Keys to Successful Intranet and Extranet Implementations
Every organization is a little bit different, and even within one, the needs of the teams across departments or business units rarely need the same things. Cookie-cutter, "portal in a box" deployments that over-utilize the same templates across an entire enterprise rarely succeed – especially in the long run.
Miller Systems has implemented dozens of successful portals for our clients and our own internal use. Here’s what we’ve learned along the way:
- Intranet? Extranet? Portal? Regardless of what you call it, it’s still a web site! Treat it that way. Drive your requirements from the end-user’s perspective. Before you build it, design it. Make site maps. Draw wireframes. Define critical use cases. Build prototypes. Identify key integrations. Define metrics.
- Establish security, governance, and trust early on. Your biggest risks – short and long term – all relate to unintended disclosures of confidential information. People get fired over this stuff! Focus on security access rules – and make the experiences for administrators to audit them easy, starting on Day 1.
- A good site search is important - but it’s not a magic bullet. Users will browse, as well as search. Make both work well.
- Strive for broad, managed delegation of content. Make it easy to contribute! Let non-technical users publish, post, and comment. Portals are successful and get adopted when departments, divisions, business units, etc. are able to easily manage their own sites and workspaces. Keep this in mind when defining your governance plan; a balance can be struck to allow management to maintain oversight.
- Think big, start small, act fast. Get a group to fall in love with a pilot implementation, and they’ll shout it from the rooftops (or at least from the cafeteria). Portals are most successful when they are adopted virally through peer endorsement.
- Above all, once you’ve delivered it, measure it. Pay attention to how people are actually using the site and make improvements based on data, not pure opinion.
- Choose your tools wisely. Once you’ve selected them and rolled them out, it can take years to replace them; your credibility is at stake.
Does any of this sound familiar? Get in touch
- We thirst for knowledge– but we’re drowning in information! We’ve got tons of content across many of places and systems – but there’s no easy way for people to find what they’re looking for.
- Our intranet is really just an organized bunch of files. My employees can’t really do anything other than read and contribute documents. Can’t an intranet be more?
- We bought a search solution that indexes all of our content. People are supposed to be able to find what they need quickly and easily. Why do they still complain that they can’t find anything?
- If we had better online self-service tools for our customers, we’d surely improve customer satisfaction – and reduce the burden on our customer service department.
- I’m sure we could increase revenue if we gave customers secure and easy access to information that we can’t publish on our public site (like order history, detailed performance and/or specifications, special discounts and pricing, etc.).
- We’ve got too many different sites for our employees and customers. We need to consolidate and simplify their experience.