A roadmap, a list of things to come, is often used to layout updates and new features in a piece of software or a system. Windows has a roadmap; Mac OS X has a roadmap; one hopes the BBC has a roadmap…
Considering your intranet’s underlying software platform, probably a content management system (CMS) of some kind, it’s tempting to discount the value of laying out the roadmap. You may not know what the next version of the CMS will bring, or you know for a fact that you can’t afford to buy the next upgrade. I know how this feels, having inherited ageing intranets running on unidentifiable platforms.
But your intranet roadmap is so much more than a copy n paste list of software updates. Your intranet roadmap should layout, in a visual manner if possible (horizontally, over time), the improvements the communications and intranet team(s) mean to make. Following the intranet strategy (which supports the business strategy) and referring to the intranet vision, the roadmap lays out the up and coming features and functional improvements for the next year or two.
Yes, you should discover what upgrades or additional modules / widgets the company that supplies your CMS platform offers, and make a business case for spending some money on developing the capabilities of the intranet over the next twelve months. But no, this isn’t all about software and upgrades. The intranet roadmap highlights the continuous improvements the comms and intranet team(s) will make, which might include refining the layout of the home page, launching a new blog (with a specific theme and purpose), supporting HR and employee engagement with a new recognition and reward programme, increasing the number of images (and up-skilling the web team in image editing and sourcing) and a host of DIY tweaks and improvements. Don’t forget to review page layout and see about training content authors in how to write for the screen.
A roadmap demonstrates that someone is at the helm, and that the intranet is being led. As an intranet manager or stakeholder, do you want to be a caretaker or a leader?
Remember all that feedback you get about communications and the intranet from the annual and quarterly employee survey? Well, the roadmap demonstrates that you’re listening, prioritising and taking action. The roadmap, along with other governance processes, gives you something with which to to reply when you receive negative or damning feedback via email. Because that happens, doesn’t it?
Start today; consider your vision for the intranet, talk to your IT contact over coffee and discuss needs and wish lists with your manager. Don’t ignore software upgrades or purchasing functional modules just because there’s no budget – if you keep talking about the benefits and the problem-solving functionality the intranet could provide you might get a budget next year. You have to start talking now, and your roadmap will help people see what you mean.
This little article is part of a series on intranet governance, and is meant to guide intranet managers to create improvements in how the intranet is managed, used and perceived.
Photo credit: deanmeyersnet
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