What is the New Year without (intranet) resolutions?

Statistics show that as many as 45% of adults make New Years resolutions, with less than half of those commitments making past the six month mark. And while not holding fast to personal resolutions may only affect you, a failure to execute on intranet initiatives can impact an entire company. So make 2007 the year you say, "This year I resolve to …” and you actually do.
Resolutions #1 – Go to the gym four times a week.
Reality #1 – New work out gear still has the price tags attached.
Resolution #2 – Quit drinking and treating chocolate as a food group …
Reality #2 – Still drinking, still inhaling milk chocolate, dark chocolate, semi-sweet …
Resolution #3 – Update intranet events calendar.
Reality #3 – Events calendar still listing Y2K planning sessions.
So what happened to those declarations made in front of family and friends to better ourselves as the clock struck midnight but a few mere weeks ago? Are they gaining the same traction as the objectives you set for your intranet?
This was the year it was going to be different.  We were confident.  Determined to follow to through successfully no matter what obstacle we encountered. So what are you going to do differently so that you attain success this year?

Look to help others, not just Ourselves

Rather than put pressure on yourself to lose that last (or first) few pounds, or quit (insert vice here), focus on commitments that you can easily keep and set resolutions that will help others as well as yourself.  We’re talking about making pledges that will improve your online presence and that don’t mean skipping your daily half-calf, double shot, skinny, tall, no foam, extra hot mocha java latté.  Who said resolutions had to mean sacrifice?
Resolution #1 - Develop and execute a robust intranet taxonomy so the site’s content will not be “invisible" to its users. By creating and maintaining a well thought out and executed plan for the content’s meta data, those visiting the site will have a positive experience because they will be able to find what they are looking for.  Check out Don’t forget the tax(onomy) for more detail on developing a killer taxonomy structure.
Resolution #2 - Start actually looking at the metrics collected on site usage, and use that information to plan the site’s growth and evolution so that it meets the needs of the employees.  Intranets are no longer just a home to HR policies and upcoming events.  These webspaces are vital business tools that employees use to service clients, build relationships and increase profits.  See Measuring Intranet Effectiveness for a case study on how one company evaluated the bottom line effect their intranet had on their business.
Resolution #3 – Repeat after me “I cannot be all things to all people.”  Well neither can an intranet. Setting out some quick wins such as
  • including a stock ticker on the home page, or
  • adding an online directory of the company’s offices.
These little things will go a long way to building the creditability of the site, and keeping employees happy while you lay the ground work and plan the implementation of one or two “bigger” projects that will affect the intranet’s evolution long term such as:
Resolution #4 – Speaking of revamping the site’s design, this is the year that we ditch the orange and green banner, and update the President’s page so that it does not include a photo of her with a beehive hairdo.  A multi-step process, designing or redesigning an intranet site takes a lot of planning and input, and must be managed carefully so that the design aligns with the organization’s vision and strategy.
Which leads us to our next resolution, which is critical to the success of the previous four promises.
Resolution #5 – Get in touch with stakeholders and target audiences.  Setting up the “Intranet Health Check” dialogues via focus groups with stakeholders, surveys to audiences and meetings with content owners/providers will provide feedback and input that is essential to laying out a plan to successfully achieving your intranet goals for 2007.  These conversations will allow you to build functional and strategic plans that will support your intranet success for years to come.
Once you have this framework in place you can move on to the last intranet resolution.
Resolution #6 Let everyone know just how great the intranet site is (especially now that you have successfully kept to all your resolutions).  The old adage of “If you build it, they will come” does not always hold true for intranets. For a site to be successful (read: have regular users and visitors), it needs to be marketed.  And marketing should be a continuous part of the intranet plan, not just part of the launch.

Now what

Making resolutions is the easy part.  Keeping them is where things can get a bit tricky.  And if we are being honest here, we wouldn’t need New Year’s resolutions if we hadn’t, at least in part, somewhere along the way let something simmer on the back burner too long or drop the ball completely.  Those extra five pounds didn’t come from eating rice cakes and carrot sticks.
But getting back on track doesn’t have to mean moving mountains.  Set out a plan, talk to the organization – all of the organization – from IT guru to neophyte intranet user, and follow intranet best practices so that you avoid making any more intranet mistakes.

Prescient Digital Media is a veteran web and intranet consulting firm with 10+ years of rich history. We provide strategic Internet and intranet consulting, planning and communications services to many Fortune 500 and big brand clients, as well as small and medium-sized leaders