1. hannah

    Maybe I’m not searching hard enough but I’m surprised at how little info there is on this topic out there. From my experience it is one of the most debated hot topics of all!
    Senior managers always want decentralisation, and web teams want centralisation.
    Info about comparative costs and stories about other organisation’s experiences with these 2 models would be really interesting.

  2. Cris

    Couldn’t agree more with you James. Also Hannah you are quite right; little has been formally written. I have been asked to organise decentralisation for both internet and intranet. I worry about the dropping standards when involving the internet as has been witnessed on the intranet.

    James great post – as usual. BTW the new intranet book is well writtent and offers good advice.

  3. Amanda

    ‘The easier it is to publish content to the intranet, the harder it is for users to find it’

    This is so true – most intranets are planned at the top levels, but decentralised publishing means that the lower levels quickly become a mish mash of whatever is ‘urgent’ at the time. Lack of dedicated resources in the business areas and lack of handover means that instead of updates, new pages are often created where they’re not needed.

    The idea of bringing decentralised publishing to an internet is simply terrifying.

    • James Robertson

      Fully centralised publishing is simply a bottleneck, so not a viable option in any larger organisation.

      I think the key concept is this: “not all content needs to be of equal quality”. For important content, manage it tightly, or centralise it. For less important content, apply looser standards and decentralise it.

  4. NWwaterboy

    I believe you need to also keep the overall nature/structure of the organization in mind. The design of the CMS needs to adapt to this, if it is going to be adopted successfully.

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Published April 2, 2002

James Robertson
James Robertson is the Managing Director of Step Two, the global thought leaders on intranets, headquartered in Sydney, Australia. James is the author of the best-selling books Essential intranets, Designing intranets and What every intranet team should know. He has keynoted conferences around the globe. (Follow him on Twitter)