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Intranet Maturity Model: Strong on the Inside

by Randall Craig on September 18, 2015

Filed in: Blog, Digital Strategy, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Web development

Tagged as: , , , ,

Very often marketers look to the logo, web, advertising campaigns, and earned media to execute a brand strategy.  But how might they look internally to do the same?  Or rather, where might they look internally to do the same?

One of the most important systems within an organization is the intranet.  While the external website is usually driven by marketing, the intranet is usually driven by the IT group.  And while many IT groups have refocused into a responsive client-service model, the brand and marketing aspects of the Intranet are not usually job one.  (Brand and marketing are reasonably trumped by security, privacy, functionality,  infrastructure, support, and uptime.)

One way of building a powerful intranet is to use our Intranet Maturity Model.  At each level, there is a certain purpose, but there is also a unique dimension of brand and marketing that can become activated:

Level One – Archive:  At this level, the Intranet functions as an archive:  an online version of a departmental policy book married to current organizational news.  There may also be basic legacy system access, or basic functionality.  The better Level One intranets are organized by target users’ needs, not by publishing department.  If people want to learn about marketing or brand – or see it via a common visual identity, a Level One site delivers.

Level Two – Process re-engineering:  At this level, the organization has used tools (such as Journey Mapping) to examine existing internal processes.  These processes are then improved and rebuilt, with the intranet exposing the data and functionality.  Information is collected, processed, and disseminated more effectively, improving the ability to execute the brand promise.

Level Three – Collaboration:  At this level, the Intranet isn’t just used as a data store or a tool to accomplish a task.  The intranet uses real-time “internal” social media to improve collaboration between people.  To start, it can be as simple as having the ability to comment on a page or “like” it.  A fully implemented Level Three intranet provides strategic competitive advantage.  Tools make it possible, but people make it happen.

This week’s action plan:  How well does your existing intranet do the job at each level of the maturity model?  And before you spend significantly on Level Three, are you sure that the foundation (Level One and Two) is sound?

Marketing Insight:  A Level Four Intranet extends collaboration through an Extranet and out from the organization to each key stakeholder group.   Instead of a centralized control, one-to-many model, a Level Four Intranet recognizes the many-to-many relationships that truly differentiate an engaged organization.  And that those relationships are not just inside, but reach out.  (And at the same time, that there is also an important role for the public social media sites.)

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Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)  Professional credentials site Web strategy, technology, and development  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders



Randall has been advising on Digital Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of eight books, including Digital Transformation for Associations, the Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business, and Social Media for Business. He speaks and advises on Digital Transformation, Digital Trust, and Social Media. More at

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