Insight & Opinion

How do you make your intranet relevant

Intranets are often implemented to solve a common business problem—communication and collaboration.

This generally means adding news and current information to the home page. Additionally, collaboration usually comes from documents and forms such as policies, expenses, holiday booking etc

There is nothing wrong with this approach. It is a good way to start to solve those primary business problems.

Firstly, the main drawback of this approach is that not all news is relevant. Secondly, not all forms and documents are relevant. Lastly, and most importantly, irrelevant information will detract from your intranet and harm adoption and engagement.

We all know it is impossible to please everyone, all the time. But when it comes to intranets we can and should try to make the experience relevant 

So what do we mean by relevancy?

Relevancy often means different things to different organisations. Essentially you want your intranet to deliver content that means something to someone. That could be specific news to a specific type of user e.g. the latest code practices for software engineers. 

Of course, relevancy extends beyond content such as news. Documents and forms should be relevant too. For example, there may be different policies according to a user’s role or business unit. This is especially true for companies that are made up of subsidiaries

Relevancy is everywhere nowadays and forms part of our everyday lives. Our shopping experience, travel management and social media are underpinned by relevancy. 

Relevance is an expected part of how we operate outside of our working environment. The same level of personal experience should be extended to your intranet.

If a user sees the same irrelevant content repeatedly they are less inclined to use the intranet. Similarly, if the intranet does not help the user to complete a task easily based on their working context they will not see the advantage of using the intranet.

Ultimately users will be less engaged and less likely to adopt your intranet

Most organisations already have information in place to assist with relevancy. Usually, this is from a directory service like Active Directory or similar. 

Basic information such as job title, location and department are enough to enable you to target information e.g. Project Managers in the UK

If you don’t hold this information then you should start to think about creating it. Making use of this information will improve the communication and collaboration experience for your audience.

It will also help with simple things like finding people, content and knowledge.

A little work upfront will pay long-term dividends.

Once you have contextual information then you can use it on your intranet to drive content and information to the right people at the right time.

Most modern intranet platforms will support the ability to target information to certain users based on profile information, group membership or role. 

SharePoint has provided this functionality throughout its many versions and it is our platform of choice for creating relevant intranets.

Document and page libraries should have audience targetting turned on so that when a user views the content, they are viewing what is relevant to them.

If you then aggregate the information onto your homepage you are effectively making your home page relevant, contextual and personalised! i.e. Relevant Intranets

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