1. Reply

    Thanks Bas!

    Agree, I think a wiki would be perfect for a project like this.

  2. Reply

    Kristian, I like your idea and you cover many of the bases already. I’d add a few things:

    1) A chapter about user adoption. One thing is to create an intranet – another is to get people to use it. No doubt that it will be touched when discussing management buy-in, but it’s still two different things.

    2) A word or two about social features and how this affects the intranet. This could even be a section about future trends.

    3) The intranet roles could be expanded by an Intranet Analyst. I don’t think it’s a common role, but that’s actually a pity in this world of ROI :-)

    • Reply

      Great additions! They are already in the outline. Thanks Martin.

    • Reply

      A small addition that I just thought about this morning: Maybe the “User adoption” part should be named “Intranet Marketing”. This is essentially what it is, and will also cover a wider range of launch activities.

      Agree with Bas – a wiki would be ideal!

      • Reply

        Good point Martin. I think it’s good to have both even though they are interconnected i think they have slightly different connotations. As I think about it, marketing is more of a (sender) management perspective (why we think you should use the intranet) while user adoption is more about the user perspective and the user incentives (why should I use the intranet).

        • Reply

          Again we find ourselves in agreement :-)

          Marketing is about creating awareness – only then you can start teaching people how to use it. Actually it’s just like marketing any other (new) product…

    • Reply

      Social Intranet is definitely to be included, but not as future trend, but current. cheers

      • Reply

        I have put it under “Understanding what the organisation wants from the intranet” with the chapter name “Social dimension”.

  3. Reply

    What would you want from an introduction to Intranets book? – Kristian Norling…

    This article has been submitted to IntranetLounge, a website with a collection of links to the best articles about intranets…

  4. Reply

    Great idea.

    I would suggest a wiki that anyone can edit. I believe the ‘intranet community’ is large enough and many people can add stuff, rewrite and curate if needed.

    • Reply

      Thanks Bas!

      Agree, I think a wiki would be perfect for a project like this.

      • Reply

        Agree. Wiki would be great. I’m also more than happy to set up and host the wiki too if you’d like Kristian.

  5. Reply

    A few more possible topics:

    International intranets (Multi-language and multi-culture)

    • Reply

      Thanks James! Your suggested topics will of course be added. You have an idea under which sections/chapters to put the topics, and should there be a new section “International intranets”?

  6. Reply

    Good initiative. I see some point in the above contents that may lead to some pitfalls we have inherited from old communication models. Eg. it is (in my opinion) questionalble whether content management is a function of intranet. I would argue against that. Content management is part of the job yes. Keep in mind what a function is, what a functionality and what is functional. Too often content management has escalated as the main purpose of intranet, with a focus on journalism, writing courses, editing boards, guidelines, committees. Terminology is key in order to make strategic argumenationts stick.

    • Reply

      Thanks Luc. Good arguments. I agree with you reg. the traditional role of CM as the intranet, when the intranet actually is so much more. Please bear in mind that this is just an outline and that together, with the help of you and many others, we can make this something great.

      You have, indirectly, pointed out something that is sorely missing in the outline, a history of intranets, which also will describe the evolution of intranets from brochure to the digital workplace.

      My personal definition of an intranet encompasses plenty of stuff, where content management is only a minor part, though in practice and for historical reasons it is important. Way more important is the information flow, findability and contextual presentation of both information and services based on time and space, your personal preferences, job description, organisational and geographical location.

  7. Reply

    Kristian, excellent idea. It would be a way for all of us to practice what we preach in collaborative working!

    How about adding some of the following ideas:

    Section: Managing the intranet
    – Entry point (home page) strategies and models
    – Customization and personalization

    Maybe modify the title “Understanding what the org wants from the intranet” to include “impact on the organization” (long, but then you can add:)
    – Changing roles for Communication, IT, HR
    – Middle management adoption

    I suggest being more specific under “social” and separating “social features” (blogging, wikis, commenting, etc.) from social networking. The latter comes much later in my experience and has a greater impact on the organization. The former can be “injected” (thx Martin!) throughout the intranet, therefore is less of a cross-organizational challenge. And less of a “concern” for management!

    In fact, I would put the social dimension as a separate chapter today, although in a few years it will be a natural part of the intranet. Ii raises so many issues in terms of governance and management as well as tool selection that it temporarily deserves its own session.

    Section: Organisation > team roles. Add: Decentralizing intranet roles or managing decentralized roles

    Section: Managing the intranet. Add: Evaluation techniques

    Future trends: I would add
    – Collective thinking (ideation, prediction markets)
    – Could put social networking here, as very few organizations actually have it today and it is clearly a trend

    When do you plan to open the wiki?

    • Reply

      Thanks Jane for your thoughtful comments, great! I’m really glad you like the project idea.

