Launching an intranet is an exciting time! You and your team will go through a cycle of excitement, doubt, anticipation, and finally, JOY for getting your project off the ground.
I’ve personally been on the teams for about five intranet software launches in my career, and have watched countless others as an employee of Engynn Intranet. I wish I could tell you that launching an intranet follows a predictable path, however it rarely does. All companies have different cultures, different priorities, and countless other differing factors that will affect the launch of your intranet.
That being said – here are a few t————————.
1) Not All Stakeholders Will See Value
You find the intranet software you want to use, you put together a proposal for other stakeholders, you present your plan, and…..
someone says it’s “not currently a priority”.
Specifically – the phrase “not currently a priority” is one I’ve heard many times while on a project team. Heck – you might even think this yourself. You’ll ALWAYS find reasons to label something “not a priority”, regardless of the project.
But here’s the reality:
An intranet is about facilitating strong communication, collaboration, and culture. The reality is – this is the only priority. Its human nature to ignore the long-term beneficial projects over the short-term urgent projects. Trying to accomplish other business goals before laying a strong foundation in these areas is like building a skyscraper with a faulty foundation. Sure – you’ll make some progress, but eventually the problem will rear it’s ugly head.
2) Nobody Will Log In …. At First.
Once you execute your awesome plan, you’ll set a launch day for your intranet, and then that day will come!
Can you guess what percentage of users will log in the first week?
Around 5%, from my experience. That’s right – nobody is going to log in at first. In the first launch I was involved in, out of 25 users we had about 11 logins on the first few days. It’s just the reality. We want our intranet launches to be grand events – we’ve probably invested days into preparing our launches.
Unfortunately – intranet usage is a process not an event. In fact, some of our clients still only have about 40-50% login rates after 12 months of use!
The only important thing to know, is whether or not usage is increasing over time. As long as usage is increasing – you’re making progress.
3) You’ll Be Discouraged By Lack Of Interest
Want to know what phrase hits you like a brick wall?
“What Intranet? There’s an intranet? We don’t use it.”
I’ve sat in on national meetings A YEAR after launching my company intranet, and have heard employees say this, and honestly – it’s a bit discouraging.
What you have to realize is that typically this is what you can expect to hear in the first year. It’s just the nature of launching any project or initiative – don’t let yourself get discouraged. Soon, you’ll see upwards of 50% of your employees logging in regular to your intranet. For some companies, it only takes a month, for others, years. Just keep sticking to your plan and you’ll eventually see your hard work pay off.
4) The Work Doesn’t End At Launch – It Begins!
I’ve seen many customers think their intranet is a “Set and Forget” type project – meaning you can launch it and there will be no maintenance involved. This can’t be further from the truth.
If you want your intranet to FAIL – here’s a tip:
Let it get stale. Let content get outdated. Don’t update it.
I’m being serious when I say, you should be doing an intensive monthly review. Ensure that all documents, resources, and users are accurate – PURGE anything that is useless. When users see outdated content once or twice, they’ll think there’s no point in using the intranet.
How do I know this……?
I made the mistake myself – I once received a complaint from my users about outdated content. Honestly – I didn’t even think about it until that point. I was horrified to log in and see that I had left up logos, sales sheets, and other resources from THREE years prior. All of which had changed!
Do yourself a favor, and do a monthly review.
5) You’ll Need An intranet Champion
You’re going to need one person dedicated to looking after the intranet. The “don” – so to speak, of all things intranet.
I can’t stress this enough:
Even if you have separate department admins and stakeholders looking after different sections of the intranet, you’re going to need one intranet “champion” that is responsible for everything. It’s so easy for tasks to fall at the wayside because nobody owns them, and you’d be surprised at how often this happens. When you have one person responsible for oversight of the intranet, the likelihood of it being looked after properly greatly increases.
Choose this person as early as possible, and make it clear they are in charge.
In my experience this person can range from a marketing lead, communications coordinator, and often times an HR director or even assistant. Your intranet champion will largely depend on your organization’s structure. It’s also important that this person understands what their responsibilities are, what the execution plan is, and how to measure success.
This list is not extensive, your intranet launch will be an exciting journey filled with positive and negatives. But just keep in mind, you’re doing this to give your organization an advantage it needs – no question about it.
Want more tips on launching your intranet? Visit our intranet software tips.