I’ve just spent a day with a well-known global company at their headquarters in Sweden (and no, it’s not IKEA). They are in the early stages of a large intranet project, which has been thrown a curve-ball by a huge global reorganisation. My role in this one-off day of consulting was to provide expert insight into the intranet project, and the reorganisation became the focus of discussions.
This organisation was previously structured by market units (roughly equivalent to countries) and business units, but with the size of customers growing, a decision was made to shift to a regional model. This immediately raised some important questions about the intranet.
On the current intranet, there is a global site, market unit sites, individual country sites and business unit sites. What should role should these now play?
With the creation of regions, there is a natural assumption that regional intranets will be required, but what should go on them? The default approach was to replicate the existing market unit sites to create the regional sites, but it quickly became clear that this didn’t make sense.
What should staff have as their homepage? How will global and local news be distributed?
What is needed is a clear and concrete sense of the overall intranet model. This defines the shape of the intranet, and the role of individual sites and sections. This could be very simple from a technology standpoint, or make extensive use of personalisation and segmentation.
The intranet model is not easy to work out, and we’ve seen many intranet teams avoid the challenge. Instead, overly simplistic models are put in place that work poorly for both the organisation and staff.
It’s not just global multinationals that have this challenge. We’re starting work with an Australian government agency formed by the merger of previous departments, and they need to work this out. We’ve also been engaged by the Australian arm of a global company, and this is their central challenge to resolve.
We’re now including several days in our intranet projects specifically to work out the intranet model. As these projects unfold, we’ll share our insights and solutions.
What approaches have you taken to delivering intranets in the scenario outlined above?