Social intranet – what is it and why do we need it?

Social intranet, smart intranet, digital workplace… It goes by many names! But what is it that separates a social intranet from a traditional intranet, and why do we need it? Spintr answers these questions!

Dialogue vs. monologue on the intranet

Many companies, maybe even the majority, has some kind of intranet. A traditional intranet is usually some kind of solution on the company servers and built on a standard platform like Episerver or Sharepoint. Other variations are fileservers or manually coded HTML-pages from the late 90´s. An employee that left 15 years ago might have built an intranet that worked at that point. We have seen it all!

The common denominator for all of these traditional intranets is one thing: the communication is one-way only. News and information is published on the intranet by one or more editors on behalf of the different departments, management etc. and it is communicated “top down”. The communication is a monologue.

How do you recognise a social intranet?

What makes a social intranet social, is the functionality like live-chat, workgroups, social streams, commenting articles, news and blogposts etc. These functions enable the users to communicate with the editors/senders behind the information, and even with each other. The communication is on a whole different level with a social intranet compared to a traditional intranet. The functions in a social intranet creates opportunity for more participation, engagement and activity amongst the employees.

Now, in 2017, this is a way of communicating that most people use daily on either Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or other social networks. There is simply a habit of communicating in all directions today. So why can we not do that on the company intranet?

This begs the question, “Why”? Why is this social intranet thing good? Here are three examples:

  • Increased engagement
    When employees can participate in the communication and make their voice heard by commenting articles, posts and blogs, it increases the employee engagement.
  • Increased productivity
    An employee that feels like they belong to the group and have loyalty to the company naturally has a more positive attitude. They will work better and be more productive than someone that feels like they are not heard or seen.
  • Increased transparency
    A great social intranet makes it easy to publish information, not just for editors, but even for the CEO and other stakeholders that normally do not work with the communication. A CEO blog where the actual CEO is the editor and publishing information/news, naturally has a lot more integrity and transparency than a traditional company letter without a personal sender. The functions in a social intranet increase the transparency and trust between the employees and the management team.

Are you curious what more advantages there are with a social intranet compared to a traditional intranet?

Fill in your email here and get our whitepaper as a PDF:
10 Reasons to change to a social intranet in the cloud

I do not want any other emails from Spintr

Fashion label me&i choose Spintr

Fashion label me&i choose Spintr as their new intranet for approximately 900 employees across five countries. The purpose is to connect all their employees and increase the availability of current company information.

me&i has branches in the UK, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Germany. With the launch of their new intranet they will increase the availability of information and knowledge. me&i wants to offer their modern employees a user friendly and powerful intranet that encourages interactivity and engagement.

Spreading news about campaigns and products will be handled by Spintrs content apps, and for collaborations and interaction there are apps like groups, social stream and chat.

The launch of the new intranet is planned for Q2, until then me&i will work on their content strategy and training.


Curious about Spintr? Try it for free!


For more information about the project contact:

Johan Nilsson
johan@spintr.me
0704 94 10 88

Intranet project part 1 – Getting started!

There are lots of challenges with an intranet project. This can be due to lack of experience, resource like time or money, technical obstacles/barriers or too big ambitions.

Sometimes it can be better to start small, take baby steps and cover the needs as they occur.

Here are some tips based on experience after carrying out over a hundred intranet projects at local boroughs, companies and other organisations. Our intranet projects have varied in size from a just a few users to several thousands.

Requirement analysis before starting an intranet project

A pre-project to an intranet project is an important step that can be done in a various scale. A small and compact pre-study can be just as efficient as a long and elaborate one. The important thing is to identify the requirements for your organisation.

The requirements can be mapped out through looking at pros and cons with the existing intranet and the work methods. What would you like to keep? What would you like to improve? Put together a project group with key personnel from the business and ask them what they would like to achieve with the new intranet. What is actually good about the existing intranet and the work methods? What is missing?

