Intranet Governance Structures

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Intranet Governance Structures

Effective intranet governance must include components that address, strategy, assigned roles, ownership, policies & procedures, feedback, support and training. There was limited publicly available data on this topic so we expanded our research to include details on other related information that hopefully provides additional value.

Organizing Content for Easy Access

  • To ensure the intranet is useful and easily accessible by employees, there needs to be guidelines around how content is created, organized, and published to ensure consistency.
  • Some guidelines to follow that will result in a more user-friendly intranet include properly completed employee profiles, how to use tags and metadata, and templates for content creators to use.

Guidelines for Creating Posts/Content

  • Create approved templates that employees can use to create new intranet content. This will ensure all important aspects are included and that there is consistency between posts.
  • Some important parts of the templates are the headline, summary, tag options, date, author information, photos and videos, and a comments section.
  • It is important that all content on the intranet is tracked so the company knows what content is being consumed and what is being ignored. This will provide guidance on the type of content employees may need in the future.

Elements to Include in a Governance Policy

  • According to Step Two, a consulting firm specializing in digital presence, the top components that need to be addressed in an intranet governance policy are strategy, ownership, roles & responsibilities, policies & guidelines, feedback, support, and training.
  • Josh Tong, a content strategist based in DC agrees that strategy and policies & guidelines are important, but also adds frameworks, processes, and standards.

Intranet Governance Best Practices

  • To ensure a strong intranet, there must be a strong governance structure. Elements that should be addressed are the focus of the intranet, assigned roles and responsibilities, procedures, community needs, user rules, content strategies, and user permissions. Unfortunately, there were no details on the specific best practices for each area.
  • The questions to be answered as part of the governance process are, "How will it be organised/structured," "Who will make specific updates," "How will new users be taught how to use the intranet," and "How will user-generated content be vetted and managed."

Possible Intranet Publishing Models

  • There are four main approaches a company can take to publishing content, and the model chosen will impact what is needed in terms of a content governance structure.
  • The models are centralized, decentralized, outsourced, and hybrid.

Potentially Useful Paywalled Sources

  • Step 2 published the 2019 Intranet and Digital Workplace Showcase. This report features 15 companies that won the Intranet and Digital Workplace Awards that have been given by Step 2 for the last 15 years. The report provides case studies, screenshots, and insights from the 2019 winners, and it costs $249.
  • Step 2 also offers a version with the case studies for winners from the past 13 years at a cost of $545.
  • Intranet Design Annual 2019 is over 600 pages long and features the ten best intranets of 2019 as chosen by the Nielsen Norman Group. The report is $248 for a single license and $488 for a group license.

Research Strategy

We began our research by searching for best practices in intranet governance, with a focus on larger companies. This led us to sites such as Axero Solutions, Content Formula, Bonzai Intranet, and Prescient Digital, which are all intranet consulting firms. While their experience makes their insights potentially valuable, it also means they have a goal of selling their services, and the content needs to be vetted to ensure it provides value. Regardless, none of these sites provided any detailed information on specific rules or guidelines that should be implemented as part of an intranet governance structure. Rather, the information was related to high level structure and ownership, why to create a governing committee, and a checklist on what to include, with no details on how to structure those individual pieces.

Next, we searched for examples of companies with excellent intranets. We found two published lists of award winners: one by Nielsen Norman Group and another by Step Two. These lists provided over 20 companies that could be further examined for details on how they structure their intranet governance. We proceeded to search the company websites and annual reports for any published details on intranet governance. The companies examined included 3M, Anthem, BHP Billions, Duke Energy, American Express, Lloyds Banking Group, Wells Fargo, Faegre Baker Daniels, and the Mayo Clinic. This strategy proved unsuccessful as the companies did not make their intranet governance policies public. It appears Duke Energy is willing to make some of this data public as they held a session in March 2019 on transitioning their intranet to Office 365, including governance details. Unfortunately we were unable to find any details on the presentation. This search did allow us to find several paywalled reports that seem likely to provide some of the requested information. The details on these reports have been included above.

Our third strategy was to search for specific actions that would occur on an intranet to see if there was any publicly available information related to the best governance policies for those specific actions. We searched for things like organizing content, creating posts, deleting content, legal requirements, user access, and structure. This strategy provided some limited data on organizing data and posting, but did not successfully find governance practices related to the other actions we examined.

We further expanded our search by looking for data that was older than two years and this allowed us to include some useful information that otherwise would have been left out. Although the fact that the data is older means that we can't consider it a trend or current best practice, we wanted to include it due to the lack of availability of more recent information.

  • "Most packaged intranet solutions come with the best of communication and collaboration capabilities, focused primarily on enhancing employee experience. However, content management strategy remains the backbone of changing intranet needs, thereby influencing adoption rates."