5 steps to launch your intranet project 80% faster
See how an intranet works
Learn how an intranet works with this short video.
11 mins read
Mon, Oct 24, '22
So you’ve been put in charge of an intranet project.
Maybe you have already chosen an out-of-the-box solution that allows you to build an interactive intranet with no time. You log into the solution for the first time and realize that you know nothing about web-design and have no idea where to start your project from.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a highly skilled graphic designer to be able to build a great intranet. The first thing to remember is that your intranet should not be a copy of your external website. Why is that? Because your external site is built for your potential and existing partners and customers whereas the audience of your intranet is your employees.
Instead of trying to sell your product or services to your intranet visitor, you are trying to make their daily work easier. Intranet should, first and foremost, be considered to be a business solution that helps you to reach certain, tangible business goals. Here are a few things to consider that will help you get started with your intranet project.
Before design, define your objectives and requirements
Before thinking about colors, fonts and all those exciting parts of the visual look of your intranet, take a step back and go through what are the vision and mission of your project. What kind of measurable objectives should you set to your new intranet? What different kinds of audiences your intranet has and what are their unique needs? Which tools do your employees use on a daily basis and how are they linked to your intranet? Also, it's good to already at this point give a thought to who will be the owner of the intranet, how will you plan to manage the new solution and what kind of common guidelines you need to put in place when it comes to the intranet use.
Finding information is the key
The main focus of an intranet should be on giving your employees quick and easy access to information and tools that help them to do their jobs. Start with putting together a content plan including what kind of information should be found from your intranet, what information is relevant to whom and is there some content that is sensitive and should only be visible to a certain part of your organization. Consider involving the content creators and people who will eventually be responsible for updating the content to the project early on so that they will understand what is needed from them.
When putting together a content plan, also give a thought to what kind of employee groups you have. For instance, if you have a group of employees who do not work with desktop computers but with mobile devices, make the information short and sweet, easily digestible from a small screen.
A winning navigation menu takes you far
You can present your content to your employees in several different ways, for example by subject area or alphabetically. The best way to structure the information depends on the target audiences of your intranet. To give you a tip towards creating a winning navigation menu, remember to name your intranet sections with explicit headlines that help your employees to find the right content with ease. As an example, it’s better to have a “New Employees” section containing all the information a new hire might need than to have this information spread under several different sections. You could also consider going for an intranet solution that has an advanced search function to make the navigation even more straightforward.
5 steps to launch your intranet 80% faster
An employee intranet could totally transform your business. But if you’re in the early stages of launching an intranet project, it can seem like a pretty overwhelming task.
Should you start by comparing different platforms, or ask your employees what features they’d like and go from there? Do you need a mobile app? An employee directory?
And what about intranet analytics, or push notifications, or a federated search function? Should you try to launch as quickly as possible, or take your time to make sure you do it right? And how will you convince people to actually use your intranet, anyway?
OK. Take a breath.
And when you’re done, read on for our easy, 5-step process for launching your intranet project up to 80% faster — without giving yourself a headache.
Why do companies struggle during the planning phase?
If you’re planning to launch a company intranet, you might be facing pushback from IT, management, or other stakeholders. If your organization has had a (failed) intranet in the past, bad memories might mean employees are reluctant to get on board. Or, your finance team might feel you simply don’t have the budget to launch a whole new system with no guarantee that anyone will use it.
The point is, there are a number of different reasons why planning an intranet project is no easy task. But by following a structured, tried-and-tested process, you can get everyone on board and set yourself up for intranet success.
The 5 stages of a successful intranet project launch
We understand that managing an intranet project can be a stressful undertaking. That’s why we’ve developed a simple, 5-step process to help our customers to launch their new intranets faster.
How much faster? Well, the average company takes about 1.2 years to launch a new intranet. Happeo’s ramp-up time is more like 6–8 weeks. Here are the steps to follow for a successful intranet launch:
The first phase involves determining your goals and objectives for the intranet so that you can make sure everyone is on the same page. Let’s break it down:
Define your goals and objectives
Will the intranet be for employees only, or do contractors and partners need access too? Will users need to access the intranet away from your corporate office? Do you need a mobile app? Determining the scope of your project gives you a better idea of what you’ll need to do to succeed.
It’s also a good idea to sketch out your project timeline, which will depend on the size and complexity of your organization, the scope of your planned platform, and how much customization you need.
Review legacy intranet environment
If you already have an intranet in place, then diving into your intranet analytics can give you a good idea of exactly how your employees used your old system, so you can be sure the new one still meets their requirements. Even if your old intranet failed, it’s a good idea to figure out why — so you can ensure the next one is a success.
You’ll also need to decide which content should be migrated to the new platform. Some content might be out of date, unused, or irrelevant — and launching a new intranet is a good opportunity for a clean-up.
Outline system requirements
At this stage, you’re ready to list the features and functionality you need for your new system. Conducting an intranet needs analysis can give you a good idea of the features that would be useful to key departments and stakeholders across the organizaiton. Here are some examples of intranet features you might decide to prioritize:
- Mobile app
- Employee directory and org chart
- Survey and poll functionality
- Social channels
- Customizable branding
- Search function
- Third-party integrations
- Push notifications
- Intranet analytics
Evaluate intranet platforms
Once you’ve listed your requirements for your intranet project, you’re ready to start comparing them with available solutions until you find the right one for your organization.
Different platforms come with different features, and some are better suited to certain types of organizations, so it’s important to do your research. Need help finding the right intranet software? Download our free comparison guide to get started.
Next, you’ll need to dive deeper into what your new intranet will look like, how users will access information, and how you’ll know if the intranet is working.
Choose your intranet project team
Getting the right people involved with your intranet project is crucial to its success. You’ll need to establish both who is responsible for rolling out your intranet, and who will manage it once it's live. It’s important to consider which departments are represented on your intranet team, and how much time they’ll have to work on the project alongside their other work.
The size of your intranet team will depend on the size of your organization and the complexity of your intranet. At the very least, you should probably have an intranet project manager to take responsibility for the project, and a couple of intranet managers or administrators to manage the system once it’s up and running.
Design your information architecture
Next, you need to design the structure (or information architecture) of your intranet. This is a crucial stage, as it determines what the experience of using your intranet will be like for its end users. The goal is to make your intranet as easy as possible for employees to navigate — which requires some careful thought.
Determine how you will measure success
There’s little point in investing a lot of time and money into a project if you can’t say for sure that it has had an effect on your organization. Think about the key metrics you’ll measure to determine the success of your platform once it’s ready to go.
For example, you might consider tracking:
- Adoption rate
- Daily use
- User satisfaction
- Post engagement
Develop a change management plan
Any big change is bound to have an impact on an organization. Take some time to set out how you’ll handle the transition to the new intranet, including your implementation process, the people that will be involved, and how you’ll communicate about the new intranet to your employees.
You’re almost there! This stage is about making sure your intranet is ready to launch.
Train intranet admins
Your intranet administrators will be responsible for creating new pages, managing the site structure, and approving the content that’s published on your intranet.
They will also play an important role in helping everyone to use the intranet once it’s up and running, so it’s vital that they fully understand how it works. Make sure you provide adequate training ahead of time, so they have time to get used to the system and ask any questions.
Create a homepage
We’ve reached one of the most exciting stages of your intranet project: designing your homepage! This will be the first page that users see when they log into your intranet, and your first chance to engage them. This means that the homepage is one of the most important elements of your intranet design. It should be dynamic, relevant, and user-friendly, and make it easy for employees to quickly find the resources they need.
Migrate existing content
Next, you’ll need to migrate the content from your existing intranet over to the new platform. Depending on the size and complexity of the intranet, this could be a sizeable operation. It’s a good idea to get a team together to complete the migration as efficiently as possible.
Implement third-party integrations
If you want people to use your intranet, you need to make sure it will work with the other tools they regularly use. Setting up the most important integrations ahead of time means everyone will be able to access everything from within the intranet platform as soon as it’s launched.
Configure access controls
A strong intranet should have a solid permission system that determines who is able to distribute information or make changes to content. It’s up to you to decide exactly what permissions you’ll grant to each user, but it’s important to give it some thought so you don’t end up with too much content cluttering up the intranet.
Before you roll out your intranet to the whole organization, test it out with a few early adopters. By having a few people try out the platform, you’ll be able to collect their feedback, make changes, and ensure your intranet is as strong as it can be before your full launch.
These early adopters will also play a key role in convincing the rest of your employees to use the intranet once it’s rolled out – increasing intranet user adoption and satisfaction.
And we’ve made it! It’s now time to fully launch your intranet platform, get everyone signed up, and deliver training on how to use your intranet.
The specifics of how you launch your intranet are up to you: you could opt for a phased launch, roll it out to the whole company at once, or even tie in the intranet launch with an event like a merger or annual town hall meeting.
Whatever you decide, it’s important to think carefully about how you communicate your intranet’s launch to your employees. The goal is to get them excited about the intranet and show them how it will make their lives easier.
Launch your intranet 80% faster with Happeo
Happeo is an intranet solution that helps fast-moving companies to democratize knowledge, connect employees together, and send engagement through the roof.
Plus, Happeo’s platform can be launched in as little as 6–8 weeks. That means you could be rolling out your sparkling new intranet in just 42 days' time.
Want to learn more? Request a free demo to start your journey with Happeo.