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When thinking about your corporate intranet, what comes to mind? A future-ready, multichannel portal that stimulates collaboration, engagement and knowledge sharing? Or a static site with Mesozoic era information and content, a disastrous search tool and Frankenstein-like design? For those of you who picked the latter description, take heart…you are far from alone!  Corporate intranets are commonly low on the investment totem pole, constrained by technology and, subsequently, ignore all the rules you’ve ever read about user experience, engagement and delight. The costs of a bad intranet experience, in terms of lost productivity alone, can easily creep into the millions of dollars.  As an example, a recent business case we created for a large Health System illustrated that lost productivity, due to the poor usability of their Intranet, was the equivalent of 25 full time employees (FTEs) when projected out over the course of a year. The lack of an effective intranet is a challenge across all industries, but it is even more acute for larger companies with multiple brands, business units, locations and acquisitions across the globe.  These types of businesses, especially, need a central touch point to help infuse and activate corporate values and strategy. Feeling overwhelmed by the seemingly daunting process of reinventing your corporate intranet? Here are five ways to kick start the process:
  1. Survey users, formally or informally, to understand their pain points, needs and the business impact of the current state experience.
  2. Engage business and IT leadership to develop a business case that incorporates a vision for what benefits a reimagined intranet can produce.  Coming up with a compelling business case is often much easier than you would think and can move an intranet project up the food chain.
  3. Begin a dialogue with key stakeholders who need to buy in and sign off. Some natural choices are HR, marketing and communications, IT and any product groups who rely on the site for collaboration.
  4. Highlight the tangible benefits of an optimized portal. Items to consider include:
    • Improved collaboration
    • Increased communication and employee management
    • Reduced costs (as more documents are stored online)
    • Improved productivity and quality
    • Increased employee satisfaction and morale
  5. Develop a strategic roadmap in collaboration with IT. Best of breed intranets don’t pop up overnight. Think about a roadmap that creates a cadence of both quick wins and major enhancements to prove the value-add.
Whenever your company’s corporate intranet was last refreshed, whether five years ago or three months ago, chances are there’s considerable room for improvement. Remember that your external as well as your internal web presence says a lot about the quality and value of your brand. To satisfy younger “digital natives,” remote employees, global constituents, and others, a dynamic site with reliable, easy-to-access information, collaborative tools, mobile readiness and social capabilities can improve both the top line and bottom line. It can also keep your greatest asset – your employees – engaged, productive and part of the greater whole.