Friday Roundup April 29 2011

Another Friday and a few more articles worth reading:

James Robertson (Step Two Designs) produces another winner Column Two blog post with Planning your SharePoint intranet project where he provides best practice methodology as he admonishes:

SharePoint does, however, introduce some new questions into the intranet planning process. The greatest strength of SharePoint is its breadth of functionality, from content publishing and collaboration, to CRM and application development.

It is this wide range of capabilities that can be so daunting for many teams. Without a clear plan, the results can become a little bit of everything, but no one clear and compelling success.

Stephen Byrne (also from Step Two) follows suit with Listening for intranet success.  He discusses soft skills needed to create a successful intranet:

  • building and maintaining stakeholder relationships and networks
  • coaching and inspiring others
  • building trust during periods of change
  • using people-centred research techniques such as interviewing, focus groups, facilitated workshops or anecdote circles

and points out that listening is the most important skill to use when undertaking the tasks listed above.

While a bit dated (written in Feb) Toby Ward’s CMS Wire article, Small Business Intranets, There’s More Than SharePoint, provides good alternatives for firms that don’t think of their IT departments as development groups.  He quotes Michael Jones:

“SharePoint is most certainly overkill in most cases,” says Michael Jones, Marketing Coordinator for The ADWEB Agency that produces Intranet DASHBOARD, an Australian-based intranet solution. “It’s like using a commercial harvester to prune your roses, or implementing SAP at your local convenience store. SharePoint is effectively a development platform which companies can use to create an intranet, but unless they have complex custom requirements (and a large development budget), SharePoint isn’t the right tool to use.”

and points out that “the price tag of an SP intranet for 100 employees is often in the US$ 10,000 to $30,000 range.” 

SharePoint can be a very expensive proposition.  I know some larger firms that budgeted $1,000,000+ for their SP initiative.  I’ve also heard of other firms that found that SharePoint was a bit like the old house in the movie, The Money Pit.

On his own blog, Intranet Blog, Toby Ward provides tips on how to get support for your project in Selling intranet 2.0 to executives.   He followed the post with a webinar,  Strategies for Selling Social Media to Target Audiences in Your Organization, where he and Shel Holz covered:

  • How exactly engaged employees contribute to your business.
  • How to determine the best mix of communications tools to meet the needs of different employees (e.g. which medium for which message).
  • Overcoming the challenges of using social media in multinational organizations.
  • Different social media platforms for different environments.
  • Case studies examples from leading companies

Have you read an article, seen a presentation, etc. that you felt was particularly valuable?  If so, I would love to hear about them via the comments!

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