Simon Harriyott

Size of an intranet

Six years ago, I started work at a small software house in East Sussex (England). I wrote an intranet, using ASP and SQL Server, which provided links to procedures and information about how to get things done. Everything was in one place. The purpose of the intranet was to be useful to the staff, and make everyone's job slightly easier. It achieved this aim, and was well used.

Three years ago, we were bought by a large engineering consultancy, which has a really big intranet, with thousands of pages of useful information, procedures, internal advertising and so on. Content is added and updated by individuals across the organisation (including me) . There is a search facility that returns dozens of links. There are local areas for different divisions. It does everything.

My intranet was (quite rightly) decommissioned. All my resource booking pages were replaced by Exchange Server, and our procedures changed to fit the existing big company methods (which can all be found on the intranet).

However, the staff couldn't easily find anything. The search facility returned too many links, most of which weren't relevant. When somebody did find the correct procedure, they might have emailed the link around. Some people would keep the link, and others wouldn't. The next time the procedure was needed, the intranet and the email folders were searched. It took longer to get things done than before.

Last week I created a "shortcuts" page, containing links to the pages that we spend ages looking for. The links are grouped into task-based sections, without the need for searching or storing links in email folders. When anyone in the department needs another link added, I will add it. Everything will be in one place. The purpose of this page is to be useful to the staff, and make everyone's job slightly easier. I've come full circle.
20 September 2004