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Thanks for visiting the Digital Workplace Group (DWG) website. You'll see this post may refer to the "Intranet Benchmarking Forum (IBF)," the "Digital Workplace Forum (DWF)" or "IBF Live." But that doesn't match our website name!

In a nutshell, we merged IBF and DWF into one service and changed our name to "Digital Workplace Group." The new name represents the broader set of services we've grown to offer, beyond an original focus on just intranets. We also changed the name of our monthly webinar from "IBF Live" to "Digital Workplace Live."

Although we've relabelled things, we're proud of our decade+ history and have left this page intact. Enjoy your time on our site and please contact us with any questions or comments.

Intranet strategy isn’t just about working out a high-level, visionary paper about the future direction of the intranet. Instead the process of strategy development should also be used to make crucial decisions needed in later phases of an intranet project.

Let’s start with a look at some of the most important pre-requisites for successful strategy development (or revision):

  • involve and commit the ‘right’ people in the organisation (including but not limited to senior management)

  • take other existing strategies into account (namely the corporate strategy, but also HR, communications, IT or any other relevant ones)

  • work it out together in a collaborative, consensus focused approach (as opposed to e.g. just sending some paper around for sign-off)

  • broadly communicate goals and objectives in a suitable fashion in regard to the target audience

Working out the strategy is already challenging and time-demanding. Still, it seems good advice to go one step further and include discussions about critical aspects that typically come up in every intranet project, now, in order to get ahead faster and more efficient in later stages.

The reason why this should be done is simple: you (hopefully!) have the right people to make decisions and build acceptance at the table – and that’s probably the only time you’ll actually get them there.

So, it pays to think about which issues might require senior competencies, a broad spectrum of voices from across the organisation or dissemination through respected persons outside the intranet and project team.

Here are some such issues I have repeatedly come across in intranet projects and that often require substantial time and resources to work out, if not addressed up-front in the strategic phase of the project:

  • Decentrally organised roles and resources:
    It is important to create a common understanding about roles and resources needed for the ongoing management of the intranet and its contents. Try to get commitment from the business units to allocate those – both in regard to the quantity and quality required.

  • Governance:
    Acceptance is key for effective execution of an intranet governance. Achieving this can be hard if the governance is not borne by multipliers from across the enterprise. Topics to discuss should include the basic orientation of the governance (e.g. is it rather strict or relaxed?), its focus and reach (e.g. is only information on the intranet affected or in all systems that contain information?) and how neglect is to be dealt with.

  • Performance evaluation:
    Discussions about ROI often come up at the worst moment. Addressing the organisation’s position on goals, key performance indicators and financial measurements at the beginning of a project not only helps to set expectations right but also to focus on longer term value instead of one-off project costs and returns.

There are more topics that could or should be covered in the strategy process (e.g. the organisation’s take on accessibility issues, non business related use of the intranet or the provision of information to employees without computer workplaces), but usually the time available is a very limiting factor, so focus on what seems potentially most problematic – especially from a political point-of-view – in the course of the project to come.

About the author

Nancy Goebel - DWG's Managing Director for Member & Benchmarking ServicesNancy Goebel is DWG’s Managing Director for Member Services. In addition to heading up service delivery, she is responsible for member engagement, retention and growth. Nancy also sits on DWG’s Board of Directors.

Prior to joining the Digital Workplace Group, Nancy was a accomplished executive at JPMorgan Chase where she built and led a global team in desigining and implementing an award-winning intranet. She also led digital enablement and business re-engineering initiatives.

Outside work, Nancy is a wine maker, fundraiser, meditator, wife and mother of two.

Connect with Nancy on Twitter: @nancyatdwg or on Google +.

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