In order to manage a sucessful intranet, users must be certain of what tasks they are responsible for on the site. The roles for intranet users can be seperated into seven categories; these are described below.
Intranet Owners (Intranet Sponsor)
The intranet owners are responsible for the final say on decisions relating to the intranet. These individuals must be responsible for ensuring that budgets are available for the projects as defined by the Intranet Steering committee. They must also be available to resolve issues within the steering committee. The intranet owners should meet quarterly BUT as mentioned above, the need to make themselves available to resolve issues regarding the intranet.
The intranet owners groups should consist of a group of individuals with decision making authority in the organization. This could be the VP of Communications (since the intranet IS a communication tool) and the VP of Information Technology, for example. The intranet owners groups should also consist of an intranet webmaster. The position of intranet webmaster must be assigned as a full time job within your company. It's especially important to realize that an intranet portal is not a one-time project that's finished once it launches. The person in charge of the portal needs to stay on the job after launch or the intranet will suffer from portal decay. The role of intranet webmaster does not necessarily need to be filled with a technical resource. This individual will need to understand how to run the intranet, yes, but does not need to understand how the intranet was built. And individual with a communications or marketing background would fit well into this role, it is important that this person is trained on how to run the intranet.
Intranet Steering Committee
The intranet steering committee will be charged with maintaining the mandate of the intranet. It is suggested that this committee meet on a quarterly basis to focus on the following issues:
- Establish a Guiding Principle;
- Define and enforce an intranet mandate and vision;
- Establish an Intranet Business Model;
- Create Publishing Policies and standardization; and
- Project prioritization and budgeting.
The intranet steering committee should be comprised of individuals from a cross-section of the company. These individuals should also have the authority for decision making within an organization.
Intranet Working Group
While the steering committee will be the portal’s key ambassadors and advocates, it is also important that a larger set of "Portal Champions" be created throughout the organization. These employees will initially be responsible for advocating adoption of the portal within the organization, and will partake in specialized training – to create a "train-the-trainer" environment within the enterprise.
From a longer-term vision, the champions, or other designates, will be responsible for maintaining the integrity of information on their department or company team sites and resource centers, essentially taking on the role of "site manager". Members of the Intranet Working Group will take their instruction on direction and policies from members of the Intranet Steering Committee. The members of this committee will meet monthly to discuss such topics as the effectiveness of particular features, the adoption of the intranet by members of their departments or teams as well as compiling suggestions of future enhancements or projects that they hear members of their team may be interested in. These suggestions will be passed on to the Intranet Steering committee for discussion during their meetings.
The intranet working group, ideally would be made up of volunteers who have an interest in technology. These individuals must be given the permission to spend a small amount of time during their work week to deal with intranet related issues and training opportunities.
While these individuals are not responsible for entering content into the system, they are responsible for ensuring that this content is current, accurate and meet the standards as defined by the Intranet Steering Committee. These individuals will be selected based on the role they play in the organization and content that they are assigned to will be related to that role. Each business unit throughout your company should have at least one content owner assigned to it.
Content owners will also be responsible for assigning permissions to the content they are responsible for. This task has typically been the responsibility of the IT group. These tasks can severely bog down the IT department which can sometimes lead to a slow turn around on permission requests. The tools are available to decentralize these tasks, and they should be.
These individuals report to the content owners and are responsible for typing (or copying) the content to the intranet. Content may have an approval process assigned to it or it may go live as soon as the content author has posted it.
The reason the intranet exists. Make sure you understand your visitor’s needs and that the content you are posting to the intranet is relevant to the visitors. There are many methods of targeting content to different types or groups of visitors. There are tools available to poll or survey visitors to understand what types of information they would like to view on THEIR intranet and how they expect to see it organized. Consult with professionals experienced in Information Architecture to ensure the site is setup correctly… or visitors wont visit.
The information technology group will play a role in the upkeep and upgrade of the intranet. Their day to day roles and responsibilities will include assigning access to the intranet as well as ensuring that the site stays live and accessible. The Information Technology group will also be responsible for implementing many of the upgrade projects that are defined and approved by the intranet steering committee.