How to avoid mistakes in the process of intranet implementation?

When making such a decision, it is worth analysing and planning the entire process. It allows you to avoid many mistakes and facilitates the achievement of desired effects.

The implementation of an intranet system is a complex process. When making such a decision, it is worth analysing and planning the entire process. It allows you to avoid many mistakes and facilitates the achievement of desired effects.

The key aspect is to define the needs and goals that the platform is to achieve. We have gathered tips that are going to help you make a comprehensive analysis.

 

Pre-implementation analysis - is it necessary?

The intranet is a professional system that facilitates a number of organizational processes. Taking advantage of the possibilities it offers may affect the quality and efficiency of the work performed. It concerns many areas of the organization's functioning, starting with communication or business processes to informal - interpersonal areas. Therefore, it significantly influences the atmosphere at work.

When deciding which system to choose, you should take into account all possible actions that may affect the effectiveness of the project. A correctly conducted pre-implementation analysis is one of the key elements that enable adequate preparation for the implementation of such a substantive organizational change. It supports the design of a tool that will make you achieve planned effects.

One of the stages of such an analysis is to determine the specificity of the organization's functioning and to identify areas for improvement, as well as those that adequately fulfil their role. Conducting an internal analysis is important not only for the improvement of the system implementation process. It also offers valuable knowledge for the managers, as it enables a comprehensive overview of the current state of the enterprise.

At this stage, it is worth to consider some issues individually. Before you contact a potential intranet contractor and face the development of a brief describing your expectations regarding the implementation, think about your needs. Many enterprises do not know what to be aware of while sending inquiries to implementers.

We present a comprehensive set of questions to support the process of analysis. It is such a universal summary that it will work in any sector and company, regardless of its size or business goals.

Get acquired with presented analysis steps. Take as much time as necessary for this. Do not rush - considering certain issues will provide greater success of implementation.

“... I still hear about intranets being implemented without the pre-implementation analysis stage. Then I want to protest loudly. Do your enterprises really have time to try and take risks instead of spending more time analysing at the first stage and then designing a tool that will actually improve work and communication between employees? " - summed up Maja Biernacka in the review of the book “Intranet. Effective internal communication in the enterprise”.

 

Intranet design checklist - a few issues to consider

The purpose for which you want to implement the intranet
There are many reasons for implementing the structure of an intranet organization. When planning the implementation, enterprises usually define several reasons and goals. Sometimes they may be divergent and not 100% coincide. However, an important issue is to defy one overriding reason at the very beginning of your activities. It will direct the entire intranet implementation process.

Ask yourself: what is the main goal of an intranet implementation and how is it supposed to work?

  • Communicative - improving of the information flow and increase of its quality
  • Business - shortening of a number of processes and realization of ongoing tasks
  • Financial - reduction of expenses related to record-keeping or long-term internal processes that can be completed much faster because of an automation
  • Integrative - providing a social tool that will support building a friendly atmosphere among the company's employees, etc.
  • Image - building the image of a modern company that uses innovative solutions and tools
  • Others - e.g. received co-financing, competitive environment, etc.

"There are situations in which companies do not fully understand why they actually decide to implement an intranet. Pursuing a goal that is not clearly defined causes chaos and may lead to the implementation of a system that will not fulfil its functions. It is an almost perfect way to waste time and money that are needed for the implementation "- sums up Urszula Kandefer, expert on internal communication systems, Ideo.

 

Benefits you want to achieve through the implementation
The next step is the identification of expected benefits. They are often closely related to the objectives stated, for example, defining financial goals as overriding, suggests what benefits are important to us. In this aspect, it is worth choosing as many goals as possible. Such an approach will significantly facilitate the implementation process and, at a later date, will clarify whether the implementation can be considered a success or not.

Ask yourself: what benefits do you expect from the intranet implementation in the structures of your organization?

