Intranets that *work*

We had an excellent session last week by Duncan Ogilvy and Sally Roberts of 3Kites all about intranets, in particular how law firm KMers can work to improve the usability of their knowledge databases and intranets.

We covered too much to write it all down here, but, for me, the top three themes were

  1. Focus on business issues
    • this applies across the board, but in particular when
      • you are building the business case for investment – an upgrade or replacement to an existing system can be harder to gain approval for than the first investment
      • assigning responsibilities and considering governance
      • considering mobile usage
      • you are looking at/thinking about usage
    • you might need to focus on negative aspects (risk especially), as well as positive business benefits (speed, productivity, attracting talent, “anywhere” productivity)
  2. Get the fundamentals right and go for simplicity
    • a single “front door” and make it a spring board to everything else
    • simple design and navigation – make it easy to scan and find things quickly
    • trusted information
    • make it essential rather than useful
    • focus on helping people with their “day jobs”
  3. Plan for keeping it updated
    • keeping things up-to-date is essential to ensure trust, but doing this manually is a tonne of work, so
      • automate what you can
      • avoid duplication of effort – what can be fed in from other systems?
      • have a governance policy and spread the load – the KM team can’t be responsible for updating everything, the responsibility must be shared.

There was a lot more: discussions about the pros and cons of federated and enterprise search; how DMS will change once AI improves search; how mobile sites can differ from main sites to work better; how intranets can effect positive culture change; how to get a llama off a train… Too much to write down here.

If you are after a bit more info, I’ve written about intranets before and collected some useful links here.

Massive thanks to Sally and Duncan for sharing their expertise and thanks to Veale Wasbrough Vizards who hosted at the last minute following unforeseen technical problems at our original host firm. If anyone would like to get in touch with Sally and Duncan to discuss this further, their contact details are here –

As Steve Jobs said “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.”

The technology is an important facilitator but business needs of the users are the priority.


If you enjoyed reading this, think about joining an existing group or helping me to start a new Knowledge Network in your city. There are existing groups in Bristol and Birmingham, and a “nearly” group in Manchester (not quite enough interest yet) and some interest for a group in Reading. Get in touch if you’d like to get one started near you.

About knowledge4lawyers

I am a lawyer and a Knowledge Management expert. Through The Knowledge Business I help law firms improve their efficiency and profitability through knowledge services - consultancy, training and implementation help.
This entry was posted in AI and cognitive computing, Knowledge Network UK, technology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Intranets that *work*

  1. Stan Garfield’s “Intranets for Knowledge Management”, with lots of resources at the end.

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