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dwg_doc_int_prac_353x250One thing that hasn’t changed at all in the intranet industry (while a whole lot of things have!) is that people
always love to see screenshares of other organizations’ intranets. Nothing beats that insider insight into what successful organizations are doing well – and what they’ve learned along the way.

Numerous times, I’ve seen the impact of live tours and homepage galleries at DWG member meetings, or during “What does good look like?” presentations to consulting clients. However, I always add the caveat: Your intranet will be unique to your organization. It’s not about getting a blueprint – but it is about getting ideas and inspiration to inform your own practice and opening people’s eyes to what’s possible.

So, screenshares are always in demand. Sometimes we are asked questions like “What should our strategy look like?”, “Is there a template we can follow?” and “Where should we start with formalizing the way we manage the intranet?”. There are no simple answers. As with the look and feel or functionality of the intranet, the style of the strategy or governance will be unique to each organization and form part of a wider process of user research and stakeholder engagement. Nevertheless, there are key elements and best practice approaches that can be drawn out.

DWG’s new research “Documenting intranet management practices: A guide to the key elements” brings together guidance on how to approach formalizing intranet strategy, governance, roadmap, content strategy and supporting strategies. In researching this paper, I was able to gain insider insight from organizations such as Nationwide, Adobe, IKEA, Northwestern Mutual and Duke Energy to understand best practice in the field.

Building strong foundations

If intranet management was as straightforward as following a template, everyone would be doing it. This is far from the case, as we know from DWG benchmarking, where documenting strategy continues to be a relatively weak area, with at least 30% of the recommendations given by our strategy and governance benchmarkers relating to this.

Yet, recent DWG research demonstrates how critical good intranet management practices are to the success of the intranet. The purpose of this new research is to help intranet managers who are looking to improve in this area by outlining the key elements of core intranet management documents, as a starting point to developing their own.

As I note in the executive summary, an intranet strategy (or other intranet management) document – no matter how carefully put together – does not exist in a vacuum. It is one element in the process of managing the intranet and needs to be developed through an interactive process with a range of inputs and stakeholder engagement along the way. This report therefore represents one piece in a jigsaw of DWG research reports that together provide a comprehensive guidebook on intranet management practices:

Documenting Intranet management pic

Over to you

So where are you at with formalizing your intranet management practices?

If you’ve already done this, what difference has it made?

If not, what barriers or challenges have you experienced?

We’d love to hear from you, so do drop to the comments below to join the discussion.

Related resources


This report is included in DWG’s annual membership. If you are already a member, download the full report on the DWG extranet.

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If our member research has sparked your interest, contact us to explore becoming a DWG member. We will gladly help you understand which options will best meet your needs and budget.

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About the author

Elizabeth Marsh - DWG's Director of ResearchElizabeth Marsh leads the Digital Workplace Group’s member research and events. She is passionate about connecting members to peers or resources and exploring new research opportunities.

Elizabeth is co-author, with Paul Miller, of the new book “The Digital Renaissance of Work—Delivering digital workplaces fit for the future”.

Prior to joining DWG, Elizabeth held intranet management roles at T-Mobile and Reuters, with broad-ranging responsibilities including community management, internal communications and research.

When not busy in the digital workplace, Elizabeth is a keen writer and musician, playing flute in an amateur orchestra and performing with various local groups.

Connect with Elizabeth on Twitter at @digitalsanity or on Google +.


  1. Thanks for this article Elizabeth,

    it is totally true, we all love to see “other Intranets” because we want to see what is hidden, we want to get ideas but we also want to see how we measure up.

    One thing though, I think we need to be careful, simply judging an Intranet on appearance. What is critical (even more so than appearance), is how is your Intranet helping your Users solve real work problems!

    When your Intranet makes work a lot easier for your employees (the fax and email did this) then you simply will not have any problems with adoption.

    In this regard, since your work problems are relevant only to you, peering over the next door neighbors fence may not be that useful.

    Thank again

  2. Hi Geoff,

    You’re spot on, I couldn’t agree more. It’s great to get ideas from other intranets but it’s not a case that we can just “lift and shift” them and expect them to work in another organisation. Getting inspiration from successful intranets (and the teams behind them) is valuable in that it can spark ideas to help re-imagine the intranet and digital workplace, but it’s also important to get “under the bonnet” to understand the good practices and principles that underlie that success, such as clear strategy, robust governance, user-centred design etc. And a key aspect of those good practices is understanding the business priorities/ organisational context as well as what needs employees have that the intranet can support.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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