Intranets have evolved beyond the need for document repositories we saw in the 2000s. The Intranet has become what it always conspired to be – a true work tool employees can use to be more effective and drive greater results for an enterprise.

But most attempts at portals, whether it’s used as a source of communication, or a brand resource library, fail spectacularly. Here are some common reasons portals don’t live up to their potential.

Excluding the end user from the process- Portals are underestimated in what they can do and how they can improve organizational effectiveness. This leads to a portal which is forced upon users and adoption suffers as a result. Ensure your users are interviewed, their requirements are addressed, and they get to review design artefacts such as wireframes, visual designs etc. This does two things: the design becomes better, but more importantly it guarantees wide-spread adoption.

Avoiding the power of social – Most enterprises want to empower their employees but a common pushback is when anything social is encouraged – the concern is that the client will have to moderate and pull down inappropriate behavior. But getting back to point 1, about incorporating your users into the process, it’s important to understand that trusting your employees to use social professionally is an important aspect of successful adoption – your employees were hired for a reason, let them use the tools to be effective.

Ownership – It is very important that the Intranet is owned internally by the client, and by the right person. If for example the portal is used to manage a CRM aspect to the business, Customer Relations should own it, if its for Internal Communications, Corporate Affairs is the right choice. Identifying early who owns the Portal is the most important first step in delivering a successful project.

Physicians are terrible patients – Often enterprises attempt to define the user requirements internally and outsource the visual design; often due to portals being seen as low level projects because of a lack of understanding of their true potential. What happens is a consensus, light, opinion on what’s right for the employees rather than a deeper, objective understanding. Fellow employees internally designing a work tool tend not to think beyond the scope of the knowledge of their work environment. Choose a vendor who can act as your collaborative partner, enhance your vision, and execute well.

We have worked with several companies to create successfully adopted employee portals. You can read about our Portal offerings and a sample case study here. For more guidance on how to get started, contact