The Intranet Management Handbook – Part 2. Technology

I wrote a few days ago that Martin White has a new book out, called The Intranet Management Handbook. For me, this is great timing due to a couple of client projects I’m working on at the moment, and thus have been deeply reading Martin’s book.

The book is divided into four parts:
– 1. Foundations
– 2. Technology
– 3. Operational Planning
– 4. Governance and Strategy

Here are my comments on Part 2 – Technology. See elsewhere for comments on Part 1 – Foundations.

1. There are three chapters in Part 2. Chapter 6 talks about managing Intranet technology. Chapter 7 focuses on specifying and selecting software. And chapter 8, due to the prominence of SharePoint in the market, highlights some concerns and challenges with using SharePoint for intranets.

2. In Chapter 6, Martin catalogues a list of technology issues the intranet manager will have to be aware of. He talks about technologies like Web content management and why products that address public web sites may not be well suited to intranets. He touches on multiple factors, and I felt that a table to summarize his points and the differences would have been a valuable addition. He notes the difference between customization and personalization, and sounds some warning bells on the latter especially. The chapter also touches on search (one of Martin’s key areas), cloud services, social media and collaboration, and mobile access. It was interesting for me to read Martin’s comments about HP’s purchase of Palm and the Web OS operating system, but it will be more interesting to see whether HP can rise from the dead in the mobile devices market. While HP’s current line-up looks attractive on one level, they appear dead in the water to me. Regardless, for Intranet Managers who do not have a strong technology foundation, or who need to understand the technology of Intranets within the context of wider technology issues, Chapter 6 lays out key aspects to explore.

3. In Chapter 7, on Specifying and selecting software, Martin includes a list of decision factors to consider – only a few of which are about the technology per se – and then puts his attention to the challenges of migrating content to new systems, what an RFP should look like, and ends with a few comments on selecting a search application.

4. In the chapter on SharePoint, Chapter 8, Martin opens with this sentence: “The global adoption of Microsoft SharePoint by organizations of all sizes means that in a book that is in other respects resolutely vendor neutral it is important to highlight the benefits and issues that arise when considering the use of SharePoint for an intranet.” He goes on to set the context by saying that frequently the IT department buys SharePoint without talking with the business, and thus the technology is forced on intranet managers. “Deal with it” appears to be the phrase of the day! In the chapter, Martin outlines various ideas on SharePoint best practice, five key issues to deal with when planning a SharePoint implementation – including a call-out to my Site Creation Rights report in issue 3 – and ends with an examination of search in SharePoint 2010. Martin has written much longer SharePoint 2007 and 2010 reports for the Intranet Benchmarking Forum that have a lot more detail, so this chapter offers a slice of his analysis, and again, for Intranet Managers faced with a SharePoint invasion, a number of starting points to work through.

That’s Part 2 on Technology. The next two are on Operational Planning (Part 3) and Governance and Strategy (Part 4). If this book would help you in your work, see Facet Publishing.

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