10 Most Common Intranet Challenges That Will Keep You Up at Night
If you’re at the exciting stage of launching your intranet or just at the point of pitching your intranet ideas to management, it’s always important to be aware of the intranet challenges ahead. And inevitably, there will be some challenges. Being aware will help you prepare for what lies ahead. Make sure you build these into your risk management strategy and formulate ideas for how to tackle these head on.
1. Low intranet usage
Perhaps the most common challenge businesses and other organisations encounter is low usage. Without users, an intranet cannot thrive as it depends on its end users to populate it with content, documents, communication etc. This can stem from organizations putting business needs in front of end-user needs. Businesses need to keep in mind that if the intranet does not benefit or help users do their job, they are unlikely to use it. Make sure you know the capabilities and qualities that will make your users’ work-lives easier and engage with users from the get-go.
2. Users drop off over time
Another common problem is, after the big launch of the intranet and initial novelty, usage begins to drop off. This might be due to a number of things: users might realise it is not adding much value to their work or that they can accomplish tasks through other means- easier means. This requires constant evaluative methods, surveys and targets to ensure that you are meeting users’ needs before it’s too late.
3. Minimal User support
With any new software, there are bound to be software bugs and user needs that will pop up after official launch as users get used to it. But with no official user support, the intranet becomes a burden to those trying to use it regularly. Eventually the lack of support leads to issues of productivity in one way or another. Although it can be costly to have internal user support staff on the payrolls, the problem can persist if not addressed early on.
4. No demonstrable goals or milestones put in place
Organisations may often fail at point of design because they fail to put in place any end goals or targets for their intranet. Without these, it is difficult to measure success and therefore justify continued investment in maintenance and support. Regular evaluations and surveys with users can also help you keep on track of your end goals or even help you revise them if necessary.
5. Organizations underestimate the cost and complexity of intranet development
In some organizations, the intranet is a shared responsibility between several departments (such as IT, HR and communications). This can be a source of confusion when initial design is conceived and when trying to narrow down the the scope of the project. This can lead to increased cost/complexity as the scope of the project grows, and more components of the intranet are added to the project requiring significant time and effort.
6. Intranets are outdated and lack fresh, relevant content
Creating your intranet requires constant monitoring and plans for fresh, new material. Initial launch is a one time thing but updates should be built in regularly to the life-cycle or you run the risk of employees using inaccurate or outdated information or worse, losing faith in the information found in the intranet and usage dropping off.
7. No formal governance model in place
Assigning ownership to the intranet can be one of the most important but challenging tasks during an intranet development project. As mentioned earlier, intranet ownership can often be shared between departments making it difficult to pin responsibility in one place. Organisations need to set out from the get-go who makes what decisions and who is accountable for which efforts- effectively making a formal Governance model. Appointing a senior staff member with overall responsibility is also helpful.
8. Disorganized filing systems
With time, the information stored within your intranets will tend to get disorganized. In the beginning everything may seem okay but as months go by this problem can escalate and the effects can lead to further problems later on. Many organisations don’t put in place policies to manage information and update filing systems.
9. Bad design, hard to navigate. Having an effective search function to find information and files can be one of the most important aspects of your design. If good design and information architecture is not built in early on, this can lead to quick fixes that lack consistency with other functions making it harder to use, particularly for new comers. This can lead to the next problem.
10. Bugs & Software Issues . Software issues can also be a one of the Intranet’s most common problems. Intranet software, whether off-the-shelf or designed from scratch may have been configured badly or may even be buggy to start with. It can therefore make life unbearable for intranet users or even worse, it could end up corrupting the data that is passed back and forth within the intranet. Maintenance then becomes difficult, time consuming and expensive.
Build these into your risk management plan and address how you might overcome them should they happen to you. All of the intranet challenges listed here are avoidable if you plan your intranet deployment properly and maintain a roadmap of business solutions that will be added to the intranet periodically [in phases]. Contact us if you would like to have free consultation on your new intranet project.