Intranets and Internal Communication

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Steve Ressler 8 years, 2 months ago.

  • Author
  • #157782

    Taryn McKinnon

    We’ve recently launched a new intranet for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at DOE, and we’ve been doing tons of research on intranet best practices, ways to incorporate social media tools, and other ways to keep the intranet content, fresh, up to date, and comprehensive. The response to the re-launched site has been great so far and we really think the intranet can be a useful first-stop for EERE employees.

    However, in all of our research on intranets, we haven’t found anything on federal internal websites. All of the studies seem to focus on private companies.As such, we are trying to initiate a benchmarking study by speaking with intranet managers at other agencies.

    Does anyone have an intranet at their office that they think works particularly well? Are you an intranet manager who would like to participate in our study? Our end goal is to compile a best practices document to share with all the participating agencies.

  • #157806

    Steve Ressler
  • #157804

    Steve Cottle

    Hi Taryn, I just linked to this discussion there, but you might also try folks in the Internal Communications group:

  • #157802

    Deb Green

    Taryn, I’m also interested in this topic and posted a blog about it myself just last week.

    I’m over at FAA (down the street from DOE!) and would love to partner with you on this undertaking.

  • #157800

    Taryn McKinnon

    Great links; thanks!

  • #157798

    Taryn McKinnon

    Hi Steve. That’s a great suggestion. Thanks for the link!

  • #157796

    Taryn McKinnon

    Hi Deb, Thanks for the link to your blog post! Very interesting. We did a whole separate study on integrating web 2.0 tools and social media concepts into the intranet, so we’re moving forward with a few of those items currently (although, again, all of that research was centered on private companies). This effort is going to be much larger in scope, taking a more holistic look at intranets. We would love to hear more about what you have to say–I’ll message you directly so we can talk further!

  • #157794

    Nena Moss

    I’ll be watching this with interest. We’re moving our Intranet into Drupal, and have two big challenges: 1) researching and choosing appropriate Drupal modules and 2) improving information hierarchy for increased usability. Great examples are always helpful!

  • #157792

    Greg Dimeris

    From my experience (personal use and in non-profit settings) Drupal adds tremendous flexibility to intranet collaboration. Drupal’s Views and Taxonomy should handily take care of the information hierarchy and usability. That’s Drupal’s core strength.

    It’s hard to recommend specific modules since there are so many categories, but depending on what version of Drupal you’ve installed, I’d search for “social” (privatemsg comes to mind) in the modules area.

    Open Atrium’s site and Acquia’s site offer glimpses of what Drupal can do for team collaboration and intranets.

  • #157790

    Taryn McKinnon

    Hi Nena, we built out the new site in Drupal as well. Before we chose any modules or designed a new information architecture, we took on a full usability study, interviewing several members throughout the office to get a sense of their top tasks, as well as their wants and needs from the new site. We ended up with a mostly task based architecture, rather than grouping things based on the structure of the organization, but we’re looking forward to finding out how other agencies have done it!

  • #157788

    Google Sites and Docs. Incredibly helpful and reduces email vastly. Easy to learn, use. Everybody on the same page. A true productivity enhancer and collaboration builder.

  • #157786

    Joe Flood

    Yes! Google Sites is really easy. Anyone can figure out how to create pages, add links and docs, etc… I don’t understand why more people don’t use it.

  • #157784

    Greg Dimeris

    I think Taryn mentioned that they built their site in Drupal already, so I don’t see the need to compare any platforms. Google Sites might be OK if you want a very simple, non-relational database, but there are numerous deal-breakers, compared to open-source content management systems.

    GoogleSites might be better for sites that aren’t going to change much. I’m pretty sure Google Sites do not support databases or PHP, so a vast number of online resources that do use relational databases are useless with Google Sites.
    Drupal is extensible by nature and can use all APIs and other esources available from Google, Yahoo as well as work with many programming languages. In the end, it’s always useful to do as Taryn suggested:

    …took on a full usability study, interviewing several members throughout the office to get a sense of their top tasks, as well as their wants and needs from the new site

    That really is the key starting point.

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