The release of the 10th Intranet Design Annual identifies a number of key trends for intranet development and internal communications for 2010.
Growing Intranet Teams – not only are more companies developing their own internal web presence, it seems that companies of all sizes are giving intranets higher priority, more resources and bigger teams.
Mobile Intranet Sites – the rising demand for accessing online content from mobile devices applies to internal content too, although for now at least it would seem that intranet development is lagging behind the rest of the digital world. As devices, especially smart phones, become cheaper and easier to use, mobile access will grow and so intranet developers will need to consider and cater for the specific needs and demands of their mobile audience.
Social Features on Intranets – these take the form of two different but connected streams –
- individual features including profiles, discussions, comments and ratings, bookmarking and employee generated content
- work-group features that help with knowledge sharing, collaboration, search and locating experts and answers.
Breaking Down Barriers with ‘Boss Blogs’ – whilst many companies have used ‘boss blogs’ to improve communications, more and more are adding discussions and comment features to develop more open, two-way conversations and make senior management teams more accessible and approachable.
Research, Testing and Promotion – the best organisations are realising that in order to get the most from their intranets and internal communications programmes, they need to spend time understanding what their audience needs and wants, testing and developing their solutions and promoting and encouraging trial of the results.
Crisis Management – as the intranet becomes a greater focal point for communications so organisations are realising its value as a vehicle both to prepare for potential emergencies and as a way of responding quickly to a crisis – sharing up to the minute information and guidance on what’s happening and how everyone in the organisation can contribute.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, is the commitment to Continuous Quality Improvement. Whether driven by new technology developments or feedback from users, the best intranets are continually being refined and developed. Many organisations are also developing usability and ROI metrics to ensure that this continuous development is adding real value to their business. This sort of long-term thinking reinforces the growing perception that effective on-line communications are now becoming a fundamental part of all good internal communications strategies and programmes.
This article also appeared on www.gnius.co.uk