Tools & Technologies

The Intranet Management Handbook -Part 4. Governance and Strategy

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 4 – Governance and Strategy. See elsewhere for comments on Part 1 – Foundations, Part 2 – Technology, and Part 3 – Operational Planning.

1. There are three chapters in Part 4 – chapter 16 on Creating the governance framework, chapter 17 on Developing an intranet strategy, and chapter 18 on From intranets to information management. Although it’s not part of Part 4, the book also has an appendix that deals with social media use inside the organization. I’ll cover the appendix in this post too.

2. Chapter 16 addresses the creation of a governance framework. Governance, as Martin says, it a way-overused buzzword, so he starts by defining what he sees governance as: “putting in place procedures to ensure that the people making decisions, (a) have the authority to do so, (b) have all the relevant information before making the decision, (c) are aware of the impact of the decision on all who may be affected, and (d) keep a clear record of the decision.” It’s all about decision rights to do with Intranets! Martin then talks about four factors that bring divergence around the intranet, and then how a governance structure counteracts those forces to bring convergence. Intranet ownership is discussed, and why having ownership with IT, Corporate Communications, and HR can be problematic. The chapter covers a raft of other topics, including models for making decisions.

3. Chapter 17 focuses on the creation of an Intranet strategy. Martin begins by reviewing five major economic trends, and then looks at how to structure an Intranet strategy. As he points out at the end, the “greatest opportunity and the greatest challenge for intranet managers will be to adapt the intranet to the way in which people will work in the future.” So add “visionary” to the list of responsibilities for the Intranet manager!

4. The final chapter of the book, Chapter 18, is like having the statesman of Intranets paint the bigger picture. It’s not just about “Intranets” everyone – it’s about “information management” much more widely within the organization – and few people and organizations are doing this effectively. Martin talks about the challenges of managing information more broadly, what an information charter for a firm could look like, and finishes with a framework for an information management strategy. The framework is spread over 8 pages, and does a good job of giving a higher-level view. If you buy the book for nothing else, but it for this!

5. With the four parts of the book finished per se, Martin includes one final piece – an appendix on guidelines for social media use. With social media being “the new kid on the block” for many organizations, the appendix synthesizes many ideas from different sources, and provides a primer for intranet managers working through what social media means to their organizations.

That’s the end of Martin’s book. I have tried to pull out the highlights, and show that there’s a lot of value in these pages. Now it’s your turn – if this book would help you in your work, see the ordering page at Facet Publishing.

Categories: Tools & Technologies

1 reply »

  1. Thanks for these fantastic reviews of the book Michael, now I just need to wait for the book to arrive.
    Resources like this are a god send, especially for places like here in New Zealand when there aren’t many visible Intranet practitioners around to bounce ideas off etc.