They walk the halls whispering the benefits of using the intranet. They hold our hands when we think we’ve blown it up. They sit in meetings talking about governance and user adoption.
They’re in our presence every day. But what exactly do intranet managers do anyway?
I posted the following question on the Intranet Professionals group on LinkedIn:
The answers I got seemed disparate but upon closer inspection, they fall into these general classifications:
Intranet managers spend a lot of their working time turning their company’s intranet strategy into reality: “translating the goals of the top management team and end users into practical sites, functions, tools and resources,” as Patrik Bergman, Global Intranet Editor at Axis Communications, says.
Indeed, much of this work is technical. For example, Pamela Minnoch, Online Communications and Intranet Manager, is currently “working on wireframes and requirements for a re-development.”
Implementing the intranet strategy also involves working with users, particularly intranet authors. Gunther Payne, General Intranet Manager, needs to be “constantly available” to all 95 of his company intranet’s users. “They have to be trained, supported and motivated all the time.”
For Bergman, this often takes the form of “face-to-face meetings, and answering or re-routing all sorts of questions.”
A significant part of an intranet manager’s work is policing the intranet, “to keep everyone operating within governance,” as Dawn Ronco, Manager of Intranet Communications at First Citizens Bank, says. Similarly, Payne admits to having to “correct them if they don’t follow the guidelines.”
As if the first two functions weren’t enough, many intranet managers also have the role of creating intranet content themselves. Ronco, for example, oversees her company’s intranet news function.
Another large chunk of an intranet manager’s work requires collaboration. They have to be champions and models of collaboration to get their jobs done. Bergman collaborates “with the rest of the team so we constantly add only the things that make people’s daily work more efficient.”
The most common collaboration needs to take place with the IT department. Payne calls this the “eternal but necessary struggle with the IT department.” Payne adds, “Technically, anything is possible, but does it enter in the framework of our budget and timeline?”
Ronco also says she “constantly run(s) into technical issues due to server changes and security issues” — which require support from IT.
Finally, Payne says, part of his job is defining “a long term view.”
Technologies are ever changing, users’ needs are evolving, possibilities are always appearing. Intranet managers lead their companies in dreaming up scenarios they may never have even thought they wanted.
From this small peek into an intranet manager’s life, it’s easy to see that intranet managers are special. They are both dreamers and doers. Both tech-savvy and a people-savvy.
How about you? What three tasks take up the most of your time?
Share them in the comments below. Or join us on LinkedIn and post your answers there.
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