Is Your Intranet Stuck in the Stone Age

2014-3-October-dinosaurs

The reason no one uses your organization’s expensive collaboration software is because your employees absolutely hate your intranet.

You would think that by 2014, we’d be past stone-age issues like cluttered landing pages or non-existent search options. Sadly, dinosaur intranets are still the reality for many enterprise organizations.

Are you an intranet dinosaur? Let’s bring your intranet back into the 21st century.

Dino-Mode

Which category represents your intranet — and what can you do to change it?

Brontosaurus: Colossal, Outdated Content

Perhaps your intranet is not only ancient but massive. With everything everyone has shoved on there over the years, it’s grown to epic proportions. There’s just one problem: it’s all so fossilized that visiting the site is practically like going on an archaeological dig. Nothing scares employees away faster than a giant conglomerate of irrelevant content.

Tyrannosaurus: Short Reach

The Tyrannosaurus Intranet may be lean and mean, but the short reach of its search capabilities has prevented it from reaching its potential. The specific policy your employee needs may indeed be housed on your intranet -- but if a weak search engine, poorly developed taxonomy or ill-planned content strategy hinders, even this fiercest of dinosaurs is just waving his arms around in the air, looking foolish and failing to deliver.

Hadrosaur: What Is Security?

Hadrosaur Intranets are the most common enterprise collaboration solution. Like the duck-billed dinosaur they’re named for, these intranets are average in looks and skills, and more importantly lack the basic ability to defend themselves. Not only are they susceptible to external attacks, all internal content is presented to the herd in its entirety, failing to set permissions or differentiate between roles.

Ankylosaurs: The Ugly Stepsister

You only need to look at a picture of an Ankylosaur to understand where we’re going with this one. No matter how cool its content or strong its defenses, there’s no avoiding the fact that this is one ugly dinosaur. When it comes to both intranets and dinosaurs, it’s not always what’s on the inside that counts -- and remember, Clip Art from the 90’s might as well be prehistoric.

Cluttered Nest: Stimulus Overload

If you have a cluttered nest Intranet, visiting your landing page is akin to encountering a den of baby dinos, all screaming for attention. There such an overwhelming amount of content that you can barely decide where to look first. Employees will deal with this by reading none of it and running as fast as they can in the opposite direction. You may feel like every piece of content is a unique little dinosaur snowflake deserving attention, but remember that most people can only handle one or two babies at a time. Keep that nest as sparse as possible.

Raptor: Formidably Avoided

Raptors are awesome, and so are Raptor Intranets -- with the small caveat that no one will go near them. Even the fastest, most impressive intranets fail to bring enterprises much value if adoption rates are low. Your intranet is only as good as your people’s willingness to use it.

Finally, the Evolved Intranet

Let’s travel several millennia forward in time to explore what an evolved intranet should look like. In the 21st century, a modern enterprise intranet should:

  1. Provide first class data security
  2. Be equipped with refined search and navigation capabilities
  3. Provide a superior user experience and excellent design
  4. Connect employees through social networking integrations
  5. Be responsive! Employees should be able to access their intranet from any device
  6. Provide relevant company-wide information in an accessible way
  7. Offer identity management, including roles and permissions
  8. Appropriately manage employee workflows
  9. Integrate fully with email notifications
  10. Be relevant to employees on a day-to-day basis

What does your intranet resemble — and what steps can you take to improve it?

Title image by Jordan  (Flickr) via a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.