Who owns the intranet? Without good governance—which is to say, good management and policies regarding intranet usage—no intranet can realize its full potential.
The question of intranet governance is indispensable to companies trying to create networks that foster a culture of openness and transparency, while maintaining appropriate online security.
“It’s simply impossible to achieve any long-lasting success without a clearly ownership and management structure. Far from being a buzz word or jargon, intranet governance provides clarity and rules—namely the titles, roles and responsibilities of its owners, managers, stakeholders and contributors.”
Industry expert, Toby Ward, points to core questions companies should consider, when creating intranet governance policies.
Ward’s 4 Rules of Intranet Governance:
1. Who’s Got Whose Back?
Who is responsible for managing the intranet? A management team has many roles including making sure the intranet is running smoothly and efficiently, setting security policies and making sure employee security authorizations are kept up to date. Without a clearly defined management team assigned to these duties, intranets quickly can become bogged down and cluttered.
2. Who’s Doing What?
Who in the company is in charge of making sure certain content and files remain up to date? When many people are contributing to and updating a single file, it’s very easy to inadvertently create multiple versions of the file, which creates a cluttered, confusing situation. Although using a well designed intranet—especially one that utilizes cloud storage—alleviates many of these issues, it’s still important to clearly assign employees responsibility for specific files. It is also important to define the responsibility of intranet users with regards to online security.
3. Who’s Making the Rules?
Although many of the decisions regarding intranet governance will ultimately fall on the management team, the management team should also make every effort to share the thought process underlying their decision. Not only does this increase transparency and openness, it also helps end users remember to embrace new policies when users understand why they were created.
4. Where is Everything?
Where should content be posted so it’s easy and intuitive for other users to find? This question can become increasingly complicated when a company has to consider different levels of security authorization. Creating and maintaining clear policies and standards help companies maintain an intranet that’s intuitive and easy to use.
“Employees demand a simple, consistent UX across the intranet, regardless of the content or application. And accountability is required to ensure this transparency and consistency. [Regarding] ownership and governance, when everyone’s role is clearly defined, and every page is owned, accountability is baked into the system (regardless of the technology).“
In many ways, the concepts that underlie intranet governance are the same that guide good management in general. Companies should make every effort to clearly define roles, responsibilities and policies, but also ensure that users understand the thought process guiding those decisions. This style of governance increases transparency and helps the intranet reach its full capability.
About Toby Ward:
The founder and CEO of Prescient Digital Media, Toby is an internationally recognized and acclaimed expert in the areas of communications, enterprise technology, intranets, and social media. A specialist in intranet planning and design, Toby has led his company to many awards including an illustrious Webby Award.
A frequent speaker and writer, Toby is also the founder and chair of the Intranet Global Forum, and has worked with many Fortune 500 companies and big brand leaders including AMC Network, Harvard, HSBC, Mastercard, Sony, USAA, and many others.