Designing an Intranet Is Like Choosing a Good Christmas Present

Have you ever received a Christmas present that you didn't wish for? Of course you have. I'm sure everyone has. Even though the gift-giver had the best intentions, they gave you something you didn't want.

Bad luck on Christmas Eve

Sebastian's bad luck on Christmas Eve

Paul Herwarth von Bittenfeld and Sebastian Preuss gave a memorable presentation at the WorldWebForum 2017, an annual conference at Beecom, where they (accurately) compared unwanted and unloved Christmas gifts to corporate intranets.

View the full presentation and slides

Here are the highlights from their presentation.

Your intranet is a bad present

You probably have experienced an intranet that doesn't meet your needs, especially if you work in a medium-sized company or larger. Most companies have an existing intranet, which usually isn't good at what it should be: distributing news, documenting processes and knowledge, providing access to corporate services, and so on. It is certainly not loved and easy to use like the social media channels that everyone uses.

Wanting to improve the situation, the intranet project team had the best of intentions, and they are good at what they do, but just like gift-givers, they don't necessarily choose the best presents. The job they have is very difficult, perhaps nigh impossible - they need to know their entire audience well, and please people in all levels and departments within their company.

Choosing good presents

There are three things you can do to choose good gifts (and good intranets):

  1. Ask what your employees want - all of them.
  2. Do market research - see what other companies have done, then take that knowledge and ask your employees again what they think.
  3. Don't forget the higher-ups - you have multiple stakeholders, and you need input and approval from all of them.

Yes, this takes time, and it is not an easy approach. But you will have a good intranet as a result.

The five things you need

From our experience, your intranet needs five things to make everyone happy.

Project or team spaces, and excellent knowledge management capabilities: This is not the flashy homepage, designed to wow new visitors, but it is where the work is done. You need collaborative editing, feedback mechanisms, rich content, permissions management, and more.

Personalized news improves productivity

Personalized news improves productivity

Personalization: You may think of this as a luxury, but you are surrounded by personalized feeds outside of the workplace (Facebook, Instagram, online news, ... ) All employees don't need to see all news - make sure your intranet has the technical capability of delivering the information your employees need.

Social networking: Microblogging is almost entirely used 'on topic', for work-related updates. You want to encourage communication and collaboration within your company to improve productivity and innovation, so your intranet (and management) should support this.

Enhanced people search (and profiles): These features answer the common time consuming question of, "Who do I contact for ... ?" You want to be able to search based on name, location, department, and skills, so that employees can quickly contact the experts they need.

Mobile: The world is moving faster towards platform independence than intranets are. Make sure your intranet has a responsive theme or a mobile app so you employees can use it wherever they are.

It's a process not a product, or is it?

Finding out what your employees want, surveying other companies, implementing the right features - this sounds more like a process. You can't just order a pre-built solution. Can you?

Because we have delivered many intranets to companies, a present that employees loved, we know what features make the best present. And we have built them on top of Atlassian's Confluence, one of the most widely used and affordable intranet solutions.

Linchpin has all of these features and more - it will become the centerpiece of your internal software systems. We have successfully implemented Linchpin in more than 50 companies, with only positive feedback.

Your employees will love Linchpin, just like the perfect Christmas present.

Curious to learn more? Please contact us!

Further information

Linchpin: Social intranet based on Confluence
Linchpin Touch: Intranet throughout your entire organization
Linchpin customer references
Differentiating between Confluence and Linchpin: Why you need Linchpin for your intranet



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