Intranet Deployment: Common Pitfalls To Avoid

Here at MyHub, we know a thing or two about intranets. So, if you’re looking to deploy an office intranet in the near future, then this post is essential reading. We give you the benefit of our many years’ experience and highlight some of the common mistakes that companies make when it comes to intranets. Avoiding these pitfalls will help to ensure that your intranet deployment is a success from the get-go.

Unclear Objectives

Poor objective setting from the outset is probably one of the most common pitfalls. It’s also one of the most easily remedied.

Often businesses make the mistake of identifying a pain point within the company and then hastily press ahead with an identified solution without doing sufficient homework or ensuring that it’s really fit for purpose.

Usually it’s a vague notion of wanting to improve communications, streamline business processes or get staff more involved that prompts the company to look at an intranet solution. There’s no doubt that an intranet will contribute greatly to those aspirations. But if you want your intranet to really make a difference then you’ve got to be more specific and align those rather vague notions to much more concrete business goals. So, for example, let’s consider communications. A more useful and specific objective for your intranet could be something along the lines of the following:

Staff communication will be improved by replacing the generic, weekly all-staff email with a daily intranet news feed, featuring a combination of team and corporate news and updates.

In much the same way that staff members have key performance indicators to set expectations and evaluate their achievements in relation to their jobs, so the intranet needs to have clear objectives to guide its functionality and to help you determine its effectiveness.

Lack Of Buy-In From Staff And Management

Another mistake that companies sometimes make is not getting sufficient buy-in from staff or management for that matter. Let’s consider each of these stakeholders in detail.

Having the active support of senior management is critical to the successful deployment of the intranet. Senior managers will be important advocates for the intranet. Without their active and visible support, the intranet is likely to fail. And so one of the essential first tasks for a successful intranet deployment is to ensure that the CEO and board have ownership of the intranet project. Setting a clear sense of direction, providing oversight and signing off the objectives for the intranet will be key inputs required from senior management.

Likewise, the buy-in of staff members generally is critical to the intranet’s success. They are after all the end users who will be utilizing the intranet every day. Make sure that you include staff representation at every step of the way. From brainstorming objectives, undertaking a needs analysis, designing the intranet or selecting and testing intranet software options, involving employees will ensure the intranet is fit for purpose, is received well and is widely adopted by the staff body.

Poor Intranet Design

Here at MyHub, we’ve seen many businesses that have spent too much time focusing on the intranet’s functionality at the expense of an engaging design. So concerned are they to make sure that the intranet meets all the organization’s objectives – from document management to knowledge transfer and automated processes – that they sometimes lose sight of the intranet’s overall look and ease of use. And a poorly designed intranet is just as likely to fail as one that has restricted functionality.

For an intranet to be successful, it’s got to look good and be easy to use. Go for a clean, uncluttered feel with a simple color scheme. Give it visual appeal with pictures, graphics and lots of white space. Pay attention to the basics such as an intuitive menu and a decent search function. Draw on the latest trends and best practice in good web design.

The design is just as important as the content and the functionality of your intranet so make sure you involve staff members and spend sufficient time on getting it right.

Inadequate Planning

Successful intranets don’t just happen, they must be properly planned for. Testing, piloting, consulting with end users let alone launching and reviewing are all vital steps in the process. And as Benjamin Franklin so succinctly stated: ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’. And so be sure to avoid this pitfall by carefully considering all the steps that will be necessary to successfully deploy your intranet and preparing a comprehensive plan.

Lack Of Training

A successful intranet deployment needs to be supported by a thorough training program. There will be a certain amount of hand-holding involved to start off with and staff will need to be supported and shown how to get the most out of the intranet. What’s more, for maximum effect try to use a variety of mediums such as traditional instructor-led training and manuals through to webinars, online tutorials and how-to videos.

We’ve seen many an organization that has neglected to have a comprehensive staff training program in place to the detriment of the intranet’s successful deployment.

Failure To Future Proof

Try not to focus too much on the here and now. Intranets that stand the test of time are those that can grow and adapt to the changing needs of the business. While it’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen in the future, every business should have some idea of where it’s going and how it’s going to get there. In the long run, it will pay to future-proof your intranet solution by ensuring it is flexible and adaptable enough to meet the challenges you anticipate for your business.

Cloud Intranets Offer A Solution

There is one simple way to avoid some of the pitfalls that we’ve identified above and that is to choose a cloud intranet solution such as MyHub’s. Utilizing pre-built templates, tried and tested designs and a range of powerful business modules and tools, cloud intranets can mitigate against the common mistakes we’ve identified here. What’s more, they are flexible and adaptable, making sure that your intranet is also future-proofed. Instead, you can focus your attention on the additional key tasks of adequate planning and training to guarantee a successful intranet deployment.

Want to avoid the mistakes that others have made before you? Want a stress-free intranet deployment? Or perhaps you’re looking for a tried and tested intranet model that can easily be implemented? Then contact the expert team at MyHub today for an informal discussion on cloud intranets.

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