      I have added all your suggestions to the outline, since they were v.good and made perfect sense. I did also make a separate chapter for “The Social dimension”, although that was after some considering. But I agree with you that at this point in time, it’s the right thing to do.

      The project is started, some really good people have joined. The last few days we have been working on setting up the wiki and other support systems so that the wiki can open soon.

  8. Reply

    I really like your idea. Last year for the first time I worked with a company that had 260 offices in 61 countries but no intranet, and it was very difficult explaining what an intranet was, and how it was different to a web site.

    Look carefully at that Amazon list. You’ll find that most intranet books date back to the period from 1999-2002, and that many others have only passing references to intranets. Looking at the first page on Amazon, if they are the most relevant then what about the books at rank 50 downwards!

    What I was delighted to see was that your list of contents is pretty close to the contents list in The Intranet Management Handbook, which should be available in a couple of weeks. The persona I wrote it for was for someone from an internal comms or perhaps IT department that knew about web management but very little about intranets. What I left out was how to design an intranet as James Robertson has done a superb job with his new book. In your contents list there are just over 90 headings, so that means no more than 2 pages a topic, including screen shots. One of my previous books, The Content Management Handbook ran to over 200 pages on just how to select a CMS and Making Search Work was a similiar length. My new book runs to 240 pages and around 65000 words, and that is without any discussion of information architecture, design, home pages etc. I fully realise that there are some areas, notably social media, that do not perhaps have the coverage they should have, and only at the last minute did I manage to add in a short section about enterprise mobility, which is going to be huge in 2011.

    I also had in mind students on information management and information science courses. They will of course be used to the intranet at their college or university, but have no idea about what life is like running an intranet in an organisation.

    The biggest single challenge in writing a book about intranets is getting permission from organisations to reproduce their intranet sites, especially if they need improvement. The Nielsen Norman Group does reproduce many screen shots in their Intranet Design Annual reports (the 2011 edition is just out) and James Robertson has some derived from his Intranet Innovation Awards.

    The market for intranet information is vast. My guess is that there are probably at least 300,000 intranets in the EU, and although it would be nice if I sold 300,000 books that is rather unlikely.

    I hope you will buy a copy of my book, and let me know what is missing, or not written about in enough detail. On the Intranet Focus Ltd web site there is a section that I will be using to update the Handbook, and you will find the contents list at

    • Reply

      I value your insights and comments. Also glad you like the idea. Thank you very much Martin. And I *will* buy a copy of your book as soon as I can order it.

      I also recognize the problem keeping a book like this short. As you pointed out, there is not room in the book for all the chapters. One solution might be to have most case studies in the wiki and refer to them from the book. I think the project will come up with a good solution for this.

      It would be great if the wiki became a sort of landing site, for intranet information at an introductory level, and from there serve the readers with plenty of links to other good, intermediate and expert intranet knowledge. Seems like good idea to me.

      Since the wiki is supposed to be a crowdsourced, collaborative effort. Everyone can pitch in and add links and references to further reading. Hopefully this will lead to practitioners being able to add screenshots etc. from their own intranets, as they write their case studies. Time will tell. It’s worth giving it a try.

      Martin, we’d be happy if you liked to share your knowledge and contribute to the project. That would be plain awesome.

  9. Reply

    I’ll echo the other comments: it would be great to have all this information pulled into a single source! Not a small book, however, if it’s to cover all those topics … :-)

    Happy to be involved, to contribute content, and to support the project in any way that would be useful.

    PS. have you looked at the deliberately small intranet introduction that I published a year ago: “What every intranet team should know”

    I’d be happy to mail you a copy in return for a book review, and it might spark further ideas on how to structure your work :-)

    Keep me in the loop!

    • Reply

      Nice to see a couple of international intranet book authors contributing to the thread (and project!)

      It will obviously be an important job deciding what makes it into the 200 pages and what doesn’t. I’ve read your “What every intranet team should know” book – and it surprised me just how brief an intro a 200 page book is.

      What’s important to remember is the multi-lingual aspect. One of Kristians points was how there is little literature available in Swedish on the subject of Intranets. This is the case I imagine (haven’t checked) in many cases – English dominates, naturally.

      There’s a clear benefit from producing something collaborative, and making it available in multiple languages.

      • Reply

        James R-L, I totally agree with you on the multi-lingual aspect of this project. There is great potential for localized versions of the wiki/book.

    • Reply

      James R, thank you. We would be very happy to have you participate in this project! It might, as you point out, be difficult to have all this information in a small book. However I think it would be a very positive thing if the project can do a smallish book that adds extra value by having plenty more to read on the web.

      I’d gladly read your book, I think it surely will will spark ideas for this project.

      The project will be officially launched soon.

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