1. Great article James, thank you.
    I have the same discussion (global vs local) when we talk with organizations about social and collaboration features. When there is a strong local need there is often a demand for those features.

  2. Ross

    I enjoyed hearing about this at the Intranet Conference in London. The most difficult staring point (in my opinion) is knowing where to start !!

    I like the idea of starting global and growing the local aspect one piece at a time while being careful not to “overdo” the local aspect and losing the corporate message.

  3. Excellent advice but what about the language issues? English may be the default language, but at a local level there may well be local language intranets which are not even (often deliberately) on the corporate radar. In a project this year for European multinational that insisted on English as the intranet language it did not take me long to find content in around ten other languages, invariably concealed behind an English language home page!

    Have a look at Harvard Business School Working Paper 09-138 entitled Walking Through Jelly: Language Proficiency, Emotions, and Disrupted Collaboration in Global Work at The study is a small scale one but even so the outcomes and implications need to be considered very carefully.

    • James Robertson

      Martin, thanks for the HBS link! Agree that language is yet another dimension to what is already a complex topic.

      While it can be overwhelming for an intranet team in a huge global company to see a way forward, this makes it doubly important to start with simple first steps. By exploring some of the simple options, more advanced approaches will become apparent (with the governance to match).

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Published December 21, 2011

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)