Fortune 500 intranet managers bare their souls at DWG’s member meeting

November 8, 2012 Updated: September 12, 2022 by

Imagine you’re in a room full of intranet managers from some of the largest companies in the world and you’re going around the circle honestly discussing your toughest intranet challenges and recent successes.

That’s how every DWG member meeting starts (what is an DWG member meeting?). What we call the “Stop Press” session allows all attendees to take the pulse of their peers and connect with other members facing similar challenges or who have relevant experiences. We don’t publish material from the Stop Press sessions because DWG member meetings are confidential and open only to member companies. But the trends, insights and discussions are just too good not to share somehow.

So below you can read about the most striking intranet trends highlighted in our recent member meeting in London. These updates and insights come straight from real intranet managers who are tackling some of the largest and most complex intranets in the world (though we have anonymized the updates to protect member confidentiality).

Intranet navigation: Breaking away from the org chart

At the London DWG member meeting in October a series of companies mentioned their struggle with one of the age-old poor practices in intranet usability: designing the global navigation around the org chart. This approach often stems from complex company politics, but it can be overcome.

Intranet consultancy Step Two Designs has written an excellent post about escaping the organization chart on your intranet, which provides more info.

The good news is that many DWG members are moving away from this approach and instead are building functional, topical navigation structures. Example updates that illustrate this include:

Going crazy going social

Social intranets are all the rage, but many companies struggle to gain adoption and demonstrate the value of internal social software. The following updates demonstrate the particular challenges and successes that specific large enterprises have encountered:

Mobile intranet: What do workers really need?

Most companies feel the pressure to deliver the intranet and enterprise applications on mobile devices. But success with mobile intranets does not come easily.

Whether the push to implement mobile solutions comes from trend-aware executives, zealous IT directors or desperate salespeople, truly valuable enterprise mobile solutions typically target very specific groups of front-line employees.

Getting the right applications to the right people on the right mobile devices has become a major challenge, among others highlighted in these sample updates:

SharePoint: Many-headed beast with a long tail

Another major thread of discussion emerged around SharePoint. Apparently it’s complicated software.

The updates below illustrate the fact that tackling SharePoint is no easy task. This beast can rear any number of nasty heads as well as a long tail that can extend the final stages of a SharePoint implementation by many, many months.

These are the ways that some DWG members explain the challenges they’ve faced with SharePoint:

Intranet teams living on a prayer

The final thread of comments focused on the resources available to the intranet team.

Some companies suffer perennially low investments in their intranets. Others slog through never ending team reorganizations. Still others fight tooth and nail for any bit of IT resources they can secure.

The below updates provide a brief sense of the challenges some companies face:

A place to be honest, get real-world support

The themes and company updates listed above illustrate an important point: the intranet journey is rarely as swift and simple as many vendors and consultants suggest.

Instead intranet teams wrestle with the real-world issues that emerge from their complex companies and technical landscapes.

One of the most common refrains we hear from people who attend their first IBF Member Meeting is “it’s so nice to know we’re not alone in our struggles.”

That knowledge, combined with DWG’s intranet benchmarking, extensive intranet research and other member events create an experience unlike anything intranet managers can find anywhere else in the world.

Find out more about DWG membership: arrange a call with us

Categorised in: Collaboration, Intranets, Mobile sites & apps, Strategy & governance, Usability & design

Ephraim Freed

Ephraim is a communicator, community builder, digital strategist and employee experience leader. He helps innovative, growing organizations provide meaningful experiences of work that enrich employees' lives, grow strong, positive organizational cultures, build community, drive productivity and performance, and bring employer brands to life.

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