We all know how hard it can be to get the funding needed to improve your intranet or digital workplace. Each year, a businesses case is required, which may be a lengthy and painful document to complete.
Each year, the team waits nervously for the results of the business planning process, to see if funding has been allocated to the proposed project. Meanwhile, they keep talking with key stakeholders across the business to see if there’s any spare money that can be spent on the intranet or digital workplace.
What if it didn’t have to be that way? What if there was an approach that would give the intranet the support it needs to progress steadily (and confidently!) year after year?
Introducing product management
The slide above comes from the award-winning intranet of Swisscom, showing the progression of the intranet from a collection of disjointed sites to a cohesive digital workplace.
What’s the most powerful element of this image? It’s the second line from the top: “every 2 years a major release; 4 minor releases a year”.
The Swisscom digital workplace has now matured to the point that there’s a clear expectation that major changes will happen over time to the site, plus a lot of small (but valuable) changes throughout each year.
This reflects a shift from managing the intranet as a series of stand-alone projects, to managing the intranet as a product.
Product management is well understood in customer-facing situations. Consumer devices, from fridges to phones, undergo constant evolution, with new models brought into the marketplace.
In more recent times, it’s been recognised that digital solutions are also products, from the banking app on a phone to the e-banking capability online, and even the website itself.
Product management is a discipline, with models, methodologies, training courses and certification. There are decades of experience that can be used to guide product management activities within organisations.
Intranet and digital workplace teams should learn from this space, with the goal of shifting how enterprise solutions are managed and improved over time. Only then will we truly be confident that we’re on the right track to delivering what staff and the business really need.