What Functionality and Content Should I Add to My Intranet: Part 7: Administrative Department Content

This is Part 7 of the “What Functionality and Content Should I Add to My Intranet” series.  To view previous parts of the series, click on Series link listed under pages on the right or use the link in the first sentence.

In my last post, I covered law firm intranet content for client pages.  This part of the series will focus on content for external users of administrative department pages.  The next post -Part 8 will focus on the internal users of administrative pages.

Both administrative department pages and practice group/area pages have two audiences.  For the practice group/area, the audiences include individuals internal to the group/area and individuals external to the group who need information or assistance about the practice and its lawyers.  For the administrative department pages, the audiences are the individuals internal to the department and individuals who need information or assistance from the department.

The function of both these types of pages is to market to and provide assistance to external users while providing internal users the functionality and content needed to do their work.  To satisfy both audiences for the administrative department pages access to be given to users in the following manners:

Access by role  – Is the user viewing the page a department member.  If they are, give them a different view of the page that include links to information and functionality they need to do their work.  If no, give them access to content developed for external users.

Access by secured groups – Has the user been added to a security group that can see the link.  If yes, it would give them a link that would take them to their internal page along with the content developed for external users.  If no, hide the link.

Note:  In both cases, you would be using Active Directory or some other means to authenticate your users by identifying them using their network login id.

Aside from the differences already mentioned, these administrative pages will be different for each office. Additionally, you may want to provide a page for each department and for departments within departments because lawyers and staff tend to think of each administrative team as a department.  For example, the lawyer recruiting team may be part of human resources but are generally seen by the lawyers as a separate unit.

As with the client pages, while I write about an administrative department page, it could be a page with many supporting pages.  Also, I am only talking about the content for these pages but some of the content could be integrated into other parts of the intranet or to a personalized page for each user.  For example, all department training calendars and documentation could be listed by department and by the use of a firm-wide training calendar.

What content might be included?  Here’s a list of ideas for content for external users.  Again, it is only a beginning.  Content for internal users in groups and departments will be covered in a separate post.

All Departments

  • Staff list with links to staff directory (or link to staff directory with results limited to practice group)
  • Services FAQ with contact info (who to call)
  • Policies/Procedures – these items could be provided in a list or integrated into a workflow
  • Forms (these are administrative forms the firm uses to conduct business) – Rather than just provide a list of forms, you could provide access by a “How do I label” where the users will be given access to a page or pages that have both instructions and the form for an individual task.
  • Case studies or testimonial pages
  • Suggestion “box”
  • Online intake form to use in requesting services

Accounting/Finance

  • Client/Matter lookup
    • Search by client and/or matter number that returns client/matter name, responsible lawyer, etc.
  • Link to accounting application if web interface is used by firm
    • i.e. Elite, CMS Professional, etc.
  • Business intelligence reports
  • Open matter or New matter intake form

Library/Information Resources

This is not a research task page.  It is a page that is used to market the libraries services and provide access to policies, forms, etc.  I will be creating a post that covers the research page/portal separately.

  • Library catalog
  • List of electronic resources accessible by practice group/area and title with information about each application with links to training manuals and opportunities for training and/or online training
  • List of journals
  • Training calendar – as with the training calendars listed for other departments on this post, each session on the calendar could provide a description of what will be covered in the session with the ability to register
  • Access to online training
  • Suggestions for research work flows depending on the type of research being done
  • Best practices for conducting research
  • Copyright compliance instructions

Human Resources

  • Link to any web application HR may make available to lawyers and staff (timesheets, vacation balances, etc.)
  • Training calendar
  • Firm Polices (staff and/or lawyer policies)
  • Benefits
  • Open positions
  • Manuals for staff, supervisors, etc.
  • Curricula – for any program the firm offers to staff that allows them to develop skills that they need or that they can use to better themselves
  • Training calendar
  • Access to online training

Information Technology

  • List of applications IT supports with information about each application with links to training manuals and opportunities for training and/or online training
  • Training calendar
  • Help desk information
  • Access to online training

Litigation support (may be called by other names)

  • List of or access to all applications supported by Litigation Support with information about each application with links to training manuals and opportunities for training and/or online training
  • Request form for electronic filing userids/passwords for federal and state courts if applicable
  • Training calendar

Facilities

  • Access to conference room scheduler
  • Floor maps for each office
  • Description of any services provided by facilities – for example, I’ve seen where one of the most important part of facilities content at one firm was the list of pop/soda machines in the office, their locations, and the type of pop/soda they contain

Office Services (could be part of HR or Facilities)

  • Hospitality content
  • Mail room content
  • Telephone information
  • Document services information

Marketing

  • Link to CRM system if firm has one that is web-based for end users
  • Access to proposal writer if applicable
  • Previous responses to RFPs
  • Collateral
  • Top XX client list
  • Firm and group marketing target lists

Training/Professional development (Maybe part of HR or other departments)

  • Training staff
  • Training courses (any course provided regardless if it is on the schedule)
  • Training sessions calendar (Lawyer, Paralegal, LAA, Professional Development, Soft Skills, Research, Computer)

I am not including everything that could be included on each departments page as this post has to end sometime.  What I would like to see is your ideas.  Please use the comment feature to add to the content listed above as well as functionality.

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