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Intranet Advent Day 14 – Intranet politics vs data

Intranet Advent Day 14 – Intranet politics vs data

14We’re counting down to Christmas with a stocking-filler tip every day.

In one of our early consulting projects the brief was to gather business and user requirements and put together a strategy for a new intranet. No problem! That’s bread and butter for ClearBox.

As the project evolved we were asked to gather more and more data – workshops, surveys, interviews, contextual inquiry… every set of results led to a request to gather more.

Sometimes you need to do this for political reasons, but eventually we said, “Really, we have enough now to know what the main problems are, it would be better to start making improvements and get feedback”.

So we worked with the client on the analysis, agreed the priorities, put together a strategy, consulted on the strategy, presented it to a working group and then a bigger steering group until eventually it became clear that they weren’t going to make a decision about the strategy at all. In fact it turned out that two years earlier they’d done a very similar exercise with similar recommendations, but at the end concluded they couldn’t make changes until they had… more data!

Nessie data

The issue really was that the people we were working with were unwilling to take responsibility for the decision. Gathering data became a displacement activity like tidying your email when you should be writing a report. Now I look more closely at the leadership angle and test the waters early about decisions that are likely to come up. Because intranet strategy needs leaders, not just managers.

If you liked this topic, there’s more in ‘7 things I learnt about intranets the hard way‘.

Check #intranetadvent for a fresh idea each day.

Sam Marshall

I'm the director of ClearBox Consulting, advising on intranet and digital workplace strategy, SharePoint and online collaboration. I've specialised in intranets and knowledge Management for over 19 years, working with organisations such as Unilever, Astra Zeneca, Akzo Nobel, Sony, Rio Tinto and Diageo. I was responsible for Unilever’s Global Portal Implementation, overseeing the roll-out of over 700 online communities to 90,000 people and consolidating several thousand intranets into a single system.

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