Intranet Now 2017: tales from the front line

So, on Thursday the intranet crowd gathered at the Hilton Bankside hotel in Southwark to mark the fourth edition of Intranet Now – the go-to conference for everything intranet related. Wedge and Brian were meticulous as ever in the organisation of the event and are due a big thank you from all the participants, despite the out of place prawns as a mid-morning snack?

At EasySharePoint we’ve been leading the charge with SharePoint intranet deployments for many years now and find ourselves on the front-lines of the uphill battle organisations can face when making the case for an effective modern intranet.

Intranet Now 2017

What makes an effective intranet? If you watched Martin White dance around with his ribbons you might say that the search function is the most important element. Rita Zonius would have us believe that enterprise social networks and organisational culture are integral to a successful social intranet. Our own Sarah Blackburn spoke of the importance of an incentivised champions’ network who will help pilot and roll-out your ultimate go-live date.

Martyn Perks spoke eloquently about the end of governance, which represented a rather extreme libertarian position on user-generated content and quick movement. At EasyShare we still believe in governance rest-assured however Martyn highlighted a key failing of many intranet projects in that the ground-work and red-tape distracts from and ultimately de-rails the project itself – echoing Sasha DeSpeville’s talk last year: sometimes intranet projects are just about having the courage to take the plunge and react quickly to organisational needs.

Intranet Now 2017

We saw a number of home-pages on the day and noticed that many of the more recent projects have shifted towards a more task-focused home page and information architecture as opposed to the traditional departmental model.

However, my biggest take away was that the challenges faced by intranet practitioners are the same today as they were 5 years ago. Users have become more demanding as technology has advanced but everyone is looking to improve search (to the extent that some demand Google-level optimisation) everyone wants a slick user interface, everyone wants a navigation structure that reflects what the organisation needs – with more and more emphasis being put on targeted and personalised content.

Among the lighting talks I found those delivered by vendors and consultants to be the most interesting. This could stem from the fact that intranet consultants have many many more projects under their belt and share their lessons learnt with delegates. Ultimately, we’re looking to hear about what they found difficult so that we can improve our offering to help address their needs.

A successful conference was topped off with drinks and canapes upstairs, thank you to the Digital Workplace Group for the after event DJ and party.

Intranet Now 2017

Finally – thank you to all of our friends and clients who joined us on the day. You’re the reason we come to the office every day and it was lovely to meet you.

See you next year

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