Featured Event: Building a Better Intranet 2-Day Workshop


Look, sometimes, no matter how hard you try, sometimes you need a bit of luck. - Bear Grylls



Now before you stop reading, let me explain. I will be talking about luck, and I can promise you, it does play a role in the success of your intranet. I’ve been involved with collaboration platforms and intranets for almost 20 years now, and in hundreds of implementations, I have seen luck play a direct role in the overall success.

But first, in this post, which is part of a new Building a Better Intranet series that I’m writing, I want to share 4 strategies with you. Four overarching themes, that you can and should be using, whether you’re designing and building a new intranet, or trying to breathe new life into a struggling one. Don’t worry, I promise to show you what luck has to do with it, so just stay with me.

Strategy #1: Focus on Your Users

image When most people think of focusing on the users, they often think about branding and design - what a user sees. Sometimes, users are even asked what they want, but we all know that what a user wants may not be what they actually need. You need to go beyond these items and think about the complete user experience. This includes not only the overall look and feel, but also whether or not the functionality is actually helping them. Is it changing the way they work for the better? Do you even know how they work? Case in point, did you know that when a user is in the office, they are only at their desk 50-60% of the time? Now I know this depends on the job and role, but in general this is what the latest research shows. Do you know what percentage of the time your users access files from their mobile device versus their desktop? I'll talk more specifically about this in my next post, but the bottom line is this: Get back to connecting with your users and truly understanding what roadblocks they face and what frustrations they have. Focus on adding value and not on ROI. ROI never comes from the implementation of technology; it comes from the user of technology.

Strategy #2: Define Your Why

image How often do you ask why? If you're honest, probably not as much as you should. At least that's what we've found. This one really goes back to basics with defining "Why are we doing this?" If you can't articulate that in a clear and concise message, then you should stop until you can. For example, we have clients that come to us and say, "We need a new intranet." My first question is always, "Why?" Followed immediately by, "What does an intranet mean to you?" Is it document management, internal communications, project collaboration, social, knowledge sharing, or all of the above. Have you defined why you want an intranet in the first place. A few additional questions to get you started:

  1. What problem(s) are we trying to solve?
  2. Why have other projects in our organization struggled?
  3. What would happen if we didn’t build a new intranet?

I'd also encourage you to try the "5 Whys" - it's a great technique to help you really get to the core of why you are doing something.

Strategy #3: Build a Bridge

image At the end of the day, I often like to think of an intranet as a bridge between an organization and its people. Maybe I've oversimplified it, and I'm sure there are many other definitions, but to me this one does a pretty good job of defining the role of an intranet. However, from our experience, this "connection" is often manifested in 2 different ways:

  1. Connecting people to the organization: This can be using the intranet to facilitate company-wide communications, but it is also important for people to connect to the vision that the organization has for the intranet. This goes a long way toward adoption, because users won't care how if they don't know why. In fact, only 1 in 6 companies has a formal adoption plan. Do you?
  2. Connecting people to each other: Whether it's employees, partners, vendors, or customers, at its core, an intranet is a great collaboration tool. From knowledge sharing to social interactions, focus should be placed on knocking down silos and building bridges.
Strategy #4: Measure and Act

image Every strategy that I've listed above is critical, but it's all for nothing if you can’t tell if you've succeeded. You have to define what done looks like - how will you know if you have a successful intranet? Where are you today (your baseline)? What are the boxes that need to be checked for you to say that your intranet is successful. And if you haven't yet defined where you're going (see above), then how the heck can you measure it? Nothing replaces having clear and measurable goals and metrics, but one of the best ways to see how you're doing is to ask your users. Have an easy way for them to provide feedback. At C5 Insight, we have developed a very quick, non-intrusive, "in the flow" solution for providing feedback. All of our clients love it. If you want to try it out on your intranet, you can download it here.

Now you may be wondering, "What the heck does luck have to do with this?" Well, here's where LUCK comes in. I realize that while this is a short list - only 4 strategies - these won't always be easy to remember. So here's an easy way to remember these 4 strategies that can transform your intranet from something that gathers dust and makes life harder for your users, into an award-winning intranet that your employees will love.

Building a Better Intranet - LUCK

  • Focusing on your users is all about Listening.
  • Defining your why helps you Understand what it is you are trying to accomplish.
  • Building a bridge is the best way to Connect people to the organization and each other.
  • Measuring and acting is the only way you'll truly Know whether or not you were successful.

We call this The LUCK Principle™, and when you follow these 4 simple and timeless principles, it will revolutionize your intranet.

Building a Better Intranet - LUCK

So, do you believe in luck or will you just continue to "work very hard" at creating a great intranet?

At C5 Insight, we are constantly coming up with new ways that we can share our LUCK with every organization. Whether it's through our online resources and downloads, monthly webinars, or in-person workshops, we strive to provide the tools you need to be successful with your digital workplace. And while you're at it, shoot us a message and let us know where you are in your journey. We'd love to know and help you out if possible.