Stocktaking of the content on the existing intranet

Do you need all the content that is on the intranet today? Should we clean out old content that is no longer needed, or does everything need to be transferred to the new intranet? Through this exercise you can clean out irrelevant information that is of no use, and you get a better overview of what needs to be migrated.

Specification

The analysis of the requirements combined with the stocktaking will result in a specification. What functionality do you need in order to support the needs and the content that you are migrating? Should information that have been in documents stay in the documents or should they be presented in another format on the intranet, e.g. wikis, blogs or articles? Are there any wishes from people in the project group that for instance routines should be in a wiki instead of an inefficient word document like it currently is on the existing intranet? The specification should cover the requirements you have for the new intranet.

Intranet project part 1 - Getting started!
Intranet project part 1 – Getting started!

Test and consider

With a smart intranet like Spintr you can easily, and at no cost, try the solution to see if the requirements and wishes that have been uncovered in the specification are possible to fulfil.

Then you will get an answer if you are heading in the right direction. Does it seem like it is working? Experiment, be flexible and do not put to much work into it. Start in a small scale and focus on the absolute requirements. Think about what is a must have and not what it nice to have in this case.

The intranet does not need to be complete from the beginning

Maybe you do not have to add the entire employee manual right away, this is usually a big task and it contributes to the launch date being pushed several months. And when these months have passed, the routines have probably changed. If you wait for these changes to be implemented and added to the intranet before the launch, chances are the project will be even further delayed.

So – begin in a smaller scale and focus on the requirements. Listen to the users to complete the specification and the wishes to functionality as the project moves along.

All in all

An intranet project does not need to be a never ending story. If you begin in a smaller scale with a rational ambition based on the circumstances you are in, the project will feel more tangible. Functionality and specifications can be completed as the project moves along.

Work smarter with a collaboration tool instead of emailing

In a project – large or small – a great deal of information and documents are created. Furthermore, a large number of messages and discussions between the team members are exchanged. There are also a large number of tasks to carried out in the project. It is a lot more efficient to collaborate in a collaboration tool with a shared project space than to email and use fileservers like we have done for the last twenty years.

Emails and fileservers are not so efficient

You probably recognise the situation when a document circulates in several different versions and in the end you do not know which one is the latest, or that a thread in an email gets so long that it is difficult to follow. When you delve in to the fileserver there are several copies of the same document and it is difficult to know which is the current version.

Putting documents on disks and shared fileservers only to send them via email is usually not very efficient. Nor is it very efficient to have conversations via email. It takes a lot of time for us as users and it creates uncertainty.

Another drawback is that it is difficult to get an overview of the project. The documents are at best in some kind of structure on a shared fileserver, but usually they are spread out in the participants´ emails and computers. Discussions, changes – and the history of the project is often hidden in email threads. As a new project member it is impossible to hit the ground running and unnecessary time is spent on gathering information, as a team member or viewer it is hard to get an overview of what is done or what is left to do.

It is smarter to share information, documents and discussions in one place rather than moving it around. It is more efficient for you as a team member and it gives everyone a better overview. A collaboration tool usually has functionality for activities, discussions, files, notes and tasks that support the team in the collaboration. Here are a few tips on how you take advantage of these.

One version of a document

To begin with – stop creating documents for everything. Each document encapsulates the information and requires an extra click from the user. A document is therefore best to use as a format when the information needs to be formalised i.e. a project description, plan or agreement. It should then be a stand-alone document to be printed (e.g. for signing). Notes, messages or summaries is better to put in the project discussion or the function for notes.

Documents that are shared should be put on the shared project space, and from there you can send links to the other members if needed. If comments are needed they are added within the document (and you as the owner are notified). We then have one version of the document and it is also easier for new members to understand the project history.

Notes as notes

Notes from the work or summaries from meetings do not need to be placed in a document. It is better to put them as notes in the project space. This way you avoid wasting time on formatting and handling a document. Furthermore, your notes are accessible (and not hidden in a document) for yourself and other members if needed.

Notes are often to be consumed while fresh i.e. their value depreciates the more time passes and the project moves forward. Place decisions and activities in the task function in your collaboration tool.

