Intranets for Collaboration, Knowledge Sharing, Communication, and Information Management
Today’s successful Intranets bear little resemblance to the Intranets of the late 1990s. The first generation of Intranets were primarily designed to push information in a top-down direction — from HR and Communications down to employees. In the early 2000s, we saw a shift towards more social Intranets, where people could connect with one another within the closed walls of an organizational Intranet.
Today’s best Intranets take components from these earlier two visions and build on top of that, evolving from Intranet to a full-serviced digital workspace. The Intranet can — and should — be the launching pad for staff when they start their work days, incorporating elements of the Intranet 1.0 world (portals providing access to a range of applications and other systems, top-down communication) and 2.0 environment where people can connect and share with each other. But on top of that environment is a strong layer of internal collaboration — the team sites, project sites, departmental workspaces where everyday work occurs.
The trick is finding the balance between flexibility and rigidity. Too much flexibility leads to a proliferation of sites, repositories, and spaces, where the common refrain becomes “I don’t know where to find anything.” On the other hand, too much rigidity and consistency within the Intranet environment leads to spaces that look consistent, but aren’t terribly useful — and so adoption is low, and people continue to look outside the walls of the organization for collaboration solutions.
Fortunately, there can be a middle ground. We work with clients to develop and implement Intranet strategies that find a balance between the two sides. We start by evaluating the current environment, identify what’s working and what’s not, establish a vision for the future, and the devise strategies to create a new environment that works to support organizational needs.
We are platform agnostic. We work with clients using various types of systems for their Intranets — SharePoint, Igloo, Drupal, homegrown systems, and various others.
We work with clients to:
- Develop and implement Intranet strategies
- Evaluate existing Intranets and KM systems, identify opportunities for enhancing the current Intranet environment
- Conduct inventories of internal sites, systems, and methods for collaborating, communicating internally, and sharing knowledge
- Determine how to improve collaboration and knowledge sharing within the organization, using the Intranet as one tool to foster sharing and collaboration
- Identify ways in which existing systems could be used more effectively and efficiently throughout the organization
- Facilitate brainstorming sessions and blue-sky visioning exercises to inform future plans
- Facilitate focus groups to get staff input regarding what works, what doesn’t, ideas for the future
- Transition from dual-system environments (SharePoint as a document repository plus a separate Intranet) to a single, unified digital workspace