As the organization evolves with the changing needs of the customers and employees, several components including the intranet can fall behind. With an old design, features, and existing issues, the intranet can appear to be confusing to the new staff and require a redesign. However, an intranet redesign does not just mean a new front-end look.
The effectiveness of an intranet ultimately depends on how engaging and useful it is to the users. As every organization is unique with different processes, objectives, priorities, technologies, and structures, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to an intranet redesign. Depending on your organization's culture, challenges and requirements, an intranet redesign should be accomplished through a step-by-step procedure based on a project plan.
Your intranet is an ecosystem that maintains a balance between people, processes, and technology. The people in the organization demand the most effort and attention as they can make or break the process and technology. So, you should first ensure that you are capable of aligning the three aspects and then begin with people.
Not all your users will have the same needs. People in different locations and departments may look for different resources and have different preferences when it comes to interacting with one another and the platform. Start by defining the audiences based on the structure of your organization. You can classify them by roles and departments or operations. Define key responsibilities and determine what information employees want from the intranet.
You should then assign priorities to the requirements and expectations from the future intranet. This is why your intranet redesign should have a strategy and plan in place. The intranet should be aligned with the organization's directives. Such an alignment would also set a baseline for tracking and measuring the performance of the intranet over time. An intranet redesign plan also helps prioritize features that provide the most value on the redesigned system.
Apart from the technology itself, you need to handle the intricacies of implementing a platform that aligns with your organizational needs and goals. Once the people and process are in place, it is time to choose the appropriate technology platform, tools, applications, etc. to drive a successful ecosystem. This step may include integrating existing systems but focuses more on considering different intranet technology options.
Intranet Redesign Project Plan
A strategic intranet redesign project plan is essential to ensure the success and sustainability of your digital workspace. Strategy and governance plan are the two most important aspects that you should never overlook when redesigning an intranet. The intranet strategy helps measure how aligned your intranet vision is with the organizational objectives. For example, if the company wants to sustain market leadership, it is essential to track how the intranet supports this objective.
Such a strategy not only helps measure the success of the intranet but also paves the way to prioritize the features that users will find the most valuable on the new platform. You can then allocate resources focusing on specific features like collaboration or information sharing. This will also make sure that stakeholders are involved and the intranet keeps receiving support as it evolves with time.
Governance also flows out of the intranet project plan and focuses on assigning roles, rules, and responsibilities for intranet management. Governance simply defines the ownership and management model of the intranet including:
Just like the content of the intranet, project planning is independent of the technology. Whether you are using IBM, SharePoint, or any other software or content management system, the priority of and the approach to governance and planning is the same. This may include designating intranet owners, creating steering committees, appointing IT personnel, a team of editors, and more to ensure the success of the intranet redesign.
As a part of the intranet redesign project plan, every role must have defined responsibilities that should be included as a part of the employee's job description. Key organizational policies should also be created to address everything from the creation and management of content to the use of social media and collaboration. The user design experience design should also flow smoothly from the information architecture. Wireframes or page layouts should be constructed for desktop and mobile phones to cover users working across devices.
It is also important to get feedback and approval from the stakeholders before implementing the design. This can be done by presenting concepts to employees and committees via focus groups and by conducting tests to capture the feedback. Regardless of the strategy, make sure you capture design guidelines to be used in the new intranet. The plan should include creating a brief with design elements including page templates, color palettes, spacing, fonts, and other preferences. The intranet design standards should also contain aspects related to mobile design to ensure a consistent look and feel across the intranet as it evolves.
An intranet's effectiveness is ultimately determined by the users. Though there are corporate requirements to meet, an intranet that functions no better than a news center would not be useful and engaging. So, the first step in redesigning an intranet is to understand employee experiences to be able to personalize them by including things that help them get their work done. An employee survey aimed at understanding employee experience is the best tool to accomplish this.
A redesign survey should be designed in such a way that the answers help understand where the present intranet stands and build awareness for the intranet redesign. When people are aware of a future redesign and asked their opinion, they are more likely to participate effectively. As an example, you can ask the employees to choose from a few options that best describe their experience at the workplace. Additionally, they can be asked what they want the workplace to look like in the future.
Here are some of the example questions you can include in a redesign survey to understand how employees feel about the intranet.
An effective way is to prepare a intranet redesign survey questions. Surveys and focus group questions are valuable because they allow designing an intranet that reflects what users want rather than what a designer finds useful. The feedback of surveys and focus group questionnaires would help identify themes and features for an intranet redesign. You can quickly identify practical actions like providing more frequent updates, customizing quick links, improving the layout, and adding more culture-related items.
A well-designed intranet is much more than just a list of each individual's favorite features. It should solve real problems related to culture, communication, collaboration, and information. Employee experience should therefore be prioritized when creating a strategy for intranet redesign. An intranet effectiveness survey depicts the strengths and weaknesses of your present system and suggests how and where the efforts should be focused.
The survey aims to measure employee satisfaction so you don't need feedback on individual features but a general impact. The questions should link to the value proposition of the intranet. If you use a third-party survey tool, it should start with demographic questions about their job level, location, and other relevant things. The core of the survey should be limited to 4-6 questions with rating scales kept consistent. An open-ended question at the end would help capture useful feedback and comments.
Here is an example intranet effectiveness survey for an organization that considers a redesign.
How frequently do you use the intranet?
How useful do you find the intranet for the information you need to make your job easier?
How effective is the intranet for collaboration with your teams?
How helpful do you find the intranet at improving connection with your co-workers at the workplace?
How satisfied you are with the user-friendliness of the intranet and support available?
If there is one thing you could do to improve the intranet, what would it be?
The questions asked, how they relate to the intranet objectives, and the number of times you run the survey are important factors when designing an intranet effectiveness survey. However, it is more important to analyze the data you capture, make assumptions and devise an action plan for improvement. Such surveys run consistently across the organization would build trust among users and result in an ever-improving intranet, user engagement, and satisfaction.
Intranet redesign may seem to be daunting at first but gets easy with proper planning and implementation. As every organization is unique, it is possible that some of the aspects of this process like technology or governance model already exist. Regardless of the present situation of the intranet, it is important to allocate attention and resources to each of the steps to make sure there is a balance between business processes, user requirements, and the capabilities of your digital workspace. This will not only help ensure an engaging and effective intranet but serve you well during the phases of your intranet redesign process.