Winning intranets mirror the company culture

Some companies just don’t need fancy social tools to make their intranets effective; what works is what employees need.

That’s the ideal, anyway, James Robertson, managing director at Step Two Designs, told the hosts of the Intranet Benchmarking Forum‘s monthly IBF Live broadcast this week.

Each year, Step Two judges intranets from companies around the globe in its Intranet Innovation Awards. Robertson said the judging panel isn’t particularly interested in whether something “is just a cool idea.”

“It’s the value that it’s all about,” he said.

That includes social tools, which have become incredibly trendy in intranets over the past few years. Robertson said some companies simply don’t need them. It depends on the company’s culture and goals. The intranet has to be baked into the existing company recipe, he said. You can’t force it.

“We see social as a means to an end,” he said. “It’s about having a mix of capabilities.”

In this week’s IBF Live broadcast, the hosts toured two intranets that placed more focus on organizing documents and making them easy to find than social bells and whistles. Robertson said that’s a good thing for those companies, a supplier and a law firm.

“Maybe they should be focusing on that instead of some casual idea of making things more like Facebook,” he said.

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