By Cathy Dew
In a recent blog post, we asked the question “What does it take to develop a great employee intranet?” The first step, we determined, was developing an intranet roadmap. This roadmap can serve as the blueprint for your intranet and guide the entire narrative of design, construction, and implementation. A roadmap exists to make sure you end up with an intranet that is going to truly engage employees and meet the wants and needs of your enterprise. All intranets are different, and mapping out a path to your ideal intranet will help guarantee that it does everything you require it to do.
Of course, drawing out a roadmap for your intranet is easier said than done. Creating your intranet roadmap will take time, focused effort, and plenty of reflection. The upside, of course, is that the harder you work now to build a detailed, comprehensive roadmap, the easier building the actual intranet will be.
On that note, let’s begin. Here’s your step-by-step guide to building a fully-realized intranet roadmap:
1. Assess what you are doing today
The most rudimentary step of your roadmapping process is reflection.
Think about what your business is doing right now—whether you are creating your first employee intranet or if you have an existing intranet you’d like to improve or replace. Look at your company processes for things that intranets generally do, such as document management, data retention, company announcements, knowledge center resources, team or departmental collaboration, and workflows. What works and what doesn’t? If there is an existing intranet, look at statistics and analytics to formulate your assessment, or ask employees through surveys or one-on-one interviews. If there isn’t an intranet, ask yourself how easy/difficult it is to access key resources such as company policies and procedures or important forms.
Your goal is to come up with a list of pain points and represent opportunities to make your employee intranet a success. These are areas for improvement within your organization and represent problems you should aim to solve with your intranet. They will provide you with a basic outline for your roadmap.
2. Determine where you want to be
Simply figuring out the biggest pain points in your organization will give you a basic idea of what life at work could look like with a functional intranet. However, you also want to give that vision a bit more direction and purpose. There’s a difference between “Wouldn’t it be nice if we had an intranet that could do this, this, and this?” and “For our intranet to be a worthwhile investment, it needs to have this, this, and this.
Determining where you want to be, then, should involve setting concrete, measurable goals for your intranet. Don’t just make a vague list of features or capabilities you want to have. Instead, ask yourself who the intranet is going to serve and what their needs or requirements are. From there, make a list of critical success factors. These are the things that your intranet must have to justify its existence. You can go back to this list later—both once you finish the roadmap and at numerous points in the intranet development process—to figure out if you are on track to meet your company’s needs.
3. Think about the technology aspect
Once you know what you want your intranet to be able to do, you can turn your attention to planning how it is going to do it. The features and capabilities you want out of your intranet drive the selection of the intranet platform and technology for your solution. To figure out what tools you are going to need to accomplish your goals, try to answer a few key questions. Do you have an existing platform in place? If you do, will you need to enhance it, upgrade it, or replace it to add the new features you want? Do you need any special capabilities, such as streaming video for your learning center tutorials? How big do you need your intranet to be? What software licenses will you require, and how many?
Obviously, this is a vast topic and one that we will dive into later in this series. For now, it is important to get started. Answering these questions and others will help you estimate the overall cost of your intranet—a crucial part of the roadmap. If the cost is in your budget, you know you can move forward. If it’s too expensive, you will need to get creative and start considering phases of the project. In some cases, you may have to cut features to reduce the cost.
4. Develop your intranet roadmap
You know where you are and where you want to go, and you know what technology you need to get there. Now, you can start developing the actual roadmap plan. This plan should be a multi-year blueprint of design and implementation. It should include a task schedule, a rundown of who will be on the team, a summary of resource availability, and relevant figures for cost and budget. Once you have this information all written down, you can highlight priorities and dig into year one.
5. Delegate ownership and responsibility
A roadmap is only as good as the team seeing it through to fruition. If you want your intranet to come to be, you need to delegate key tasks and oversight to people who will take ownership of the process and help you move from square one into the future. Recruit a project team that can help oversee big-picture items and ensure everyone is on the same page. Appoint a steering committee to keep your business on track with the roadmap. Choose content owners for different areas of the intranet, to create, upload, and update policy documents, knowledge center resources, and other important content. Choose point people for important global functions—such as running the help desk, managing different applications, or training users in how to navigate the intranet. Having these responsibilities clearly spelled out in your roadmap will give the project a much greater chance of success.
6. Think about guidelines and governance
Don’t assume you will figure out matters of intranet governance after your intranet is live. You need to set rules, guidelines, and policies right now, to avoid a situation where your intranet becomes a free-for-all after launching. For instance, your roadmap should include some basic details about how you are going to organize documents and grant or withhold permissions, or how you are going to handle document archival and deletion.
Thinking about legal compliance factors, privacy, and security now will accomplish two things. First, it will help you avert disasters with leaked or stolen data. Second, it will save you time from having to carry out time-consuming tasks—such as organizing a document library—more than once.
Do you need help building a roadmap for your intranet? In future blogs, we are going to delve a bit deeper into the planning, development, and implementation stages of the intranet process. However, our team at 2 Plus 2 is also skilled at developing SharePoint intranets and can help guide you through the entire workload. Go online to schedule a free consultation with our team or call 510-652-7700 today.