts from IT, Communications and HR to work through issues of why you need an intranet. Not only will it help you sell the idea to your executives, but you’ll also get more buy-in and maybe even budget or resources to help with the effort.
After you have your team, seek out an executive champion and know which executives will have final sign-off on the entire project. Figure out ways to keep them involved and informed along the way.
Determine why you need a new intranet. Here are some common considerations. Will it …
- Save time and money by letting IT employees focus on priority issues?
- Enable employees to meet yearly organizational goals?
- Make employees more productive, including finding things quickly and easily?
- Enable employees to engage more?
- Solve issues, like communicating with remote workers or decreasing turnover?
- Ensure compliance with updated information?
- Provide document management?
- Increase business acumen?
- Keep up with five generations of workers now in the workforce?
Think in terms of the problems you’re solving and how it will benefit your organization. Tie them to organizational goals if possible. For example, if you’re saving time and money — will that result in driving down operating expenses?
Step 2: Decide your technology platform
This is where your IT people come in. There’s already a technology roadmap your organization is using and expanding on. Discuss the benefits of an intranet in the cloud and/or on-premises. There are good reasons to do both, including saving time and money versus security. You may need to expand your team here to include security personnel.
Here’s a money saver: leverage existing technology. If you’re preferred vendor is Microsoft, you may want to maximize your use of SharePoint to drive down costs. Don’t worry, SharePoint intranets can be user-friendly.
Also, consider your devices. Your IT team has insight into which laptops, desktops and mobile devices are approved. You may need to revisit policies and support — such as mobile device support — to ensure employees can view the intranet. If so, review those policies here and now.
Step 3: Determine priorities
Think about what matters regarding your intranet project – time, money and people. Consider the following:
- Approvals. Is everyone buying in? Who has final approval?
Idea: get an executive champion and keep other executives informed of progress with times they can weigh in.
- Timing. Do you need the intranet launched by a particular date?
Idea: did you know you can get a new intranet up and running in as little as four weeks with the right vendor? Inquire about how long it takes to get an intranet up during the research phase, Step 4.
- Staff. Do you have the IT staff you need to get started? How about people to take old content into the new environment?
Idea: some intranet providers can provide staff instead of using your IT and Communications personnel, while your employees in control. Ask during the research phase.
- Budget. Capex or Opex? Who’s paying?
Consider support during and after implementation. Some vendors provide ideas and information to continue to drive adoption and manage change even after you launch your intranet. If that’s important to you, ensure it’s on your priority list. (Not everyone provides ideas and help after implementation.)
Most importantly, prioritize the issues to the problems you’re trying to solve. For example, if you’re trying to ensure your remote workers have access to communications, you’ll need a mobile intranet. If you want to have some document management capability, such as if you’re trying to become ISO certified, you’ll want something other than a purely social intranet.
Step 4: Do your research
Vendors should meet the criteria outlined above. Websites should indicate how much time it will take, what technology they run on, etc. Prices can vary dramatically though; it’s why you probably won’t see prices on a website. Instead, you may need to call to get intranet pricing.
While you’re asking for more information, get a demo. Good vendors will provide some current customers to follow-up with should you have questions. It’s usually a good idea, during the demo, to invite all interested parties.
Ask about company values — whether they have integrity, care about their community, environment, etc. Whatever is inherently important to your organization should be a match with your vendor providing intranet solutions.
Step 5: Choose the top 3 vendors and do a side-by-side comparison
Go through your favorite platforms, how they meet your needs and then compare them. Use a business case that makes that side-by-side comparison easy. Some things to consider are the following:
- How their intranet platform solves your problems
- User-friendly for employees and content authors updating the intranet
- Services and support you’ll need along the way – during and after implementation
- Ensure it resolves issues identified
- Customer feedback
Step 6: Choose and sign off
Representatives from IT, Communications and HR, with executive approval, typically can make the decision. Again, having the team, executives as champions along the way will help ensure you don’t get waylaid at this step.
Beware intranet project derailment or slow down
Here are the issues we often see where intranet projects collapse.
- Lack of executive and team buy-in, including team members and executives that haven’t been consulted
- Lack of budget
- Change in budget and/or priorities
The right intranet is easy to find if you follow our six steps. The intranet project may be harrowing with ups and downs, but if you follow our steps, you should have a new intranet vendor picked in about three months. With the right intranet, you may only need four to eight weeks more to get an intranet up and running.Need help with every step along the way? No problem. We have have an workbook to guide you through every step of the process when selecting an intranet platform.