An intranet, like any other tool or valuable possession that you wish to be long lived and functional, benefits from regular care and maintenance. It functions more smoothly and with greater efficiency when it is looked after. Let’s imagine that over the last few months an intranet has been neglected and the users of it and the intranet itself has been left to “get on with it” without anyone checking up on it or looking to see if everything was OK.

Now, of course I know that this is not a scenario that applies to your intranet, but what could you do if it did?

Here are 7 things that I think you could do right now, or plan to do in the next couple of weeks that would help your intranet get back on track and feel loved. These suggestions reflect that the time you have available to spend may be limited.

Don’t forget though that procrastination is the thief of time – so if you think that one of these ‘magnificent 7’ is a good idea, don’t take too long to get started.

1. Review the homepage

I’ve purposefully made this first action point, because the homepage is the first thing that users see. But, have you ever thought …do people “see” it? Or do they quickly click off to some other area of the intranet as the homepage isn’t relevant or beneficial to them? The homepage needs to strike the balance between user needs and organisational needs.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the homepage present the content that a user needs?
  • Is the content it presents engaging and relevant?
  • Is it easy for a user to complete the task they came to the intranet to do?

If the answer to any of these is not an emphatic yes then there is something you should be doing! (See point 7 for an idea!)

2. Look at search results

Looking at the search analytics will reveal user behaviour and expectations. “Popular Searches” will reveal what they are searching for. “Searches with Zero Results” will show whether their searches had results. “Failure to Find” will also show you those searches that didn’t reveal any beneficial results and the user kindly gave you more information.

All of the search statistics will help you make sure the right content is on the intranet. You can use this information to help the content managers to make sure that their own precious time is focused on the content that is in demand. It will also help you to help them to make sure that the right words and phrases are being used as keywords.

3. Look at quality of content

Once you’ve looked at the search statistics you’ll be more informed and able to provide a more expert eye over the content the intranet contains. What is the “Document Quality Score?” – The closer to 10 the better it is.

If scores are low then check for ‘two word’ titles or really lengthy ones. Do all documents have a summary?
If they do it increases the findability of it as well as giving a user more information about the content they might be about to read. If they don’t then the quality score will be lower.

Keywords are important too – but are they the words that user’s type when doing a search? Check that popular searches and keywords used have some relationship! While you’re looking at the Analytics also look to see if there is any “unowned” content – where the owner is inactive. If there is then it needs to be reassigned, so that it can be looked after.

4. Look at the way content is promoted

If your intranet has been launched for a while then when you look at the search stats there will be a lot of information. By default it will be showing you the last 30 days. You can adjust the time frame for “Popular Searches” and “Popular Search terms” to go right back to the start of your intranet (if you wanted.) You could then find out what terms have been used – and use “Best Bets” to ensure that the appropriate content was displayed at the top of the search results.

A word or phrase can be used three times as a best bet. Look at the most popular search terms and discuss with your content editors what content do they think should be promoted once these words are used.

5. Look at user profiles

How much care are users taking over their “own information” Are profiles kept up-to-date and completed? If you go to “Profile Completeness” you can see who the good guys are. Click the title of the ‘Score’ column to get the results displayed by lowest score first. Here are your “bad-guys.”

You can send reminder notifications to users who are ‘Missing Image, “Missing Bio” or have yet to sign up to any “Expertise” or “Interest” You might also like to consider putting the “Signpost widget” onto your reviewed homepage to encourage users to fill in the gaps and get things up to date.

6. Look at what’s going on

What levels of engagement and collaboration do you have on the intranet?

Good indicators of collaboration are the levels of “Liking” and ‘Sharing’ that are going on. If ‘Liking’ is going on then make sure those that have added what is liked are recognised and praised for their efforts – this could be done simply by leaving a message on their profile page. If there is not much liking going on then encourage users/readers to show their appreciation of content by liking as appropriate. You could then acknowledge the user who does the most liking!

Of course it might be that content isn’t being liked as it isn’t regarded as being beneficial or relevant by the people reading it. If that’s the case then you need to have a word with your content editors!

‘Sharing’ is something that can started by content editors – when they add content to the intranet they should know who they are adding it for (if they don’t then they shouldn’t be adding it) but once they have added they should make their first action to ‘share’ it with someone.

Instances of ‘Liking’ and ‘Sharing’ can also be publicised through the “Collaboration Space” widget or “Timeline” – consider putting this on your homepage if it is not already there!

7. Get User Feedback

It is never a bad idea to get user feedback. If you haven’t done it then you should do it now!

It can be sought very easily – set up a forum on your intranet to seek user feedback on how they use it, what they like about it and what they think could be improved about it. Users can engage in discussions around each other’s feedback. If you wish you could make it more focused by having a thread for “homepage views” another thread on “have you liked or shared content” etc.

If you wanted to have greater analytical capabilities around the results then you might want to set up a workflow form to get some user feedback. However don’t forget that this is not as public a channel as a forum – I’ll let you decide if you think that is a good or bad thing.

It would be great to hear back from you as to what you have done as a result of reading this blog and what the results were!