Step 1: Business Drivers

Planning: So, you want to build a portal…

Have you ever heard the saying, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail”?   I don’t recall who said it originally, but it certainly rings true.  It rings especially true when planning a corporate intranet portal.   Planning is THE single most important step in The PORTAL Method for a variety of reasons.

  1. You have to make sure you have everyone on-board for a project like this.
  2. You will need buy-in and support (in the forms of participation and communication) from your top-level executives.
  3. You will need to make sure you have the right people and resources to make the project a success.
  4. Lastly, the more you plan and document along the way, the easier it is to execute and become the hero of your people!  Write it down.  Get it out of your head.   Then follow the  bread crumbs.

Identify Business Drivers:

If you’re looking at building, migrating, or upgrading a corporate intranet portal, there’s likely a reason for this project.  Be sure you can clearly identify and articulate your Business Drivers to “the powers that be”.   In my experience, there are almost always signs of “stress”, or indicators that you need something better for managing and disseminating corporate information than what you have in place today.

Some common indicators that a new portal may be in order include:

Multiple Data Silos – Are you in a situation where you ended up with multiple (failed) portals, or multiple servers where portal-like information is stored?

Rapid Company Growth – Has your company grown so quickly (as has your data) that you have lost control of its growth and need to aggregate content in a more effective manner?

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen – Do you have multiple people “in charge” of data silos – each of which are managed differently and with mixed results?

Content Sprawl – Have you allowed your growing user base to continue to self-publish content (including person pictures, jokes, contacts, emails, and other personal files) to your corporate servers?   Are you still storing things on shared drives and running out of letters in the alphabet?

Lack of Governance – Who controls content in your organization?  Do you have a formal Governance Policy?  If so, do you follow it?  Does anyone?  Is the Policy enforced or updated on a regular basis?

Inability to search effectively -  How easily can your users find information across your enterprise – no matter what size company you have?   Is your search inclusive of your most important, reliable, accurate, and productivity-enhancing data?

Lack of Standardization across your infrastructure – Do all of your users use the same hardware and/or software configurations?  Do you standardize browsers, desktop software, and file formats across your company?

There are many other drivers – I could go on all day.  However, my point is, do your homework.  Come to the table with solid business reasons why your executives should decide, not only to do this thing, but do support and stand behind the project for a number of business reasons which you will sell them on.   If you’re not the type that can effectively communicate these messages, seek out a Manager, Director, or VP to help you champion this cause.

Once you’ve successfully identified your Business Drivers, it’s time to take these to your team and begin the internally selling process.  

If you need help getting started on documenting the business drivers to your Portal project, please look in our Downloads section.  I’ve uploaded a Template called “The PORTAL Method – Step1: Business Drivers“.

Let’s take a look at Step 2:  Gather Your Team.

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