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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Intranet portal: Where should I begin?

Well, first thing’s first, do you really need an Intranet portal?

To answer this question please read my first article on this series.

Once you’ve decided that Yes! You require a portal, then the first thing need to do is to elaborate on the broad requirement or problem you are trying to resolve.

Elaborate the problem statement and identify the stakeholders:

Once identified, the problem statement of the need for an intranet portal. Elaborate on that problem/need, talk to the people who are sufferers or will be beneficiaries of the solution you are trying to provide. These people intern will become your stakeholders. Once you’ve identified the need properly and classified the stakeholders, then getting the clear requirements from the stakeholder will be the next step.

Requirements:

During the process of elaborating the need, you are starting a requirement gathering phase automatically. Statements made by the users or potential users, email exchanges, surveys, focus groups, old systems, personal interviews of key stakeholders can give you a fair idea about the requirements. Once the right sources of requirements are established, the elaborate requirement gathering exercise should start.

Once the requirements are started taking shape, classifying those requirements is next step. To do the classification map the requirements against the broad problem statement and how much it is relevant to the broad problem statement, this will give you the primary feedback on the relevance of the requirement. Once the requirements are captured and solidified, the proper analysis of the requirements should take place.

The analysis of the requirement should weighed according to it’s long and short term benefits to the organization. So, the classification of requirements must be done interms of long term and short term benefits and also relevant and irrelevant or less relevant requirements. Also, it should be thought in a phased manner, and the matrix of urgent and important can be placed here but not too much emphasis should be given to this as the benefit we are trying to achieve from the intranet are more related to culture then instant profit or loss to the company. Irrelevant requirements must be removed from the first phase of the roll-out of the intranet and must be weighed separately if found legitimate or important.

Once the requirements are classified and weighed, then the prioritization of the requirement needs to take place, based on the prioritization (which can be sometime a political exercise rather than purely based on the business need) the intranet team should decided on the highest prioroity requirements must be addressed in the first phase and less important requirements can be addressed in subsequent phases. Phase 1 should address the broad problem/need in it’s implementation and should be kept as simple as possible as the main challenge we are trying to address here should be how we can manage cultural change rather than technological challenges.

Once all the major requirements are identified and classified, the selection of technology and expertise should come in next phase.

Selecting the technology:

Based on the organisation’s strength/knowledge in Information Technology, they should assign this task to their IT department, if the organization doesn’t have this skills with them then they can bring in IT Services company like Zensar Technologies to provide consultation on the selection of technologies. The technology selection exercise can take small to longer time and can be 1) based on the company’s inclination towards particular technologies, 2) or based on the company infrastructure or 3) based on select few who has power to decide in this matter. If, given to an IT Service provider company like Zensar Technologies, then the process will be based on the first two plus the experience of the company in rolling out similar technologies to other clients, POCs done in the client site or simulated client environment and with close consultation with the actual manufacturer of the product which the company is proposing after understanding the client requirements.

Once all these consideration has been taken in to account, the finalist of the result are presented to the client as best options, and client can be given a choice or been told the chosen technology and the reason behind it, which may be non technical ie. Financial. Once the technology selection has made the next step will be the development of the intranet based on the requirement. Which will be the subject of my future article in this series.

1 comment:

Ani said...

Hey Can you put few lights on Knowledge Management and Content Management? How would you distingush them? More over what is the strength of ECCM in Zensar Now :-)Thanks....