How are Swedish intranets doing?

While watching videos on intranets (read the last post on intranets here) I also came across this video. It is a presentation of the current state of Swedish intranets made at Stockholm Social Media club by Pierre du Rietz. He mentioned many good points and I will give you the most interesting ones in english.

Current intranet trends:
– More content does not make the intranet better.
– Mostly bigger companies has intranets.
– When an intranet works poorly the employees tend to start up new intranets for their own workgroup. A company with a dysfunctional intranet can this way end up with several intranets that exists parallel but without being connected.
– Not many intranets are available on mobiles at the moment, but it is one of the most requested functions.
– The majority of the intranets used by companies today are old.
– Companies with new intranets tend to be more satisfied with their intranet.
– The person responsible for the intranet normally works part time with this beside other tasks.
– The task of running the intranet is usually given to the younger people at the office because they are expected to have more knowledge of computers and not necessarily to a person with relevant experience.
– Most new intranets can be updated by many different persons, the older ones only by the person in charge of the intranet.
– When a new function is implemented on an intranet it is important to educate the users of how this function works. For example, if a function that worked poorly before has been improved, you need to tell the users that it has been updated. If not it is very unlikely that they will start using it again if they have bad previous experiences.

Suggestions on how to get the most out of your intranet:
– Should the company save all information on their intranet or continuously clean? By whom? Can the users help out with this process? I really like Stack overflows and Quoras system of voting up the most relevant posts. I think this is a good way to let the users keep the information fresh. The person in charge of the intranet can then delete posts that received very few votes or haven’t been viewed in a long time.
– Make sure to check your analytic stats of your intranet. Put the most used functions on the first page to make the experience smoother for the users.
– The search and contact book functions are usually the most used functions in an intranet. These are also two of the functions that the users are least satisfied with. Make sure that the search function knows all keywords they users will type in when they search the intranet, even include misspellings and old titles for information and persons if they have been changed, so that they always can see what they are looking for in the suggested result.
– Create an FAQ with the most regular questions asked by users about the intranet.

How to determine if your intranet is helping your users or wasting their time?
By turning time into money!

time it takes to find information * average salary of company = how much the intranet costs the company

Common problems and solutions:
– The users are afraid to leave comments on the intranet. To start a discussion you need people assigned with this role who will be active on the intranet initiating and participating in discussions to encourage them. Often it is enough to see that there is someone else out there who is using the intranet to make the others dare taking the first step.
– If the users leave comments someone have to be there to answer them, they will stop if they feel like no one cares about their posts. If possible the person who knows most about the subject should answer, and it is also very appreciated to see directors engage in the discussion.
– To make it possible for employees to talk directly to higher managers through the intranet without letting it take up too much of the managers time you can organize live-chat sessions where the manager answers all the employers questions live once a week or month.
– One reason why the users might not give a lot of feedback through the intranet is because the questions posted are too big and takes too long time to answer. A way to increase the activity and lower the barrier to participate in discussions is to break down the questions in smaller parts. A question that only covers a small area is easier to answer directly without having to do to much research first.
– For a big intranet it is better to have one person in charge of each function to make sure that they work properly instead of one person in charge of all the functions. Examples of how to break down the functions could be search, contact book and live chat.
– The intranet can be a good place to discuss and come up with ideas for business development. Different departments can share what works for them, problems they are facing and solutions. Use the intranet to start discussions on how you can change the company, invite everybody to come up with ideas.
– Save the more interesting subjects (like business development) for fridays and share the everyday information in the beginning of the week (like where to pick up your paycheck). Think about the newspapers weekend editions.

In the next post about intranets I will take a look at some of the new intranets available out there! Can’t wait, it will be really interesting. Next I just need a big company to try this out on 🙂