In many organizations, corporate communications doesn't get a lot of respect. The intranet gives a rare opportunity for corporate communications to get the respect it deserves.
Intranets often struggle because they are not seen as strategic. They are not seen as delivering real value. Senior managers often see them as a peripheral function—a cost that needs to be borne.
There's real work and then there's communications. Actions, of course, speak louder than words. There's the people who get their hands dirty and actually deliver value to the organization, and then there's those who are a drain on resources.
Content is a form of communications, and it's something you store as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Yes, the intranet can have some genuine value, but only where it allows people to access applications.
This is a view of the intranet I have seen change, and I believe it will be a very outdated view in five years. Because by then the intranet will have become like a central nervous system for many of the world's leading organizations. It will be something they simply cannot work without, and corporate communications will be getting respect.
Content, as I have said so many times, is a hidden asset within most organizations. The corporate communications department is ideally placed to tap this hidden asset. Here's how it can do it.
First, you must focus on how content helps staff do their jobs better. Focus on specific tasks that staff do. Isolate how intranet content can make these tasks faster and more efficient.
This is a very different way to use content. It means going for function and becoming much more hard-edged. It means avoiding big fancy images and lofty-sounding words. It's about being practical and relentlessly to the point.