[thelist] Teaching Staff to Fish

martin burns martin at lists.evolt.org
Tue Oct 3 09:07:14 CDT 2000

Hash: SHA1

At 20:15 02/10/00, Rudy_Limeback at maritimelife.ca wrote:
>you won't get anywhere by force-feeding intranet information to employees
>try to arrange it so that discovering things on the intranet is fun, so
>that people will want to explore

The best way to do this is to get employees publishing content. An
intranet has 2 kinds of content:
1) Imprimatur content - stuff which the company wishes to tell its employees
    like HR policies, 'official' newsletters and so on (Buzzword: B2E). This
    is the stuff with the top-down control over everything, particularly the
2) Employee content. This can be everything from pictures of pets to
    wild evangelism about the stuff they're doing. This is the stuff which
    gets people out of their departmental silos and really communicating
    as an enterprise-wide team. This part of the Intranet should have no
    content restrictions beyond the legal (defamation, IPR and obviously
    anything confidential) and technical (prove that you are capable of
    not bringing/slowing down the server with this before you can do
    CGI/database stuff).

Required reading for anyone working on intranets:

>make sure there's "something in it for them" when they use the online
>stuff -- for example, update the online versions of all those out-of-date
>paper manuals, and make them easier to use than the paper versions

Or better, make sure that the online version is the only way to get some
info. We put our phone directory on the intranet (22k staff), and didn't
produce a new edition of the paper one. The paper one was wrong by the time
it hit the desks anyway. We also put all the annual results there on the
same day as they were released (within 5 mins), including the employee

For some publications, we knew, however, that a more gentle migration
was needed - not all employees had access throughout the working day,
so some newsletters (including the weekly jobs circular) also went out
in paper. The clear intention however was to reduce the printrun gradually
from 1 per team to 1 per dept etc.

>the only thing you want on people's desktops is one shortcut to launch the
>browser, which automatically opens on the intranet home page

+1 on that. If it helps, you might like to think of introducing it as an
entity in its own right, rather than a big scary Intranet. We branded
ours as 'Orbit', with associated icon, and made sure that the NT build
we put out with Intranet access had an Orbit icon, not an IE one.


Martin Burns, Content Management Consultant
tel: +44 (0)778 068 6418
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