corporate intranet is a difficult thing to get right. Many companies have one, but few are actively used by employees once they launch. Technology makes it easier than ever to quickly and easily build a system, but this is often only half the story. A successful corporate intranet requires more than just a savvy IT team or product. It needs constant hard work and attention. Let’s look at a few of the reasons these systems fail, and what you can do to avoid falling into the same traps.

1. Nobody talks to end users

Often a corporate intranet is rolled out without anyone actually asking users what they want. We hear of projects where the only stakeholders consulted are the IT team—who are building the system—and the board of directors—who are paying for it. These groups are both important, but pale in comparison to the people who will actually use the system day in day out—the end users.

At the beginning of your project a “requirements gathering” phase should be carried out. This is where lots of questions are asked, and a plan for the eventual corporate intranet is formed. During this work the business analyst, or whoever gets to ask the questions, should meet with a wide range of stakeholders.  These stakeholders should include as many end users as possible. This can be face to face, in workshops, or via a survey sent out over email. Talking to these people will help prevent your project hitting trouble from the outset.

2. Nobody can use the system

Ease of use has to be one of the most important things, when it comes to your new corporate intranet. If it is tricky to use, confusing, or doesn’t feature the right content, then people will simply be turned off.

Content is often an area that is overlooked. It is what will keep people going back for more once the system is live, what makes it useful The phase “Content is king” (attributed to Bill Gates) might be a cliche but it still holds true today. Often content will exist in an old system, a defunct fileshare, or abandoned SharePoint portal. This content needs to be migrated across to the new intranet, so users only have one system they need to access. New content, that aids users in their day –to-day work, should then be added on a regular basis.

Huddle’s elegant interface means users can quickly and easily perform the tasks they need to. Its collaboration features, and security options, mean content can be added safe in the knowledge only those with the right permissions are accessing it. Huddle’s wide range of mobile apps (iOS, Android, and Blackberry) means users get the same great user experience no matter where they are.

3. Poor reliability and performance

Many ‘traditional’ Intranet systems often fail because they require lots of custom development to get them ready for use. This development can be expensive, incur additional software costs, and add complexity to a project. Custom code also requires testing, to make sure it does what it should do in front of end users. This testing has financial and time implications for the client, who will often be required to carry out some tests themselves. And if the end result isn’t up to scratch, then users will simply ignore it.

Huddle isn’t like that. We have tested Huddle, a lot, so you don’t have to. Our code works, is shiny, and super fast. Huddle doesn’t require expensive modifications to get it up and running, and as a result it doesn’t need endless testing to check if it works. It just does.

Huddle is also hosted in the cloud. This means we can save you money on expensive hardware and software costs. Because we are hosted in the cloud you can be sure we offer a super reliable and secure service, one that is available when you need it.

4. Losing sight of the end goal

It is easy in the hustle and bustle of a project to lose sight of what you are building. You are building a system for normal office users to use a few times a day, not a technical masterpiece for the IT team to play with. The system may look good on paper, it may be implemented exactly to the spec, and it may have all the latest gizmos and widgets—but it has to make sense for a nice normal business user. Test the solution as a whole. Is it easy to use and logical? If it isn’t then you will struggle with adoption.

Huddle has been designed with end user in mind. We have done our homework and included the features and functions that we know today’s enterprises need. Secure file access, version control and tracked changes, cloud collaboration—all of these are part of Huddle and available through our easy-to-use interface.

5. The Intranet is hidden away until it goes live

Corporate intranets are often long and complex projects. They go through many phases, all of which takes time. It is easy for a team to go away into a dark room and build the system, with end users seeing little until it is nearly finished. But no matter how long your corporate intranet takes to design and build, your end users should be seeing demos of it as regularly as is possible. You should try and show stakeholders relevant bits, share your progress with them, and update individuals on the parts they will care about. If you lock the corporate Intranet away from people and only unveil it when it is “finished”, then you are going to struggle in the longer term. People need to see it as much and as soon as possible, so useful feedback can be incorporated.

6. The Intranet remains untouched after it launches

If you think your corporate intranet is ever finished, then you are mistaken. If you walk away from your new system straight after it launches then its not going to be a success. A good intranet needs constant love and attention to keep it useful in the eyes of its users.

The simple lesson here is to keep the system fresh and current. Add new content, update documents, send some emails to people promoting what it can do. In the longer term, consider adding new functionality, as the needs and requirements of the business change. If you can assign a specific individual to manage your corporate intranet, part or full time, then all the better.

Huddle makes adding content nice and easy so you really have no excuse, and your users will thank you in the long term.

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