Work smarter with a collaboration tool.
Work smarter with a collaboration tool.

Tasks for everyone

Use the task function in your collaboration tool to add activities that should be solved in the project. Give the task a headline, a description, a list if needed, a date if relevant, and assign it to a member.

The member that is assigned to the task gets full clarity and the overview for all the members is better, everyone knows what is up next. It is easy to identify the bottle necks and overloaded members, the understanding and overview is increased for everyone. Even tasks without assignees should be added so they become clear.

As a member you can usually see all your “to-dos” for your projects in the project tool. It is then easier to have the overview and prioritise your commitments.

The tasks are checked off as they are completed and it gives a great sense of achievement and progress.

Conversations in a shared space

Messages and discussions between several participants are added in the conversation flow rather than sending emails to group. Everyone that takes part in the project group can participate and they can see the discussion in their workflow. If you would like to draw a members’ attention to something you can usually “ping” them by writing their name (the person gets a notification to catch their attention).

With messages and discussions in a conversation flow the need for sharing information through meetings is reduced. A great deal of information, knowledge sharing and reasoning is available and also the history is accessible for new members.

Make it happen

It is more efficient to handle the project in a shared space rather than emailing information and documents, but how do you make it happen, how do you get people to work in the more efficient way?

Leading by example is obviously a good method, but it is more effective if you as a group or organisation agree on how you should work. Together you can train on the work method and routines, and when you are confident you will be more efficient as a group. There is also coaching and help that can get you started, educate and improve efficiency.

Read more: 5 tips to get your colleagues to use the intranet

Good luck on the project collaboration instead of emailing!

Connect the collaboration tools with the company goals

You might have experience with the phenomenon – tools like Yammer, SharePoint, Slack or similar for social collaboration, team collaboration or project collaboration are launched internally and the engagement is great in the beginning, but after a while it fades away and we question the value and the tool itself.

Usually there is nothing wrong with the ambitions or functions – the real problem is often that the tools are launched without a clear purpose that explains why we should use Yammer, SharePoint, Slack or similar. By defining the purpose at an early stage, it is a lot easier to implement the right tool, get the users on-board and identify activities that gets the desired effect.

Figure out the purpose of the collaboration

First and foremost, we need to identify the reasons that are there for the collaboration. Try to find people in the company that can come up with more suggestions than yourself. You can for instance have workshops with groups internally or conduct interviews. Then you will have a list of purposes for the collaboration that are relevant for your organisation – both purposes that are generic and widespread, but also targeted and specific.

Widespread purposes can be:

  • Learning through knowledge sharing
  • Support innovation and development
  • Improve customer service through better problem solving
  • Improve the engagement in the organisation

Targeted purposes can be:

  • Help a department handle tasks
  • Help project groups work efficiently
  • Improve communication internally in a department

Prioritise using the company goals

The list of purposes can get long and you should select the purposes that are most important for the organisation. This should also be done by people from the business in for instance workshops. This ensures engagement in the execution.

The company goals are a good guide when prioritising. Put the goals on the wall and identify which collaborations and social interactions from the list can have the greatest effect on the goals. Examples on the company goals can be:

  • Expand geographically
  • Increased product development
  • Get closer to the client
  • Become a more flexible and agile organisation

 

Connect the collaboration tools with the company goals
Connect the collaboration tools with the company goals.

By putting the goals for the company up on the wall it becomes easier to prioritise which reasons are more important. Then you can consider the effect a function provides in relation to the cost or difficulty of implementing it. This way you create a business case to motivate the effort from management.

Choose the tools and activities

The third step is to identify which tools are in the platform you have or have considered acquiring. Many tools can have overlapping functionality and you should consider the combinations and in which context the tools should be used.

Collaboration in a project can be quite different from the requirements of a department. The users that are collaborating might do it in different settings like concentrated in front of computer or using a mobile device on the go. Another example is news that can be distributed in different ways – by a news function, in a blog or a collaborative forum. These are also factors that can affect the decision making process of which tool to use.

