Opinion

Launching your intranet

The Twine Way

Connor Ward

Connor Ward

Not many people can put “launched an intranet” on their resume.

But we can – we’ve launched almost a hundred of them, and we’ve gotten pretty good at them (if we may say so ourselves).

Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you’re coming to intranets for the first time. If you do have experience, it’s usually with one of those older, custom built solutions. That’s why we put together this walkthrough – to help you get your intranet up to scratch and ready for launch.

We’ll be covering:

  • Timelines
  • Content strategy
  • Launch and adoption tips
  • A go-live checklist

Timeline

Below, you’ll find a rough timeline of the road to launch. We’ve broken it down into five-week blocks – this is the minimum amount of time you need to spend before you’re ready.

Now, we know that not everyone will have the time on hand to complete all of these tasks within that time frame, and that’s ok. Each week covers a particular ‘theme’ and for some people, these might take longer than a week – especially if you’re coming from an enterprise. And don’t forget: we’ll always be on hand to fill in the gaps for you.

Week 1 – Discovery

Welcome, project background and planning. What are your aims and how can Twine help achieve them?

Week 2 – Content

Start by performing a content audit to figure out what content you have and what knowledge content you need. It’s easy to underestimate how much knowledge base content you have, so start work on it as soon as possible. Getting subject matter experts to help can speed this process up.

Week 3 – Tuning settings

We’ll take you through the nuances of Twine and make sure you haven’t missed anything. If necessary, we’ll begin any custom work required, such as Active Directory and Okta as well as custom domains.

Week 4 – Get people using it

Start uploading all that content you started in Week 2, and start planning your ongoing content strategy and engagement initiative. It’d be worth recording a quick welcome video with a founder or CEO, giving a brief introduction to the intranet. This should live on the dashboard or, if possible, as a popup when users first login.

Week 5 – Launch ?

Final checks before sending invitations to all users (see the ‘Go-live checklist’ at the end of this post).

Content Strategy

If you’ve been on our blog before, you’ll know that we talk about one thing above all else: content. Content makes or breaks an intranet. Trust us, we’ve been building intranets for a few years now – it’s the top factor when it comes to engagement.

But it’s one of the hardest things to get right. Don’t worry – we’ve picked up a whole bunch of tips and tricks on our journey. Some of these we learned through experience, others from users like you. Here are a few of our ideas:

That should teach you a thing or two about internal content. When you’re ready, start making your way through this checklist:

Content Strategy Checklist

  • Have we performed a content audit?
  • Do we know what content we have, what new content we need and what we don’t need?
  • How much of content is intranet ready (easy to read and web friendly)?
  • Who will write new content?
  • How will we organise these?
  • Will content be published all at once or in stages?
  • How will we measure engagement?
  • Do we have systems in place to monitor and update content?

How to keep people coming back

Launching an intranet is one thing, getting people engaged beyond day one is another.

Your intranet will need constant tuning: from when you’re prepping up your invites up until your first anniversary. We mean it. It’s the most common question when we sit down to discuss requirements with businesses, and rightly so; adoption is one of the key measures of success for your intranet.

Here are three areas you’ll need to pay attention to:

News

News is where you tell your story: sharing milestones, making announcements and keeping people in the know. Use notifications to promote your content, sending email and in-app alerts to the entire organisation (or just the inactive groups). But remember: keep your content relevant and engaging. And try not to spam people.

Knowledge

You can judge the success of an intranet by its knowledge base. The more visits it gets, the more people are using it. To keep things going, you’ll need to ensure content is always relevant and up-to-date. Use Twine’s author reminder tool to stay on top of things. Within each article, add a reminder date and, when the time comes, we’ll give the author a nudge.

Launchpad

Don’t make people log in every time. With Twine’s seamless single sign-on tools, users only need to do it once. That doesn’t just apply to your intranet, you can plug in third-party apps too. Put links to external systems in the sidebar, and your users will be logged in with one click.

Go-live checklist

Before you launch your intranet to the masses, you’ll want to double check you’ve done the following:

  • Linked your Google analytics account
  • Uploaded your logo, favicon and brand colours
  • Set up Departments, offices and registration form/Active Directory are working and tested
  • Confirmed dashboard layout and set up all external feeds (Twitter etc.)
  • Invited all admins to the system
  • Created permission groups for users with extra privileges
  • Welcome dialogue – welcome message and/or video showing on initial login
  • Created Knowledge content and marked as ‘visible’
  • Populated Blog/News with at least one post
  • Put a content plan in place for future posts
  • Updated the Calendar app with your company events
  • Created Groups and added users as members (if necessary)
  • Entered a support address that users can use to contact you
  • Taken a deep breath and relax. You got this ?

Good luck with the launch!