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Timing is everything: how to achieve efficient intranet builds and roll-outs

March 6, 2019

 Having a clean and powerful intranet is a “must have” for organizations. It’s where employees stay up to date, communicate, and access important information such as policies, procedures, forms, documents, and templates. The intranet is also a pivotal part of defining and instilling company culture and collaboration across departments and geographies.

 

At Distributed Logic, we utilize a proprietary, phased approach to create an information and user interface experience within 6 to 10 weeks that will engage your employee base and support your ability to manage and grow the organization.

 

Some of the clearest feedback that we hear from our clients is about the way we bring stakeholders together and gather momentum quickly. Intranet builds that stall end up eating inordinate time and resources, requiring stakeholders to come in and out of the project over longer periods.

 

Those are unnecessary sinkholes that are not part of our plan. Instead, we schedule time at the outset to ensure everyone is aligned – it sounds like an obvious ingredient, but is often missing from providers across the industry.

 

The bottom line is that our proven process guarantees an efficient build of a visually stunning and high functioning intranet. We are guided by four main phases:

Preparation phase:

 

First and foremost, to build the right intranet requires thinking critically about your organization. During this phase, we consider often unforeseen but common issues that typically arise. We gather materials such as brand guidelines, organizational charts, and existing intranet details if applicable. We review these materials and prepare questions so that detailed schedules can be constructed and adhered to throughout the project.

 

Collaborative design phase:  

 

This is the most critical phase. If not done well, it can cause significant delays for the simple reason that it’s not always easy to track-down appropriate decision makers. We conduct on-site visits and pre-defined design sessions with all key stakeholders. The ultimate goal is to make the vast majority of decisions that will allow for the remainder of the project to proceed in an efficient manner. We tackle:

 

  • Envisioning: All major stakeholders are present to identify goals and objectives, past likes and dislikes, and, arguably most important, company culture.

  • Review of findings: After the envisioning session, we reconvene to align our findings and confirm that our ideas capture items discussed in the previous session.

  • Site typology and menu: As a result of preceding sessions, we review the plan of desired content and several page layouts.

 

It is important to note that these are not merely brainstorms. We present live demonstrations so that ideas are translated into tangible spaces, and decision makers can react to and provide actionable feedback.

 

Delivery phase:

 

Once major design decisions have been made, we begin building the target environment and creating a full custom solution. The UI and page layouts are created based on the collaborative design sessions. We also implement the Information Architecture defined during the collaborative design phase, creating sites, lists, libraries, specific content types, and custom features such as navigation components and search. Once delivery and content seeding are complete, our quality assurance staff test functionality. We perform specific tests on all major browsers, operating systems, and form factors.

 

Training and how-to documentation:

 

While often overlooked, adoption and management are key. After all, what good is your new and improved intranet if your employees don’t know how to use it to its fullest potential? Or if it quickly spirals out of control into an ambiguous, disorganized mess?

 

We take great care before, during, and after the cutover to provide up-front documentation and formal training sessions for content managers. We also know that once users begin working with the new platform, there will inevitably be questions and some alterations required.

 

The effort doesn’t end there. We work collaboratively with our clients to design and implement a governance plan to keep your intranet site from taking on a life of its own. We also offer ongoing managed services for any questions, training, break-fixes and requests that may arise during day-to-day use.

 

To learn more about the “secret sauce” behind our intranet builds and SharePoint migrations, please contact us at info@distributedlogic.com.

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