How can you guarantee a successful intranet implementation? One of the keys to adoption and success of an intranet are solid design principles.
Spending the required time during the planning phase of your intranet deployment, prior to its release, will pay off if you have implemented well established design principles. This includes, taking into account future use cases as will as any potential changes that may be required down the road. Change is inevitable, so plan for it though the creation of a robust intranet design that will ensure functionality enhancements and architectural changes can be handled easily moving forward.
As part of your intranet planning phase, it is imperative that you select an intranet provider with proven expertise in providing assistance with both design and implementation in order to help you implement a successful intranet design.
The Importance of Intranet Design
As the software architect at Intranet Connections, my job responsibilities include the underlying design and structure of our intranet software. Although my work is not always directly visible to clients, good design helps ensure that our product runs smoothly, is free of bugs, and is easy to enhance. The key to success for both software architecture and for intranet design is one and the same: Take the time to think about and plan your design in advance in order to ensure it is robust enough to support whatever changes that may be encountered in the future.
Poor Design = Failed Projects
Over the course of my career in software development, I have had the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects, for a number of companies, in a variety of industries. Some of these projects were well designed and resulted in successful projects and others projects were not as well designed and resulted in failure. Often, failure is the result of rushed development where the design phase is not given the time it requires because management is in a hurry to see results. Development resources then get added to the project to fix the problems that inevitably result and eventually the project is cancelled, simply because it is costing too much. Taking the time for initial design planning will actually save time and money over the long term.
I am speaking from experience when I say that ensuring that a software team has enough time to put a good design into place can make the difference between success and failure, end of story. The same principle applies to intranet architecture and design implementation. Spending the necessary time up front is worthwhile, even if it means waiting a little longer to see the results. A smoothly running, problem free intranet that also looks great is well worth the initial investment on design.
Successful Intranet Design is Like Building a House
An analogy I like to use when I talk about the importance of good design is that of building a house. Given a piece of property and a pile of materials, if we just start building without first designing something, we likely end up with a big mess. How will the rooms to be laid out? Will there be more than one story? What areas need access to the plumbing and electrical systems? If we don’t think about these questions at the beginning of the project, we are condemning it to failure, and it will certainly never pass inspection! Failing to take into account the design of your intranet means that you run the risk of creating something that is inflexible and difficult to change as your needs change.
Imagine we are building a house a hundred years ago. We have land, materials and trained workers. However, this house is to be wired with electricity which is something no one working on the project has ever done before. Electrical wiring in the home was a pretty new concept in 1913 after all. Once the house is built, would you expect some bugs in the electrical system? Absolutely, and who cares if a few light bulbs don’t work, let’s just hope the house doesn’t burn down!
Today we don’t have these same problems with the electrical systems in houses because over the last hundred years plenty of experience has been accumulated doing this sort of work. We have learned what works and what doesn’t and developed building codes around what we have learned. There are also experts that have experience wiring other houses and who are most familiar with the building codes that relate to electrical systems. In this sense, designing intranets is no different from building a house. There are experts who have designed similar systems before who should be enlisted to help with the intranet’s design
Implementing Your Intranet Design
If you are unsure where to start in implementing your intranet solution, your best resource is your very own intranet provider. With over 14 years of experience in developing and implementing intranet solutions, Intranet Connections can get you started on your best foot with intranet design best practices and intranet implementation advice that will help you avoid any pitfalls that may be encountered further down the line.
Do you have proven intranet design experiences you would like to share? Leave your comments below or send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!