We have spent years helping customers envision, develop, and implement intranet projects and strategies. Along the way, we have learned that one of the most significant issues is not motivation, interest, or even budget-related, but having tactical knowledge of what to do, when to do it, and what it takes to do.
This knowledge may even exist in the organization but can often be fragmented and spread across projects, stakeholders, and domain experts. Having a roadmap can help replace an existing intranet, begin planning, or polish your current planned intranet development.
Now, more than ever, it is important that we address the volatility and other business hurdles that have become more normal for digital workplaces everywhere. In the video below, our CTO and Microsoft MVP, Richard Harbridge, provide an overview of how we all need to adapt to change and volatility.
Adapting to digital workplace change and volatility
A proper roadmap will help you volatility your digital workplace may be feeling and much more. Before you start, the important thing is that you understand the tactical knowledge you will need.
We know from proven experience that organizations who have been able to meet that knowledge gap can do it because they pool their effort, align their investments, and work together.
In other words, organizations often benefit considerably from having more detailed and comprehensive roadmaps. They are a tool that drives actionable prioritization, alignment, and easier progress monitoring for stakeholders who care about higher-level drivers and objectives but cannot effectively grasp the work needed to realize those objectives.
Let us start by clarifying what we mean by a roadmap. Roadmaps have a few consistent elements. They typically have phases, tracks/focus areas, time frames, and activities.
These activities are often represented as actionable steps, projects, or even programs of projects, depending on how high-level the roadmap is. Below is a simple sample for reference:
One of the challenges here is that many organizations think it’s more complicated than it needs to be to develop and create a roadmap for a digital workplace, an Intranet, or some specific area of digital excellence within an organization.
Most roadmaps are quite simple when you break them down. They are essentially a way of visually showing recommended and often categorized actions (or sets of actions) over a timeline. By visualizing these actions, we can, at a glance, communicate priority, urgency/order, dependencies, estimated effort/how long things take, and more.
Coming up with the recommended actions to go from your organization’s current state to the organization’s envisioned future state or aspiration state could be difficult. This is why many organizations employ experts (2toLead, for example) who work with other customers. Alternatively, they look at what other organizations are doing and how they are framing their strategy, as a basis for their own.
If you aren’t sure how to write a recommendation or what the right recommendations are, start by documenting pain points and user needs. A skilled expert can take those needs (especially if they are specific) and map them to potential solutions (your recommendations).
Anyone can elicit pain points and user needs related to digital tools and technology. Keep in mind that more experienced analysts may be able to get a richer understanding of these based on their technology expertise and skill set.
User interviews can be an excellent first step in requirement gathering for your findings that will lead to requirements and, eventually, recommendations in a roadmap. Your goal is to dive deeper into the challenges your teams are currently facing and what opportunities may lie in the future.
Below is a simple diagram of how a typical customer’s needs and pain points might be represented.
Now that you can rest assured that your time is invested wisely in developing an intranet roadmap, it is time to create one for your organization. The know-how you have been looking for is in our blog on how to plan a Microsoft 365 intranet roadmap.
Before planning the roadmap, you will want to learn all the essential details about SharePoint to lead you to a successful digital workplace strategy. We are happy to continue to help in your pursuit of ways to turn a bunch of SharePoint sites into a living, breathing digital workplace.
Download our Intranet whitepaper to learn everything you need to know about creating an intranet with Microsoft 365.