Determine the support activities

Activities that might be needed could be education or promotional campaigns to lift the knowledge level or create new insights. But it is also important to justify the change and work method where the tools are being used to achieve the desired effect.

The management should also point out some of the functionality and set the direction for how the organisation should work, and lead by example by using the tools the way they are intended. This way the organisation will follow.

Measure the effects

The last step is to measure to see if the desired effects are achieved. What is measured can be statistics on how many people are active in a forum, how many comments or posts are added or how many workgroups are started. It can also be engagement measuring through questionnaires or interviews. By measuring along the way you can also get information that affect which activities are done to achieve the goals.

So, a clear purpose and setting goals for the tools you intend to use is important to get the desired effect from the collaboration tools. To prioritise you should look at the company goals to see which collaboration contributes the most to the business. Furthermore, we need to guide and support our users so they become superusers on the tools. Good luck with your collaboration on the intranet!

A week with and without an intranet in the cloud

Monday

John arrives at work and discovers that the intranet server has been down all weekend. Since the website is on the same server this has been unavailable as well. How many clients have been affected?? Hope it´s resolved shortly.

Annie arrives at work, checks the latest news on the intranet on her mobile via WiFi and begins working. At Annie´s company they recently started using an intranet in the cloud. 

Tuesday

Yes! Today the software company that develops the intranet solution for John released a new version with several bug fixes and some new great functionality. John is thinking: Now we just need to ensure that the new version works with our hardware and that our modifications and changes still work after the update. I´ll need help with the update since it requires database changes.

Annie has been to lunch and is back at the office, she discovers that there has been a new application released on the intranet, great!

Wednesday

Help! Our intranet server is being DDoS-attacked! We don´t have any software to prevent it so we will have to wait until it passes.

Meanwhile Annie is reading a blogpost about a recent DDoS-attack on several companies. She sends an email to the support at their cloud service partner, and they quickly respond that an attack was attempted, but they have sophisticated software to prevent such issues.

Thursday

In the car on his way to a meeting John gets a phone call from a client that urgently needs a copy of the latest version of the timetable for an ongoing project (that John already should have sent to her). The document is in the folder “Client projects” on the laptop in the briefcase, so the client will have to wait until John reaches his destination.

Annie uploads a summary in a project group on the intranet from the last meeting she had with four project members with a client. Since the client has access to their shared project group on the cloud based intranet it doesn´t take long until the client confirms the upload with a “like”.

Friday

Crisis! The intranet seems hacked. After a few nerve wracking hours and several calls to IT-support John realises that the configuration of Iptables is not optimal.

Annie is sitting comfortably in her chair. She knows that the intranet supplier is well prepared to prevent intrusion and that they regularly perform tests from third parties.

Saturday

On the train on his way back from a family reunion John remembers that he was supposed to provide feedback on a new project draft on Friday. He doesn´t have his laptop with him so it will have to wait until Monday.

Annie has a day off and is surfing on her phone. She realises that she was supposed to comment on a thing in an ongoing project with a client yesterday, but time ran away from her. Since they have intranet in the cloud she quickly accesses the intranet on her mobile, reads the document and comments in the workgroup.

Sunday

At 9am one of John´s most important clients calls with an emergency. Normally it´s a quick fix and John should be able to resolve the issue in a few minutes. But the information he needs is behind a slow VPN-connection that keeps dropping out. Eventually, after two hours of driving back and forth to the office, the problem is resolved.

In the morning Annie gets a similar call and since the intranet is in the cloud she can immediately help the client by phone while she´s still in bed.

intranet-as-cloud-service

5 reasons not to limit access to the social intranet

Some organisations go through a consideration of keeping their intranet locked to their internal network and employees are directed to VPN´s (Virtual Private Network) to use the intranet. The reasoning for this is that the information is so important and sensitive that we can not allow mobile units or personal accounts outside the company network.

It is unfortunate to limit the intranet to the workplace

The purpose of the intranet is that it is supposed to be there when you need it. The users should be able to search quickly and find answers quickly. When you limit the intranet to the devices in the workplace, the threshold is a lot higher to access the intranet.

