Put the intranet out of its misery?

What is the intranet for anymore? Back in the day the intranet was the place where an organisation put its private stuff, the internal polices and information it didn’t want its customers to see. It was, to a large extent, a product of its time with organisations having a web platform and an often separate fire-walled intranet platform. Over time the platforms diverted. The website enjoying fame, fortune and investment, the intranet, the unloved child, only used during working hours with functionality that was muttered about over mugs of tea by disgruntled employees.

However these days in the public sector the drive for transparency and the Freedom of Information Act mean that pretty much everything on the intranet is publishable – in essence if someone asked to see anything on our intranet we would have to give it to them.

So why not save the money and close the intranet. Just put up an employee zone on the website. Use the same metrics you use for customers and put the same care into designing a compelling self-service proposition for employees as you do for customers. Enable employees to look at corporate information in their own time on equipment of their choosing.

The risk of course is that on a slow news day someone sees something ‘silly’ in your polices, or the dark corners of your internal workings. The answer I suppose is just to try harder….


About iansthoughts

Chief Operating Officer at DEFRA, and former council Chief Executive. All views expressed are my own and not formal policy of my employers current or past.
This entry was posted in employees, FOI, internet, intranet, transparency, web. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Put the intranet out of its misery?

  1. John Glover says:

    Good post. I would go one step further and make you Intranet “come alive” by making it a place where stuff happens. Cloud collaboration tools can help to make content part of the discussion and visa versa.

    Working with the HSE we noticed that new interactive applications like car sharing and special interest groups get spawned and staff become more involved in content creation and ownership. Once this culture change took place their staff were also more comfortable with using the same tools to work with and share information with external stakeholders. As you say, why treat the Intranet differently?


  2. I like the closing comment! Yes, in the public sector where public scrutiny is encouraged, it would be nice to think that a combined intra/internet site would improve standards. But if that should happen to fail (perish the thought) there’s always a heterogeneous security access model to fall-back on. Everything could be in one place, but only permit access conditionally.

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