Nightime aereal view from Shutterstock
New Orleans is a lovely (and hot!) location for a conference, making it a particular pleasure to present at the IABC World Conference 2016. My topic was how to consider global and local needs, to ensure that intranets are powerful and relevant in complex organisations.
Some of the key points:
- In every organisation, intranets must provide the right mix of capabilities, to match strategy, culture, and working practices. This is doubly the case in large, complex and global organisations.
- The five purposes of intranets model provides a robust framework for this, covering the following aspects:
- Content: a repository for information, at both corporate and business-unit levels.
- Communication: a rich internal communication channel that reaches all staff.
- Culture: celebrating and fostering the current culture of the organisation, and supporting culture change.
- Collaboration & social: connecting staff with each other, and helping them to work together better.
- Activity: the intranet as a place for doing things, not just reading things.
- The five purposes model can be used as a set of “sliders”, to consider the current state and future direction of the intranet.
- The second half of the talk explicitly looked at tackling complexity.
- Needs vary greatly across organisations, across three aspects:
- Geography: whether within a city, state, country, or across the globe.
- Business unit: encompassing the organisational structure, all the way from the top down to the lowest-level team.
- Job role: recognising that staff don’t do the same thing, whether they are nurses, accountants, engineers, sales people or public servants.
- Intranet must meet both global and local needs, if they are to be relevant.
- Global covers those needs that are common across the organisation as a whole. Typically these consist of corporate services and information (but not always).
- Local addresses specific needs, according to the three facets outlined above: geography, business unit, and job role.
- Global needs focus on organisational strategy and direction, and the reasons why the organisation is together, rather than separate businesses.
- Local is where all the day-to-day activity is conducted, where all the money is made, and the services delivered.
- Swinging the pendulum to all corporate leads to “ivory tower” delivery of top-down (mostly irrelevant) information; at the other extreme, all local is anarchy.
- The talk then shared a range of real-world examples, across the global-local spectrum.
- It wrapped up with highlighting the importance of governance, expressed in the model of five hats for global intranet teams.
Case studies shared in the presentation:
- Coles, who rolled out an intranet to 100,000 store staff, with the global of improving staff engagement (and thus customer services).
- Telstra‘s remarkable “me page”.
- Hansen Yuncken, who used their intranet to streamline and automate core business processes in their construction firm.
- IMF‘s “all about a country”, bringing together a wealth of knowledge management information and data into a single global resource.