So, you're driving down an eight lane highway headed east and you see off in the distance an eight lane highway heading north and south. Without a bridge, an off-ramp, or any signs, things could get messy. Hopefully, engineers considered how many people need to change direction at that intersection, and came up with a clear way to communicate to drivers how to reach their destination. I'm hoping you see a parallel with intranet design & planning.
Information architecture is how we talk about the intersection of content and context for a user. How does a user reach his or her destination?
The more complexity in the environment, the more likely you'll need engineers to carefully plan out the structure and design of your site. This includes coming up with methodologies to agree on global taxonomy, site navigation and all the placeholders for information like sites, lists, libraries and content types.
Takeaway: Take the time up front to make sure you've got the right Information Architecture. You can never spend too much time planning how the elements of your Intranet will fit together an be presented to the end user.
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Principles to Intranet Success- Part 1: Governance