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I've implemented intranets to different companies and organizations for the past two years. They all have a similar approach with a start page witch has a

  • news section
  • a company calendar
  • application shortcuts
  • RSS feed from the external site
  • my projects links
  • help topics and
  • current it system status

The other main sites, linked on the global navigation bar, contains

  • organization units
  • quality system
  • HR
  • projects
  • document center
  • social activities etc.

This is pretty standard functionality with notification on changes that regards me. It works, is quite OK, and customer likes it and uses it a lot.

The design is often responsive and following company theme colors. So far so good.

But I have a feeling something is missing. Maybe too company centered even if parts of the intranet is user centered. Or is there something else missing?

In other words What are the general site objectives for a company intranet?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Q: "What are the general site objectives for a company intranet? Maybe too company centered even if parts of the intranet is user centered. Or is there something else missing?"

Tough question! Traditionally speaking, the general objective is to give all employees one central place to find all the important company information.

The reality is, they are two things. They are document repositories AND they are kind of like what AOL was in the 90's, or what Facebook is today. An easy way for people to "get online" and access basic information. It's a starting point for the less technical. A safety net for those not computer savvy.

Just like AOL or Facebook, employees treat the intranet as their "home page". It's where they start, it's where they are comfortable. In the 90's AOL WAS the internet to most people. Today, Facebook IS the internet to most people. The same goes for corporate intranets.

And, just like AOL or Facebook, if you change something they are used to, all hell WILL break loose! I'll give you an example. I was redesigning an intranet a couple of years ago. I decided to test different elements on the site and see which were necessary, and which could be removed. I did this by simply removing navigational links to different parts of the site and waited for my phone to ring. No complaints meant the feature was unnecessary, complaints meant they were necessary.

I started removing company related stuff one by one. Nothing. No complaints. Then, I hit a nerve. I removed the "birthday" list. This was simply a list of upcoming birthdays within the company. My phone rang. People got mad because I removed this feature.

So, in short, the objectives are dictated by the culture. Although the internal company documents are necessary, the human element is mandatory.

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