Finally, organizations are getting serious about how they manage their intranets.

The intranet is now moving out of an evolutionary, experimental phase into a more systematic, managed phase. It is being seen as an asset, a driver of productivity.

However, return on investment measurement for the intranet still requires a lot of work.

The intranet can be a strange place. I remember digging into the intranet of one of the world's largest organizations around 1998. It was quite a trip. Mazes within mazes.

Even in 1998 there was a distinct smell of damp and cobwebbed places, where out-of-date content proliferated.

They say that there's a book inside everyone. Well, the Web let the book out. Some say there's a graphic designer inside everyone, too. Well, the intranet let the graphic designer out.

There should be a Hollywood horror flick titled “Keeping the graphic designer down.” I've seen strange things on intranets: winking eyes, grabbing hands, swirling backgrounds and very creepy sounds.

I sat with clients who told me that the intranet was about self-sustaining communities and self-expression.

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image of Gerry McGovern
Gerry McGovern ( is a content management consultant and author. His latest book is The Stranger's Long Neck: How to Deliver What Your Customers Really Want Online, which teaches unique techniques for identifying and measuring the performance of customers' top tasks.