Hiring an Intranet Consultant

Most people have not designed or led an intranet redesign. And it’s worth repeating: an intranet is not a website. This is where an intranet consultant or intranet consulting firm can be of immense value.

Great intranets are rarely done solely in-house. There’s too much at stake and the intranet is, far too often, a political juggling act. The average intranet redesign takes 12 to 18 months (sometimes more) — far too much work for even two or three full-time employees. A non-partisan intranet consultant or intranet agency can be a big help.

There are advantages to doing it yourself:

  • Less cost (less external expense)
  • Internal stakeholders are forced to own their intranet (learn the ropes)
  • Internal jobs are reinforced

The disadvantages of doing it yourself are obvious:

  • Lack of skill and experience
  • Lack of people to execute
  • Lack of time
  • Internal politics and competing priorities / vision
  • Time away from day-to-day work

Politics

The greatest barrier to an intranet’s potential is politics. Technology and budget are secondary barriers. The intranet is (can be) a political football. Most intranets don’t grab the attention of executives. Many view it as a cost center, or simply have bigger priorities, or just don’t care. The intranet is often left to middle managers in communications and IT with limited budget and power. Conflict often ensues over who owns it, and how it should be improved, and eventually the intranet stalls or fails completely.

Resolving conflict and breaking the subsequent limbo requires senior management support and participation. Where politics runs thick, a collaborative governance model is strongly urged. Tearing down the political barrier often requires a third-party consultant with lots of expertise (and no political axe to grind), but an arsenal full of best practices. If communications tries to lead the process, the other stakeholders can be suspicious. Nor does communications alone have the technology skills. Ditto for IT (often lacking the business and communications acumen) and HR. If budget allows, everyone respects an experienced and capable mediator.

Enter the intranet consultant. Continue reading How to hire an intranet consultant

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