Implementing Intranet on Speed: An Uh-Oh Moment

The outgoing intranet was nice, in that it gave content owners the ability to control what was visible / available. Unfortunately, we’ve come to discover that a number of corporate services areas (Safety, HR, Transportation, etc.) in our organization used the intranet but never took part of the content management (CM) – it all came “from above”. Basically, these folks are about to get a “crash course” in CM and Knowledge Management (KM), albeit in small bites. When you read about it / explain it to someone, it seems like common sense, but it’s quite difficult to “do”, especially if one’s career never involved documentation, training, etc.

Key Point: For most folks, change is never easy – especially if the change is thrust upon their already busy lives.

Note, however, that I will not allow the IT group (who is taking on the administration of the intranet) to assume the CM role for these groups – even if it means the content is not available for a few days. Our marketing group has a single individual running the extranet for our dealer network, and is consumed with CM tasks. To be fair, that portal was implemented in the late 90’s with custom developed software; it looks nice,but is a bear to administer, and simply cannot be left to non-technical folks.

Key Point: For most folks, change is never easy – especially if the change is thrust upon their already busy lives.

< tangent > Yes, I know that it’s not KM “best practice” for the IT group to define process and procedure for corporate KM, but time is tight, we have experience in this area, and we’re not overthinking this, keeping it simple, learning in small bites … < \tangent >

Key Point: Teach a man to fish … It’s very tough to get out of the role of content manager / process owner once someone’s got you to take on that first task. Even if you can make something happen on the computer, doesn’t mean that you should, and certainly doesn’t mean that you have to.

Bottom line is, I’m already getting direct requests to “put thus and such document out on the intranet”; I’ll politely but firmly have to tell them that we have to first define how their department / group’s page will look and work, and how they will be able to manage the documents on the site themselves.

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James MacLennan

... is the Managing Partner at Maker Turtle LLC, a digital consultancy focused on creating value in ways that align with your strategy and drive engagement with employees, customers, and stakeholders. He is an active creator, providing thought leadership through on-line & print publications, and public speaking / keynotes.