The dreaded realization that after a certain period of time, no one is using the Intranet. Like a ship in the night, the Intranet is lost and will never reach its port. It’s dwindling usage and appeal is like watching a candle in the wind.
Ok, enough with the metaphors. But Intranet abandonment is more common that you think. It’s a key reason why organizations go back to market to look for a new Intranet because the consensus is the current Intranet has failed.
A key reason for Intranet abandonment is content currency. How old is the oldest content on your Intranet? Do you know? Has it been touched since the day the Intranet was launched? How many times has it been accessed by staff in the past twelve months? Landing on an Intranet page and seeing something like Page last updated on March 16th 2010 can cause staff to question the validity and accuracy of the corporate information they are accessing. Content currency is paramount to ensuring the Intranet remains as a vital part of your operational eco-system. Making key team members responsible for certain content is a sure way that content is regularly reviewed and considered.
As organizations change over time, the Intranet should adopt to meet this change. If the Intranet remains static, then it will drift off into a cloud of irrelevancy. This goes beyond ensuring that current policies and procedures are published to the Intranet, and extends into increasing the workload that the organization demands of it. Putting the Intranet at the center of how work is performed by teams across the organization will ensure the Intranet no only remains relevant, but becomes vital in how staff carry out their work day.
Putting the Intranet at the center of how work is performed by teams across the organization will ensure the Intranet no only remains relevant, but becomes vital in how staff carry out their work day.
Lack of integration
Once the Intranet is up and running and proving itself, the invariable question becomes what else can it do? Intranets can lose their appeal when they become islands inside the organization, and provide no bridges to other tools in the enterprise. Ok, holding off on the metaphors again. Intranet abandonment can occur when staff uses other tools that don't connect or integrate with the Intranet in any way. Consider what core applications the Intranet can either integrate with or link to in order to boost the importance of the Intranet being at the center of the staff experience.
Unfortunately some Intranets suck. Period. They are poorly designed applications that don't consider the user experience, and where the general operation requires a high degree of technical proficiency. Thankfully the tide is turning, and thanks to mobile apps and principles of social media finding their way into enterprise applications, the usability of Intranets is becoming more user friendly. A lot of Intranet abandonment still occurs because the software itself is too hard for the average staff member to use. When evaluating Intranet software, consider how easy the platform will be for your team to use.
Intranet abandonment occurs when nobody chooses to own it. Once Intranet go-live occurs, typically the Intranet team will shake hands on a job well done and then return to their corners of the organization. The Intranet will roll along for some time, but the wheels can start to come loose when no one is monitoring its performance. Ensuring the Intranet is evolving to the needs of the organization over time requires at least one person to claim ownership to ensure its durability and relevancy to the organization.
In closing, ensuring the business will find the Intranet valuable starts with careful planning and consideration upfront. The software alone will not solve all of your information management and communication problems, rather you and your team will need to define some boundaries in which you’ll be able to measure the success of the solution. Understanding what makes the Intranet successful will allow you to tune the solution when things start to become awry.