  • Providing of up-to-date / important information to employees faster
  • Introduction of a coherent communication policy
  • More efficient exchange of information and documents in the organization
  • Lower costs of information and document exchange
  • Lower costs and accelerate of the execution of business processes
  • Providing of tools for knowledge management / staff training
  • Introduction of group-work tools
  • Integration of dispersed applications
  • Building of a positive image of the company among the employees
  • Team integration
  • Others

"There is a common opinion among customers that the implementer will specify what do they need an intranet for. It is misleading, so I always recommend you to indicate the areas that should be improved. Only in this way can we design and implement an intranet that meets real expectations, "adds Urszula Kandefer.
 

The budget you want to be committed for the purpose of implementation
The issue of the budget is important both for the client and for the implementing company. Specifying the amount by which the implementation is to be done will allow the contractor to decide whether it is possible to meet all the client's requirements. This somehow deals with the situation when the specified budget is inadequate to achieve defined objectives. In this case, it is necessary to reduce the range of the functions implemented by the platform or to modify the budget appropriately.

Ask yourself: what budget is your company planning to allocate for the implementation of the platform?

  • <30 000 PLN
  • 30 000 PLN - 50 000. PLN
  • 50 000 PLN - 100 000. PLN
  • over 100,000 PLN

"The client usually has no idea in what is the amount of money the implementation of such a system costs. Accurate cost estimation will help you avoid disappointment, such as overspending before everything is successfully implemented. It is also worth remembering that the Intranet is a platform that is designed to develop in accordance with the needs of the organization. With this in mind, it is a good option to define platform elements that are genuinely necessary at the beginning and those that can be added later, "explains Urszula Kandefer.
 

What does the Intranet do, meaning what functional modules you will choose
An intranet is a system with a wide range of possibilities. The offered solutions are individually tailored to a given enterprise. Proper design of individual components of the system increases its usefulness significantly and guarantees the adjustment to the needs of a given organization. It should be noted, that the choice of modules also affects the implementation budget - each extra option offered by the intranet increases its cost.


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Below we present a number of the most common functions the system performs. However, these are only examples and this is not a final list. The system enables the design and implementation of solutions strictly tailored to the needs of a given organization.

Ask yourself: What features may be useful in your intranet system?

Information page
This module is the basic module of the system and is mainly used to publish information such as content, photos, downloads, etc. (e.g. pages devoted to the history, company description, etc.). Additionally, it is possible to insert tables, create bullet points or to attach links. It uses a WYSIWYG graphic editor to facilitate the posting of a content.
 

News
The news module is used to publish up-to-date information. It enables you to publish the content in two ways. The first is the shortcut of the information provided along with the photograph, while the second is the full content of the published information along with other shared photos, files, tables, etc. To simplify content design, it uses a graphical editor WYSIWYG.
 

Photo gallery
A module for publishing photos and graphics. It allows for simple and quick publication of images on the intranet. Moreover, it makes it possible to group them into galleries, as well as to assign descriptions or labels. For a convenient gallery viewing, there was used the possibility of scrolling through the photos using the buttons "next", "previous" without having to close them.
 

Announcements
A module that enables each employee to add any publication. They do not have to concern only professional matters.
 

Organizational structure with an address book
The solution that reflects the organizational structure of the company. The scheme corresponds to the division into departments to which the employees are assigned. Furthermore, the specified structure is merged with the employees' address book.
 

Employee card
It presents all information about the employee in the system (or in external systems that are integrated with it). The advantage of the module is the auto collection of data from various system modules (e.g. photo, contact details, absences, user activity, etc.).
 

Resource booking
A module that allows you to book resources in a company (e.g. cars, rooms). The employee has an option to book a chosen resource - for this purpose, he / she sends information to the resource supervisor. Each of the existing resources has an assigned supervisor who decides whether to accept or reject the booking. This module is visualized via the calendar view.
 

Search for information
The search engine is an important navigation element of a professionally prepared website. It enables simple and quick search of information by keywords. There is also an option to search key phrases inside text files (full-text search engine).
 

Dynamic surveys
The module allows you to design even a very complex survey form or application form. The results of the surveys conducted are stored in a database; the administrator has access to all registrations. It is also possible to export data to an .xls file.
 

Knowledge Base / Document Database
The module of Knowledge / Document base enables you to store all the documents useful in the enterprise. Each document can be added due to the category division. Categories are dictionary entries, so there is a flexibility while adding them. The module is related to the authorization system - there you can grant limited access to the documents or to entire categories.
 

