I’ve written on this blog and elsewhere about 6 things to expect from your intranet, why traditional intranets fail today's knowledge workers, what is wrong with SharePoint, if employees really need intranets (and answered the question with a 'no') and why the Digital Workplace is both necessary and relevant. You can find several reasons why traditional intranets fail today’s knowledge workers in these posts. But there’s an even simpler way to put it.
For an intranet team, the intranet is usually the center of the universe. It’s what they do.
For the employees, on the other hand, the intranet is only one component of many in their digital workplace that they need to interact with.
The intranet team may have a holisitic view of the intranet, being able to see how all its different parts fit together, and all the stakeholders it is there to serve. However, what most intranet teams lack is a holistic view of the employee’s everyday work and a holistic view of the employee’s entire digital work environment.
The only way to provide an intranet that actually supports the everyday work of the employees is to understand the work employees do on a daily basis, what tasks they perform, what information they need, who they interact with, and the typical situations they find themselves in. Including what other tools and services they use. These things need to be viewed from the employee’s perspective, not from the intranet’s perspective. Don't start with the intranet in mind. Start with the employee in mind.
It’s that simple – and that hard.