Building an intranet through mutual respect and understanding

I’d just like to go on record: Toby Ward talks sense (well most of the time anyway). In a recent post, Toby discusses the language barrier between two groups who frequently get involved in intranet deployments – IT and Internal Comms (Toby actually uses HR as his example). I’ve had similar experiences with IC and IT, and the relationship between them can make or break a project.

However, I don’t think it’s enough for the communicators to put themselves in the shoes of the other party. Mutual respect fills in a big part of the communication gap, but there also needs to be recognition of the strengths and weaknesses of each group.

In general I’ve found that Internal Comms are the visionaries and IT are the pragmatists. The groups can work really well together as long as they play to each other’s strengths. I’ve seen intranet projects go badly off-track when the visionaries are expected to produce GANTT charts or the techies lead the design.

All I would say is that completing an effective intranet without both teams is pretty much impossible. So having everyone involved from the start, and defining roles up-front is the first step towards the perfect intranet.

The other thing that I’ve found is that most of my clients (IC and IT) aren’t prepared for the level of detail that’s involved in putting together an intranet, but that’s a subject for another post.

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