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PracticeByte - Corporate Intranet / Portal: Weather Forecast, World News - Yes or No?

Analyst: Nicolas Buerki
Issue: Is there any value to provide non-company related information on the corporate Intranet or portal home page?
Non-corporate related information on intranets or portals, such as weather forecast, general stock news, or any other non-business supporting information can increase business efficiency. Many companies however, dedicate too much space on their Intranet or portal home page for it, wasting valuable space to link to business content and tools that improve employees’ productiveness. Intranet and portal owners should keep at least two third of the home page body space for links to support business tasks. This allows employees to start - with one click - their business tasks. One third of the home page body content can be devoted to a mix of corporate announcements and non-company related information. Dedicating more space results in a decreased Intranet or portal effectiveness.
Our intranet /portal content survey revealed that 73% of European companies provide financial, corporate and industry news on their intranet or portal (see PracticeByte, “Intranet / Portal Content Survey”, Nicolas Bürki).
Every content piece on an Intranet needs to have a business value. For business related tools and content such as:
1. online self-service tools (e.g. expense & time reporting, facility reservation, travel booking, specific automated business processes, human resource applications)
2. business content (e.g. corporate templates, guidelines, project information, employee directories)
3. company related news (e.g. corporate news, competitive news, local news)
business values are straightforward and their return on investment (ROI) can be quite well estimated or even well calculated.
Determining the business value of non-company related information such as customizable stock symbols,weather forecast, time zones display, world news is challenging to state in monetary value.
If you apply a cost / benefit matrix such as our cost and business assessment matrix on such content, the outcome disfavours these content types (see PracticeByte, “Intranet / Portal Content – Use a Business and Cost Matrix to Prioritize Content and Develop an Effective Linking Strategy”, Nicolas Bürki).
The main driver to provide non-company related content on the corporate Intranet home page is to motivate employees who:
1. do not yet use the Intranet (e.g. resistant Intranet / portal users, which amount based on our consulting experience up to 10% within a global company)
2. do not need the Intranet on a daily basis for their business tasks.
For this specific Intranet audience, non-corporate information proofed to act as an incentive to regularly return to the corporate Intranet (even if they do not yet use the Intranet for their work). As they return more frequently, is much more likely that they start using the Intranet for their work. This tactic works especially well, if Web designer and information architects have developed an effective home page (see PracticeByte, “Common Mistakes: Home Page Design”, Nicolas Bürki).
Especially companies that launch:
1. their first corporate wide Intranet or
2. consolidated their Intranets into one global Intranet,
should seriously consider to provide non-company related information. This increases employees’ buy-in to regularly return and use the Intranet in their daily tasks.
Intranet / Portal Content Recommendations:
1.Link non-company related information from the home page in less then one third of the home page body content space.
  • Customize non-company related information based on user profiles.
  • Allow employees to personalize news. However, don’t allow employees to personalize all news items. Best practice is that about two third of news items are customized and can be personalized by the employees and that one third is defined by your Intranet steering committee (e.g. dedicated for global, corporate messages and announcements).