Thanks to the social intranet being available on tablets and smartphones, the employees are able to find the information they need wherever they are. Whether it is at the workplace in the store, in a meeting, in the car, on the bus or on the train on their way to work.

The intranet is limited to workplace devices

By limiting the login to the official workplace devices you reduce the usage drastically. Many modern intranet solutions have mobile apps to send push notifications to the users. It is often very difficult to get these apps optimised to a VPN.

Modern intranets are social networks that should be available when you are online, particularly as they are often platforms for collaboration and interaction between individuals.

The general trend right now with modern intranets and the rapid development around the digital workplace is that the job is not something you go to, it is something you do. Limiting the intranet to a physical location is very unfortunate in this regard.

Of course there are exceptions from this, e.g. production environments and stores, where we will continue to be in the same physical location. But we believe the individual wants to participate and be part of the company outside of their work in the branch location as well.

Notifications loose their purpose

Limiting the users to a device in the workplace to participate and act on a notification that the intranet sent, makes it hard to keep up the activity on the intranet.

We want regular activity to make sure everyone takes part of recent information on the intranet, e.g. news, campaigns and blogposts that expire quickly.

Fear of spreading information

Many organisations claim that their information is so sensitive on the intranet, that external parties should by no means have access to it and therefore they need it behind closed doors. I think that it is obviously not good that information is shared with for instance a competitor, but also that the competitors can not cause any significant harm despite learning more or less sensitive information about the margins of a particular product, the reasoning behind your waste management policy or any other general routine within the company.

The personal experience is deteriorated by several accounts on the same device

In some organisations, for instance a production company with factories, or a chain with several branches they have a central server that connects all the individuals with either a “group account”, “function account” or “computer account”. This is usually to save time and money on administration of users or by limiting the number of licenses in the organisation.

If you limit the intranet to the workplace devices, it is very difficult to get the personal bespoke experience to work. You loose the social in the social intranet. The users have a tendency to want to help more if they can sign a reply with their name instead of being an anonymous individual in a branch location. More on this subject can be found here: User accounts or branch accounts on the intranet?.

User accounts or branch accounts on the intranet?

To save money on user licenses and administration of users, chains often choose to have one user account per branch instead of having one user account for each user on the intranet. This is a short term and dated way of thinking – here is why.

I, the individual in the branch

To participate and use a social intranet as e.g. “Branch 143” or some other generic internal term in a chain, and then ask questions, leads to the social intranet failing. The social intranet is heading more and more towards being a digital workspace. How exciting is it to be Branch 143 in this forum rather than being “John Johnson”? The user, or the individual, is put outside of the community as a generic name. The individual is less valued and has less purpose than those in the head office that have their own personal accounts.

If you can ask a question as a person and get a reply from another person, rather than an office number, the feeling of participation and community increases. It is almost impossible to initiate the will to help others when you do not know who is at the other end. The visibility and affirmation of helping does not come back to me as an individual and an employee.

When each individual gets their own account on the intranet it can even help reduce attrition as you feel closer to the company and as part of something important. It contributes to better employer branding and internal marketing.

Security on the intranet

If an account is distributed to 10 people in an organisation with 100 branches, the login details is likely to sit on post-its next to 100-200 computers. We do not know who is logged into to Branch 143, and the bespoke experience is deteriorated. We do not know who has left the company and might still use the login. A personal account is easy to deactivate. It has great value for the individual to contact a specific person and to see the contact details and login status of the individual.

If the branch login is used on a smartphone and the phone is handed in for repairs or is lost, we have no control of who might be logged in and gain access to more or less sensitive information.

Usage of the intranet

When you do not have a personal account on the intranet, it cannot notify and deliver relevant content in a context of where the user has been active. An example might be a discussion or article where the user has commented or asked a question in a social forum.

