Overhauling a Company Intranet from the Bottom Up

Intranets are a key channel for connecting employees with the people, tools and information they need to do their jobs well. But many companies treat their intranets like unplanned land development. They outgrow the starter bungalow, so they tack on a garage stall, make a few haphazard additions and build 27 sheds in the yard. Nothing connects, and – worse yet – no one knows where anything is stored.

Building or improving an intranet can be a massive and complicated project, starting with in-depth research to identify current state, needs and priorities; setting a comprehensive strategy; securing executive sponsorship and budget; developing a highly detailed, multi-level plan; and partnering with colleagues like IT, Legal, content owners and vendors to execute the plan.

Over the course of three years, we drove and managed a $24 million, multi-year program to overhaul a corporation’s intranet from the ground up, unweaving and rebuilding a tangled collection of legacy systems, disparate portals, unrelated web sites, unsearchable content archives and outdated tools.

In the execution phase, we tackled not only the suite of online communications tools and content we owned, but every aspect of the new intranet, including platform selection, technology integration, agile development, security and single sign-on, mobile device access and content migration.

Some may say we overstepped our boundaries as Communication team leaders to spearhead an intranet program of this breadth and depth. But it was the right thing to do for employees and the company.

It’s important to note that not every underperforming intranet requires tens of millions of dollars and multiple years of work to be improved. There are always some small, short-term steps that be taken to build a better experience for your employees. Regardless of the scope, we would be more than happy to help any team or company identify ways to improve the performance of this critical communication tool.


To see other examples of our work, go to Mini Case Studies.

Categories: Mini Case Studies

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