Calendar of events
The module in which company events are displayed. Depending on the configuration, it can be divided into categories of events, e.g. corporate and internal - added only by qualified persons, business - delegations, training sessions or meetings with clients, and events, in which the employees themselves can share interesting events about which they would like to inform their colleagues.
 

Reviews / Comments
This module enables you to add opinions or comments to the published content. This feature is available to any employee and handles news and posts.
 

Forum
This module enables you to manage the forum and properly prepare its structure. It also provides a mechanism that enables communication between the company's employees in real-time.
 

Blog
A module that enables users to run a blog.
 

Chat
It makes it possible to conduct conversations / interviews between employees or, for example, with heads of departments.
 

Internal ordering system
A system that enables orders execution by the employees. The subject of order are for instance promotional gifts, office supplies, etc. Moreover, qualified persons have access to the order history, virtual warehouse, and order statistics.
 

Document flow / management system
The module consists of a number of solutions for recording and managing the circulation of incoming, outgoing, and internal documents. It enables, among others, circulation of incoming writings, setting the date of handling a matter, controlling over the circulation, scanning writings, reviewing, accepting, searching.
 

Contract register
It allows to register contracts and scanning of documents. It also provides the possibility of entering the validity period to each contract, assigning a supervisor to the contract or access to the contract search engine.
 

Holiday requests
The module enables submitting holiday requests in electronic form, however, each of the submitted applications require approval from the supervisor. Furthermore, there is also a holiday calendar for each of the employees.
 

Invoice register
The module enables electronic records of invoices, proper document circulation, and electronic signing.
 

Help desk
The module enables you to manage the handling of notifications and transfer them between people/ departments. The solution enables the current monitoring of the implementation status of each report. In addition, on the basis of received applications, a list with the most common problems is created.
 

Wiki
A concept that enables you to view and create (edit, change, delete) the content of a website directly using a web browser. The mechanisms that it provides allow you to use the module for group work or all of the employees. One example of such an action is the collaborative creation of a dictionary relating to a particular line of business.
 

"The modular structure is one of the greatest advantages of the Intranet. It enables an individual selection of components according to personal preferences. Additionally, it enables relatively easy development of the Intranet in the future. It all is worth remembering at the planning level to focus on the MOST ESSENTIAL elements, ”reminds Urszula Kandefer.
 

Internal intranet promotion and user training
The success of the implemented solution depends mostly on the appropriate promotion and training conducted for the purpose of application usage. Lack of promotion is one of the most terrible mistake. The application will be able to meet its goals only if the users will use it. In a situation where the employees of the organization do not see the point of using a given solution or do not know how to operate the new system, the application will lose its function and its implementation will be pointless.

Ask yourself: How will the promotion of the new tool / training of intranet use be carried out in your company?

  • How soon will employees be informed about the upcoming changes?
  • Will they be invited to consult them?
  • In what form will the promotion / training be conducted?
  • Will promotion and education be implemented before the application is launched?
  • Will these activities be carried out on your own or will it be commissioned to the company that implemented the platform?
  • Who will be responsible for the promotion / training? Will the management board or a dedicated team of opinion leaders be involved in this process?

Expert's opinion - Urszula Kandefer: Introducing an intranet that attracts the attention of employees is a challenge, and the implementation of the entire set of functions does not guarantee success. That's only 1/3 of the job. The remaining part is to conduct the thoughtful promotion and reliable education. There are many possible forms of this information transfer, incl. webinars, tutorials, e-learning platforms, or printed materials. Regardless of the function of the message, it is important that it is understandable to employees and that its form is appropriately adapted to the nature of the company.

Conclusions

Appropriate organization and careful consideration of your needs is the key to the success of the implemented system. Before you contact the company you will commit to building the intranet, specify your expectations regarding the implementation and the platform itself. This will help you to create a system that is fully personalized and adapted to the operation of the organization. Proper preparation increases the chance of a positive perception of changes in the area of the organization. It will also enable you to shorten the entire process and save funds allocated to it.

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