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Tips for aligning stakeholders towards a SharePoint intranet revamp

As an intranet manager, you know your organisation’s intranet is woefully underutilised. You know the potential benefits that an untethered SharePoint-powered intranet can bring. You realise that enterprise-wide adoption of the tools available in this next-generation intranet can create a truly collaborative environment, eliminate costly and frustrating redundancies, and speed up administrative processes to vastly improve productivity across your organisation. You know all that. Unfortunately, your colleagues don’t. 

Perhaps more importantly, your manager and a few key stakeholders with the mandate to pull the trigger on the – as far as you’re concerned, desperately needed – revamp of your intranet don’t. How do you convince them? 

The lessons learned from having witnessed this process dozens of times in various consulting roles over the years are here presented as “do’s” and “don’ts” for the goal of achieving approval for the enterprise-wide intranet revamp your organisation needs.

In short, create a directive that drives adoption

Give people a reason to adopt your new tools, by incorporating processes, guidelines and setup procedures with a company vision.

With all the bright capabilities of driving digital transformation through SharePoint document management, Even with a well-tuned SharePoint document management system, there is a big chance that employees will stick to the decentralised way of document management and old collaboration habits.

To prevent that, a company needs to implement a unified document management strategy built around a dedicated solution.

Corporate policies should standardise the document management process and define the optimal ways for employees to create store, and share the corporate document. Train the employees’ new mindset and working style.

Don’t: Start with a financially driven business case report

While it will be a tempting write up a cost-benefit analysis report in which you logically lay out the case for a revamp, in many organisations, this is not the most effective approach. The problem here is that it can be all too easy for the financial gods also, somewhat illogically, reject it.

It’s not that they are incapable of seeing the benefits. It’s just that they have other priorities.

While you may think a rejection of your report is harmless, the truth is, the concrete paper trail established by a formal denial of your story can end up closing doors and shutting down the conversation before it even gets started.

Do: Get the conversation ball rolling

You need to find out how your grand plans for an intranet revamp fit in with your organisation’s overall digitisation strategy. This is crucial for determining the timing and realistic level of comprehensiveness of future revamp proposals.

Talk to as many people as you can about your organisation’s intranet but be sure to frame the conversation as just that: a conversation. You’re not interviewing people and you’re not the head of a fact-finding commission.

Think of yourself as an enthusiastic worker discussing the future intranet’s capabilities. You should attempt to engage in a back and forth where, rather than establishing a paper trail of rejection for the revamp project, you hear from stakeholders in your organisation about the org and tech changes that are in the pipeline. 

Do: Find allies who are passionate about the potential for a revamped intranet

Many organisations have a set-in-stone process for raising ideas, and it often fits into a frustratingly rigid hierarchy. If you’re reading this article, you probably don’t have the cross-department authority even to get your foot in the door. A better strategy is to sow the seeds of change using people who can get your message in front of the right eyes.

In your conversations around the office, seek out people who are sympathetic to your cause.

Specifically, you need an ally in the IT department. This person will be able to keep you informed on related projects, advise on the way to get things done in their department, and, critically, act as a go-between that shields you (and your manager) from the direct rejection that can kill the project before it gets off the ground.

The IT guy informally discussing your intranet revamp ideas amongst his IT colleagues is very different from you, an outsider, coming in with a proposal that may be perceived by some stakeholders as threatening.

Don’t: Focus too much on requirements

Getting a shopping list of demands from each department is a recipe for disaster because it threatens to balloon your initially simply revamp project into a costly overhaul that is all too easy for the higher-ups to reject.

Instead, in your conversations with colleagues, it’s better to focus on the capabilities of a truly integrated SharePoint intranet. This way, stakeholders will gradually come to see the potential it has for the processes, tasks, and challenges specific to their teams and departments.

Do: Communicate the potential benefits and gradually align stakeholders

As your conversations across the workplace progress, you’ll gradually come to a deeper understanding of how each department specifically can leverage the tools available in SharePoint. As someone who understands both the capabilities of SharePoint and how they can be applied to each part of your organisation, you are uniquely qualified to guide the transition to a more digital office.

You should recognise this as your unique value-add in the process. Getting to the point where you have a sufficient level of insider knowledge and connections is, in the end, the thing that will allow you to align enough stakeholders and ultimately accomplish your goal. 

Unsure of the features to include in your SharePoint intranet? Speak with a SharePoint consultant in Melbourne or Sydney to see if you can do more with SharePoint.