The user misses out on the personal interaction if they need to use the intranet as Branch 143 instead of John Johnson. The bespoke experience of my intranet deteriorates and this leads to less interaction and less use of the intranet. Fewer accounts = less activity on the intranet. Furthermore, the possibility to direct information to specific roles like “Head of Marketing” or “Communications” is lost.

If a user is anonymous and logs on as the branch account, the individual is no longer accountable for the content that is published. This might increase risk of “trash-talk” as they do not need to sign with their own name, especially in social forums and direct messaging. This can easily be avoided with personal accounts as the content is digitally signed with their personal account.

Accessibility of the intranet

The intranet and the digital workspace is significantly more accessible with a personal account. The employee can log in on their smartphone and get information and push notifications sent directly to their device, wherever they might be.

One account for a branch with 15 employees breaks the chain of personalised information, and a lot of usability and functionality in the social intranet is lost.

The Economy

As an organisation you might save some money by having shared user accounts. BUT, by having a social intranet you make information more available and adapted to the employee. This reduces circulation of e-mails in the organisation and it reduces the number of questions directed to the head office. In the greater scheme of things you save time and increase efficiency. And as we all know, time is money!

If the employee can get a feeling of participation in the organisation it can contribute towards reducing attrition, something that most organisations are struggling with.

So, we believe it is a better long term strategy for chains and satellite organisations to have individual user accounts, even though it might be a slightly increased cost in the short term.

5 tips to get your colleagues to use the intranet

To have loads of great functionality and a nice looking design on the intranet is an excellent start. But it is maybe not enough to get your colleagues to actually use it. Here are five concrete and great tips on how you get your colleagues to use your intranet.

Create a buzz around the intranet

Before launching a new intranet, you can easily create a buzz that makes your colleagues curious about what is going on.

Before Oxelösund county in Sweden launched their intranet Origo, they created stickers and notes that they put on bulletin boards and in the restrooms.

Oxelosunds county intranet launch

 

Åsa Camara, webb project manager and IT-strategist at Oxelösund county:

“It was one of few ways to tell the users about the new intranet as nobody was visiting the old one. The results have been very successful and the response has been beyond expectation.”

Kalmar county launch the pier

Kalmar county in Sweden also created stickers and placed them in all the restrooms and at all the coffee machines inside the council offices. Hjalmar was the name of an old file server that functioned as an intranet of sorts for many years. The day after the launch in February 2016, more than 2.500 employees had logged in to the new intranet “The Pier”.

Share and talk

Share what kind of information and functionality is available on the intranet, but do it in other places than just the intranet. Discussions on social media or in the break room are both good forums for this kind of information.

Create a booklet

Sometimes it is not enough to have the digital formats of information. A physical booklet that explains the core functionality and most important content can be a good tutorial for many users. “This is where you…”-sentences makes it easy for the user to get to the information.

Video tutorials

With simple equipment that does not break the bank, you can easily create screen recordings with voiceovers and publish them on the intranet to explain functionality or show the user where they can find what they are looking for. To see the system in use and at the same time get an explanation on how you do things is a sure shot way of learning.

Setup competitions

Competitions of various kinds is a very good way of increasing the use of the intranet. For example, you can have a naming competition for your new intranet. Let the users make suggestions for appropriate names and later have a vote within the intranet. The winning suggestion is rewarded!

Another way to setup a competition is to do like Oxelösund council and place certain images/logos on the intranet pages. Send out a newsletter that the competition will be running for a month and that there are i.e. ten images/logos of this kind for your colleagues to find. Whoever finds all ten is part of a draw for a most honourable price.

Convert your documents to pages on the intranet

The information across documents on the intranet is often a poor solution for your users. You can create more value and save time for your users by converting the documents to pages. Here are a few useful tips on how to do this.

Documents are often a poor solution on the intranet

An extra click for the user. To get to the information, the user needs to click to access it – the information is placed further away from the recipient and the extra click is a time waster.

Search results that create uncertainty. A search result on a document is hard to judge whether or not it will take you to the information you are looking for. Let us take for example if you need to know the routine for customer complaints and you search for “complaints”. The search results might return a document called “Handling the cash registry” and there is know way of knowing if the “customer complaint” routine can be found within this document.

