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Intranet Governance: 3 Tips for Success

Communications in ChargeOnce upon a time, the intranet’s purpose was to store information for a small set of users, usually just IT geeks. Back in those days, decentralized intranet governance was fine, given the simplicity of the systems.

Today, however, intranets have evolved into must-have business tools for all employees. We all know that this shift in scale, interconnectivity, and user base has significant implications for intranet governance. In short, loose models simply don’t work.

If these decentralized governance models no longer work, then what does? The best models I’ve come across promote co-ownership between Communications and IT. In these partnerships, Communications almost always owns the strategy and IT designs and supports the tools to execute this strategy.

In the CEC Intranets Working Group, a lively debate is brewing over this topic. Most CEC members agree that Communications is well-positioned to own and guide the intranet. After all, Communications knows (or is learning) what employees need from the intranet, as well as how best to share information, support dialogue, and promote collaboration (all core capabilities of any good intranet). If you’re ready to take ownership of the intranet, here’s some advice from CEC members who have been there, done that:

  • Prepare to Learn New Skills
    “Taking over an intranet is a whole new game for communicators. This new world involves terms such as User Centered approach, Taxonomy, and Information Architecture.  If Communications’ only goal is to put more stuff out on the intranet, then it’s probably not worth the change.”
    —Director of Internal Online Communications, Financial Services 
  • Establish Guiding Principles
    “These [principles] are a constant check to ensure that what we are doing is keeping in mind what our people want and need:

* Have a consistent look and feel and logical hierarchy of information
* Have a clear and credible source
* Support me in building and maintaining relationships
* Let me choose information and tools based on what is relevant to me
* Keep me informed about the business and help me feel empowered to share information.”
—Communications Advisor, Financial Services

  • Get Regular Input
    “We’ve established an intranet steering committee with representatives from all parts of our business. We meet monthly, and Internal Communications chairs this committee. This seems to work well for us and ensures we get support and buy-in from across the business.”
    —Communications Advisor, Financial Services

What are your tried and true tactics to promote partnerships with IT and other functions to govern your intranet? Leave your thoughts here! CEC members, share them today in the CEC Intranets Working Group.

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