Re: Intranets - Don't go there?

Subject: Re: Intranets - Don't go there?
From: John Gough <gough -at- AUSTIN -dot- ASC -dot- SLB -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 09:44:14 -0500

>Steven Connell wrote:
>> In discussing PDG vs. HTML, Arlen wrote:
>> For every case study of companies which saved money putting up an
>> intranet, there's another of a company who built an intranet and nobody
>> came.
>> My company is at a crossroads for setting up an intranet, Lotus Notes, or
>> both. I'd like to know who some of these companies are, Arlen, so I can
>> ensure my company doesn't build a site that no one comes to.

To make sure everyone comes, move critical project data
to the intranet (or Notes, if that's what you use) and avoid circulating paper.
I contracted at a company once where the project manager really
had to beat people over the head to use the intranet. It was a wonderful
system, really, but the project mgr was years ahead of her staff
in technical proficiency. My personal experience is that using
them well saves incredible amounts of project time (fewer meetings,
fewer misunderstandings).

>I don't know where Arlen got his facts, but yesterday Netscape released
>a whitepaper done by International Data Corporation (IDC) that shows
>that a typical ROI on an intranet is well over 1000%, and that it comes
>within six to twelve weeks. The study goes into detail as to how ROI

Nice to know this bit, thanks.

>I'll posit as a response to Arlen that companies who post intranets and
>have nobody come are like people who build a better mousetrap and then
>forget to publicize it. You have to TELL the folks that the stuff is
>there, and you have to SHOW them how to use it!

There is also the point that the intranet can support a business process
only if the process exists. Good sites aren't static, either--they
evolve in response to changes in the processes they support. Oops,
slipping into TQM manifestos here...

Things that are handy to have on the web (for me, a technical writer and
project manager):

* Project documents
- docplan (all revisions, most recent first)
- project timeline (updated weekly)
- team responsibilities
* Style guide (if one exists)
- glossary
- trademarks
- conventions of wording and presentation
- links to online dictionaries, thesaurases, and other
reference info
* Tool documentation (for common tasks)
* Procedures (conducting reviews, reporting, etc.)

It helps if the technical team posts their design plans (if any),
development schedule, and build schedule.

The list is in priority order. Things lower on the list tend to
be needed for larger teams on larger projects in larger (more
companies. They may also be needed if the level of experience and
knowledge varies a lot among team members.

I've seen a "question and answer" bulletin board implemented
on web pages, too--it's good for
mopping up details, posting news, and hand-holding. If you pay
attention to it, it gives you the basis for a FAQ and for updating
the canonical project information.

My $.02 ($0.20 on the intranet, apparently),
John Gough gough -at- austin -dot- asc -dot- slb -dot- com
Technical Consultant johngough -at- aol -dot- com
Schlumberger -- Austin Product Center C1.147 -- (512) 331-3656

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