An intranet is such a versatile, powerful and flexible business tool that when the intranet manager is looking at their shiny new platform for company collaboration and knowledge sharing, they can often find it hard to know where to start.
Do you set up your forums first? Or concentrate on adding linked content with lots images and video and let people loose sharing ideas with document comments? Do you turn all your paper processes into electronic forms?
Whatever you decide to do first and however you choose to set your new system up, one rule holds true – to get the full benefit from your intranet, you need to introduce your users to it.
Yes, your system will be easy-to-use and intuitive, with well thought through navigation and an exceptional search and if all you want your users to do is locate information they already know is there, that’s enough. Yet there could be so much more.
Do they know that they need to fill out their profile details so that the various collaboration tools connected to it will work to full effect? Do they know how to use # and @ tagging in their comments and micro-blogs?
Do they know how to rate a document, inform an author of a keyword suggestion or if the content is out of date? Do they know how to let their intranet manager know there is content missing?
My iPhone didn’t come with a manual, it was intuitive enough that I soon figured out how to make calls and send text messages but I had it a year before someone told me shaking it was the same as clicking ‘undo’ and that pressing the ‘on’ and ‘home’ buttons at the same time took a screen shot. Both useful tools I now use a fair amount, but I never thought to look for them, as I didn’t know they were possible, I needed someone to show me. The same is true of your intranet.
This introduction could be a bit of formal training, or you could find yourselves some ‘Intranet Champions’, show them all the great stuff your intranet can and send them out to spread the word among your users, introduce them to all the wonderful stuff their intranet can do.
However you choose to introduce your intranet, the time you take to explain all the great new possibilities will reap benefits down the line as your intranet reaches its full potential.