Individual context. When you click and open a longer document, for instance a guideline, you get a new context outside of the intranet. To find the information you are looking for, you need to use the index or search within the document (something not every user knows how to do).

No links. The document does usually not contain links to related subjects, pages or documents. The users are going down a cul-de-sac that they need to back out of to get further.

Too much information. A document is meant to be a stand-alone piece of information. I.e. ready to print, read on its own or forward to someone without loosing context. This means that the document contains paragraphs and headings to place the information in a context, e.g. introductions or background. Furthermore, a document is usually written by an expert to explain a subject in-depth. The description and language is often long and elaborate.

Documents as a format is in other words not very user friendly and is a big time waster for the users of the intranet. Documents are good for stand-alone information, printing or sharing.

Convert the right documents

There are various types of documents, some of these are good for converting to pages.

For example written agreements, decisions, contracts, specifications, descriptions and blueprints. We can recognise these as being stand-alone pieces of information or references. There is often not a lot of value in converting these documents to intranet pages.

There are also more descriptive documents e.g. routines, rules, guidelines and manuals. They are suitable to convert to pages as they usually help the user get to the task they want to solve. Often these consist of several tasks you want to solve.

5 steps to get from document to page

How do you convert a document to a page? Here is a method you can use for guidelines, routines and similar types of documents.

  1. Analyse the document – think about what the user wants to do when they have found the document. You can for instance make a list similar to “How to…”, “I need to…” of the tasks at hand.
  2. Select the “How to tasks” that are regarded as central, important and common. You might need to talk to the users and stakeholders about what is common, or look at statistics and search words as an indicator.
    Group the “how to” tasks into subjects. Several of these will be closely related to each other and can be sorted into sub-categories of another main topic.
  3. Sort each subject into what is the main information, additional information and, if applicable, the background information to the tasks.
    The main information is usually a summary of a rule or the routine (e.g. “how to claim sick leave compensation”). The additional information can be varieties, details or deviations from the main task (e.g. You must be a full-time employee to claim compensation). The background information can be the reason behind the routine (e.g. Employee rights law for sick leave).
  4. Add pages to the intranet – we suggest one page per subject. It is not important if the pages are long, as long as they are divided into clear digestible paragraphs with headings. The users are familiar with scrolling through the pages and look for what they are trying to find.
    You might also need to create landing pages for subjects and categories, that the users can look through for links that lead them to the right information.
  5. Add links in the pages to relevant information and related tasks. Sometimes it might be useful to add attachments with references (e.g. lists, spreadsheets, in-depth rules etc.).

Manage increased information structure

When you convert documents to pages it will inevitably add levels in the informational hierarchy. It is after all that structure that was part of the original document, so there is nothing strange about it. Depending on how much data you have and how many levels you increase, various forms of structure might be suitable. Her are a few common solutions:

Make new templates for existing pages. This might be templates to add for long pages with paragraphs – and maybe even a navigation index on the page. You might also want to create landing pages to guide the user into content further down the hierarchy. This step is suitable if it is a relatively low amount of new pages.

Develop functionality for a database. An increasing variety of new templates where navigation, searching and filtration provides more functionality to the end user. This alternative is usually relevant when you do not have any standard functionality to use, and you have a large amount of data to publish.

Use wiki functionality. If your intranet tool has a wiki function it can be used as a database. The wiki functionality usually has headings and paragraphs as well as possibilities to link between the various pieces of information. This can also add the possibility of navigation and searching through the database. A wiki solution can be suitable for both smaller and larger pieces of data.

You save people’s time by converting

So convert the suitable documents to pages and build a database through existing functionality or developing new functionality in your intranet.

If useful information in a document can get closer to the user, you will reduce the time it takes to solve the task they came to the intranet for in the first place. Time they can use on other more productive tasks. You get more satisfied users when they experience the intranet as an effective and efficient tool.

 

Good luck with developing your content!