For about 5 years I have been working with IBM software. Mostly using Lotus Domino and Notes, designing applications. However I also looked at other technologies, like Websphere and DB2.
I have recently switched (well, I’m still switching) to comparable products from Microsoft. Mainly becasue the company I work for made the decision to stop using IBM for their internal mail and databases.
I do however believe that IBM, known as Big Blue, a big and slow organisation, was ahead of Microsoft concerning intranet software and ease of development back in the day’s they launched Websphere. I have been looking at an article on their website, that states that in 2006, their Intranet was listed in the Nielsen Norman Group Report: Intranet Design Annual 2006: Year’s Ten Best Intranets.
I never heard of that report before, and headed straight over for a look: http://www.nngroup.com/reports/intranet/design/. The report is for sale. 224$ and its yours. For me that is too expensive, and Im sure that my boss (who is likely to leave soon), would have a good laugh if I walk over to ask him for the money!
(reports from previous years still cost about 200$, which I still find very steep!)
However, it gave me a good impression what points to look at for our Intranet:
Some of the key areas for which best practices are presented in the report are:
- Company and industry news
- Integrating internal and external information sources
- Editorial control of the intranet homepage
- Keeping the intranet up-to-date
- CEO blogging
- Employee and department weblogs
- Onboarding of new employees
- Consistent navigation
- Multilingual intranets; supporting international employees
- Multimedia and video on intranets
- Data visualization
- Web 2.0 features on intranets
- Collaboration tools and discussion boards
- Internal wikis
- Employee self service
- Development process for intranet redesigns
- Web analytics for intranets
- Staffing of intranet teams; where they report in the organization
- Updating and maintaining standards and guidelines for intranet design
- Intranet branding
- Promoting new intranet features
- Staff directory and employee profile pages
- Corporate calendars
- Working with external design agencies
These points are things (call them features) they look at when evaluating intranet sites. I believe this to be a very complete list, and I’m sure that in a company our size (just looking at our office in Spain, we are about 300 people) can and will have to remove some of the points. Either because of difficulty of implementation (read: cost), Irrelevance or plain Overkill.
It looks like we have a Feature Checklist, with which we can start planning!
Intranet budgets and staffing