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Intranet Advent Day 15 – Replace, revamp, augment

Intranet Advent Day 15 – Replace, revamp, augment

15We’re counting down to Christmas with a stocking-filler tip every day.

If your intranet no longer meets business requirements and people’s expectations, it is tempting to look for a replacement intranet product that can better suit your current needs. But owing to budget constraints, and the (seemingly) overwhelming nature of content migration projects, you might be told to ‘sweat the asset’ for another year, and squeeze every drop of value from your current set-up.

You can enhance your current intranet and help people transition to new ways of working online even while you plan for your future intranet system.

ReplaceIf you are nearly ready to replace your intranet, we suggest you get your governance sorted out early on, so that you know your stakeholders, your decision making process, and the major business requirements. We also suggest you adopt a ‘continuous improvement’ mindset, rather than promising to deliver the perfect intranet at the big launch. Embedding a new intranet into people’s ways of working goes well beyond the ‘installing software project’.

RevampRevamping your intranet is just about radically improving it, if you haven’t been incrementally improving it over the year.


  • structure – are there too many nested sites / space?
  • navigation – can you simplify top and side menus to more explicitly explain topics, and can you do robust user-testing to design a navigation tree that meets people’s expecations?
  • home page – what do people really want on the home page? It’s unlikely to be ‘more corporate news’, so go find out.
  • lifecycle – are there communities, forums, and collaboration sites that should be decommissioned / archived / deleted?
  • search – often neglected once it’s installed, can you redesign the search results page to help people judge the results? Can you re-configure the engine to pick up on more salient keywords?
  • content – audit everything and consider if published content us useful and useable. Oft required information isn’t useable if it’s buried in a PDF within the Policy Library. Short, single-topic intranet pages that are available at the point of need are more useable.

AugmentYou can augment your current intranet now, and keep the augmentations if you move to a new intranet by adding ‘layers’. Many great intranets are made up of several products and platforms – you can enhance people’s overall intranet experience and deliver new functionality and benefits in a matter of days by adding new communication and collaboration tools.

You might add a social layer to an old-fashioned intranet by rolling out an ESN like Yammer, MangoApps, IBM Connections, Jive, Chatter, Tibbr, Zimbra. Remember there are costs involved in adding such professional services, but a social layer can immediately provide mobile phone communications, which clearly engage field workers in ways your desktop intranet never would.

You might add other collaboration services, like Office 365 (online / cloud Word subscription, OndeDrive for Business (shared space for your documents), Dropbox for Business, or Google Apps for Work. What about moving away from email and onto something like Slack?

By considering your intranet a continuous work in progress, you can make small improvements that support your digital workplace.

Image credits: Pavel Pavlov, David Waschbüsch, Erin Standley.

Check #intranetadvent for a fresh idea each day.

Wedge Black

I support ClearBox 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 fifteen years now.

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