The idea of jettisoning the over-featured, over-eager, bloated solution (software, app, intranet, etc.) in favor of a trimmed back, deeply focused and ‘lightweight’ one is an idea that many preach, but few actually put into practice. The upside of building “lightweight” vs. “heavyweight” can be significant as costs are usually lower, and adoption rates better. So why would anyone build “heavyweight” you ask? Most don’t even realize they’re doing it… I’ve had the good fortune of having a unique perspective on this because we’ve helped a lot of people build a lot of things. Looking back on those builds, I’ve compiled three core tenets that always seem to rise to the surface on projects that truly add value and “keep it light”.
Have you seen some of the Intranets out there? If you haven't, let me summarize the appearance of standard an out of the box Intranet like SharePoint, Jive or Office 365: Meh. Meh is okay. Meh isn't terrible or great. It just is.
There’s a gap between deployment and adoption when it comes to SharePoint. Everyone who knows what SharePoint is, knows what I’m talking about… Let’s start with the easy part – deployment.
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.
All intranets share common objectives: unify people, process, and information. Achieving these objectives relies heavily on early stages of planning and design. There are seven principles that are considered the key elements to a successful intranet, the first being governance.
“We want a strategic partner, not a vendor.”
Every time I hear it, I get a warm and fuzzy. Because when someone says “partner” - to me that means, “We’re gonna pop the hood open on this puppy, show you what we’re dealing with, and come up with solution together.” Not only is this where we thrive at Aerie Consulting, it’s also where clients get the most value.
Normally I’d be the last guy to make a point with a 90’s era Bill Clinton political reference. But hey, if the shoe fits…
During the 1992 presidential campaign, Clinton strategist James Carville, was struggling to keep staffers and the campaign itself on message. In an effort to keep everyone aligned, Carville hung a sign in Clinton’s Little Rock campaign headquarters that outlined their platform in three simple phrases:
1. Change vs. more of the same
2. The economy, stupid
3. Don’t forget healthcare
All politics aside… not bad Mr. Carville. I like the approach and think I’ll borrow it. So here it is – James Carville’s 1992 Clinton campaign strategy sign re-engineered by Aerie Consulting: