Starting an organization-wide intranet can be overwhelming if you’re not sure where to begin, but with the right preparation, we can smoothen the planning and building processes! Here are 5 things to keep in mind when starting an intranet.

1. Start From a High Level

It’s important to know the high-level goals that your organization wants to accomplish within the intranet. Topics such as communications, news, and events can shape the way you build your intranet, so that information can be consumed by the user efficiently.

A good idea is to get your stakeholders in a room together to discuss what should be in the intranet. Having a variety of stakeholders in the room can bring different perspectives and ideas to the table. Once ideas have been formulated, it becomes much easier to pick and choose what you want on your intranet.

Figure 1 – Strategy Planning

2. Target Your Audience

It is important to understand who the intranet is targeted for. If your company heavily relies on communication of announcements, policies, and general information to the broader organization, then an intranet constructed to consume information might be best.

Organizations vary from size to size — if your organization is on the smaller end, more of a personalized look and feel may be adequate for the intranet. If you are a part of a larger organization, then a standard, less personalized look and feel may be your answer.

Ultimately, it depends on how your users interact with information. Organizations will vary and understanding the “why” behind the intranet will increase your chances of a successful launch.

3. Acquire Power Users

An intranet needs users who are willing to update and make changes to the intranet. These users will guide and shape how the intranet is presented to the rest of the organization. it is recommended that at least two power users are designated per intranet site. What separates a power user from a regular user is that they have a drive to push out updates and communications, and are up to date with the technology.

Without power users, an intranet will likely fail. This will put too much pressure on the stake holders, and if content is not updated frequently, the intranet will begin to feel stale.

4. Generate Attention

Launching an intranet should be a big milestone for your organization. It is important to notify users ahead of time that a change is coming. You will want to inform your users about a month prior that your organization is launching a new intranet. This will allow potential power users to notify the stakeholders that they want to be a part of the intranet.

Ideating with colleagues on starting an intranet
Figure 2 – Ideating with colleagues on whiteboard during meeting at office

Frequent communication that the new intranet is coming is also important. Users will likely forget about the intranet update due to their busy work lives, so it is important to notify users on a weekly basis. This is also a good time to acquire any feedback and/or recommendations that users may have.

Gaining user feedback and recommendations lets users know that this intranet is being built for them, and will gain more user adoption when it is launched. Sending out forms or surveys is a good way to let users participate in the intranet design.

The leaders of your organization are vital to the success of the intranet. If your leaders are bought into the intranet and get excited, then, more likely than not, that will spread across the organization. Try and generate as much attention to the intranet project as possible to your leaders of the organization.

5. Don’t Overcomplicate

It’s easy to try and fill the intranet with as much detail as possible when starting. You must keep in mind that this will be a brand-new experience for your user base, and starting out small and simple is likely a good way to initiate the intranet. This allows your users to gradually adapt to the change that is presented to them, and not overwhelm them with the new technology.

Starting an Intranet: Next Steps

If you are ready to plan and build your own organization intranet, check out our SharePoint Online Intranet Jumpstart bundle, where our M365 experts plan, design, and build a customized intranet for you. Reach out to info@totalsol.com for more information!

If you’d like more ideas, tips, and advice on things to keep in mind when starting an intranet, check out the following articles:

Starting a SharePoint Online Intranet: 5 Questions to Ask

Top Four SharePoint Intranet Misconceptions

Starting a SharePoint Intranet: Tips and Advice

SharePoint Online Site Architecture: Cheat Sheet