4 stages of intranet maturity

4 stages of intranet maturity

European intranet expert Jane McConnell has defined 3 stages of intranet maturity. So what’s next for the organisations that have reached stage 3? Lately, I’ve been discussing this with several of our intranet community of practice members and it seems like even the best intranets still have many areas in which they can improve.

Here’s a brief description of the 3 stages of intranet maturity as defined by Jane;
» Stage 1 is where the intranet will become the “way of working” in 3 or 4 years or more. These intranets show signs of lack of strategy, a low level of resources and a very low degree of management attention.
» Stage 2 is an intermediary stage where the intranet will become the “way of working” in 1 or 2 years. These organizations reported major leaps in the last 12 months in key areas such as the integration of business applications into the intranet.
» Stage 3 is reached when the intranet is the “way of working” today. These intranets have reached a high degree of maturity and purpose. If the intranet “goes down” for 1 or 2 hours, 90 percent are disrupted in daily work activities.

For a more detailed description of each stage, see Jane’s posting on Global Intranet Trends for 2009 – Highlights.

Several of those that consider their organisation at Stage 3 have told me that the intranet journey has continued to present them with new and interesting challenges. To be fair, the general problem with maturity models also applies to intranets: While some intranet managers might consider their organisation to have arrived at Stage 3, several sections, departments, divisions or subsidiaries might still be at a lower level.

A new and final (?) stage could be defined as:
» Stage 4 is when the intranet has been the “way of working” for 1 to 2 years

From the few conversations I’ve had with intranet managers on this topic, I’ve extracted these characteristics of Stage 4 intranets:
» They lead in use of collaboration and have more contributors than earlier stage intranets
» Management might consider that “the intranet has achieved the results we wanted it to – job done” and seriously slaughter the intranet team. With the downturn in the global economy more Stage 4 intranets are vulnerable to this.
» They are still plagued by usability problems, eg. with specific applications that require significant training, are not accessible for users with disabilities or simply too complex to use
» There is an increased organisational awareness of intranet toolbox, e.g. when to use which blogs or when to use a wiki
» Has something like an intranet mantra or internal intranet award, which acts as a catalyst for intranet support

What do you see as the main challenges for Stage 4 intranets?

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