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How big should your intranet team be?

ClearBox Consulting > Intranets  > How big should your intranet team be?
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How big should your intranet team be?

How big is your intranet team? How many employees do you support?”. Although you would expect a company intranet team to correlate with its size, it is not just about the core team. What also matters is the broader set of people that support it, and this is greatly influenced by how it is governed.

Results from Warwick Business School research, conducted by Obianuju Eke (aka, Uju) as an MSC project, suggest that core intranet teams rarely grow that large.

Compare with the recent NNG findings that show larger team sizes, but rely on just ten samples, leading to fluctuating results each year.

Uju interviewed intranet managers from eight organisations, and a further 73 organisations took the survey. As ClearBox helped to facilitate the research, we’re able to present the results to you now.

Average intranet team size - core and broader teams

Uju’s research shows that core teams are generally small. For example, a company with 10,000 employees might have a core team of just 2 people (0.2 per 1000 emps) and a broader team of 6 people (0.6 per 1000 emps.).

“Contrary to popular thoughts on team size, the core intranet team size does not increase with organisational size but the broader team size does.” – Uju Eke

The takeaway is of course that team size is not solely determined by organisation size, but rather often by governance model.

Intranet governance model Average dedicated team size
Centralised 7
Decentralised 1
Federated 2

Organisations with a decentralised / hybrid governance and publishing model have a smaller intranet team than those with a centralised model, which require the most resources.

Governance models

Centralised
Generally a single intranet ‘owner’ / publisher, with strict guidelines and processes for contributing authors (if any). Most work is done within a central team. 
Decentralised
Each business unit manages its own intranet activity, with little or no centralised resource.
Federated
A hybrid / collaborative model – each business area has its own intranet co-ordinator but they share a common infrastructure. There may be a team for ‘corporate’ content but they are not the overall intranet owners.

Each governance model can benefit from the oversight of an optional steering committee.

Core, and support teams

Uju was also careful to differentiate between the dedicated core team members the broader team members. For instance, User Experience roles were more often situated outside of the core team.

Deadicated intranet team roles

Broader intranet team roles
More organisations have roles like ‘information & security’ and ‘search Management’, as part of the broader roles as the percentages indicate. If we compare the role of content management in both charts, we can conclude that it is usually placed as part of the broader team roles in most organisations surveyed.

 

“I think we are adequately resourced primarily because of the digital services team whose focus is currently on advancing the digital workplace. This informs the size of our intranet team to manage the evolution of the platform as well as manage entities”. ~ an intranet manager (from interview)

Take a look at Uju’s findings to support your governance, budget planning, recruitment – and the capabilities of your broader team. The Intranet Manager is still a core role for every organisation with more than 200 employees, but more wide-ranging IT, comms, and UX skills are needed across the broader team. We’ll look at other insights from the report in our next blog post.

Download the full report now

Uju’s report offers key points for organisations considering their intranet resourcing and governance model.

 

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Wedge Black

As an associate at ClearBox, I support Sam Marshall in everything we do online, and I assist clients that are considering redeveloping or replacing their intranet platform. I worked in global and regional organisations as the intranet manager as part of the comms team, before becoming an intranet consultant. I'm the founder of the Intranet Now annual conference. I’ve tweeted about intranets and comms for ten years now.

4 Comments
  • Posted at 7:58 pm, 26 January, 2015

    Interesting. Thanks for sharing. What I do wonder though if the size of an intranet team should also relate to the type of intranet. For instance, the size of a team will differ if the intranet is a large content repository or a social intranet, don’t you think. So is the size of an organization the best indicator to correlate team size to?

  • Posted at 10:07 am, 27 January, 2015

    Valid point Samuel. Moreover, I would also argue organizational culture can also strongly influence the workload for the intranet team: a strict and hierarchical organization could want lots of moderation and centralized content production, whereas another organization would go for self-moderation and more user-generated content. And there are probably a lot more variables that influence team size. However, this research presents a nice thumb rule to start with, I think.

    • Posted at 6:03 pm, 27 January, 2015

      Thank you Stijn and Samuel for raising some really good questions.

      Stijn – You’re quite right, organisational culture came out as the second most important factor after budget in the eyes of the survey participants. However, what Uju argues in her paper is that the way culture manifests itself in intranet resourcing is in the governance model adopted. This is covered in the second post in the series http://www.clearbox.co.uk/how-intranet-governance-evolves/

      Samuel – for sure there are multiple factors. It would be fantastic to have the data to do a multi-factor analysis to determine what all the influencing variables are, and I see this study as just a starting point. I thought that the number of regions/languages covered would have an impact too, for example. We do have some data in the survey results about how the intranets are used, so when time allows we’ll see if there are any additional analyses we can do on this.
      I’m not sure if a social vs document intranet types would reveal a big difference in resource levels, to be honest. Communities need facilitator resources, documents need information sciences resources, so it may balance out. Volume of activity, though, would definitely matter and he have some information on how often employees used the surveyed intranets. But it is this kind of speculation I was keen to have robust data on, so watch this space!

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