Help! I need a new intranet but don’t know where to start

Need a new intranet? Well, you’ve come to the right place! We know that securing buy-in for a new intranet can be challenging and a little daunting. With multiple stakeholders to convince, some of whom won’t see its value, it might seem like you’ve got your work cut out. But, like anything, if you tackle it in small, manageable chunks, it won’t seem so intimidating.

In this blog, we’ve outlined the initial steps you need to take to get your new intranet project off the ground in simple, tried and tested steps.


Identify your current challenges

Start by examining the challenges you’re currently facing, which will typically look like one of the following four scenarios…

1. No existing intranet

With no central space to share news and information, you’re probably relying heavily on email for your internal communication.

Whilst email may be effective as a one-to-many form of communication, it’s not a channel that stores information and often employees receive so many of them, important messages often get ‘lost’ in people’s inboxes.

With no existing intranet, it’s likely that some employees are going rogue with shadow IT or using Facebook or WhatsApp groups, meaning governance and security is an issue.


2. SharePoint as an intranet

Your organisation has a Microsoft 365 licence, and you’re using basic SharePoint as an intranet.

Whilst SharePoint was relatively easy to get up and running and publish content on in the beginning, now down the line, your content is sprawled everywhere making it hard to manage and maintain.

Coupled with poor employee engagement, it’s likely your intranet has become the place where content goes to die.


3. On-premises, custom-built legacy platform as intranet

You’re using custom-built, on-premises intranet due to security, governance and data residency concerns.

But as it’s got older, it’s lacking in the features of a modern intranet (e.g., mobile), is becoming clunky to use, and costly to run and maintain.

You’ve no collaboration tools nor mobile provision for your front-line workers or those working in the field. Search isn’t great, so you’re sitting on years of corporate data, that’s buried away in inaccessible files.


4. Have a third-party SaaS, non-Microsoft solution

Your company panic bought a brand-new third-party intranet solution in 2020 at the beginning of the Covid pandemic. At the start it had lots of promise. Lots of shiny new features.

Yet, three years in, it’s not working nor achieving the results expected. Your IT team is progressing a Microsoft 365 strategy – and as this intranet came alongside it – it has integration problems.

Worryingly, your data is being stored in a third-party’s cloud and is completely detached from what your organisation is trying to achieve with Microsoft 365.


Next steps for a new intranet

Whatever your starting point, you’ll need to justify why you need a new intranet. Take the relevant information from the above scenarios and couple it with additional research.

A successful intranet project shouldn’t just focus on one area or solve one department’s needs. Map out how it will help solve multiple stakeholder’s concerns to keep everyone onboard and supportive throughout.


So, here’s what you need to do before going any further:

Survey, observe, talk

You’ll need to really drill down and identify the specific challenges in a way that will help you build a compelling business case and convince your colleagues that a new intranet is a worthwhile investment. It takes time but doing the following groundwork up front will serve you well later down the line.

1. Survey

Identify trusted colleagues in each department and survey them on areas like the platforms they’re currently using to do their jobs, what their challenges are, where they go to find information and how easy that is.


2. Observe

On the days you’re in the office, observe how information is shared. E.g., is there a noticeboard and how do people communicate in the communal areas? Plus, how are colleagues engaging with your existing platform, if you have one.


3. Talk

Arrange to meet heads of department and talk to them about their current challenges. Then talk to employees in the same departments and ask how they work and their thoughts on the current system.

To get sign off for your new intranet you’ll need to demonstrate how it will add value to your organisation. The finance director receives lots of requests from competing departments, so your business case will need to include why your project deserves time and budget. By following these three steps, you’ll be able to identify the pain points for each department, the findings of which will help to form the basis of your business case.

To find out how to document your research, plus additional resources, such as employee surveys, and tips, tricks and templates for completing and presenting your new intranet business case, download our free eBook on Building a business case for a new intranet.