Why does your intranet exist?

A brief reminder about remembering the purpose of your intranet, and checking the relevancy of front page articles.

Distributing material and sharing news online might well be an efficient way of keeping a department together, of helping a team collaborate, but beyond these practical needs, what’s the purpose of your intranet’s home page?

John Brunswick reminds us to focus on the purpose of the front page, and the intranet itself, in his ‘Throw out the Corporate Home Page‘ article.

John talks about relevancy, and the irrelevancy of ‘global’ corporate news. I don’t disagree but I suspect his focus is on very large companies, whereas my focus is on just ‘large’ companies and smaller enterprises.

“Corporate identity and general news are undeniably part of an intranet solution, but should not be the focus. Although this seems straightforward, unfortunately politics can come into play and complicate these intranet goals.”
John Brunswick

Isn’t that the truth? As always, I say that an intranet has to support the business, and help people do their jobs. Sometimes though the front page gets swamped with what certain departments think is important, but doesn’t actually affect anyone’s job, role, duties or actions. Swamping is to be avoided!

You should read John’s article; he goes on to talk about three steps of relevancy and actionable information. I only disagree about ‘personalisation’ of intranets. In my experience, people ask to be able to personalise their experience of the intranet, but in reality few people actually do it. I do support the idea of having a smart intranet that provides context sensitive information – an intranet that knows who you are where you work so that relevant information is displayed.


Photo credit: KC Toh

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To make content valuable, we need to focus articles and communiqués to match the organisation’s objectives and meet the needs of the audience. By considering the long-term goals of content, we can keep the intranet, and other channels, task focused and people-centred.