Tue, 09 June 2009, 9:57 pm
Well, friends I’m nearing the end of the longest web project of my career. When we embarked on creating a new intranet for Hudson North America over two and a half years ago, I would have never predicted that it would take this long. Sure, we wanted to do it right. We engaged an ethnographic researcher to help us uncover the real needs behind the needs of our users. We took those requirements and handed them to a “real” interactive agency to get wireframes for workflows that would address the issues head on. From there, we chose a platform – Sharepoint 2007, no slouch of a platfom to configure, test, customize, and test again. We designed and branded the look and feel twice as the launch pushed through multiple leadership teams and re-branding efforts. It culminates this week with a “Beta” launch of the system via a link from our old intranet, an email from our President and a splashy Camtasia demo I’ve locked myself in my office creating for 4 days.
I’m excited about the prospects of what a “real” intranet can mean for our firm. It can be such a challenge for leaders to wrangle together a cohesive vision from far-flung offices and disparate work processes. Email just isn’t up to the task, and forget about the dreaded weekly conference calls. To create a truly productive and cohesive professional services firm for the long term, I believe your intranet must be robust, comprehensive, and adaptable to the constant change in the business. How else can you retain knowledge in a business with 40% employee turnover? Yet, when you search online for any evidence of staffing firm intranets, there is little to no information. I found a synopsis of Australian Job Board Seek’s Intranet redesign, but I have yet to come across a true staffing service provider’s (If you happen to see any coverage, please do forward me the link).
Is the lack of information an indicator of the staffing industry’s sentiment toward their intranets? Or, is it that everyone believes they have some super-secret formula for success that they are just unwilling to share? I would wager that staffing firms are currently focused on survival rather than productivity, but there are those who will use their intranet to position themselves for long-term success.