The intranet is still in its infancy. It has not yet exploited its potential for creating value for the organization, according to the 2006 Global Intranet Strategies Survey.The Global Intranet Strategies Survey was conducted in June and July 2006 by NetStrategyJMC, and is well worth reading. Participants included 101 organizations headquartered in Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific, and ranging in size from under 5,000 to over 100,000 employees.Some of the key findings of the survey include:*The intranet has entered maturity as a primary information tool. However, its value as a productivity and collaboration tool is not yet fully established, and its potential for creating business value is far from being understood.* Senior management perception of the intranet is out of sync with reality on the ground. It is largely unaware of the usefulness of the intranet for employees for their work.* In general, intranets lack sufficient funding and resources, although almost half of the respondents say they expect their 2007 and 2008 budgets to increase.* There is a trend towards centralization and more HQ control of budgets.* Decision-making is an issue for most organizations. It is slow and suffers from political issues.* The primary strategy drivers for the intranet are "building a common culture", and facilitating knowledge sharing, collaboration and teamwork.* A primary obstacle for the intranet achieving its full potential is that is it too communication-oriented.* Intranet evaluation is irregular and inconsistent.* Only 1 out of 4 organizations is obliged to demonstrate return on investment to justify new or current intranet investments.Intranets have tremendous potential. They can make staff more productive. They can significantly reduce costs. They can help staff who are geographically dispersed collaborate effectively.A great many intranets are not achieving their potential because, at a very basic level, they are not being managed. Nobody is really in charge and there are no proper business metrics in place to measure success.This survey states that senior management is "out of sync" and "unaware of the usefulness of the intranet for employees for their work." The reason senior management is out of sync is pretty obvious:* The intranet's potential for creating business value is far from being understood.* Intranet evaluation is irregular and inconsistent.* Only 1 out of 4 organizations is obliged to demonstrate return on investment to justify new or current intranet investments.* The primary strategy drivers for the intranet are "building a common culture", and facilitating knowledge sharing, collaboration and teamwork.For too long, intranets have put forward fluffy business cases that espouse knowledge sharing and communication. Until intranets prove that they can increase productivity and reduces costs, they won't get respect from senior management.The intranet has the potential to play an active role in making the daily work of staff more efficient. It can help people find experts. It can provide crucial information that helps make a sale, or solve a problem for a customer. It can help staff book training, meeting rooms, flights, trains, hotels.Intranets can be-and in many cases are-business critical. But to be seen as business critical by senior management, they must show clearly how they are increasing productivity and reducing costs.If you'd like a copy of the 2006 Global Intranet Strategies Survey, please contact Jane McConnell (jane AT netjmc DOT com).---Gerry McGovern, a content management author and consultant, has spoken, written and consulted extensively on writing for the web and web content management issues since 1994.