BT (British Telecom) has benchmarked its intranet for the past 4 years with the Intranet Benchmarking Forum (IBF). The 2010 benchmark results continue to demonstrate the BT's intranet is one of the top intranets in the world. Here are three ways its Intranet demonstrates global best practices.

BT’s intranet is benchmarked in four broad areas; strategy and governance; metrics and performance; communications and culture; design and usability.

The main aim is to find out where BT sets global best practice and where it can be improved. The assessment helps determine whether the intranet is meeting the needs of BT and people who use it.

I’m really pleased that BT’s intranet is still the top intranet overall for the 2010 and for each of the quadrants assessed – strategy and governance; communications and culture; performance and metrics; and usability. It has maintained its 2009 position when benchmarked by IBF.

This article gives 3 examples the Intranet Benchmarking Forum highlighted as global best practice and how BT's intranet follow them.

  1. About our content: IBF said all pages across BT’s intranet contain author and date information
  2. How involving everyone can make your intranet more valuable to your organisation: IBF said BT’s intranet supports our values to be open and straightforward in dealings with colleagues
  3. How you integrate your intranet to be the preferred way of workingfor everyone in your organisation: IBF said BT’s intranet has a wide range of activities, heavily used and with high satisfaction levels.
     

1. Great Intranets Help Make Efficient People 

BT’s intranet improves efficiency saving wasted time searching for the wrong stuff or sites not being well organised enough. IBF said the BT Homepage was excellent at directing people to tasks that were completed successfully.

BT Homepage groups services and content functionally under the title ‘Essentials’ so people have everything easily to link to when completing an activity. Here are some slides showing examples of what is grouped under each heading on the BT Homepage. Users liked the changes when we asked for their feedback.

 

Research with users shows high satisfaction with the BT Homepage and 91% were satisfied with Essentials which was great news.

People also rely on the BT A-Z. This is an index of all sites that have a BT-wide purpose and are cross-indexed if need be under more than one letter e.g. Group Finance is under G and F. 

 

2. Integrate Your Intranet to be the Preferred Way to Work

My next example is how you integrate your intranet to be the preferred way of working for everyone in your organisation. IBF said BT’s intranet has a wide range of activities, heavily used and with high satisfaction levels.

So, how has BT achieved this for its intranet? The following steps have helped BT and can help you:

  1. Identify content people prefer to see online. Publish it online and make people aware of this. Make sure you switch off any paper versions.
  2. Makes sure you have a set of standards that show how users will have a great experience. This needs to cover design, layout, features which give confidence to people in the integrity of the content like review dates.
  3. Measure how satisfied people are with your intranet generally and with specific areas and try to identify trends for future use.
  4. Align your intranet strategy and your organisation’s so you are providing what it needs to underpin its approach whether it is reducing costs, improving flexible working, etc.
  5. Make it easy to find by having a good search engine and other ways like an A-Z of sites or navigation bar.

Two comments from users show BT is succeeding. “It’s a no brainer – you can’t do your job without the intranet” and “the intranet is the key channel”.

You can too by following these steps……..

3. Get a Great Intranet by Involving Everyone

My next example is about how involving everyone can make your intranet more valuable to your organisation. IBF said BT’s intranet supports our values to be open and straightforward in dealings with colleagues.

BT’s intranet builds on this by supporting collaboration with anyone in BT including senior managers. We do this in several ways with online chats, blogs and collaboration tools including:

  • Blog Central now has over 500 blogs with over 80% having posted at least once in the last month
  • BTpedia now has over 2,500 wiki articles with new articles added every few days and the top article having over 125,000 views
  • Podcast Central now has over 1,000 podcast episodes with over 20 added in the last week
  • On our newsdesk site, BT Today can express their views on BT-wide subjects that anyone can add to as well as comment on news stories.
  • BT’s CEO, Ian Livingston, has regular online chats where anyone can ask a question and he will respond to for about one hour. 

There's Always Room for Improvement

The IBF Benchmarking process showed that BT’s Intranet is strongest in: strategy communication; senior sponsorship; security and risk management; valuing significant intranet developments; monitoring use and performance; resource flexibility; integration into ways of working; employee involvement; connectivity; collaboration and knowledge working; people management and development; content; engagement and efficiency.

Now this is GREAT news for me, BT and most importantly everyone in BT who uses our intranet but -- while I bask for a moment in the limelight -- there is still more to be improved.

These cover stakeholder governance; social media strategy communication; assessing value of new content areas; targeting content; brand alignment; user feedback systems; findability; coherence and consistency; design.

To be fair some of these are minor areas of improvement but combined will make a difference to users.

And of course the strong areas can become even stronger still!

So I have plenty to do still to take BT’s intranet to the next level.